Golf Tips to Improve Your Golf Swing
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Back shoulder a little lower to simulate & pre-position impact on return; grip in front of clubhead Back elbow gliding along stomach line Back wrist begins arching to accommodate swing plane Good balance absolutely necessary before the pause At pause, watch the good triangle of grip and the elbows. Eyes, front shoulder & ball falling in line Begin downswing; Without a good balance, this action cannot be voluntary Get behind the ball; this won't be possible without a full turn back Eyes on the ball; clubhead should remain behind grip Rollover clubhead along target line Release front wrist; complete turn to target Eyes, back shoulder & ball falling in line; notice the slightly tilting neck?

The SCIENCE of a GOLF Swing

Greater consciousness of some scientific elements of the swing just might be the solution if mere instructions and imitations from videos do not help improve much

The Trigonometry of a Golf Swing

The golf swing is a play of two triangles – with the shoulders forming one with the end, and the grip for the other – going round the common axis that’s the spine which should remain more or less in the same position throughout.

Velocity & The Constant Rate of Change

From zero speed at set-up, the club head moves backward in increasing speed and then decreases until it reaches the pause at zero speed again. The down swing repeats the whole process, at the end of which one should be well balanced on the front leg with the ball long delivered by then.

Particularly on the down swing, the speed of the club head must be increasing at a constant rate of change until the maximum at impact, after which it should decrease at a similar pace until the club head completes the circle and comes to a rest at zero speed again – It’s got tempo, they say, like Vijay Singh, Fred Couple, Ernie Els and the likes – and it applies to all sticks.

It won’t be too contentious to view golf as more a game of the mind than mere ability to perform sporting actions. It could well help do with natural and instinctive abilities if one’s able to visualize the two triangles moving round the spine at a constant rate of change of speed, if a great leap forward in the swing has somehow not yet come forth.

Psst!…if you find 3D-trigos so interesting in your school days, you could be a bore but more likely a very great person today! (Golden Gate Bridge, your portfolio? ). The irony of it all is that if you can really solve the problems of projection arising from these two triangles for your swing, it merely makes you a golfer…big deal!

Solder Your Grip to the Club?

At least you won’t lose the club ever again and you get to sleep with it, apart from hitting well as a result! How good is your grip?

It may be as difficult as describing to your GP your ‘headache’ on a work day (The real office kind of work!); better it be left to the individuals to ponder.

But, if you think you’d like to tweak with it, this may help:

Grip hard (The comfortably-hard kind of hard!) and let the angle of your wrists (Now being guided by your grip ‘soldered’ to the butt of the club i.e. firm and certainly no shifting inside) lead the club head in a ‘1-Groove-Only-Possible’ path to the back. It will be a bit stiff at first but you just might be pleasantly surprised how easy it is the fixed grip determines for you the only path to the back.

Provisos:

  1. The grip style must be correct (Conform to the 2 ‘V’s at least), and
  2. the take-off must be the conventional ‘parallel to target line’, shoulder turn and all the way back.

Doing it correctly, you’ll also realize the down-swing has only ‘One Groove Possible’!

A little note on our ‘Golf Tips

We do not purport in any way to be an instructor the like of Haney or Harmon or anyone else in golf swing technique but rather wish to share our experience accumulated over time with anyone for the betterment of the sport.

You will not find golf tips or instructions per se on this page like you would in all the major golf sites typically under ‘Instructions’. Likewise you will likely not find the ‘tips’ here listed on other sites, at least not often. We attempt to narrate the difficulties and breakthroughs encountered in our learning process to serve as a reminder and reference to anyone facing similar problems. Hopefully the exchange of ideas will result in lifting our own individual games a notch higher.

If you find the ‘tips’ listed below benefiting you or if you have more to add and share with us, or may be you think they are fundamentally incorrect, you are welcome to write to us so we can have your comments and link added on in this page.

This is not a blog; GOLFnTours.com reserves the right to publish items deemed relevant and constructive only.

Happy Golfing!

The PAUSE

The momentary stationary moment provides an opportunity for a final adjustment…or, the last chance to reflect on the past and make amend?

