This week we are going to get back to golf swing mechanics. I wish to talk today about correcting some misconceptions about the golf swing. Of all the sports that I know, golf is the one that is overanalyzed and misrepresented the most. My intent today is to dispense some truths and to debunk some myths about the golf swing.
The first of these is the thought of keep your head down. Why would you want to do that? Name another sport, any sport that asks you to keep your head still. Tennis, baseball, racquetball, hockey are all stick sports, and no one who teaches that would tell you to keep your head down and facing the ball or puck. Why do we do it in golf? Because for some reason closet golf instructors focus on the head very much in golf, and it leads to huge problems. How about keeping your head still? Again, look at the other sports. Why, in other sports, do we not keep our head down or still, but it is drilled into our brains to do so. It is wrong. Your head does move in a golf swing and your eye is on the ball, but no one sees the club hit the ball. If you are focused on these two thoughts in your golf swing, you are chasing a mystery that cannot be solved.
The second myth is keeping your arm straight. Again I go back to baseball, tennis and racquetball. If no one is focused on keeping the arms straight in those sports, why are we in golf? We should not be. Your arm is achieving an athletic feat, let it achieve it straight or crooked. The ultimate determinant is how the shot goes, not how your arm looks. Do not chase after this mystery either because a completely straight arm during a golf swing may look good, but when you miss the ball, it won't feel good.
Finally, is curvature of the golf ball during flight. A golf ball spins in the air and turns abruptly because of club face rotation. This means that the club face is massaging the ball to turn it one way or another. Your slice is usually caused by an open club face that is getting more open through impact. The other half of this is club path. A golf ball, the direction that it takes, is caused by club path. If you hit a ball dead straight left or right of target that is caused by path. Path is basically the direction the club goes and the curvature is caused by club face rotation.
Hopefully, this information does not confuse you, rather it illuminates some ideas so we can focus on the right stuff in the golf swing, we know what causes what in a golf swing and we know what we do not need to focus on. As always with golf, it seems very overanalyzed and paralysis can set in, so if it is athletic it probably right, and if you are hearing you should do something that is not practiced in other sports, avoid the thought, it will only hamper your improvement.
Rich Conwell is the Head Golf Professional at Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton.If you have a question you would like answered, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org