Today I am going to combine the final 2 truths about trying to learn the game of golf. Number 3 is the only common denominator that really effective golf swings have, is that on the downswing the belly button passes the ball before the arms and the hands. It sounds simple enough, but the problem is I wrote earlier the arms can go 70 miles per hour and the body can only turn about 15 miles an hour. Every shot that is pulled can be attributed to the arms passing the belly button before impact. This is why the release of the hands is always inhibited because with the arms passing the belly and a full release of the uncocking of the wrists, the ball will go at least 50 yards to the left of the target. There are lots of other bad shots that can be atttributed to this one problem. Sounds easy enough, belly button first then the arms. There are many ways that have been advocated for starting the downswing and any instructional book writtein by Leadbetter and Harmen will give you methods of doing this but it just is not that easy. The fourth fact in the learning process is that there is only 2 senses that come in to play. You can see what you are doing and you can feel what you are doing. Many times what you think you are doing is not actually happening. The order should be this. Either through video, mirrors, or a second set of eyes you need to see what you are doing then put a feel to what is going on. You can always on the practice tee, stop your swing at any time, and simply look and what you are doing and make sure it is correct and again put the feeling into play. On the next blog I will go through some of the strange and wacky things that I have done with my golf swing in searching for this elusive answer. The biggest problem with this blog will be trying to remember all of the things I have done because quite frankly I am trying to forget them.
The holidays are over, and its time to get back to this goofy game, and continue the quest for the answer. Today I am going to discuss the second of the four truths of this game. Eighty five to ninety per cent of all golf problems start before you take the club back. Let’s discuss the top three mentioned in an earlier blog. First the grip. The correct golf grip is difficult describe, so I will refer you to instruction books that have some great pictures of the grip. Both Tiger’s and Annika’s books have great pictures of the proper grip. One older book that has great pictures of the grip is Sam Snead on Golf, written in 1961. Everyone talks about Snead’s great swing that his grip kind of gets lost, but I think he had the best grip in golf, and it is pictured perfectly in this book. Problem number 2 is standing too far away from the ball. Byron Nelson claimed you could not stand too close to the ball and I dont know about that, but his point is well taken. It is better to crowd the ball a little rather than feel you are reaching for the ball. Here is a very easy drill to get the right distance from the ball. Once you have establised your address position, just take your right hand off the club and let your right arm just dangle straight down and relax. Now swing your right arm back to the club. If your right hand meets the club shaft where your left hand is, then you are too far away. If it meets the club shaft so now your grip is split, then you are too close too the ball. If your right hand comes back to where it was in the proper grip position, then you are the correct distance from the ball. What is great about this drill it works for every club in the bag and you can even use this on the course as your part of a pre shot routine until you get use to being the proper distance from the ball. The final big problem is most people will align themselves to the right of the target. There is no doubt in my mind the best way to get a proper aim at the target is with the Jack Nicklaus method of picking out something in front of the ball that is line with the target. At the range a second set of eyes can be a big help. If you are not line up at the target properly, then your chances of consistantly hitting good shots are not good. If you saw someone aiming a gun 20 to 30 yards right of their target and they kept missing you would not be telling them to pull the trigger differently or having a rifle better placed in their shoulder. After you get by these three problems there are some other things that can cause problems at address. I think that the weight distribution on the bottom of the feet can cause some confusion if you read enough golf books. It use to be you would here about having the weight on the balls of your feet, but now on the The Golf Fix they say, that the weight should feel like it is in the arches of your feet. The reason you want the weight getting back towards the heels, is it is easier to turn the body. If your weight heads toward the toes at all, it will restrict your body turn,try it. I think another big problem is in knee flex. Your knees do need to be flexed but a line drawn from ground through the ankle to the knee needs to be close to perpendicular to the ground. Many people when they flex their knees allow them to go toward the ball. As Sam Snead said to President Eisenhower when he was doing this “Mr President stick your butt out” That will take care of the problem. So we have gone through fact number 2 and in the next blog we will cover numbers 3 and 4. together.