If you’d started young in golf, the pause at the turn of your swing could well be just a smooth continuation of the swing process – subservient to the entire swing and subconsciously done – hardly attracting any attention at the worst of time in sorting out what could have gone wrong with your swing on a bad day.

But if you belong to the majority that includes most of us who started much later, chances are given the strain the body has to respond to the unnatural twist, the pause, if one could deliberately slow down to experience the momentary stationary moment, could well be the last chance the swing could be saved…or done better!

At a slowed-down pause it allows you to look back where you’d come from, where you’d traversed before coming to this stage of reflections where you are able and have time to assess whether you’d done well enough up to this point, and decide if an adjustment is still possible and at all necessary before launching on to a good finish…hopefully setting up for a 5-inch Eagle putt, again!

Sounds a bit like more than just a golf swing, no?

If you like, the stage sort of resembles one’s own journey thus far, it’s the time to take stock even when one more Eagle putt is never too difficult to achieve. Already, a client nearly had to miss the group’s annual trip out next month following a sudden discovery of prostrate cancer (albeit detected early and nipped at the bud by a successful operation), and a colleague of ours, who having just lost an elder brother in his 50’s to heart-attack, has been found to have severe high-blood pressure and has to be kept under constant surveillance.

Whether or not you are really after a glorious finish is quite irrelevant in this analogy if you think if you miss the pause for a good cause at this stage you just might have given up the self-determination for a more certain finish.

Jack Nicklaus once said that when he wanted a long and good t-off, he would take the swing more slowly; presumably to include the integral slower pause?

Watch the U.S. Open & Screw it!

Explicitly, cock-screw the torso and release for a complete swing!

Ernie Els would have won the U.S. Open just days ago if, yes, if only he had a wee-bit more luck like most others have every now and then on the course, on big days as well.

But won or lost irrespective, the defining shot of his entire performance had to be the Eagle pitch at the Par-5 17 on the third day which catapulted him into contention on the final.

The shot was taken at a green-side slope no less than 45 degrees up.

Most of us not so endowed with natural abilities would find hard to get the full swing right partly because we do not ‘see’ our own swing in turning the shoulders round the supposedly stationary spine in one direction and then release immediately in the other, like a cork-screw.

A properly done turning would end with a matter-of-course full finishing like Els had if you noticed how much the impossibly thick chunk of his body so miraculously turning so completely that his back shoulder was in the perfect direction the shot was taken to.

And all that was done with the spine slanted to suit the steep slope! (Read: Likely dis-orientation with weight distribution reversed!)

Well, it’s a hard call (The writer for one), but if this doesn’t help, what Else?

Some Misconception

Just when you thought it’s all clear ahead to target; a big croc could be lurking at the water edge!Sometimes a small blockade in the course of progress of a good golf swing might take a long time to get over, and for some perhaps, not at all! And any loss of such time could well mean a great loss of enjoyment in the game at a better level, if you think most would likely not have so much more to go before one’s Golf Swing Expiry Date!

We’d like to share some experience, some common misconceptions that might or might not be troubling:

Misconception #1:

You have to DO a finishing to complete the swing

Finishing the swing with the club head going in the direction of the target is an involuntary action; if you have the setup and the back and down swing under control, finishing the swing, whether you like it or not, is a mere extension of the complete circle, and so it will be as well for the hind shoe to be resting after that, effortlessly at its tip.

Watch Paula Creamer’s swing in slomo – her eyes still firmly fixed on the spot of the ball when the club head was already miles high to the target. Also: If the neck line is not tilting still when rises to watch where the ball goes, likely, he/she’s DOING the finishing.

Misconception #2:

You have to roll over your back wrist following impact

Often our guru illustrates without actually swinging (Shoulders turning) how the back wrist unfolds from an arched and almost ‘hidden’ position with the club head going forward through impact until the back of the back wrist is clearly visible with the eyes looking down.

Well, the roll over of your back wrist is again an involuntary action. Your shoulder-turn on down swing through impact will ensure your grip, and therefore your back wrist unfolds.

