This thread will serve to separate fact from fiction and examine some very common myths about the golf swing/technique. If you're a regular on the site, some of this may be old but some content will be new. Erik and I will also add to the thread. If you're new to the site, welcome and take a minute to review this information and I hope it ends up being helpful to your game.
If you have any myth suggestions or questions, please feel free to post it in this thread. Ok in no particular order....
1 - Myth: The club head and hands go straight back and straight through during the golf swing
Fact: Since we're playing golf from a bent over position, the hands and club travel inward, upward and back.
2 - Myth: The golf ball starts in the direction of the path and curves there where the face is pointed
Fact: The golf ball starts generally where the face is pointed and curves away from the path. So for a draw, the face will be right of your intended target and the path will be further right of the face. Opposite for a fade.
3 - Myth: The angle of the rear knee must stay the same throughout the back swing. It's important to "resist" with the lower body, to turn against a flexed right knee and thigh and create a coiling effect.
Fact: In order for the hips and shoulders to turn on a slant (again we have to bend over somewhat to play golf), the rear knee will decrease in flex as the lead knee gains flex. This "knee linkage" frees up the hips to not only rotate but "bend" and "stretch" as well. The correct amount of bending and stretching allows the golfer to make a 90 degree or more torso turn while keeping their head steady.
4 - Myth: Poor contact and slicing is caused by the hips sliding towards the target on the downswing.
Fact: The best players in the world have between 80-95% of their pressure on his front foot at impact. The average amateur has 55%.
5 - Myth: When I make a centered pivot, my rear leg decreases in flex and my lead gains in flex. This can feel like my weight is forward on my backswing. This means I'm "loading left" on my backswing.
Fact: When the left knee gains flex and the right decreases in flex, pressure actually increases on the right side as the right hip "stretches" up and the left hip lowers. Decreasing flex applies pressure, increasing flex relieves pressure.
6 - Myth: On the backswing the clubhead goes back "low and slow" to setup a nice wide arch, feel as you drag the club for the first couple feet.
Or get the left shoulder over the right foot.
Fact: As was stated previous, the club travels gradually upward, inward and back. The "up" is due to the rear elbow bending, wrists hinging and the bending and stretching of the hips.
We can see from the left pic below that as I try to take the club back as low as I can (still ascends somewhat) that my left shoulder hasn't work down at all, causing my head to translate to the right. On the right my head hasn't moved right due to the left knee/left hip/left shoulder going down somewhat and the bending of my right arm. The club is ascending at a good rate.
We know the average PGA Tour player moves his head one inch during his backswing. If the head remains relatively steady, contact with the golf ball becomes easier and more consistent.
As we get to the top of the backswing, my head has continued to move right, left shoulder is over my right foot in the left pic.
But because I tried to make the club "drag" back for the first couple feet and/or get the left shoulder over my right foot, the hips didn't bend and stretch enough causing the shoulders to turn too level. My head has moved too far to the right and I've only turned my torso about 75 degrees. On the right, with the proper amount of bending and stretching, my head has remained steady. You can see I've turned my torso about 100 degrees with a 7 iron.
Quick note: I'm not saying that "low and slow" can't be a feel that works. If you have the club ascend at too fast a rate or have the head go down and forward on the backswing, this might be a great feel for you. Just be aware of what is actually happening and don't take common advice too literally.
7 - Myth: Roll the toe, close the face or release it to hit a draw.
Fact: As we know from the Ball Flight Laws article, impact only last 400 microseconds, so even if we could impart some curvature while the ball was on the face, there just isn't enough time to do so. We also know when hitting a draw, we want the face pointed right of the intended target and the path further OUTward of that because the ball starts generally where the face is pointing, and curves away from the path. So if we end up achieving a face left of the target, it's going to start left of the target.
We know good or great golfers don't "flip" at the ball a significant amount, achieving an inline impact helps golfers hit it solid on a consistent basis. Inline impact means that the player delivers the shaft in such a way that it does not pass the line of the lead forearm prior to impact.
In the left pic I am trying to release the toe and you can see that the shaft is inline well before impact. You can also tell that the face is pretty square at this point. On the right, by the time I reach impact, my left wrist is cupped, face is left, your standard "flip" or casting move.
So consciously trying to roll the toe closed can cause the handle to back up, rotate the face too far left. It can also cause the club head to be swing more across the ball.
Adam Scott on the right demonstrating a great inline impact. Note the face is more rightward pointing.
So if you want to stop flipping, hit it solid, be able to draw the ball, I would suggest improving Keys #1 and 2.