Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Taking a long, hard look at yourself

Yesterday my golf buddy and I finally got round to doing something I'd been wanting to do for some time: we filmed each other's swings.

The results have been profound. Even though we only used a simple digital camera in 'movie' mode, we were able to see ourselves swinging for the first time, and best of all watch the swing in slow motion.

Now I'm no expert on the subject of the perfect swing, but I spotted two problems with mine immediately.

First, I take the club away incorrectly. I don't keep the club head in front of me: I take it back too early.

The second problem is that I swing back way too far. I mean, the club head goes 45 degrees beyond the horizontal and approaches pointing at the ball again.

Surprisingly, the rest of the swing actually looks pretty good. Weight shift is there, and I think I release the clubface at the right time. The problem is that takeaway and backswing, causing me to come over the top and be inconsistent with my ball striking (as well as giving me that slice).

So I went outside and tried to limit the backswing (just swinging: no ball involved), but had difficulty stopping myself. Then I looked online and found a tip about starting the backswing with the shoulders, and doing the arms after. It says that they just do the right thing automatically. I tried that and what a difference! The clubs takes away correctly and I don't need to try to stop the swing the in right place: it just happens. I've not tried out the new swing in anger yet but it really felt good.

The other thing that I need to fix is straightening my right knee, which allows my hips to turn more than they should (one of the other contributors to my overswinging).

The only problem is that with the shorter backswing I feel that there's less power in the swing. Now, that's just mind tricks I know. I just need to avoid trying to kill the ball to compensate.

I plan to try out the new swing on Saturday. Once I've practiced it a bit and got used to it, I'll film myself again and see if the swing looks much better.

So, anyone out there who hasn't seen themselves swinging yet, I can strongly recommend that you do so. You may find something out about yourself...


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