Archive for the ‘Balance’ Category

Correct Backswing Leads to More Consistent Golf Swing!

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Today’s topic is about the backswing. A lot of people focus too much of their time on the downswing, transition, and whatnot. But if you don’t have a correct backswing, no matter what you do on your downswing and onward, you will probably still hook the ball or banana slice it. Even if you can manipulate your hands so well, that’s not going to last on the golf course and it’s likely to bite you in the future with errant shots.

So what?

Key to more consistent golf swing lies in your ability to set yourself up in the right position on your backswing.

If you can achieve correct backswing every time, you’ve solved nearly 90% of hitting the golf ball squarely on the clubface.

I know this can be a bit different (as your backswing might differ on how your grip your golf club) but let me give you some tips that can be applied to anyone’s golf swing.

First, stay in balance during your backswing. I see a ton of amateurs lose their balance on their backswing yet complain that they cannot hit the golf ball solid.

Second, you want to feel relaxed during your golf swing, having tension in your hands, arms, or shoulders can kill your chances at great golf shots.

Third, your backswing is a “body” turn”, if you are not using your whole body to turn, you are prone to make some manipulations on your downswing plus you are missing out on some extra yards you should be getting.

Well, working on your balance is crucial to more consistent shots. A great way to practice your balance is to swing to the top of your backswing and pause. If at this point you feel in complete balance, that’s great but if you are not, keep trying until you can get perfect balance. This might sometimes mean shortening your backswing a bit but if that’s what it takes, do it as I bet your golf shots will improve.

Also, pause at the top of your golf swing and see if you feel tension in any part of your body. Most of my problems come when tension creeps into my hands at the top of my backswing. What happens to me then is that the tension in my hands cause me to swing overly flat and by the time I get to impact, my clubface is too-closed and must resort to last-minute hand manipulations to hit the ball square.

A correct backswing feels like your whole body is turning together, practice controlling your backswing with the bigger muscles of your body. I like to visualize my belly controlling the speed of my backswing.

So, next time you are on the range or the golf course having trouble with your golf shots, do some practice backswings and pause at the top. You should feel very balanced, light, and together.

Once you can feel those things, you will feel more confident and hit more consistent golf shots. Let me know if this helps you!

Slow Down Your Downswing and Swinging with your Core!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

In last couple weeks, I’ve been working on two things that have helped me tremendously in getting my golf swing more consistent.

First of all, 99% of amateur golfers swing just way too quickly on the downswing.  When you swing so quickly on the way down, you have virtually no chance of squaring correctly other than slapping at the ball with your hands, which 99% of amateurs do anyways.

So, how to fix this problem?

Next time you are on the range, try “slowing down” your downswing.  I don’t be deccellerate.  To feel this, try downswinging at the same speed/pace at you swing back.  Once you get the hang of it, you should be hitting the golf ball more solidly and you should be able to feel it in your hands.

Even on drivers, you don’t need to swing hard or quickly to make the golf ball go far.  If you can square up your clubface to your golf ball exactly in the center of your golf club’s sweetspot, it will go farther and result in more consistent drives, leading to lower scores and longer drives.

Second, you need to feel a “core” in your golf swing.  A lot of old schoolers did this by keeping their head still but this probably isn’t the best advice.

Instead, what I like to do is feel the point between my breasts (yes, that point) and let my arms and hands rotate around that point.  You don’t actually rotate around that point but that is the feeling, that your whole golf swing revolves around a core point.

What this does is keeps your golf swing more in balance and fixes swing flaws like dipping or over-transferring weight.  Also it can fix over-swinging, which is primarily caused also by your body being out of balance.

Try these two tips whether you are a 90s shooter or single-digit handicapper the next time you go out on the range and I am sure you will hit more consistent shots.

And no, don’t try it on the golf course unless you are just out there to practice shots in-between when no one is around.  Tinkering with your golf swing in a round of golf will never do you any good.

My New Golf Swing – The Weak Grip/Flat Plane Golf Swing!

