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Are most amateur golfers being mislead on how to swing?  

post #1 of 306
Thread Starter 

A typical amateur golfer tries to emulate the textbook swings of top professionals. Among other endless criteria, he generally tells himself that he's got to get the club parallel at the top of the back swing; shift his weight at impact without moving his head or altering his spine angle; and end up perfectly balanced on his target foot after a smooth follow through.

However, a top professional has a rather lengthy and complicated regime for his swing which, for him, is an imperative for successfully reproducing the miracle shots required for his trade. This regime involves: one to two hours of stretching and exercise before going to the range/course; working for 2-6 hours on various elements of his game with his coach/caddy/video feedback equipment; and then putting this all together playing nine or eighteen holes of golf.

 

This is a normal non-tournament day for the average modern professional and only the cream of the crop manage to put it together well enough to make a living on one of the tours. I could go on and on but my main point is that there's a swing for pros and therefore there must be a less structured and more individual swing for amateurs. We all walk, run, jump, swim, drive, ride a bicycle etc and although we do these similarly there are no strict directives on how to do them.

 

I coach this game and, in my opinion, the main mistake that golfers are making is trying to emulate the pros. And it's not their fault! All the magazines, books, videos, golf channels and most teaching pros insist there is only the pro's way. The logic is... they do it best, so they are doing it correctly. Well so are professionals in other sports but I don't see amateur skiers taking corners at 70 mph cutting the snow with a half inch edge of their skis; or tennis players busting a gut trying to place a 100+ mph service in the correct part of the court; or driving a car with slick tyres into a sharp bend at over 150 mph and applying the brakes at the last second in order to glide round the inside of another driver with the same goal. I say different levels for differing skill standards.

 

I recently took up tennis and decided to follow a training video to improve my service and quickly realised that the hours of precise practice and timing just weren't possible for me. I'm miles away from hitting the ball at professional levels because my consistency and control suffer when I do. I play tennis and golf to my capabilities, the same way as I do every other physical action. So why does an amateur golfer feel he has to try to swing like a pro? Mainly because that is the way they have been instructed and the pros look really good the way they are doing it. And we've all had those days, rather seldom may I add, where our golf swing just knitted together and the results were way above our norm, only to return another day back to square one.

 

There must be a more consistent alternative. When anyone comes to my school for a golf lesson, I always ask two very important questions before I start... How much time do you intend to spend practicing each week? Do you intend to adopt a stretching routine before each practice session and for how long? These questions put me in a better position to advise my students on how they will be able to swing and I can also clear up the myth of why they shouldn't or can't adopt a pro-like swing. Most people want to play for hours on end but devote less than one hour per month on practice. On the same breath, a couple of minutes of stretching each day is well above average.

 

I have devised an easy drill that proves why this textbook swing is more athletic than golfers are led to believe. (Up to this point they have been so obsessed with looking ''correct'' at the end of the back swing that they were ignoring natural swing fundamentals. Typical errors include: lifting the club to this position; weight over the target foot; straightening of the off target leg; over rotation of the hips and many more.) Performing my drill, my students manage to experience back swing restriction for the first time. The fittest of my students have trouble stretching further than a three quarter length back swing.

 

Putting it simply, how can a regular golfer who hasn't, and normally doesn't want to, put in the practice hours or essential stretching required, be expected to accomplish the very atheletically challenging conditions achieved by the top athletes of the sport. My biggest problem when I coach this game is unfortunately all too common. This textbook swing is so deeply imprinted in every golfer's mind that a much more natural swing with important qualities like fluidity or back swing restricion is a rarity. I used to lose students when I told them they weren't fit enough for a complete backswing. Most of them had the same visual impression of how to swing properly and didn't realise there should be natural restriction.

 

These days most of my new students are promptly introduced to this natural condition with my aforementioned drill. Let's get down to this simple drill and for most of you it's time to feel this backswing restriction for the first time! I prefer to introduce this drill to my students without a golf club because with one they do the 'same old - same old' and don't feel the natural back swing restriction that I am trying to portray. I use a carpet beater when I introduce this drill. (A tennis/squash/badmington racket does the same job.)

