This is something I wrote in 2009. Not a lot has changed.
I wrote yesterday that I have simplified my theory down to three simple universal elements and one complicated individual goal.
The first element is relaxation and balance. You can swing as hard as you want as long as your are in balance and devoid of excess tension. Balance at address is your #1 priority. You must also have good relaxed posture and a nice constant grip pressure so your body can turn freely and stay in balance. A grip that suits you is part of this. If you have a grip that doesn’t suit you, it will be hard to have good posture and be tension free.
The second element is rhythm/tempo. It can be a fast rhythm or a slow rhythm, but it has to be there. Nick Price had a fast swing, but it has great tempo/rhythm. Amateurs who have deathly slow back swings and fast transitions to the downswing, have the worst rhythm possible. I can’t tell you what your proper rhythm/tempo is, but you want your swing to flow and you want the transition from back swing to down swing to be smooth. Like I have said before, I personally like to think of the 1-2 rhythm of a grandfather clock pendulum.
To digress a moment, I have a very close friend. Someone who has been like a father to me (the man i wrote about who passed away earlier this year) and we have been having a very bitter debate. He thinks all problems in the swing can be solved with balance and rhythm. I happen to strongly disagree with this as there is an additional important factor. If you have bad muscle memory, you have to retrain it. For example, if you take the club too far to the inside and reroute the club over the top and hit a big slice…no amount of balance and tempo is going to solve that. He has been a great golfer his whole life and was never subjected to the putrification that some of our swings have been subjected to. So my comment to him…don’t argue with me, just feel sorry for all of us that were dumb enough to ruin our swings and leave us alone while we retrain our bad muscle memory, then we can get back to elements one and two.
Which brings me to the third element.
The third element is how to approach your swing. Modern golf instruction is about what things you are going to force yourself to do correctly. I have tried that way and it stinks. This may seem like semantics, but making your golf swing better and shooting lower scores is about avoiding the bad things and your body will do what is right for you all by itself. You just have to avoid doing something (or things) stupid that doesn’t allow your body to do it right automatically.
Putting the club on plane manually, forcing a full turn, swinging inside/out, restricting hip turn, holding the angle. Yuck!!!!!!!!! Your body will never swing in sync trying any of these things because it makes body parts work independently of the rest and it locks your brain up.
Like I said, sometimes we have to retrain bad muscle memory, but that is done with eliminating bad movements, not purposely trying to do the right ones. If you are taking the club too far to the inside with your arms, you don’t solve that by manually putting the club on plane, you do it by avoiding the excess arm swing, turn the club back with your shoulders and your body will swing on plane all by itself.
In my way of doing things, element #3 is about retraining bad muscle memory. Modern golf instruction is about adding a whole new set of bad muscle memories to make up for the bad you have already.
To sum up, here is my simple swing theory. Setup with good and relaxed posture, swing with good tempo, avoid manufacturing a “perfect swing” and allow your body to do what is correct automatically.
The complicated individual goal is how far do you want to take…what to fix first and how to fix it.
Seems daunting, but if you use the three steps above, it makes things a lot easier.