Timing the Whole Sling Motion
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The golf swing is NOT an all out
muscular effort ... unless you plan to play from the trees all day
Self control and discipline are the name of the the game regarding timing the swing motion.
Knowledge and Preparation
You must, in addition to having an internal clock also know how and be able to control the amount of muscular effort you exert on the handle of the club. As a general rule of thumb, an 85-90% exertion is about the maximum most recreational players can manage. On some shots, a full out swing can be made (par 5's with wide open target areas for the drive, 2nd shots on reachable par 5's when you must birdie the hole or two down with two to play in match play etc.). The concept of a speedometer on the dash of your car is a useful image for two reasons. First, the needle on a typical speedometer shows an acceleration not instant speed. Having a smooth acceleration swing from the transition through impact is a critical concept for consistent golf. There is no room for jerks in golf ... that includes the beer guzzling, profane screamers.
A speedometer also gives you a clue about your maximum and useable speed limits. Regardless of your horsepower, there is a limit to how fast you can move. In all sports there is the speed vs. accuracy tradeoff. There is also the paradoxical problem of the harder you try to swing, the slower you will swing. A a general rule, the harder you swing, the less accurately you will deliver the clubhead to the ball. Considering how swinging harder usually slows you down AND causes you to miss the sweetspot on the clubface, playing Gorilla golf is a losing proposition. Great golfers wear out the sweetspot on their clubface for a reason ... they are playing under control.
So the trick is to find your maximum controllable swing speed and then throttle back a notch from that speed. Go to the range a release you inner Gorilla. Apply the feel for this physical effort to what would be 100 mph on the speedometer. It is also important to understand there is no such thing as 110% to human physical effort. This may sound good to coaches who are trying inspire their player(s), but it is a false concept. The larger problem is reaching 100%, not surpassing it. Once you have IDed you maximum effort, begin throttling back in 10 mph chunks. Somewhere in the process, if your swing mechanics are reasonably good, you will notice an improvement to you consistency. Continue throttling down and notice how your performance will once again fall off. Make mental or even written note of where your best performance occurred. Now practice at that speed. Practice with all your clubs. Note how the speed of the clubhead increases because of progressively longer shafts, but the speed of your controlled handle movement does not when you are hitting your best shots.
"Slooow Annd Throw"
You must develop an internal clock in your head. The words "Slooow Annd Throw" accomplish this task. This website promotes the concept of a three, not two part swing motion ... backswing, transition and foreswing. These three words neatly fold into a three part swing concept. Slooow is the speed of the backswing up to the 3/4 point. Annd is the transition into the forward swing. And, throw is the result of a powerful rotation of your trunk after the completion of the transition (club is in the 2nd lag position near the common concept of the release point).
Parts of the Swing
Backswing ... two hands, delayed wrist cock
This analysis presents the concept of using a two handed swing. Golf is NOT a left sided game. Golf is NOT a right sided game. GOLF IS A TWO SIDED GAME! The use of two hands swinging the handle of the club solves many different problems.
Reach ... initial takeaway, 1/4 backswing
Back ... movement to to waist high, 1/2 backswing
Up ... movement to chest high, 3/4 backswing
Transition ... movement to release
Cock ... completion of the traditional backswing ... Cock both thumbs across your shoulders
Bump ... initial movement of the hips to transition weight back onto the front foot ... this movement is the 1st turn
Drop ... initial hip turn and downward movement of the right elbow
Forward Swing ... movement from release to finish
Turn ... your shoulders make a powerful turn towards your target
Hold ... your arms drop to the release point
Throw ... the handle of the club moves from a cocked to a fully uncocked position while revolving 180°; your thumbs are on top of the shaft at all times
Swing Styles ... how to move the club thru the ball to the finish
This analysis classifies the foreword swing into three styles. The Swing style represents the traditional concepts presented in most golf instruction. The Hit style represents players who use their hands to manipulate their hands to either square the clubface for regular shots or to work the clubface for shotmaking. The Sling style represents my method for subconsciously controlling the clubface without the deliberate use of the hand in the impact area. This method does not eliminate shotmaking from your bag.
This set of definitions is inserted into the outline before the foreswing
is described so the description will have more meaning.
Swing ... unconscious control of the hands
Hit ... conscious control of the hands
Sling ... subconscious, trained motor movement aimed at two targets: your mind is focused on the final target as recommended by by ALL mental golf psychologists. You sense of kinethesis or feel is focused on your finish position target which you have learned to the point of mastery
Checkpoints of Performance for a Well Timed Sling Motion
Weak Grip ... the standard grip shown in the section targeted at beginning and poorly skilled players. This information is for intermediate level players who are seeking to improve
Slightly Open Body Alignment ... to enhance a free flowing release, a slightly open stance is recommended to insure the hips have a chance to open through the release
Variable Ball Position ... the "sling" concept provides the framework for shotmaking skill. A critical concept for shotmaking is the left to right ball position at address. A hands free sling will place the clubface in the desired position at impact when ball position controls the impact position.
Three Lag Positions
Most experienced golfers know of the primary lag position at the release point (middle left image). This website and the techniques promoted by it identify two additional and important lag positions. The first is the extension of the wrist for the lower hand (R wrist for righties) at the top of the backswing. This position is key to setting your thumbs under the shaft. This position can be thought of as a combination of an extended bottom hand wrist position and a flat, neutral top hand wrist position. Cocking your thumbs across your shoulders is the first move of the transition. Getting into this position guarantees you are on the correct swingplane for your individual posture. Getting into this position requires a full shoulder turn and weight transfer onto the back foot. From this position, the dreaded OTT (over the top) move is functionally eliminated. The foreword swing will start on an inside to out path. Think of the movement of the hips and shoulders as being like two gears connected with a transmission ... the movement of the bottom gear causes a slightly delayed movement in the top gear.