 

At ground level, I place a cushion against the wall and procede to hit it one handed - my dominant hand - with a forehand action and don't think about golf but naturally striking the cushion. You should feel little or no backswing restriction at this point and you should notice that you don't take the racket back as far as the conventional parallel position at the top of the advised golf swing. Within a few swings you should feel that this is a very natural task for you that belongs to other motor skills in your repetoire that have been mastered.

 

You are now ready to feel natural backswing restriction! It's time to use the other hand but we don't want this hand to interfere with what I describe as your own natural swing. This hand has to be put in place as a non-interfering passenger. Lie the four fingers of this hand on the back of the hand holding the racket and fold the palm snugly above the adjacent thumb. Now repeat the forehand action. I expect most of you won't get your hands much higher than your hips on the back swing. This drill makes you experience tighter restriction than the conventional grip but the important thing is to feel this natural condition. At this point everybody is surprised at how fit you have to be for a full back swing

 

A golf swing without restriction is always unnatural and almost always wrong.

 

I repeat...

 

A golf swing without restriction is always unnatural and almost always wrong.

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post #2 of 306

I hear what you're saying about trying to emulate pro swings. For the most part, I agree. My biggest problem as a student of the game is the vague descriptions used by teachers, especially on the Golf Channel, and the inconsistency as well.

 

Two examples: Martin Hall does the school of golf, and he always uses such general terms like "coil your backside" or "turn your hips". I can do both of these things in a number of different ways, most of them very incorrectly. Those are very general and misleading terms that can really destroy a golf swing.

 

Secondly, the "Playing Lessons" show is always kind of a mess for me because it's such specific swing thoughts from seasoned pros, some times multiple major winners. Rarely do their brains correlate with mine when it comes to golf, and I'm usually left more confused. The worst is when they do a "Best of" episode, whether it be on driving or putting, and feature a whole mix up of different pros all giving different advice. How in the triple bogey is that supposed to be helpful?

post #3 of 306
Thread Starter 

Hello Jwat,

 

Yes its all too complicated. I try to put it all as simply as possible and once my students have a reasonably natural hold of the club - grip - I then try to find their natural swing. I don't know if you have tried the Impact Bag but with little instruction you are going to find your best swing with one of them.

 

Here's a video that will show you how my students and myself acquire super impact conditions using a similar aid...

 

 

I hope you find it helpful.

 

All the best

 

Patrcik

 

P.S. Everyone more or less hits this the same way.

post #4 of 306

I had a really hard time trying to understand what you were going on about. From what I can gather (feel free to correct me) the following is true:

 

- Amateurs want to play good golf with no effort.

- There are loads of ways of swinging a club.

- You have a drill using an impact bag that helps people find 'their own' swing by restricting the swing rather than replicating a pro. This allows them to play good golf with no effort.

 

 

post #5 of 306
Thread Starter 

HI MBD,

 

I am not saying they can play good golf with no effort, I am just saying they don't have the time to put in the effort that the pros do. And while they can't put in this effort they should face the fact that they will have to swing with more restriction if they want to acquire consistency and improvement.

 

There is for each individual only one natural way to swing correctly and endless ways to swing it incorrectly. So there are loads of ways to swing incorrectly but not loads of correct swings.

 

Your third comment was only repeating the first two and mentioning the impact bag. I have used many training aids and although many of them are almost useless if the student achieves a feeling for what you are trying to say, you are going to save a lot of time getting it across.

 

Sincerely yours

 

Patrick

post #6 of 306

spam - saw the same post on another golf site.

post #7 of 306

I stopped wondering if the babbling "I'm a genius guru with secrets you've never heard" late night rip-off infomercial tone was really indicative of the truth when your list of common mistakes contained at least 2/4 that if not "correct" (there are many ways to swing), then are definitely part of very very successful pros', and just decent amateurs', swings.

