Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Swing Hard - Hit it Straight

In a couple of weeks the President’s Cup, the final big golf event of the year, will be played in Australia. As I have watched the media discuss the Captain’s picks concerning who should play and who shouldn’t, I can’t help but think that this was one team competition where the final spots should have gone to the Captains themselves.

Fred Couples and Greg Norman are two of the best players of my generation. Both of whom still play some pretty good golf. Fred basically birdied ½ of the 54 holes he played to win a recent Champions Tour event. Greg hasn’t played as much lately, but I would take him even coming off a layoff, any day. Greg was a resident of Bay Hill when I was an assistant there in the early 80’s and we played quite a bit of golf together. It is possible he is the greatest driver of the golf ball in history and I am not the only one who thinks that way. Every drive I ever saw him hit just took off, stayed in the air for a very long time, and landed on the same line it left the club. This is with unforgiving persimmon woods and high spin balata covered golf balls. Regardless of my personal opinion, both had the incredible ability to hit the ball both very long and very straight. No matter what event you are playing, long and straight works.

In a comparison of both swings you might not see much similarity. Fred has a long, loose, easy motion to his swing while Greg’s is more mechanical and exact. But even with the difference in appearance there is a common aspect of their swings utilized by most great drivers of the golf ball. They both swing their arms on an upright plane. They combined this action with a lateral, rather than rotational use of the body, which results in the club staying on line for a longer period of time.

For those of you like me that find it harder to turn shoulders and hips like we could when we were younger, the concept of upright and lateral, might appeal to you. The sequence of motion for this technique might be described like this. Inside and up is how I would describe the backswing. Take the club back on a path inside the target line. The more inside the better, and when the hands get about waist high just lift them straight up in the air. Jack Nicklaus, another upright swinger, called this reaching for the sky. To start down swing your arms as fast as you can toward the ball, while your hips slide and your weight shifts to your left foot. Slide don’t turn, In and up, then down and left. Try it, you might find this swing to be the answer to you ball striking issues.

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