Random Observation on the Golf Swing & Weight Balancing

InStanceHipDown_igor-ovsyannykov-270958When instructors talk about shifting your weight during the swing, they’re really referring to shifting your pressure – as in the pressure points where you feet connect to the ground. This is why so often you might hear about the swing really starting from the lower body and the feet. Go ahead and Google videos on “foot pressure and the golf swing” and you’ll see what I mean.

When I hear ‘shift your weight’ invariably I try and move my body mass and center of gravity (which usually involves my head) laterally to the left or right – which isn’t comfortable and often makes the small of my back hurt. However, when I try to shift pressure points it’s all about where my weight presses against the ground in term of the ball of my feet and the heels and which foot.

So when I need to shift right, my body stays in the exact same place mostly but my left ankle relaxes and flexes up from the heel so that most of my pressure glides over to my right foot and rests between the big-toe ball and my inner heel. The more my swing goes back, the more the pressure transitions to the back of my right heel and my left foot goes into a mini high-heel position which may or may not also result in my left knee rising – much like a batter winding up to strike the ball. Shifting pressure points back left again is more footwork with a push off the right foot and a slight bend back to the front, while my left heel returns firmly down to the ground bracing itself for me to begin rotating around my left leg as an axis. All this coincides with a similar change in vertical-ness as far as my shoulder sockets go – because we all should be starting off with the right shoulder slightly lower than the left but during the backswing the right shoulder will switch height location with the left in a way that matches what’s going on ‘down-ground.’

But the huge AHA takeaway for me is – it is NOT about moving my shoulders and torso laterally from left to right or really about me feeling a lot of strain in my thighs but rather about this groove and shift between my left and right feet. That’s why the head needs to generally stay in place – even though many great pros like Jack Nicklaus actually move their head behind the ball when swinging through.

Observation #2. Golf is a lot of math and geometry. Golf is so much about circles and straight lines. Every round part of our bodies – from the balls of our feet and our ankle, to our knee sockets and hip sockets, to our arms and elbow and shoulder sockets – needs to rotate and un-rotate in sync to get that straight bone that’s connected to the socket in question to swing groovy and smoothly.

But when I think about the pressure thingy – the analog of the swing being more like bowling & throwing rings true for me. The way I rock before winding up to bowl a bowling ball and how I try to roll the ball onto the wooden floor works better than the image of trying to hit a baseball even if there are many similarities in the wind up and delivery.

Golf swings are also very unique for each individual depending on the measurements between all these round body parts as explained in the article which really shed more light on what my swing should be like. I started measuring myself – my wingspan, my forearm, etc., and I’m beginning to think that mine’s more of a swing that settles below the plain of my shoulders at the apex of the back swing versus above the shoulder line. And who knew? Many pros reach high points in their back swings that are either above, at, or below their shoulder planes as also described in this piece. It was very enlightening. And it makes sense – after all – every one has a different combinations on pant & inseam, neck and shirt sleeve and waist dimensions along with height dimensions. So what works for a tall golfer doesn’t necessarily translate for a stocky or long-armed or short-legged or whatever-dimension-ed golfer.

Now I won’t try to force myself to rotate so much and have my left wrist reach above my ears during the back swing – which is very uncomfortable. Instead I’m going to swing back in a way that more mimics a side-arm pitcher. I feel much more comfortable that way.

Glad to be back after many months away and hoping to get back into a rhythm. Happy Friday.

Royalty Free Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Check it out. THE SWING PLANE EXPLAINED.

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Backswing Basics – CASH into a good sequence

So I’m back into focusing on my game.  I played 9 holes a couple weeks back and although it wasn’t a great round I did notice that the one area I did well in was my putting – which is the one area I’ve been focusing on since the beginning of the year.  I can’t beat myself up too much because work’s been a grind and I haven’t been able to focus or practice much but I need to double down and re-look at my goals for this year.  But it felt great having such a grooved routine that I didn’t have to even think about for my putting.  I never 3-putted and I guess that counts for something.

