Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The multiplication of the golf swing

As you learn, you find out things that you really wish someone had just told you about in the first place. If you'd been told it, a lot of things would have fallen into place a long time ago.

So, I'm going to tell you about one of those things now. If I'd have known this a few years back, I would have got a lot further a lot quicker.

Basically, this is to explain that the true power behind the golf swing lies in the multiplication of the three main movements of the swing.

To demonstrate, you might want to go to a driving range when there is nobody else there as you'll probably look a bit weird doing these things.

Tee up a ball, and set yourself up. Now, using only your arms, hit the ball. Don't rotate on your hips, don't do anything with your wrists. Just swing the arms. See how far the ball goes.

Now do it again, but this time keep your arms and wrists still, and only rotate your body. Again, see how far the ball goes.

Finally, try it using only your wrists and nothing else.

In all cases, you'll note that the ball doesn't go particularly far.

Now try combining two of the moves. It will be weird with some of the combinations, but here's an interesting thing: if you cast the club badly and come over the top, you're effectively only using your arms and body rotation in your swing. The wrist movement has already been spent at the top where it's doing you no good at all. So you can actually hit the ball quite far using only two of these movements. That's because when the movements happen at the same time, the effect is that the club head speeds multiply instead of just adding.

A truly powerful golf swing happens when all three of these movements are at their peaks when the club head strikes the ball. That's why it's more about timing than it is about just trying to smack it as hard as you can.

Using some completely made-up numbers, imagine your wrists were moving the club head at 5mph, your arms at 10mph and your body at 3mph. Multiplying all of these together and you get 150mph: quite a way more than any of the original speeds.

One bit of advice that I have had before, is to listen to when you hear the "whooshing" sound in your swing. If you're hearing it at the top, you're doing too much too early. You ideally want to hear that sound at the bottom the swing: that way you're know you're delivering just when it's needed most.



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