This week I am going to discuss the tweak that didn’t work, and why this method is not good for chipping and putting. The thing that amazed me when I made a golf swing with my arms folded across my chest was how my legs seemed to move automatically into the correct positions during the swing. So I went on a quest to find out what muscles were controling those legs. I spent a good 15 to 20 hours reading neuro anatomy textbooks and golf books that described what muscles were being used in the golf swing. I ran into a real problem. The golf books that described the muscles that were used in the golf swing, described muscles of the legs and arms as in active process. With the shoulder swing the muscles of the arms and legs are passive. When you went to non golfing textbooks the muscles actions were described when a person is standing erect. You talk about dry reading. I was having flashback college nightmares. Naturally you are not standing erect when you make a golf swing. After much reading I came to this conclusion. The muscles that are responsible for turning the trunk are the internal and external obliques and a few other muscles of the lower trunk. My tweak was to think of the obliques turning and stretching on the backswing, and releasing on the downswing. In the beginning this worked quite well. Because I was not thinking of my shoulders , eventually my arms started to take control, like the evil twin brother. I went back to just thinking of my shoulders making the turn with my left shoulder turning down and under my chin on the backswing and then my right shoulder turning back to ball and under. Naturally with my shoulders attached to my arms this brought them back under control. It is the shoulder turn that should control the swing. I tried to incorporate this shoulder turn into my chipping and putting. I had more success putting with this method than chipping. In the long run I did not do that well with either using the shoulder swing. I think the reason is because chipping and putting are such short and very precise shots that you simply can not take the hands and arms that much out of the shot. Next week I am going discuss some of the things I need to improve and implement on both the full swing and the less than full swing for the 2013 season.
Let’s continue with the shoulder golf swing. What will happen to your golf swing when you try to keep the arms from having any influence. The one thing that will happen is your swing will become more upright. This will be a natural occurence which you will not have to think about. Because of this you should stand just slightly closer to the ball, no more than about one half inch. The other thing that will feel a little strange, will be the all important transition phase of the swing. When you make your golf swing with your arms folded across your chest your swing will be controlled by turning your left shoulder down and around under your chin, and then to start the downswing you will bring the right shoulder down and around toward the ball. This is what you will try to do, but what will happen is you will still feel your lower body intiate the downswing. Naturally, this is what is supposed to happen. It just seems to happen anyway even though you think you are initiating the downswing with your right shoulder. Obviously do not fight this, and I can not explain why this happens, but just be thankful that your subconscious has taken over and your legs are leading the way. In the beginning of doing this swing, I would try to fight this, by stopping or trying to control my lower body. When I allowed the lower body to do what it was supposed to do the results were phenomenal. You still think of your right shoulder turning down and back to the ball and the rest will take care of itself. Now to those pesky arms. To see what those arms are suppose to do on the backswing this is the first drill to do. Take your address position, fold the arms and start your backswing but only turn your shoulder about 10 degrees and stop. Then release the arms and see where they are. Fold them back and turn another 10 degrees and release. Continue the process until you make a complete backswing. Now you know where your arms are going to be during the completion of the backswing. On a normal backswing when it is completed the arms will continue to raise up to their destiny at the top of the swing. Believe me they will move. There is no way you will be able to stop them at the same point as the shoulder turn and nor should you want to. Just remember the more you make a golf swing with your arms folded acrose your chest the more you will get the feel of this very very simple swing. Then grab a club and repeat the feel with that restricted follow through. Next week I will discuss the unsuccessful tweak and why this did not work as well for putting and chipping.