Misconception #3:

Golf accessory manufacturers HELP SAVE by NOT manufacturing the glove for the back hand for men…hehe, another environment-friendly good idea, no?Your back hand only needs to hold lightly with just the 3 fingers guiding along, and therefore there’s really no need for a glove to grip hard and protect, for ladies even!

Misconception #4:

The brightest and most visible of your team are the lynch pin of your success as a leader.
Often you make a scoop, clinch a lucrative deal or score a big win as a boss, manager or team leader. You marvel at your own ability to coordinate and mobilize your team members to work together to achieve the goal. The brighter-looking and conspicuous will be the ones to lead the team to thank you for your leadership and, in all probability impression upon others they are the more influential constituent to your team’s success. May be, but often likely not necessarily so….often club head squaring, shoulder turns, eyes and ball positions and the other more visible parts of your posture steal the show when examining a big hit, and you’ll likely not hear much on the function of the less noticeable, and in this case in point, your back wrist and the immediate action it goes into ensuring the swing a success – in fact where it arches and points immediately on back swing almost invariably determines whether the swing will be a good one. And, the back wrist is also hardly visible from any angle, let alone talked about!

And so Boss, could it be that opaque fella, always there but hardly seen or heard and who often replies your instruction email with just an affirmative ‘ok’, ‘yes’, ‘sure’ without even putting a full-stop to it…What’s the name?..Oh, never mind…but who often leaves an impression of reliability somehow, that pulled the punch of your success?

Balance: The Invisible & The Most Important

Likely to be overlooked by most, the near perfect balance on the sole throughout the swing is IMHO the factor ‘numero uno‘ in a good swing. All those who could end up with the hind foot hanging freely on the tip of the shoe, like Mr. Woods does often (Who does?) possess the ability to it.

But it is the ability to maintain balance over uneven terrain that’s in emphasis in this tip; where weight-distribution on set-up is the initial and immediate distortion to the muscular sensories so well-tuned on flat mats of the driving range. Even with natural ability to adjust, one needs to accustom to overcome the disorientation of the body weight being gravitated to the ‘wrong foot’.

A slightest shift as a result of losing the balance by just ‘a little’ is catastrophic enough; an extension on the basis of using similar triangles will amply demonstrate why shots always end up way off target. And by this, we assume all else have been ‘perfectly’ executed!

Do You Trust Yourself?

If you do the set-up properly, particularly after having properly aligned and ‘sighted in your mind’ the line of the target and the flight path, keep your eyes on the ball and without having to ‘re-sight’ the target, do the swing confidently with a good finish. Chances are you will find the club head amazingly going exactly along the intended line and the ball landing within range of the bull’s eye. And this should happen nine out of ten times!

For those who play Badminton, doing a service for a doubles’ game can be a daunting task; sending the delicate and extremely light shuttle-cock too much over the net will likely be punished by an easy tap for the point by the opponent while anything less will have it end up in the net. The trick of doing the service is similar here; ‘sight’ the top of the net, register mentally and do the serve. You would be amazed how effortlessly the shuttle would glide just over the top of the net making a tap by your opponent so much more difficult.

Trust yourself by trusting what your mind ‘sees’ and registers.

 

One Grip for All?

Doc T, who recently came on our golf tour to Chiangmai, Thailand has a lighter putter for fast greens and a heavier one for the slow ones. Well, this is quite the opposite to what the writer of these tips believes; notwithstanding that Tiger Woods uses only one wedge, the Sand, for all his short game (and presumably also one putter for all his important and impressive puttings), according to Annika Sorenstam.

The general wisdom, if there’s one at all, is that unless one is so sensitively adept to the changes of using different clubs, and therefore different grips (for no two grips are the same), it only increases the risk of making a mistake arising from adjusting to a different feel on another, if making a correct reading of the speed of the green is not already testing enough particularly if the last putt counts for the day.

“But, he’s Tiger Woods!” Retorted the good Doc.

To each his own; but more so shouldn’t mere mortals seek the minimum, Risk Management Consultants?

