IMO, the most important thing in this article is the last sentence.
I am sorry, but it is this long driver’s opinion that every “swing system” ever devised will not make you hit the ball farther or play better. No system is going to work for more than a very small percentage of people…if it actually works for anyone at all.
There is also no such thing as adding 30 yards instantly by the change of equipment or change of swing from one day to the next. If you are an experienced golfer and you take advantage of everything you can, you might be able to add 10-15 yards over several months.
If you are an inexperienced golfer, distance improvement can be much greater, but it still takes time. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES IN GOLF. Any one that tries to sell you that, might as well throw in some beach front property in Florida and part of the Brooklyn Bridge. Improvement in golf is small and it takes hundreds or even thousands of repetitions for it to become part of your muscle memory. Anything else is just a band aid that ends up being a bad habit.
Experienced or inexperienced, the object of making changes in your golf game is not about shooting one low round tomorrow. It is about your handicap being lower 6 months from now.
So here are some things that will make you longer and better 6 months from now. Don’t try to do everything at once. One step at a time. If you don’t understand something or disagree…immediately disregard it.
1. A driver that fits you. To get maximum yardage from a driver, you must have the proper loft and shaft flex.
2. Increase your flexibility. Stretching every morning before you go play for 15-30 minutes (I do), will add more yardage to your game than weight lifting or equipment changes. Lower back, hamstrings and shoulders/rotator cuffs are the ones I concentrate on.
3. Rotational exercises. Any kind of motion that will help you increase how well your torso rotates. I take a small (ladies size) 6 lb. medicine ball and swing it like a golf club while engaging the core muscles in my stomach. The smaller the ball, the better. I don’t like the use of weighted clubs. It ruins your feel and can cause tears in your wrists, elbows and shoulders.
4. Balance. You can swing as hard as you want as long as it is in balance. This “swing easy” nonsense is just a band aid to avoid being in balance and having good rhythm. I wrote about this in a previous post. If you click on “instruction and advice” on the right side of the blog and scroll back, you will find it.
5. Proper rhythm. If you allow the club to set at the top of your swing, you will be able to generate more speed coming into the ball. That does not mean a really slow back swing. There is nothing worse for club head speed than a deathly slow back swing that ends in a quick transition at the top. The speed of your back swing only needs to be slow enough for the club to set. Think of the 1-2 count of a grandfather clock pendulum.
6. Constant, medium grip pressure. You don’t want it too light or you won’t be able to help but increase it during the swing. You also don’t want to death grip it.
7. A proper release. Here is where a lot of people have been misinformed. Everyone knows that throwing or casting the club makes you lose power and speed. A large section of the golf public has been brainwashed into believing that adding lag on the way down increases speed and distance. WRONG! This method has worked for an extremely small percentage of golfers, but the vast majority have been ruined by this. If you increase lag on the way down, you bury it to the inside and the club face is also open. You will have to slow your rotation to allow the club to square from that position or risk blocking it way right. In addition, adding lag narrows your arc, which reduces club head speed and increases spin because the angle is steeper. Sorry to get technical, but way too many people have been sold this bill of goods. A proper release is a constant rotation of the club face from the top of the swing all the way to the finish. A proper release will result in the wrists touching shortly after impact. Some people will be afraid this causes a hook. Actually, starting the release too late is what causes the big hooks, as a flip is necessary at the bottom to avoid a block when the face is open. Proper lower body and shoulder rotation will keep a proper release from going left. I know…a lot of info and none of it is necessary to know. I just needed to go into technobabble to inform those who have been told to over lag the club.
To sum up the above mess. Rotate your shoulders and try and touch your wrists as soon as you can. As long as you are rotating, that will be the release you want.
8. Use centrifugal force (CF) to your advantage. If it’s good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for you. If you take a bucket of water and spin around, CF is what pushes the water to the bottom of the bucket and keeps it from flying out. CF will speed the club up and get your arms to full extension if you don’t counteract it. Examples of counteracting CF: adding lag, burying the club to the inside, swinging inside/out, throwing/casting the club, diving at it with your head (are you listening Tiger?), “swinging easy,” or grabbing it with your hands and pulling it into your body. CF will also help you square the club if you don’t counteract it.
9. Don’t try to increase your arc on the back swing. You want to keep your hands the same distance from your chest that they are at address. “Low and slow” will get the club behind you and numbers 4-8 on this list go out the window when that happens.
10. Last, but not least, know what “completing your back swing” means. “Complete your back swing,” “low and slow,” and forced lagging of the club are in a dead heat for things people try to hit it farther and end up ruining their game. Golfers trying to “complete their back swing” almost 100% of the time end up making a back swing that is way too long. It ends up being a huge arm swing after their shoulder turn is finished and once your arm swing takes over for your shoulder turn…turn out the lights.
Put a shaft across your chest touching your shoulders and hold it there with both hands. Turn you shoulders as far as they will go. Then without moving, grip the club normally and extend your hands away from your body to where they would be after taking a back swing. That is a full back swing for you individually and anything longer than that is bad. More than 90% of all golfers aren’t flexible enough to take it to parallel. Almost 100% strive for parallel. Exactly 100% of all golfers who are trying to “complete their back swing” go well past their maximum shoulder turn with their arms.
If someone tells you your swing is too long and you respond, “I am trying to complete my back swing.” Guess what?
I have eight letters for you. JB Holmes. One of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, with the shortest back swing…and not to be rude, but none of you are as flexible, hit as many balls or as talented as Fred Couples, Bubba Watson and John Daly. Some of you may drink as much as Daly, but that doesn’t count.
You might think this is semantics, but it isn’t. Golf is not about forcing yourself to do what is right. It is about avoiding things that are wrong and allowing what is right to happen.