The golf stroke involves planes, angles, pendulums and fulcrum points. Let’s break these down to gain a better understanding of the faults experienced by the average and high handicap golfer and on rare occasions, even the more accomplished golfers among us.
A successful golf stroke is reliant on the following elements…
· The position at impact (club and ball contact) should resemble the posture at set up.
· A steady centre around which the shoulders rotate.
· A consistent spine angle throughout the swing and at impact.
· Persistent focus on the ball throughout and essentially when the club makes contact with the ball.
· A steady and level head with limited lateral, vertical and horizontal movement.
If, after performing the takeaway, back swing, transition and downswing, the club head does not come back to the position it was in at setup, you will mis-hit the ball. These mis-hits can be identified as topping the ball, chunking it, thin hits, fat hits, shanks, hooks, slices and air swings.
They are caused by your 'centre' being unsteady or moving laterally (swaying) or vertically (bobbing or dipping.) You have to rotate your shoulders and torso around a steady centre and a consistent spine angle in order to bring the club head back to the position it was at setup.
When you assume your setup stance you create a spine angle in relation to the position of the ball. This angle needs to be maintained throughout the swing in order to bring the club head back to impact. If your spine angle moves up and does not return to the angle at setup you are likely to top, skull or miss the ball or hit it fat. If it dips and does not return to the setup position you will chunk it or hit it fat. Good posture, balance and body rotation are critical to maintaining your spine angle.
Focus on the ball is vital as it is difficult to hit it if you are not looking at it. Another important point is that your head needs to stay steady and your spine angle consistent (no swaying, dipping or bobbing.) If this does not occur the swing plane will be affected resulting in a mis-hit. Additionally you must see the club hit the ball. If your head lifts before impact it will affect the position of the club head by lifting it causing a thin hit or air swing.
The golf swing has two Fulcrum points…Your hands and your left shoulder (some prefer to say your sternum.) These are set at the address position. For a strong, accurate and consistent strike, these fulcrum points need to remain steady and should be in the same position at impact as they were at setup. Think of a pendulum with a fixed fulcrum point. Any movement of that point will alter the path of the pendulum.
And that’s where the head comes in. The head is at the top of the spine. It needs to stay steady, level and centred so as not to affect the spine angle around which the shoulders and torso rotate. Any pronounced or excessive head movement vertically, horizontally or laterally (that is not corrected before impact) will have a negative effect on the golf shot.
The Importance of keeping the spine angle constant throughout the swing is emphasized almost universally by golf instructors, magazine articles and tipsters. How do you know you are doing it correctly? Coaches advocate maintaining this angle throughout the golf swing – but offer little insight into how to accomplish this.
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