Who’s the BOSS?

Are you the boss, just because you pay for your golf game and the rest of the related indulgence?

Up yours! A regular stretch exercise keeps you in shape though.Don’t kid. Unless you subject yourself to a good training regime, not necessarily must be a vigorous one, to maintain a reasonable physical condition at least, chances are you would find often the body simply would not respond to what you commanded mentally. An incomplete finishing, relative to what you are used to, is always a good check on or a reminder of an incomplete shoulder turn on the back swing.

If you are vulnerable, you should think quite seriously about how to keep in a reasonably good shape so you can enjoy the game better. You can actually quite simply tailor-make a simple programme of recommended stretch exercises so you can use on your golf’s ‘off days’ to keep the muscles relax and ready for the next round.

Feet alignment

How often do we check our feet alignment especially on unfriendly terrain?

On a level ground the heels must be aligned to be parallel to the target line (other than when you are into draws and slices) whereas the tips of the shoes can often be pointing to different directions. On uneven ground levels, particularly if both heels are not on the same plane, proper alignment becomes even more testing and can only come with a lot of practice.

Watch Where You Place the Ball!

Over time you should check regularly where you place the ball between your heels for the same type of hits with the same club. If you find the ball is progressively being placed further and further to the front, the likely reason is that your body has decided on your behalf that a ball further front makes an easier swing: easier in this case meaning less taxing on the back muscles stretch and at the expense of a good finishing. Other tell-tale signs are the ball tends to go high and lacks the punch of a good roll-over.

How does this happen? Ah..well, unless we maintain a constant high concentration on the way we approach every hit, there is a natural tendency for our body to slack (Ah ha! Doesn’t it ring a bell about everyday life before it’s time to head to our local golf clubs?). This can of course be easily prevented by regular checking on video or by your local pro. Otherwise a mental book-marking to ensure a self-check could well do the job, but it must be regularly done!

Body Balancing & Center of Gravity

If the abdomen is longer relative to waist-down, more like the opposite of Tiger Woods, the centre of gravity of the body mass shall likely be relatively higher in terms of the distance from ground. Therefore the likely effect of tipping over is always greater and hence the degree of difficulty in executing a well balanced shot…… No? Tell us why not, Contact Us!

More on the Invisibles

“If you do not feel completely comfortable with your swing (physical fitness aside), it could well due to one or more of the following, if not all of it!” My friendly Pro in Vietnam enlightens.

  1. If you do not feel, on leveling the club shaft with the ground and target line when doing the back swing, a firm but very comfortable grip of the club being felt equally on both hands- the feeling of the big stick firmly in control in your hands!
  2. If you do not feel the fore-finger and the thumb of the back hand providing the counter on impact and the ‘tai chi’ push for a good rollover.
  3. If you do not feel the power of your swing being initiated and coming from the comfortable but firm grip.

“The grip, being pivotal in the club/body structure, determines the speed and direction the club head takes along the imaginary circle.”

“The list is by no means an exhaustive one in as far as all that’s required for a good swing, but they are certainly some of the key features that one should feel and reassure oneself that the swing is in ‘order'”

Note: While the clock ticks, your friendly Pro at your local club would likely have difficulty telling whether you are feeling any of the three above as they are not visibly detectible; you have to help your own good self!

“If you haven’t come to the stage of achieving the three above, you have likely not fully stretched, in all your life even for once, the back muscles that you see so often in pictures on small boxes containing ointment for soothing sore muscles from playing golf!”

Someday, the back muscle is gonna realize it’s got the best job in the world simply because for all the many years of your slogging at the driving range and on the course, it’s never had to get it’s butt off to work!

“And, believe it or not, all the above apply to the wedges for your short game as well, and the putter too!”

Eyes away from the ball

Most players do not return the club head square to the ball. You can tell from the sound of the impact without seeing the hit. The reason for it is we tend to follow the club on the back swing and when returning tend to lose sight of the ball, and hence often returning a less than perfect squaring at least of the club head. Habitual? Yes, only as it appears to be!

