Swing Set

Key to good golf swing is sequence


(August 2010)
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Jim Meisner

Definition of the golf swing: “A series of physical actions that must take place in the proper sequence.” In greater detail, we will see that the body has a predominately rotational responsibility and the hands and arms have an elevating or levering responsibility. The key to a good golf swing is to not ask one part to do the others’ job. In its simplest form, this is: rotate, elevate and swing.
• Set up: With a mid iron, 6 or 7, the ball in the middle of your stance that is with feet shoulder width apart and your weight evenly distributed to the back portion of the balls of your feet. Posture is with a slight knee flex and the body bent forward at the waist to allow the arms to hang virtually straight down. Put the hands together, this is where they should be for you when you grip a club. Take a neutral grip to slightly strong. With the club head placed squarely behind the ball you should have an angle of approximately 90 degrees formed by your spine and the shaft of the club.
• Takeaway: Strive for a “one-piece” takeaway with the shoulders, arms and hands moving as one as you rotate at the waist keeping the club relatively in front of the body. Remembering that nothing that takes the club away from the ball propels it forward, there is no reason to rush it. Think about a “low and slow” takeaway.
Rotate and turn with both feet on the ground. As you reach the extent of your rotation to the right you will find the club in a toe up position at the end of your extended left arm as the right arm has bent slightly keeping the elbow closer to the waist.
Elevate the arms and hands keeping the left arm relatively straight and cocking the wrists by lifting the club “into” the left thumb. This is not a “big” move but an absolutely critical one. The arms and hands will elevate to a point where the extended left arm is at least horizontal or parallel to the ground. This rotation of the body and shoulders and the elevation of the arms and hands have taken place while maintaining the spine angle you started with at set up and virtually no head movement. It has also taken the majority of your weight over the right leg in a coiling action. Not by swaying but by turning.
• Forward Swing: Begin at the left hip. Think of it as rotating the body slightly down and around the left leg, which transfers the weight to the left heel. This action will cause the arms and hands to be drawn down. You do not have to hit anything. You are creating energy with you body rotation and the arms and hands swinging. There is even a club in your hands that adds to the centrifugal force. You don’t have to hit anything.
Just swing! Hold the wrist cocked for as long as possible. As the extended arms return to the set up position the forearms will turn from right to left. Imagine your right hand going right to a palm up position then turning to your left as you extend your hand to a palm down position. As this rotation of the body takes place to the point that your belt buckle is now pointing down the line your momentum will cause you to release the right foot and allow it to pivot up onto the toe as the club continues up and around to your left. The left arm will bend at the elbow as the right remains extended. A virtual reversal of positions from the takeaway. Swing , don’t hit!
All of the following are caused by a mistake of thinking you have to hit the ball.
• Swaying to the right rather than turning or rotating.
• Getting to fast on the takeaway.
• Turning the hands immediately right at the takeaway.
• Trying to get farther back than your body will allow. (This is usually done by lifting the left foot and changing the spine angle).
• Straightening one or both legs, to get it farther back. This causes the up and down “bobbing” action.
• Starting the forward swing with the arms and hands.
• Decelerating the club at or just before impact.
• An early release of forearms and hands causing a closed face pull or hook. Or a late release causing an open face push or slice.

• Jim Meisner is is the PGA Director of Instruction at the Midwest Golf Academy at Cozy Acres Golf Complex in Madison, Ind. Call him at (812) 273-3137.


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