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How I View The Golf Swing

October 27, 2011

The Way I View The Golf Swing (In Swing Fundamentals)

I first started teaching and coaching 12 years ago and in that time, I have to be honest, my teaching preferences have changed dramatically.  Over the years I have been fortunate to learn the swing from wonderfully talented teachers in Scotland, England and the States who have influenced the way I view the golf swing.  My goal in this post is to share with you the way I analyze golf swings the first time I see them by elaborating on the main areas of importance.
In light of past events on select social media sites,  I feel it’s important to be clear that I do not prescribe to one method of teaching. In fact, I feel having a plethora of styles is paramount in order to help a broader client base.
I look at the following 4 areas of the swing every time I first diagnose a swing:

Swing Plane
Pivot
Lag
Impact

I could quite possibly  dedicate a separate blog for each of these areas of the swing, however, that is not my goal in this particular post.  So the question is – why do I believe these areas are the most important when initially analyzing swings.  Note: I’m assuming that clients don’t have any fundamental set-up issues prior to looking at these areas and if they do, that is where the changes would begin.

Pivot (backswing) – Without an efficient pivot in the backswing, either excessive amounts of lateral motion are incorporated which can lead to plane, lag and impact issues which can then develop into a lack of clubhead speed.  My preference is to have more of a centered pivot for many clients to encourage a more repeatable low point at impact.

Swing Plane (backswing and downswing) – An insufficient lower body movement (pivot) can lead to an inefficient swing plane. This decreases the chances of effectively producing an adequate amount of lag in the swing  which then leads to wasted power, direction and spin problems at impact – otherwise known as missed fairways and greens.

Lag -Pivot and swing plane errors can lead to lack of distance (lack of speed) and directional challenges (shots off line) through the hitting area (impact). My favorite term describing an efficient amount of lag is “load the lag and lag the load”, however, without an inefficient pivot and swing plane, maximizing lag potential can be extremely difficult.

Impact -An ineffective pivot, swing plane and lag can more often than not cause impact problems.  Impact is undoubtedly the most important area of the game, but without the previous areas working correctly, impact can be seriously impaired. My main criteria for impact are: forward shaft lean, a repeatable low point, and clubface in the direction where you want the ball to start.

You can probably tell by now that I feel all of the above swing movements are connected to each other and are crucial for clients in order to achieve their golfing greatness. However, this does not mean that every golf swing follows this pattern; it’s a system I use to diagnose swings after set-up and from there I dive deeper into the details and create a road-map of improvement.

I’m hoping this post spurs some comments, especially among the coaching and teaching population out there.

I welcome all thoughts and suggestions .

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