More seriously than likely, most of us do not possess the natural ability to coordinate well enough if we are blind to our physical actions. Our sights, even to the extent of the periphery, do not even cover close to a full 180 degrees. If we do not follow on the back swing with our eyes, the club head will go out of sight even before the shaft is parallel to the target line, the most likely point at which all hell will break loose if we do not have the natural ability to keep things under control without actually seeing to it happenning.

Try this simple test: Draw a circle with one hand and a square with the other, simultaneously. If you do well, you ought to consider becoming an aircraft pilot, having this natural ability to coordinate. If not, you should at least be hitting the ball quite well, for this used to be the litmus test for acceptance for pilot training.

Symptoms, if you have this problem: Half-way through the back swing, your swing plane tends to turn more upright than it initially intended to be resulting in an outside-in slice and the muscles experiencing extra stretch and strain than necessary.

Is there a remedy? Yes, but first, most of us do not have to do all the jobs of a pilot and therefore do not need to have the gifted ability. We only have a task or two in golf that we can train ourselves to make up for not having the natural ability.

Any inspiration to draw on this experience? There’s a blind man in Qatar, according to some news print, who with a helper to square his club head on set-up, is able to hit quite well. Apparently he’s got a hole-in-one too before. How does he do it? ‘See’ to it that the left thumb point to the correct direction on lifting to the top and the shaft goes parallel to the target line, behind the head! And if you meditate, draw on the experience from there to ‘see’ the club head going round to the back and back to the front before going round the front to the back again, without bothering your eyes!

(Update Feb 2009: We may be wrong about the Hole-in-One part; apparently all you need to do is to step on cow dung on the fairway of Tuanku Jaafar Golf & Country Club. We apologize if you hadn’t been quite successful following our tips!)

The Swing & some Body Parts

paula_creamer_hybrid

A medical doctor cum golfer might come to mind…a golfing or a 1-2 Cha Cha Cha butcher? Whatever the imagination, exploring some less conspicuous parts of the body might help take the game a little further!

1. The Back Body Muscles
If we started very young, this will likely not apply; but if we took to the game like most of us did – swinging the golf stick for the first time only after the muscles and bones were almost quite ‘well done’ – we might discover some ‘new’ muscles that had not stretched or stretched enough before that are now being motivated as our swing becomes more and more robust and complete.
Look at it the other way round, if we had not continued to improve beyond the early stages, some back muscles, likely those drawings we see on box-wrapping of medical ointment specially for soreness from too much golf swing, might never have been stretched in the entire of our golfing life!
If we were a person of some responsibilities with some colleagues at least in the team at our charge, we might more likely spot a loafer in our team than to realiaze that some of our muscles integral to a good golf swing have never ever been called to action in all of our swing!
To add salt is to realize that the loafer has been a life-long one! Wakey, wakey…COO COOs!
 
2. Calluses on our Palm
As we go along, grip and force-application/direction change, and so do we find calluses changing spots on the palm and fingers of the back hand.
If the gurus are correct, in the end, we ought not to have any calluses at all when the correct technique is finally applied i.e. at Nirwana of our swing, we should only feel the three fingers of the back hand gripping light but firmly when the swing is smoothly executed.
3. The Little Pinky
As the club head goes round, the firm grip on the shaft guides the turn. In the grip, it should be that little finger at the end of the shaft that really holds the counter to the centrifugal force generated from the circular motion of the club head.
Described variously as a decorative accessorythe humble fifth finger etc., professional therapists will have it seriously as “Without it..you’d lose 50% of your hand strength easily!”
 