 

You think you have a much more unique and impressive insight than you do.  So we're not as strong and flexible as Rory or classic Tiger.  Nobody knew that!  Genius insight!  Okay, so that might mean if we swing in one of the many ways that let us get to impact in a good position consistently, we might not achieve exactly the same positions as a pro with more talent and more time to exercise and practice than us.  Wow!  Another genius insight!

 

Instead of the snake oil salesman rambling blabber trying to convince us of your genius and indispensability, why not just share your views on the importance of really getting the feel of backswing restriction.  I think that is a really important point, as loading up smoothly to the point of restriction, WHILE IN GOOD POSITION, really helps swinging through the ball in a consistent way.  You'd seem much less laughable if you just made this point as something you've found is important and (maybe) underappreciated.

 

I shouldn't bother I guess.  Golf is sort of like religion, where any self-important huckster can ramble on about his genius, and whether or not it's true if enough suckers follow along he's successful and his self-importance is validated, at least in his own eyes.  A random one shows up on this board very regularly, then disappears again.

post #8 of 306
Thread Starter 

If you don't understand the post, don't comment.

 

Definition of SPAM...

 

Spam is the use of media sources on the internet to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.

 

As I am live, on line, answering any comments on this post, I don't think I can be described as being indiscriminate.   c2_beer.gif

post #9 of 306

OK, out of curiosity, I watched the video and have no idea what i watched...then notice it only had 11 views..

 

Someone gets a 2nd hand kick bag from a matial arts studio that went out of business and rebrands it as the next golf training aid to allow you to hit like a pro, with no effort (or with restriction). I don't see what the point is.

 

I could do that with a bean bag and get the same results, no?

 

 

**edit**

That sounded condescending. I apologize for that. After reading your post, I watched the video and posted hastely. you post came out of nowhere. It wasn't a response to anything and without context. Were you just supplying information just because, or in response to another post??

 

post #10 of 306

What I am getting from this is after yrs of teaching students, you see the same mentality to grip it and rip it.

 

Not saying my drives are perfect but I have come to aviod the driver article that says "get an extra 20yrds from your drive" or "hit 300 every time". I would like to see a article thats titled "hit the ball off the tee 220yrds in the middle of the fairway" They may not sell any issues that month but it would be nice.

 

post #11 of 306
Thread Starter 

Hi mdl,

 

I am not trying to say I am a genius, I have opened a discussion and am happy to reply to your comments. I hope my tone was at least courteous, just  like my etiquette when I am playing golf.

 

Unfortunately, I find your tone a little unfriendly but find your comments very apt to the post. Perhaps my post was a little long winded but do I deserve to be called a self-important huckster. I believe too many amateurs believe they should be swinging like the pros and too amny videos, books, magazines and coaches back up the idea.

 

Sincerely yours

 

Patrick    z6_surrender.gif

post #12 of 306
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post

What I am getting from this is after yrs of teaching students, you see the same mentality to grip it and rip it.

 

Not saying my drives are perfect but I have come to aviod the driver article that says "get an extra 20yrds from your drive" or "hit 300 every time". I would like to see a article thats titled "hit the ball off the tee 220yrds in the middle of the fairway" They may not sell any issues that month but it would be nice.

 


I would read that btw..
 

 

post #13 of 306

I think I'm confused. I have two questions.

 

1. In the image on the left, do you consider this a good impact position?

2. In the image on the right, is popping the ball up off the top of your driver acceptable?

 

Analyzr Image Export.jpg

 

If the answer to either question is yes, well then, good luck to you, but I have faith that the answer to both questions is no. So why include these in the video?

 

I have a third question: what's your idea or concept in a single sentence?

 

P.S. Patrick, spam is a lot more than that, and this forum takes a pretty hard line on spam and our members, I believe, appreciate that. You're on here, clearly promoting something with your first few posts, and that ranks as spam in my book. If this thread had no responses, I'd have considered deleting it, but since others are asking you what the heck you're talking about, I've left it up for now.

post #14 of 306
Thread Starter 

Hi Th3R00st3r,

 

The video is private, no one can access it without the link from me. I only posted it for the first reply because I thought it was apt. I am not promoting the cushion, the idea is as old as old. I am showing my restricted and natural golf swing. I think 'hit it and rip it' suited the video and made no promises of extra length.