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Well, I have finally built a new golf swing after tinkering and experimenting with different grips and swing planes.  This new golf swing is probably perfect for golfers who are similar build to mine (I am 5′ 9″ 190lbs with modest muscles in my upper body and rather muscular lower body) or you can try it if it works for you too.

Another quirk I have is that I have flat foot, meaning that if I try to swing like non-flat footed people, I simply can’t but I have found using a super, weak grip and a super, flat swing plane, I can hit the ball after ball consistently toward my target and also have a great control over my ball trajectory and distance.

So, here it goes for those of you who want to try a golf swing that I’ve created.

The Grip

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The grip starts with my left hand.  The left hand grip is actually simply neutral.  Just hang your left hand down the shaft naturally, back of your left hand facing the target.

grip-2

You should see about 2 knuckles, the V formed by your thumb and index finger pointing to your chin or right shoulder.  I use the standard left hand grip but the right hand grip is where we make the weak grip. (and the secret sauce behind my swing)

grip-3

For the right hand, you will place your right hand grip “well weak”, meaning the V formed by the thumb and index finger should point to your left shoulder or slightly beyond.

This mechanism allows me to really prevent turning my right hand over after impact.  Rather, I can fully release my right hand at impact, thereby applying extra power to my overall swing speed yet be able to control the golf ball with super accuracy.

I find that traditional golf instruction only teaches the “wrong” way, where the right hand is vulnerable to turn the club over the quickly.  Why not set your right hand so it can never turn over so fast?  That’s my secret.

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Here’s the finished netural left/weak right grip.  Ben Hogan used something similar to this, I’ve exaggerated my weak right hand grip more because I hit the ball better that way.

When done right, both your arms should be straight instead of traditional golf instruction where your right elbow is slightly tucked into your body.

I find that you can feel more unison between your hands and arms when using this grip.

Address/Setup

address-1

At address, you should stand as tall as possible (like you are standing) and simply bend your knees a bit.  The shoulders here are “square” and “parallel” to your target line while the arms may be slightly open due to the super, weak right hand grip.

address-2

From the front, you should see that the hands are slightly ahead of the golf clubhead and you should “feel” the triangle formed by your shoulders, arms, and hands.  This is the most pivotal part, you need to feel that “triangle”, that is what you turn on the backswing and downswing. (or turning your body)

Backswing

backswing-1

For the backswing, you will simply turn your “triangle” formed at address in-plane.  You do not need to consciously cock your hands, they should naturally cock as the result of your body movement.  Also, you only need to go as far as your shoulders will turn about 90-100 degrees for control, there’s no need to swing to parallel, that’s only a made-up guideline, there’s no reason why you should swing so far, especially when you consider your elbow angles will go out of control and you will have to re-adjust to compensate on the downswing.   Also note, I am turning on a single axis of my upper body, that’s all I need to do.

backswing-2

For the backswing, you will need to imagine a plane formed by your shoulders and the ball and try to turn your “triangle” along that plane.  When you do that, you get what you see above.

I’ve intentionally also left out the takeaway, I believe golfers should not focus on the takeaway because it’s only result of the process of getting to the top of the backswing and it will hurt your rhythm if you try to manipulate the takeaway.  Rather, think of the backswing as one action from address to the backswing.

All throughout my swing, my hands feel “super” light, tension in your hands will kill your golf swing.  It might “look” like I am holding the club hard but in reality, I am holding it light as I can through my swing, even on my downswing.

Transition – The Hip Slide & Turn

downswing-1

Transition is the most important part of your backswing because if you don’t start the downswing with the hips, you will come over the shot, hitting a slice or a pull hook.

From the top of the backswing, I feel like simply “bumping” my hips back to the target, which starts a chain reaction of events like the shoulders, arms, and hands being pulled down to this position.  My hands still feel super light and I feel like I am ready to punch someone out.

downswing-2

Because of the super weak grip we’ve implemented here, you can really swing through as hard as you can from here without worry about hooking the ball.

Also, in this part of the swing, I “still” feel the triangle formed earlier at address.  (You should be able to feel the unison of your shoulders, arms, and hands throughout the golf swing.)