4. The Fore Finger
To complete with oomph to the swing, the fore finger of the back hand, as inconspicuous as it seems and snugly hooked to the shaft at the front, is the King Maker or more poetically, the straw that broke the camel’s back – that strongly propels the ball forward. How firmly it is held on impact to make the roll-over of the wrist and follow through will determine how well the shot has been made.
5. The 1-2 Go Rhythm
If we started very young, this will probably not apply; it’s only probable because many will likely not have the natural ability to have all the relevant parts of the body moving at the same time as the club head begins to move. The 1-2 Go Rhythm is the most common if not by default the alternative – a two-piece take off with the club head wrist-worked to the direction to be followed immediately by the shoulder turn along the same line for a good and complete wind up.
Hmm…golf is tough if life hasn’t been anything less so the way we thought both are always easy! Innocent
There are many more such issues that we might have paid less attention to relative to the more ‘major’ ones like the overall posture or whether we end up in our swing looking like the Pros in instruction video if a better level of the game is still desired…besides, we might also discover along the way and appreciate more the versatility of some of such body parts, for example, while ever waiting for the front flight to move on, 4. above might be good enough, but if a more refined job is required, that decorative accessory of 3. could be perfect…for a good pick of the nose! No?

How to get a Good Swing Plane always

For most, the writer included, it is as imaginary as doing a solid shot with the driver. But you can always try this for a reasonably consistent and good swing plane:

Stand up-right with one arm stretched straight out and parallel to the ground. Point thumb inward as in a locked grip (right-angled to the arm) and again parallel to the ground. The plane of the rectangle formed by the thumb angle and the two shoulders is your swing plane relative to your spine! You won’t be far out if you maintain the plane of this rectangle, however much tilting of your spine you might have to do to suit the terrain

geoff-ogilvy-swing-sequence

Forgot your Compass & Rudder?

Fret not!

In any terrain, visualise the best line (which is usually not a straight one because of the slope of the ground, particularly the part right in front of you) and use the back foot as the compass to square off with the line. Your front foot is your rudder to steer the direction of your body turn and hence that of the finishing thrust forward. The steeper the slope the more testing it is to set your rudder right; an undulating ground only makes it worse. In these conditions, openning up a little too much or too little of your front foot will result in the shot more than proportionately off the mark.

When to Lock Wrist?

At some stage on back swing, you will have to lock your front wrist. Most generally do it just before the pause but some tend to lock early. Nick Faldo and Paul Casey are the notables on the latter. In fact, Faldo has an instruction video on this where he locks immediately on take off i.e. when the grip is still very much at the groin area. In the video Faldo locks the wrist with the shaft parallel to the target line before making the shoulder turn. In slow motion, it does look quite different from most others. The writer has tried it before and finds it quite an effective way of bringing everything neatly to the back and up to the pause. There’s no immediate and compelling reasons for him to make the change yet though but, it just might suit you.

At Pause

When at pause, the momentary feel should be that of an assured correctness of the swing plane in the feel of a correctly arched and cocked wrists. The grip should firm up with the forefinger and thumb of the back hand in place. With these two fingers lightly and comfortably clipping on the shaft, it gives a definite feeling of control, a braced up athletic pose, to execute the down swing at whatever speed that you are capable of and wish to. It delivers the power of the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back that you can feel on rolling over with the back wrist. If you do Tai Chi or Judo, you would have known alot about this.

Hey, Teacher! Leave the Kids Alone…!

Don't let the wall bar learning a good grip!
“..imagine a slippery eel in your hands, wriggling but not slipping away..that’s a good grip!”
“..firm but not tight..”
“..feel relaxed and tension-free in your hands..”
“..don’t grip the club as if it were an axe!”
“..you shouldn’t feel pressure in your palm..”
“..apply light grip pressure..”
“..On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is light and 10 is tight, I recommend a pressure of 4 or 5..”
“..a sensitive, yet firm finger grip is what is required. No more..no less!”
“..the lighter you grip the golf club the faster the club will swing..”

And, you might have heard, “Hold the club as if you had a little baby bird in your hand.”

These are just some of the many descriptions obtained from golf instructions elsewhere of how much pressure or tightness or looseness you should apply to your grip. But just how many psi…pleeeeease?

When you hit a good shot, whether intentionally or by chance, you ought to have the ‘got it right’ feeling. Make a mental book-marking of that feeling of your grip for future reference. Help yourself. As you encounter more good shots, refine your feeling of how a good and comfortable grip is…slowly..and slowly..You’ve got the eel!