 

Thanks for the edited part of your post.

 

Sincerely yours

 

Patrick    c2_beer.gif

 

 

post #15 of 306
Thread Starter 

Hello Iacas,

 

I said my swing was natural, not perfect. I also said that amateurs shouldn't try to swing like pros (and I mean touring pros). 

 

Is this a discussion forum or a critics haven?

 

Why do you seem to think I was describing my ordinary swing as perfect?

 

My idea or concept in a simple sentence is...

 

"It's nice to be nice."

 

Sincerely yours

 

Patrick

 

P.S.

 

Quote:

 

The video is private, no one can access it without the link from me. I only posted it for the first reply because I thought it was apt. I am not promoting the cushion, the idea is as old as old.

 

post #16 of 306

Hi Patrick,

 

My comments above were simply me verbalising the information I got from your first post and video and condensing it down to the basics.

 

TST is indeed a forum for discussion, however part of discussing is that inevitably there will be people who disagree with things. I think everyone here more or less has disagreed with people over various things as you'd expect; we're all just human.

post #17 of 306

After playing pretty often now for about a year and a half, and shooting to a single digit, I think the amateur needs his short game way more than the pros.  In fact, I honestly believe that short game is all that matters if you can make consistent contact.  I'm trying to put together an 88 to 79 article like I did for 130 to 89, and I've come up with some general conclusions that simplify the swing (at least for me... YMMV).

 

Like s and t says, you improve in the following order: 1. consistent contact; 2. accuracy; 3. power.  You cannot do it in any other order (or it goes very slowly).  Until you are hitting virtually every shot clean (and I don't mean perfect - slightly fat / thin is OK - but I do mean not duffing or hitting hot grounders - I define 'virtually every' as 19 out of 20 on the range or 9 out of 10 on the course) you shouldn't even worry about accuracy.  Once you can get consistent contact on those ratios, start thinking about accuracy.  Anyway, I have two swing thoughts for each one (again, that worked for me).

 

Consistent Contact -  Two keys: weight starts left, stays left, and goes left; hip slide starts the downswing.  Work on nothing else.

 

Accuracy - Two keys: clubface straight and slightly inside for first foot of backswing (see Rickie Fowler article in Dec 2011 golf digest), shoulder goes down at the same speed (not around).  Almost in sync with each other - club goes back slightly inside for first foot, same pace shoulder goes down (not back).

 

Power - Two keys: extremely loose grip, back to target.

 

Not saying its perfect, but that really worked for me.  First, worry about hitting the ball only.  Next, worry about hitting straight.  Finally, work on power.  In that order.

 

There are other important things (hands forward at address, right elbow stays tucked, still head, etc...) but I've found if you can do those above things you can play really good golf with a good short game.  Obviously I'm not a pro, but this way of thinking about it / working on it worked for me.  Also the books "The impact zone" and "the timeless swing" by clampett and watson really helped me improve.  Huge pictures in both which is awesome.

 

Re Spam: The OP is clearly trying to promote something.  Regardless, I think the question of "should you emulate the pros" is a really good one.  Hence why i posted, and I think it is interesting.  Should you try to swing like the pros?  Or should you keep it "simpler" ?  I'd like to hear thoughts on these questions from people better at golf than I am.

post #18 of 306
Thread Starter 

Hi MiniBlueDragon,

 

I usually find the people that I meet for the first time are basically nice. The iagas guy definitely has something wrong with his big head analysing my modest swing and calling it imperfect.

 

Quote:
I have two questions.

 

1. In the image on the left, do you consider this a good impact position?

2. In the image on the right, is popping the ball up off the top of your driver acceptable?

 

Sarcastic clown  d2_doh.gif 

 

 

I'd love to see his perfect swing.

 

I've changed my single sentence concept...

 

"It must be nice to be perfect"

 

Anyway thanks for the kind explanation for the level of etiquette I should expect on this site.

 

Sincerely yours

 

Patrick    c2_beer.gif

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