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Scott's Golf Blog: What Makes A Good Golf Swing

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Makes A Good Golf Swing

Some published statistics suggest that the average golf handicap is essentially the same as it was forty years ago. This is in spite of all the new technology in equipment and in the world of golf instruction. How is this possible? One reason is that most golfers, including those who teach the game, do not have an understanding of what makes a good golf swing. One comment you will often here from an amateur golf when they watch a tour pro or any very good player is that they make every shot look effortless. That is exactly what a good golf swing looks like…effortless. Indeed, some of the more unusual golf swings on tour, such as Jim Furyk’s or Kenny Perry’s, even Lee Trevino’s, look effortless. All of these players have been great ball strikers with unusual looking swings. With that in mind, the appearance, or shape of a golf swing, has nothing to do with what makes a good golf swing. Unfortunately, that is what most instructors think, and as a result, that is what most amateur golfers think as well. A good golf swing is one in which there is a clear rhythmic sequence of events taking place. This sequence of events occurs with athleticism and balance. This athletic, balanced and rhythmic swing is what allows a good golfer to repeat the movement over and over again, even as the stakes are high. How can the average golfer, or worse, learn how to develop a good golf swing? First they must learn the proper sequencing in the golf swing that allows the speed of the club head to increase through impact, and allows the club to be square to the intended target line at impact. This sequence has nothing to do with the position of the golf club during the takeaway, or the swing plane, or the grip or set up. This sequence is actually found in other athletic movements, and this is why some professional athletes who specialize in these other athletic movements, excel at golf. Consider the other sports, or positions in various sports, where those athletes have a higher likelihood of success at golf. Quarterbacks, pitchers and hockey players are more likely to be good golfers than other athletes. I am talking about scratch golfers, not those that can break 80 now and then. Examples of these athletes are former pitcher Rick Rhoden, former quarterback John Brodie who played on the Champions Tour, Phil Simms, Tony Romo, John Smoltz, and hockey players Dan Quinn, Mario Lemieux and Grant Fuhr. Have you ever watched a baseball game, or a football game and heard the comment that the pitcher or quarterback “is in a good rhythm?” And we almost always hear that when a golfer is leading a tournament. Good pitchers make pitching look effortless, just like good quarterbacks in a good rhythm make hitting a receiver down field look easy. The funny thing is, just like in golf, these pitchers and quarterbacks look different from one another in how they get the job done. Think about the movements in pitching and throwing a football. There is a larger or small wind up which results in the back foot acting as a brace, which in turn creates leverage, and then an unwinding of the body that starts with the lower body. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what most golfers do. Most golfers do not create any leverage in the back swing because they do virtually all of the work with the arms, and then they do all of the work in the down swing with the upper body as well. As a result, even large, reasonably athletic and fit people have trouble hitting a driver as far as the average tour pro hits a three-iron. If you want to begin to build a good golf swing, think of these two athletic movements that most of us have done at one time or another… skipping stones across a pond and throwing a Frisbee. These movements are very similar to that of the golf swing. If you can get your mindset away from trying to control the golf club, and instead focus on developing the proper athletic movements involved in the golf swing, along with good rhythm and balance, then you will be well on your way to building a good, sound, repeatable, effortless golf swing.

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