Do you fear Long Putts?

Is your long putt too much like a full swing? You just might find the answers to the problems of your other swings in your long putts!Visit any practice green anytime, you would likely see most doing only short putts. Do you also practise short putts more because long putts put you off? If you do, there’s a good chance you are having problems with your swing technique in general that applies to using all the other clubs as well.

Good putting requires a touch of artistry, they say. While you can be delicate to the touch you would require the correct technique, the same correct technique you should apply using all the other clubs with minor changes to adapt of course, to provide the artistry. Imagine shrinking the entire swing circle to a very small sector of a very small degree. Turning only the shoulders for the club head to glide along the very short arc does not mean all other muscles usually associated with a complete swing shall be completely silent. They do appear so though when they are certainly not!

Work on all the departments (grip, balance, wrists, body posture etc.) to cure the problems with long putts; you just might be pleasantly surprised to find the problems with swinging all the other clubs gone as well.

Use Your Polaris

Long time ago, all navigations depended on the Polaris. Then came the Southern Cross and the others for referencing.

And then, we discovered the back elbow.

Whereas the stars maintain in more or less fixed positions for all navigational purposes, we let our back elbow move in all directions giving rise to names like ‘butterfly’ or some other less poetic ones like ‘chicken wings’! If we stick to the back elbow gliding along the tummy line on the back swing, there’s a high probability we have got half of the swing done correctly, but more importantly it would be highly likely done in a correct swing plane. But, just like the Polaris is always almost invisible to most of the navigational waters, the back elbow is as much inconspicuous and attracts little attention. But they are both there, always.

Try it, navigation has never been easier.

Let Your Mind Do the Golfing

Before you head for an important bet…oops, I mean a round of golf, try recalling the swing of your favourite player or having a quick watch of the swing if it’s on video. Let the good rhythm sink into your mind and imagine your own goodself doing the same, quite easily. The imagining part is the harder, but it works if you can mentally set yourself into the rhythm of what you see and register.

I guess there’s no guarantee it will work for everyone. But I have experienced doing a good back hand top spin from the side of the base line sending the ball just high enough to get over the net and straight along the side line to the end of the opposite side of the court when somehow I caught sight just before of the trade-mark hit by the tennis great, Ivan Lendl. And I hardly played tennis.

Try it, desperate golfers. It just might save the day the way you normally do not take to the magic of the mind.

Another day at the office

When you go for your practice, do you always return to the same slot in the driving range or if it is an open range, the same favourite ‘spot’? Chances are you wouldn’t have gained much over these practices if you did. It would at best be just like another day at the office.

When you are back to the same place familiar to you, you are likely to align yourself subconsciously to the terrain or the surrounding conditions the way you have done it many times before and this happens even before you begin your set-up. By doing so you have deprived yourself the learning and practice opportunity to check terrain and alignment. After all that’s exactly what you’ll have to do, and hopefully do very well, on every shot on the course.

Just like in life, golf as a sport is seldom played on a level playing field!

Get Behind the Ball!

You must have heard this umpteen times if not been reminded watching demonstrations during commercial break on your favourite tournament live on television. But, exactly how is it for it to be done correctly when it actually sounds so very simple and demonstrated in slomo as well? The acid-test is if you do not experience an immediate up-lift in your game after trying, you simply have not ‘got behind the ball’ the good instructors had wanted you to!

If you must miss the hint for a stint at some of the prestigious schools of golf that the untiring instructors represent, try this:

Full shoulder turn - Don't be fooled by periphery view of ball and shoulder being in lineOn down swing - Wallah! This is when you know you have full control and coming at the ball from behind!Study the two accompanying photos, L-R in sequence just before and after the pause. A complete back swing is only accomplished by (i) a simultaneous weight shift on initiating the back swing, (ii) a tightening of the muscles of the front side of your back torso and as well that for the back thigh on anchoring and (iii) ball and shoulder clearly falling in line and not merely present in the view of the periphery (Note: If you want a better demonstration, try slowing Mr. Woods down a little and notice the near perfect shoulder turn even before the shaft goes parallel to the target line on initiation of back swing. You can’t go wrong imitating, if you think you are flexible enough to do it consistently well.) Notice that the first two are generally non-detectable on prints or screens. Anything short of these, you are only expecting free lunches!