Impact!

impact-1

You shouldn’t really practice impact since it’s also result of process but at impact, this is what it should feel like, the hands still ahead of the club.

impact-2

Follow-Through

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After impact, you should really “feel” the triangle formed at address turning.  The result is that both of your arms are extended fully.

followthrough-2

And as you can see here, the clubhead should be in this position, meaning you are swinging inside-out.  Also note, the spine angle has been maintained.

My hand still feel super “light” though.  If you body (triangle) does the work, your hands will feel light.

The Finish

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After follow-through, feel free to let your body come up so you don’t hurt your back.  Although I have seen some golf instruction that teach you to maintain spine angle even through finish, I disagree for longer golfing life.

There’s absolutely no reason for you to maintain spine angle AFTER your follow-through because that will only hurt your back.

Notice how straight my right arm is, this means I’ve extended my right arm as fully as possible through impact and follow-through, this mean full-power and accuracy too.

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Players like Annika Sorenstam does this well, even turning their heads at impact.

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At the end of your finish, your boday should be balancing nicely on your left foot.  I’ve actually “exaggerated” my right arm to be straight but you can actually relax at this point.

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See how my body is very upright?  This is really great for hitting thousands of golf balls on the range and never hurt your back.  I believe the best and simple golf swing is also the one that doesn’t harm your back.  With this finish position, I can literally hit 300 golf balls per day without any lower back problems.

Another important thing you can check at the finish is to check how “stable” your right hand grip is.

Another reason why I changed my right hand grip to be super weak is because at finish, my right hand grip still feels super “stable”, whereas a my old neutral right hand grip was slightly “shaky” at best.

Of course, all these swing tips might not help you because you are probably not built like me.  I am just demonstrating what has worked for me and a lot of stuff I’ve implemented are those I’ve learned through golf books, instructors, and finally customizing them to my body.

Remember, there IS no perfect golf swing, the perfect golf swing is the one you can hit the ball consistently and easily without breaking your lower back.

I just hope you don’t be scared to try new grips, swing planes, just because your golf instructor tells you otherwise.

Too many golf instructors teach you one golf swing, which is completely wrong and won’t work on everyone.

I’ve found my golf swing and should be refining it soon.  And yes, definitely take it for a test drive next year at some mini-tour events.

Happy golfing, and remember, practice makes perfect.

P.S. I should have a video of this new swing soon, see my last video just before I found my new golf swing, which is pretty much the same thing.

Here’s some practice swings:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Fred Couples Swing – The Driver

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

I love Fred Couple’s swing. He probably has the most relaxed swing with such a fluid swing rhythm you can describe simple only as, “butter”.

He’s rhythm is the thing to copy. If you can watch his swing everyday and copy his rhythm, it will definitely help you.

Annika Sorenstam’s Swing – The Stand Up Swing

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Annika Sorenstam’s Swing

Apart from the Men’s Golf, Annika Sorenstam probably has the best swing in golf. The above animated gif is a favorite among mine that’s floating on the internet.

Click below for the full swing analysis of Annika Sorenstam and a HOWTO drill for copying her “stand-up-head-up” downswing.

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Cigarette Swing

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Cigarette Swing 1

This is not an accident that I have an unlit cigarette while hitting a golf ball. It’s actually a training tool. You don’t have use a cigarette, you can also use pens, anything that’s about 3-5 inches.

What I’ve found that the cigarette does for me when I swing with it is that:

1. Keeps me in balance. If I try to swing to hard, I will bite the cigarette with my tooth and I won’t be able to smoke it after my practice.

2. Keeps your shoulders relaxed. If your shoulders are tense, you will hit the cigarette with your shoulders on the backswing.

3. Keeps your head up for balance…. balance …. balance is everything in golf and life…

If you think I am wrong, look in the history of golf and look at Ben Hogan.  If you find a Ben Hogan’s swing without a cigarette, let me know and I will send you five dollars!

(Could be that because Ben Hogan was a chronic smoker, he’s golf swing HAD to be in BALANCE!?!)