By Thomas Tetrault
Most golf instructors, with few exceptions, will agree that the perfect golf swing is a myth. All you have to do is look at the variety of different swings on the PGA and LPGA tour each weekend on television. The swings may look different but they have some common elements. First, they all start with good basics: Grip, Aim and Setup. Most importantly, the swing repeats itself every time. There are players who have success on tour with funny looking swings. It is because the swings repeat each time from constant practice. Also, they have confidence that their swing will work.
The golf swing can be simple but is often complicated by too much thinking. A good golf swing starts with good rhythm. You can’t make a good forward swing unless you take your time going back to set up proper rhythm and motion. A swing that is too fast back, usually has the club and body working against each other and helps create poor shots. The object of the golf swing is to create speed on the downswing – not the back swing. A fast backswing will create bad motion and a hands dominated swing that will be hard to repeat. Take the club away slow for better motion and rhythm. Because the backswing sets up the downswing, we will discuss it first.
A good backswing starts with the arms – not the hands. You don’t want to pick the club up at takeaway. You want to draw it away in a one-piece motion. As the club starts back, the left shoulder and hips should turn naturally to allow weight to transfer to the right side. The hands should begin to set at waist high. As the club continues to the top, the shoulders should continue to turn. At the top it is important to have the hands set but not broken down. Overswinging at the top will create negative club speed and inconsistent swings.
Now that we’ve talked about the backswing, let’s talk about the downswing. The object of the downswing is to return the clubhead to the ball with maximum controllable speed. Just as too fast of a backswing is no good, too hard of a downswing can also cause bad golf shots. There are many theories on what should start the downswing. I find that most players who think about pulling with their left arm from the top will create a more consistent swing with all body parts working together. Many players from watching the tour players tend to try to lead the downswing with the left side, and as a result slide ahead of the ball at impact causing weak slicing shots.
To complete the swing you must have a good finish. The finish in the golf swing, unlike in baseball, needs to be high, not left. We find most beginners find it more natural to finish low and left causing topped shots and difficult to get the ball airborne. The clubface needs to stay square for several inches after impact to create proper flight on the ball. Also, in the finish the weight that you transferred to the right side in the backswing now must transfer to the left side. With a good finish your right knee should face the target, right foot up so all spikes are visible, and hands high close to your left ear.