Today’s post will be slightly different, in that I am going to cover three aspects of the golf swing, that have conflicting viewpoints, plus I am going to put in my two cents worth on the subject. I am going to look at hip turn, shoulder turn, and the backswing, which are so interconnected that it would be difficult to discuss one without getting involved with the other. First, the various viewpoints on each aspect. You should restrict your hip turn or you should not restrict your hip turn. You should turn your shoulders at least 90 degrees or you do not have to turn the shoulders 90 degrees. You should keep your backswing compact and avoid over swinging, or you should make a nice long backswing, which will give you plenty of time to accelerate the club and keep your swing very smooth.
So in order to start the discussion, one has to start out with the famous X factor of Jim Mclean’s, which started this whole mess. The X factor states that the more you can turn your shoulders, without turning your hips, the farther you will hit the ball, plain and simple. The standard difference between you hip and shoulder turn is about 50% You turn your shoulders 90 degrees, your hips should turn about 45 degrees. According to the X factor, if you could make that 90 degree shoulder turn with only 35 degree hip turn, then you would increase your distance. If you can make a greater than 90 degree shoulder turn, with less than 45 degree hip turn you would hit the ball even further. Is this true? It is absolutely true. Should you swing a golf club like this? Absolutely not is the correct answer. If you want to play golf past your 50th birthday then this is not the way to swing a golf club. Watch Greg Norman’s swing in the late 80’s and the early to mid nineties. He had minimal hip turn and maximum shoulder turn. Played very little golf after age 45. Same thing can be said about Tiger.This swing is so hard on your body you will see more and more of the modern player fall by the way side.So many of todays players swing this way, that you can bet not many of them will be playing on the senior tour. It is no coincidence that Phil and V.J. who have larger hip turns have played great golf well past their 45th birthday.
Now let’s move to the shoulders where there is another swing method call the limited shoulder turn golf swing by Don Trahan. This swing is easy on your body and depends more on a vertical lift of the arms with the shoulders probably turning about 70 degrees. I don’t have a lot of problem with the theory here but this swing is harder to time than what Mr Trahan would lead you to believe. It is way too specific in making certain moves in the golf swing. At least this swing won’t put you in traction.
Finally, should your backswing be compact or should it be longer and no worry about “over swinging”. I think this is a personal preference, but which ever way you decide to go there is one key factor. .If you decide to take a more compact swing then your tempo should be rather quick. If you are going to take a longer backswing then you should have a slower more languid tempo. A slower short swing and a fast long swing just will not work.
My take on all of this is very simple. At the top of the backswing, the top part of your back or shoulder blades if you prefer, should be facing the target. I don’t care how you get there to do it. The thing that makes your swing compact or long is the arms, and how much the wrists cock. The golf swing is a turn and the only thing that should limit the turn, is your physical capabilities. So if you have to turn those hips to get that back to face the target, go right ahead. Do you think Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus did all right with a big hip turn? Next post will be should you start the swing low and slow or is low and slow the worst thing you can do?
3 Replies to “The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer”
Vet, spot on nailed it with this post; especially your analysis on the torquing of the modern player’s swings. Guys like Rory and Adam Scott simply cannot last with all that twisting. What do you make of Dustin Johnson’s swing? He’s really supple but doesn’t seem to over torque on the follow through. I sense he’ll have more durability than the other bombers.
I agree about Dustin Johnson except I am amazed at that wrist position at the top which makes his clubface so shut at the top. I still think that’s the reason that every once in awhile he just hits that super wild shot.
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Great article Bobby. i gotta stop turning tailbone over tincup.
age 68 (i think same day you add a year : )