Will The Real Swing Please Come Forward?
By Ron Sisson (C.P.G.A. Certified Instructor)
The February 2000 issue of Golf Magazine featured an instructional article on its cover entitled, “It’s Y2K…Time to Make the Five Modern Moves.” Teaching Professional Gary Smith writes “As the 21st century begins, the swing is going through some dynamic shifts, all part of the game’s evolution.”
Actually, the real golf swing has not changed since the game was invented. Are you confused? Let me explain.
First, let’s define some terms. What do golf instructors mean by the term ‘golf swing?’ Generally, they mean “the bio-mechanical movements and body positions that occur during the action of striking a golf ball.”
If we use the above definition, then the ‘golf swing’ is definitely changing. For example, in 1974 Jack Nicklaus said, “I regard keeping the head very steady, if not absolutely stock still, throughout the swing as the bedrock fundamental of golf.” A generation of players and teachers molded their swings and teaching around this ‘fundamental.’
In modern instruction, the ‘steady head’ is generally considered a ‘flaw.’ Modern players such as Tiger Woods move their heads from two to six inches away from the target on the backswing to promote a good weight shift and a full shoulder turn. On the forward swing, they allow the momentum of the clubhead to pull their heads and bodies forward and up into an erect finishing position.
All this leads to some very interesting questions. If, according to modern instruction, Jack Nicklaus committed the ‘flaw’ of keeping his head rigidly steady during his swing, how could he have amassed a record of tournament victories that may never be surpassed? Or perhaps the steady head is the ‘correct’ fundamental and Tiger Woods dominates the modern era despite the ‘swing flaw’ of moving his head. And where does this leave the average golfer who is striving to play better? If golf instruction is changing and contradicting itself every 5 to 10 years, how is the average golfer to decide which ‘fundamentals’ to use?
Fortunately, there is one fundamental that has not and will not change. That fundamental is the real golf swing. At Real Swing Golf, we believe that the swing is defined not by what the body does but by what the clubhead does. In a real golf swing, the clubhead swings freely, fluidly, and fast through the impact area. If one, two or all three of these ‘3 F’s’ are missing, then the swing can only be classified as an imitation and will be ineffective at best.
If you define the swing in this way, then the swing has not really changed since the game began. Good players have always swung the clubhead freely, fluidly, and fast through the impact area. These are the principles that make the golf swing work. That is why great players like Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Miller Barber, Curtis Strange, Jim Furyk and others can have swing mechanics that are very unorthodox and still win at the highest levels. They all have one thing in common. They all have real golf swings.
The good news for average golfers is this: You don’t need to have a mechanically perfect swing to hit good golf shots. In fact, I’ve seen many golfers whose swing mechanics would be the envy of many tour pros and yet they rarely hit powerful, accurate shots. Why? They are missing one, two, or all of the ‘3 F’s’ – the elements of the real swing. A golfer with poor swing mechanics and a real swing will invariably strike the ball better than a golfer with good swing mechanics and an imitation swing. The best news of all is that with a few simple swinging drills, you can develop a real swing very quickly. Check out RealSwingGolf.com to learn how.
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