#2 Swinging to the green

Published on   2023-01-02 by Kai

The grip is the foundation, but the swing makes the difference between good and bad golf. And therein lies the crux: How should a golf swing work so that the ball flies the way the player wants it to? Today it's going to be very theoretical.

I just read it: There are about 130 different muscles involved in the golf swing. That means the motion sequence is very complex. The golfer has to do many things at once - and preferably without thinking too much.

Accordingly, it is difficult to learn this movement sequence in such a way that it functions from muscle memory, so to speak, i.e. runs automatically.

No patent remedy

And there is one more thing that comes from the involvement of many muscles: Contrary to what many new golfers and amateurs think, there is no such thing as "the universal swing". This quickly becomes clear if you take the time to look through the instructional videos of various golf pros on youtube. Two examples are embedded below.

Even a visual analysis of the swings of the world-famous tour pros can only lead to this conclusion: There is no patent remedy in detail. The swing is highly individual. That is why the golf course is only intended as a first step on the way to a good swing.

During this course, the golf pro will therefore only be able to teach what he considers to be the best procedure, without being able to respond to each individual participant. Because there is simply not enough time for this. So if you want to start a real golf career with a lot of ambition after receiving the golf license, you will still need regular lessons with a pro.

Swing changes

And even if you have found the perfect swing for you, it doesn't have to remain consistently good. Tiny mistakes quickly creep into the sequence, which become entrenched and multiply. Then the question often arises why the game was better at the beginning of the season than at the end.

But what should the swing look like in general? To this end, it must be clarified before explaining that even with a particular player on the court, there is no such thing as the one momentum. It depends on the situation, whether a full swing is played (for example, when teeing off), a half swing (on the approach or out of the bunker) or a controlled short shot, pitch or chip.

In four phases

This article is about the full swing. And there are four phases to this: addressing the ball, the upswing (the swing out), the downswing (the movement toward the ball), and finally the follow-through (hitting the ball and braking the swing motion).

Let's start with the address: Again, there are a few factors to consider. It is about the stance width, the position of the ball, the posture and the weight distribution. All these points should always be the same with the same club in different situations in order to achieve a consistently retrievable result.

Here is the "simplest" version: stand facing the ball with your feet at about shoulder width and the ball centered in front of you. Right-handers stand with their left side facing the target.

Then you bend your knees slightly and stretch your buttocks a little backwards; at the hips your upper body bends slightly forwards. The arms hang loosely, as perpendicular to the floor as possible. The end of the grip should now be a hand's width in front of the thighs.

This is followed by the "take away", the slow upward swing. Do not get hectic here. Calmly lift the club. When the shaft is level, the clubface faces the ball.

In the further upward and backward movement, the hip rotates with it, the left arm remains stretched as far as possible (but not forcibly). The left heel lifts slightly off the ground, the knee moves slightly forward through the hip rotation.

Tension is felt

The club head is in the highest stretch position behind and higher than the head. Ideally, the shaft alignment here is also parallel to the ground. At this moment, significant tension should be felt through the arms and hips and into the legs. The wrists are angled in the direction of the thumb, not toward the back of the hand.

On the downswing, relaxation occurs by first shifting weight to the left leg, followed by rotation of the hips. Then the arms and club come in. Remember: the movement is very complex and fast. Corrections are not possible.

At "impact", the moment of impact, the club head face should then not be twisted, i.e. open (to the right) or closed (to the left), but square, i.e. at right angles to the direction of impact.

And one more important distinction: When hitting a driver shot, the ball should be hit in an upward motion, with the hands at ball level or behind it. When hitting with an iron, the moment of impact is in a downward motion, the hands should be in front of the club head in the direction of impact.

Hitting in the middle is important

The ball should be hit with the "sweet spot", i.e. the center of the clubface, in order to achieve optimum power transfer. In addition, the higher the club head speed, i.e. the faster the swing is completed, the further the ball will fly.

This is followed by the finish, i.e. the outswing. The upper body continues to rotate until it points at least exactly at the target. The left leg remains stationary, the right leg is taken along by the hip and finally also points with the knee towards the target, at the same time the foot has lifted and stands on the toe, the sole thus points away from the target in the opposite direction.

If everything has been executed well, this position is also a safe stance. The ball has just started and flown far. This is rather wishful thinking at first, but with practice comes accuracy and routine.

The videos embedded in this text are meant to clearly illustrate what the golf swing is all about. In doing so, the two professionals Florian Raggl and Vaughn Hawtrey do a lot of the same things, but they also have different approaches in some places. This shows that there is no real patent remedy. When it comes to the swing, every pro has his own way, and ultimately every golfer has his own motion sequence.

Finally, there is a film that shows that technique is important, but combined with power, it leads to unusual distances. This is certainly not the way of the gaitable for Otto Normalgolfer, because for most players large muscle packages are neither desirable nor attainable, but the results are already impressive.

However, despite all the enthusiasm here, one must not forget that these record-setting hitters are not normally among the tops in the world golf rankings. It takes more than just hitting the ball a long way off the tee. And if you turn the thought around, you come to the same conclusion: which truly successful golf pro has such a wide cross as the ones shown below? Eben....

Previous article in the series: How to Golf 1: Everything under control

Next article in the series: How to Golf 3: Swinging in detail

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How to Golf