Today, I am going to finish up this series of conflicting viewpoints in certain aspects of golf instruction. In future posts I will give my opinion on some of these ideas on golf instruction, depending if you are just beginning to learn the game or if you are a single digit handicapper. I will also discuss the things, or maybe its just one thing that all golf instructors agree upon, and at least one thing that they may be obsessed with. Now let’s finish this thing up.
You should change your grip to help square the club face up, or you keep the grip the same and correct the swing flaw that is making you slice or hook the ball. The main proponent of changing your grip to help square the clubhead was the famous British instructor John Jacobs. The theory goes that if you are slicing the ball, you should turn your hands slightly to the right and you will see more of the knuckles of your left hand as you look down the shaft. If you are hooking too much, you turn your hands slightly to the left and you will see less knuckles of the left hand. This should produce straighter shots. The majority of instructors feel that the grip should be a neutral or natural grip where the hands are positioned on the club in a similar manner, as they would be hanging down by your side. In their view, slicing and hooking is a swing problem only, and the grip should never be changed.
Hand position at address in relationship to the ball. The traditional viewpoint is your hands should be slightly behind the ball at the address position for the drive and then get ahead of the ball as the clubs get shorter. Sometimes this detail is even ignored in some golf instruction. Some people feel the hands should be about even with the ball for all shots.
What is the head doing during the golf swing, besides thinking why I am I playing this stupid game. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer both felt that the head should remain as still as possible during the golf swing. In fact there is the famous story of Nicklaus’s instructor Jack Grout, holding on to Jack’s hair as he swung, so he would have minimal head movement during the swing. In the more modern swing it is shown that the head has a distinct downward move during the downswing. In some swings there is a definite movement to the right on the backswing. Curtis Strange had this move on his backswing, which is the influence of Jimmy Ballard. On a lot of swings and preswings there is a definite rotation of the head to the right which gives the appearance that the golfer is looking at the ball with only the left eye. Videos of today do show that Nicklaus and Palmer moved their head more than they thought they did, but they did not move their head as much as Tiger Woods or V. J. Singh do on their swings. Some people feel that by trying to keep your head still during the swing creates too much tension to swing freely. Again we have a lot of conflicting viewpoints.
Lastly I have to mention Natural Golf. Their poster boy is Moe Norman, who is considered one of the greatest ball strikers of all time. I read Norman’s biography and he was an interesting character, to say the least. Even in his biography, it’s a little unclear what came first, Natural Golf or Moe Norman. I think it was a mutually beneficial partnership, that probably compromised both methods to sell a few books. I am not going to go through the Natural Golf Method, you can easily look it up, but I think it is about as unnatural as you can get to try and hit a golf ball. It is a very distinct way on how to try and hit a golf ball. I have played a lot of golf in my lifetime and I must say, I have never met anybody that played golf this way. I would like to see if I changed my mind about the method, if I saw it up close and personal.
So there you have it. Conflicting golf instruction that you can find on the internet or when given a personal lesson. So it goes back to one of my original questions, is everybody right or everybody wrong? For something that only takes about 1 to 2 seconds to complete there are more opinions on how to do it than there on ways to fix the national debt, and I think that is just slightly more complicated. The next blog, I am going to focus on things that all golf instruction seems to agree upon, but does even that make it right.