We are having unbelievable weather in the Burgh. Unfortunately, I am having unbelievable health, as I have had the flu all week and did not get to play this weekend. I am feeling better, but not good enough to slosh around 18 holes, even though it is in the 60’s in January no less. So lets get into what I consider now, to be the controlling factor in the golf swing. The golf swing is controlled by the turning of the shoulders. To get the feel of this swing and all the benefits that go with it, you simply take your address position, fold yours arms across your chest and make your golf swing. That’s it, see you next week. Just kidding, the flu bug has to have a little fun. To see how much this type of swing controls the legs, here is the first drill. Do the same thing, except just think of your legs moving correctly. On the backswing have that left knee go to a place about 6 inches behind the ball and on the downswing kick that right knee in toward the ball. Now look at how you can make those legs move quite nicely, with little or no shoulder turn. In other words even though you are doing great leg work in the golf swing your shoulders were not forced to do anything. Now, go back to the original swing with the arms folded across your chest, and now just think about turning that left shoulder down and going underneath your chin on the backswing. I defy you to try and keep your left knee from turning to a point beyond the ball. You can do it all right, but it takes one heck of an effort. When the left shoulder moves properly without any undue influence from the arms it forces that left leg to move in the proper way. The same goes for the downswing. If you initiate the downswing with the right shoulder turning down and back to the ball, it will force that right knee to kick in at the right time. When you make this swing with the arms folded across your chest, make sure you make a complete golf swing. At the end of the swing release the arms and this will be the follow through position. No more follow through’s with the club wrapped around your neck. Make a swing with your arms folded across your chest and then take a club and try to repeat the swing as close as possible. There are five benefits from the shoulder golf swing.
The shoulders will automatically turn 90 degrees to you spine angle.
Your tempo will slow down
The legs will move automatically
Hips turn proper amount
Your arms will remain under control barely
What about the arms? Theorectically, with this swing you would think that on the backswing the arms would only move about hip high. Trust me they won’t put up that. We will talk about arms a lot more on the next blog. The key is to practice that golf swing with the arms folded and make sure arms finish in the position at the end of the swing they were, when you swing a golf club. This is the Leadbetter Pivot drill if you need some illustrations but it is much more than that. It is the golf swing without any conscious influence of the arms and the legs. Remember I am not saying the arms and the legs are not important in the golf swing. Its when you TRY AND USE THEM that the golf swing goes out of control. Next week we’ll talk about the arms more, the beginning of the downswing, and some drills to help make the shoulder swing easy.
Happy New Year as we head into 2013. No golf in the Burgh, as we have had a couple of snow events over the last two weeks, and there is still about 5 inches of snow on the ground. Believe it or not, there seems to be a warming trend developing at the end of the week, so who knows, maybe golf in January. Over the next few weeks I will be discussing the swing thing I have doing for the last 14 months, that has really revitalized my game. Before we get to that, I would like to discuss a few other thoughts and principles of the golf swing and technique. I still think that the most important thing in golf is the address position, and I have discussed this in the blogs of last winter. But there is one aspect of the golf swing that I think is the most misunderstood part of the game, and that is the cocking of the wrists. Now, I am not going to review any of the writings on the subject but let’s just say that there is a lot of confusion on the subject. I think one of the reasons for this, is because the wrist is such a complex joint. It can make a full circular rotation very easily. So lets look at some past and present pros and what they seem to do with their wrists. I like to divide pro golfers into three groups when it comes to wrist cock. The first group is what I call the stiff wrist players. They include among others Paul Azinger, John Cook, and Zack Johnson. The second group is the moderate wrist cock group, which is the more classic swingers. Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Nick Faldo would be included in this group. Then you would have the final group, which would be the big wrist cock group, which would include Bobby Jones, John Daly and Phil Mickelson. The other thing that the wrists do is affect the position of the club face at the top of the swing. The club may be open, closed or shut faced, and square. The other terms you hear at the top of the swing is , square, cupped or bowed. Again this is talking about what the wrists are doing at the top of the swing. There have been many great players that have had all those positions at the top. What does all this mean. I think what your wrists do is of no consequence in the golf swing. You are just going to have a natural tendency to make your wrists do what they are going to do and your instinctive sense will make it work and bring the clubhead squarely into the ball. So as far as the wrists are concerned let freedom ring. Next week we begin.