The second lag position, identified by this "sling" method, is the sequencing of the shoulder/upper body turn and your arm movement. The shoulders lead the arms. Another way of thinking of this movement is as the 2nd turn. The first turn occurs during the transition with the "Bump" movement of the hips. This is followed by the 1st "Drop" of the arms. In the third phase of the swing, the forward swing, the shoulders/upper body make a powerful rotation. This can only occur after the hips have cleared the way for the arms. The arms do not move forward until the shoulders have turned first.
The third lag position is the commonly known relationship between the left forearm and the shaft at the release point as illustrated in the middle left image. In this case Tiger has held the release well past waist high down to a very late pre-impact position. Most golfers will not be able to hold their release this long. Notice the decrease in the extension of the right wrist between pre-impact and near impact (middles left and center images). Also note how you can see the palm of the bottom hand and the back of the top hand. In the center image the hands have revolved almost 90°. Specifically note the position of the thumbs ... they are always on top of the shaft when the hands are lower than the shoulders. If your thumbs get on the side of the shaft, the ball flies offline. The continued extension of the right wrist immediately prior to impact. The combination of holding the 90° angle of the left arm and shaft until the last moment plus the extension of the bottom wrist keeps the club in a square relationship to the targetline. This concept is similar, but more advanced than the Hogan concept of maintaining a "bowed" left wrist. So long as this combination relationship is maintained, momentum (power) is increasing. But, alas, there is once again the old problem ... you absolutely cannot try to do this in normal play. These relationships must be overlearned to the point of being automatic in practice.
This rotation is NOT due to muscular effort in the arms. It is strictly a function of centrifugal force overcoming the player's resistance to hold the lag. You do NOT "snap" your wrists or deliberately roll your forearms through impact. The change is a result of natural forces, not deliberate effort. This is where the concept of "slinging" the club freely past your nose comes in ... simply look at the ball and sling the handle past your nose by rotating your shoulders, which slings your arms and the club. Mother Nature is a better golfer than you or I. Allow her to control the swing.
Back to the Top
Hold/Release ... the following two left hand images show the movement from the end of the transition (Drop) to the beginning of the release of the club into and through the ball. In the middle four images, note how there is still some extension in the right wrist (back of the hand remains "cocked" towards the forearm
... Early Release ... Mid Release
... Pre-Impact ... Impact ...
Early Followthru ... Target
The three right hand images show you what good golfer NEVER do ... roll the
wrists. The only thing this is good for is to deliberately hook the ball.
Timing this type of handsiness is nearly impossible to learn or to manage if you
every plan to make a powerful swing. This hand action is a gimmick
response to a beginner's banana ball!
At Impact, your thumbs should be directly on top of the shaft ... this presupposes you have taken a good grip at address
Free-flowing, uncontrolled movement through the ball and on up to the finish ... Subconsciously controlled, free-flowing movement to the mastered finish positions ... draw, straight or fade
The three images on the upper left communicate the general, fundamental concept of "sling the handle". Everybody and his brother emphasizes the position of the clubhead. Few seem to understand two critical points. First, the clubhead goes nowhere unless the handle has led it there. And second, the only point of control you have over the clubhead is the handle of the club. The three images on the upper right show how another commonly held teaching point is simply not true ... you do not return to the address position at impact! Your body moves forward and your hands are ahead of their address position. The four bottom left images show control of the swing arc (movement of the handle) switches from the left arm to the right arm. The backswing and movement down and into impact is established by the radius/position of the left arm. The left arm is fully extended at every point in the backswing and downswing. The importance of the right hand is the dorsi-lag position (bottom right three images) of the right wrist immediately prior to and into impact. The classic Hogan image of a bowed left wrist illustrates the same thing. A critical point of good timing involves the full extension of both arms and straight line relationship between the center of the chest (swing center), thumbs and clubhead. If the hands lead the clubhead, the ball curves to the right. If the clubhead passes the hands, the ball curves to the left.
The movement of the handle and the revolution of the hands through impact is critical to a well timed swing. The thumbs are always on top of the shaft at a 12 o'clock position. The wrists should never roll the thumbs to the side of the shaft unless you are deliberately trying to curve the shot ... there is no pronation or supination in a golf sling motion. At address, both forearms are in a neutral, semi-pronated/supinated position. The thumbs do NOT change this position at anytime when the hands are lower than waist high. It is critical for you to never swing the club faster than you can feel the position and movement of the handle. If you don't know where your thumbs are, then you are swinging too hard. This is especially important for practice. During play, there are exceptions to this general rule. The middle followthru position at waist high on the target side of the swing is critical for learning and practice. The position of the thumbs become a point of performance for your practice. The general idea is to sling the handle at the target. In the right hand image, the player's thumbs have not squared up to the target line. This ball was hung out to the right. Note the position of the left elbow. It is still straight. To get the thumbs on top of the shaft and hit the ball straight, the left elbow must have more fold than shown in this image. Perhaps this player was playing a deliberate fade in this example. Where the handle goes at the finish also indicate where the ball has flown. The illustration Tiger's finish shows how a clock position overlay shows how the "hour" of your finish position can be both a point of performance as well as a point to practice. The hours can be divided into upright, on plane and flat just as we are accustomed to doing for the top of the backswing position. This sling method emphasizes the importance of putting the club handle into a consistent top of the backswing position. From this mastery position, the forward swing can be combined with L/R ball position to shape shots. To finish in the Draw position, you must deliberately roll your wrists and allow your left elbow to fold. To hit the ball straight, just sling the handle up to the 10:30 position with no roll. To fade the ball, swing the handle up to the 12-1 o'clock position by using a hold release.
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