I’m almost done with my batch of lessons – my very first batch of lessons from an instructor EVER! – and I have to admit that the greatest benefit from this is that I swing all the way around in one full motion now – instead of decelerating or stopping short.  My instructor’s been good with giving me mental thoughts and I’ve changed out my grips (per his advice) for the first time ever.  Who knew? (common phrase for me it seems) but grips are like running shoes – you have to replace them every so often even if you don’t play with them – they dry out from use and/or age.  At a minimum you should wash them often to get the grit off.

So now I have a new set of Golf Prides’ that are a smidge wider than my older grips on my new/used set of Titliest DC9’s.

And now I have a confidence that if I focus on a particular area of my game, I will see improvement over time – so I’m gonna focus on my irons. 3-9.

Recently I read a GratefulG blog about the many resources available to us die-hards and I decided to take advantage of online videos and such to research how to practice my backswing where I have a lot of trouble sequencing club movement and staying on plane.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that the real sequence evolves from thinking purely about the left arm’s movement and to think: clubhead, then arms, then shoulders, then hips when it comes to what rotates in what order. The acronym is CASH.  Move the clubhead to 730pm on the clock face, then move the arms to 9 oclock, then turn the shoulders until the left shoulder is under your chin/chest over your right foot, and lastly turn your hips until your back faces the target.  Also, I’m learning that the backswing is not where you get power – it’s just the set-up to get into position – like pulling the bow back before you release the arrow.  Once I got the CASH thing in my head, I saw it every where – on TV, in magazines and in a ton of online videos so this is a fundamental that I need to groove into a routine.

Anyway, that’s where I am for now.  I haven’t written in a while but I’m gonna try and get back in the saddle for that as well.

My Pittsburgh Steelers are playing tonight – whoo hoo! life is good.  I love my new grips – they feel great.  I shoulda done that a long time ago.

SVG-out

Backswing_CASH

The A Swing – A new approach and new book by David Leadbetter

QuDave Leadbetter_A Swing Bookick notes from Golf Central on the Golf Channel with Martin Hall.  I feel affirmed about my hunches about the backswing that I blogged about a couple days ago.

  1. New book released by David Leadbetter called “The A Swing – the alternative approach to Great Golf”
  2. DL’s 8th instructional book.  Why?
  3. It’s about the backswing – because the backswing is really difficult to repeat on a consistent basis .  Most amateurs go way inside too quick or turn too soon versus really good athletes who can compensate better.
  4. It’s all about synchronization between the inside circle (your hands) and the outside (the club head) of the body or the 2 circles of the swing.
  5. Leadbetter mentions Calvin Peete as one of his favorite players with a great swing.  Up there with Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus, etc.  Interestingly, Calvin swung with a bent left arm because it was broken during childhood and never re-set properly.  He died recently.David Leadbetter2
  6. Calvin Peete never let the clubhead get behind his hands.  Hands stay in and the clubhead stayed out.
  7. He likens it to a batter in baseball – go figure, just like I mused about in my recent random thoughts blog entry and I know the Grateful Golfer mentions this in his blog as well.
  8. If you keep the clubhead outside all the way to the top  you end up in a sorta natural batter’s set-up position which sets you up for more consistent down swings where the club head levels out perfectly to strike the ball.
  9. Closing comments – It’s all about simplicity.

I’m gonna take a look at some Calvin Peete swings on Youtube or something.  And next time I’m in the book store, I’ll check out the book.

David Leadbetter1

But this is re-assuring …. Leadbetter’s approach.  Because I still don’t fell ultra-confident about my ability to be consistent with my backswing.

What a nice end to what was an unusually grueling day in the Valley.

Retro Journal Notes No.9 – Raymond Floyd on Fundamentals

These notes were taken last summer as I tried to get a firmer grip (pun intended) on golfing fundamentals.  As usual they are from a recorded training show from one of the golf channels.

Raymond Floyd is known as the guy with no discernible flaws in his golf swing and is a 4 time Major champion.