Only then would you be able to find yourself ‘behind the ball’ when the down swing is initiated (pic on the right). A good check on progress: A consistently high percentage of solid and controlled shots!

Do Not Believe What They Say! Yes!…GOLFnTours.com too!

“I’m OK with some irons but not with the rests…”   Heard this before?

It seems so common and tends to have you believed it’s normal. But if it happens to you, it only means you have yet had full control over some problem part of your swing technique or not knowing yet what to do with it. When you make a breakthrough, be it on the grip, swing plane or whichever other departments, you would realize the same could be applied to using all the other clubs and yes, they include the putter and driver, adapting to suit of course. A 3-iron would always remain more difficult to execute than a shorter one, but it should only be limited to the demand on the physical side rather than ‘knowing-how-to’.

If you are not ‘OK’ with some clubs, whatever the club type may be, it only means you are simply not ‘OK’ with some of your fundamentals. Check it out, you just might find ‘enlightenment’ that could apply to all.

Visit ‘Do you fear Long Putts?’ below, there could be some concurring experience there.

Mind Condition – No Two Ways About It!

When you go into a game, there should not be anything in the mind that may potentially affect your play, particularly in areas of technicalities. The mind should assume a physical condition of the player being at the peak, in absolute terms of the pinnacle of golf, and direct the body to respond to the best of abilities of what was achieved in the last practice. If you have any plans to change any part of your swing, they should all have been temporarily forgotten or completely put aside mentally throughout play. It could prove crucial otherwise.

Ernie Els' grip - the originalThere was an unknown, internationally at least, who came up top on Day 1 of a European PGA Tour in Asia in 2005/6. According to him explaining excitedly in the post-match interview, he caught sight of a strong and firm grip of Ernie Els’ with the big man playing alongside him. Promptly imitating by switching over apparently worked well for him that day (A similar experience many learners of golf ought to have encountered in the course of learning). Since the second day of competition when he tumbled out to nowhere (I was watching knowing that this could likely happen), not much has been heard of him since.

As we write, another much more internationally known player is struggling in an Asian PGA Tour being played in China. Just days before he disclosed in a news article of having brought his coach along to ‘assist in making better swing’ (and I wondered how his coach was going to do it without affecting his play and decided to watch his performance to confirm this tip I am writing). Sure enough, he got nowhere to where he had hoped to maintain his lead on the money list and that could prove costly as winning it comes with precious automatic entries to whatever big and lucrative competitions there is in the coming couple of years.

No two ways about it! When play begins, you are the Tiger, of Tigers.

The Grip

Fronthand Grip: Firm but comfortableJust about the simplest of all, yes? Yes, because it’s the easiest to understand and imitate but NO, it’s one of the hardest and often most neglected. Hardest because the grip is about one’s feel on the shaft and it’s invisible. A good grip appearance, all the ‘V’s pointing the right directions, does not guarantee a real good grip.

It’s been often emphasized in the ‘Intructions’ the importance of the grip as the pivotal joint between the club and our body. Incorrectly facing palms and wrongly angled wrists can easily cause a bad swing plane. Because of that, it is also one of the other causes mentioned in 2. above for not hitting the ball well.

When the club goes round the body, wrist angles change to suit. Because of the weight of the club and the pull of the club head, there’s a natural tendency for the shaft-end in the palms to shift. This in fact occurs frequently, albeit only shifting by a little bit and without much of the player’s attention. When proper feel of the grip is not achieved throughout the entire swing process which includes the feel of the fore-finger and the thumb of the back hand on the shaft, there would likely not be any good-sounding hit on the sweet spot.

Simple? Yes, only when the hit has become so consistently solid that you can be sure now all’s in place.  

Which is the more important?

Being able to hit well or knowing exactly how you were able to do so?