Even avid players are adamant in their search for consistency. Often they’re willing to adjust their swings to get what appears to be reasonable, repeatable ball flight. Even by manipulating the club from shot to shot, and by putting their body into positions that resemble the old-school TWISTER board game.
Tour players only modify their swings to shape shots, and then it’s without altering their core swing. For golfers at all levels, the Holy Grail of consistency needs to connect to their full swing fundamentals first, ball flight second.
The discipline to create a repeatable swing shows up over the course of a season and beyond. It means coming face-to-face with what’s really happening at every moment, starting with ADDRESS and TAKEWAY – and a willingness to trust ball flight will largely take care of itself.
Moving to a better address.
Address is simply “setting your body up in a fundamentally-correct position to allow you to execute any given shot with the optimal golf swing movement.” With the need to connect body both to club and ground, the variables start piling up quickly to corrupt the swing early on.
- POOR GRIP does not allow for proper wrist hinge and/or arm movement in the swing.
- POOR WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION & BALANCE creates unconscious balance compensation during the swing, putting the player in a teeter-totter mode.
- POOR POSTURE puts undue stress on back as it prohibits the rotation needed to achieve
an optimal top position.
- POOR ALIGNMENT leads to poor shot direction and unwanted swing compensation.
Behind these four common pre-swing problems are at least four root causes.
- FLAWED SWING FUNDMENTALS AND MECHANICS
- BODY CHALLENGES including flexibility, strength, previous injuries and body skeletal structure (“type”)
- UNFOCUSED PREPARATION
- PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIERS, normally clustering into either a lack of confidence or extreme over-confidence
Room at the top.
The top of swing or Takeaway seems obvious but proves elusive. “The top of the swing is achieving a position in which . . . the golfer will have a stable lower body with adequate rotation of the shoulders, an effective weight shift, and an arm and club position that will allow the golfer to naturally deliver the golf club through the golf-ball correctly.”
Certainly more complex than Address simply because it occurs after significant movement has happened, Takeaway puts a spotlight on the myth of consistency.
- POOR LOWER BODY STABILITY leads to a) hip over-rotation, b) excessive hip tilt and c) overactive feet
- POOR WEIGHT-SHIFTING causes loss of power and compromised forward swing plane
- POOR HAND AND ARM POSITIONS lead to inconsistency, power loss, and a club face that is not square
And the answer is…
The next issue of MOMENTUM will identity truths about IMPACT and FOLLOW-THROUGH, in addition to providing guidance on improvement. Until then, use the six POOR statements to pinpoint swing improvement opportunities on the range or during upcoming rounds.
Steve Atherton, V.P. of Instruction
PGA Master Professional