The handicap season ended this past Sunday in Western Pennsylvania, with me adding two more rounds in the seventies, to end the season with a 5.2 index. I started the season at 4.9 but before I changed the way I started the downswing my index had climbed to 6.9. Of my last 20 rounds I now have only 2 rounds posted in the 80’s. This is by far the most consistent golf I have ever played. I have not shot any real good rounds but my 14 rounds have been between 74 and 79. As I discussed in my previous blog putting as had a lot to do with my sudden improved scoring, it always does. If you don’t putt, you do not score. Despite all the practice, swing changes, and obsessing we do about our golf swings, putting remains the most important part of the game. It is one of many reasons that this game is so goofy. I know that many of you like to think that greens in regulation is the most important stat, but if you can not finish the job, then the score will not reflect your better ball striking. Striking a golf ball, and controlling where you want it to go, can seem like a very hard skill to learn, while putting seems so simple and easy. Until you accept that putting is the most important part of the game, you will always be frustrated when it comes to golf. It doesn’t mean that you can hit the ball all over the place, and shoot par or better. It is important to find an efficient and easy way to make contact with ball. The first move to start the downswing has always been a little controversial, with many well know instructors advocating different ways, to do one of the most important fundamentals of the golf swing. Let’s look as to why this is, and what many believe is the proper way to do it.
One of the basic principals of the golf swing, has always been, the downswing starts before the backswing is fully completed. There is video proof of this, and I am not going to dispute it. However, when you try to do this in the golf swing, it usually leads to poor results. This is something that just happens naturally, and you do not have to really think about it. Here are some of the many recommendations on how to start the downswing, that you will see in many instructional articles or videos, by well know instructors. A slight forward movement of the hips, with the hips turning. Kicking in the right knee toward the ball. If you lift your heel on the backswing, then placing the heel back on the ground should initiate the downswing. Begin straightening the left knee. Shifting the weight to the left side with the lower body. Dropping of the right shoulder with the arms following. There are other suggestions but these are the ones that are seen most often. What they all leave out of course, is the hands. The one thing that actually connects you to the club. It is the one and only thing, that allows you to feel the clubhead. The great fear in golf, is that you will use your hands to soon in the swing, and lose your power. The solution to the problem, makes it seem that you should not use your hands at all, or try to throw them in at the last moment. The idea is that the body will control the hands. Allowing the hands to initiate the downswing, by pulling straight down from the top of the backswing, no matter where that top of the backswing is, let’s the hands control the body, and forces the shifting and turning of the hips. Doing this method, will get your hands where they are supposed to be, at the halfway point of the downswing, and you will begin to make much more solid contact with the ball. It is a most simplistic method. Hands pulling straight down and then firing away with no inhibitions. This method works for all shots, from short game shots, to chipping and bunker play. Once you activate the hands for the second half of the swing, you will see that the game is going to become much easier. This will stop you from throwing your hands at the ball, which causes the over the top action of slicing and pulling. It will also stop you from having a too shallow of an angle of attack, from the hands being to far inside during the downswing. It has improved my ball striking immensely and should do the same for you.
Golf will be sporadic from this point on until about the middle of March. Hopefully, I will be able to get out and continue to improve this downswing method. As I progress or digress, which ever it may be, I will continue to update via the blog. Have a great holiday and do eat a lot of turkey and enjoy!