Swing Technique

Swing Technique

Fundamental No.1 – the grip. How do you ‘take’ your club?  His suggestion;

  • Lay it down (as you address)
  • Get your left hand in position
  • Then marry your right hand to the left

Fundamental No.2 – Set-up – like just about everything else in golf, including practicing, it’s good to have a routine that you follow each time.  He suggests;

  • Start from behind the ball
  • Pick a target (I’ve heard others say it’s important to be very precise about your target – not just a general area like a tree – pick a branch on the tree or a noticeable sub-part of a bush or something – the important thing is to be precise)
  • Then pick/draw your target line
  • Then address the ball (“Hi, you cute little simple little ball you – now let’s do this!” – SVG trying to be funny)
  • Lastly, adjust your body by shuffling it to adjust to the club

    No discernible swing flaws for Floyd

    No discernible swing flaws for Floyd

I would add that you should make sure your club face is facing the target spot-on the target line.  Sometimes it helps to find a near spot on your target line (just 10-15 feet in front of the ball to align to). For me, when I address the ball (this is a new routine I started after reading another blogger) I now make sure my club face is square on target while my two feet are together. I do so with my right hand on the club but maybe I should change that up.  Anyway, then I move my left foot towards the target and then my right foot back to its position as I get set and assume the right posture.  I think I need to make sure that my arms are truly hanging freely during the set-up process but I haven’t incorporated that just yet into my routine.

Anyway – I think Ray’s main point is that you let the club lie and club position dictate your body positioning versus the other way around – starting by getting set-up and THEN placing down the club.  Too many chances for getting your alignment messed up if you do it backwards.

Fundamentals No.3 – Alignment and Related Issues

  • Try to imagine right angles as you align yourself.  Ray believes alignment is one of the biggest things amateurs fail to do correctly.
  • Also – weight distribution is important.  Try to get your weight sorta on the balls of your feet and then settling back thru to your heels.  Feel like you’re planted.

Fundamentals No.4 – On Transition

There are 2 distinct pieces to the golf swing – Don’t Mix Them! First you get set then you go. [This resonates with other words of advice I’ve stumbled across.  Many state that the first part of the backswing is really all about getting your club in place to swing forward – think more like getting ready before taking off in a sprint and putting your feet in the blocks and your fingers on the track and getting locked into take-off position….first you get your feet and body set and then your go…., or, more appropriately, like getting into position as a batter in baseball with the bat cocked behind you.. ONLY, you have to get the bat – or club in this case – from the ball-address position to the start position – that’s what the beginning of the swing is for, no more no less.  The main point is that the beginning of the back swing is all about getting your club ready – it is NOT the real part of the swing.]

More from RF:  make sure it’s a 2 piece move – 1, get set, then 2.ray floyd1

  • Keys to remember: Get the shoulder rotated and pointed towards the ball (the left shoulder for you right-handers).  Turn the right hip to point behind you.

A Practice Drill:

  • Rotate hitting hooks, draws, punches and high shots – all at the same target.  This is a useful drill for the driving range.  Try and focus on your weakest of ball flight shapes.

end notes_svg

ThinQ Golf – Improve Your Mental Game Online

Stumbled across this from a fellow blogger – Sir Shanks Alot – gotta love the rapper blogger name fo’ sho’

ThinQ Golf purports to help with your mental game.  I am not endorsing it but it looks like a cool site – Small member fee (don’t like that part) but could be worth a gander.

Also here’s another site I think could be very informative on swing routines. (this one is just free good advice)

http://thinqgolf.com/

ThinQ Golf

ThinQ Golf

http://www.andrewricegolf.com/

Which Golf Grip is Best for You?

Which Golf Grip is Best for You?. From the Grateful Golfer….good succint review and often overlooked fundamental.  I’m an interlocker myself from the start.  it helps me really feel like i can get the grip on my fingers instead of my palms – but that said, i often forget to make sure the hand overlap just right and i think you’re right – it can explain sharp shanks when everything else seems to be in the right place.