"It is no good having a 6 handicap swing with a 26, or even 36, handicap hand action." Bill Cox
A Precise Grip And Unification of The Hands by Bob Toski
Instruction by World-Famous Teacher Bob Toski with Andy Nusbaum Director of The Golf Digest Instruction Schools. Bob Toski Winner of 5 PGA Tour Wins. Available on Amazon : Bob Toski Teaches You Golf [DVD]
As A Sort Of Fulcrum (1914) By Arnaud Massy
"Ignoramuses will have it that the upward swing exerts no influence on the way the ball is struck, - a matter whereof the downward swing must needs have the sole responsibility.
No greater mistake could be made, and after a little practice the tyro will not be long in realising the truth of my statements, which are sanctioned by my own professional experience.
To begin with then, the movement of the upward swing must be begun entirely with the wrists, and it is the left wrist that comes first into play.
It is the left wrist that, by exerting a slight pressure, begins to move away the head of the club from the ball, while the right follows up the movement by pulling in the contrary direction.
The movement is not an easy one to describe.
The one hand rests on the upper extremity of the shaft as a sort of fulcrum, while the right pulls; at the same moment the left elbow is a little bent so as perfectly to adjust itself to the movement as a whole.
It is very seldom a player succeeds at first go off in beginning the upward swing in this way.
The majority of beginners,instead of letting the wrists do the work, committing the grave mistake of making a semi-circular movement with the whole arms.
It is an impossibility in this way to attain an accurate game, the error entirely throwing out the proper sequence of the stroke."
Reference : 'GOLF' by Arnaud Massy. Champion of The World, 1907. Chapter VI. The Drive - Analysis of Movements - The Swing, Page 45. Translated By A. R. Allinson With Thirteen Diagrams And Twelve Plates. Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London. First Published in 1911, by Pierre Lafitte et Cie of Paris. This translation First Published in 1914.
Download Chapter VI. The Drive - Analysis of Movements - The Swing, by Arnaud Massy. Page 45.
Lengthened My Game Considerably (1924) By Cecil Leitch
"During the summer of 1914 I lengthened my game considerably, and became a more powerful player in every respect through a casual conversation about tennis.
It was pointed out to me that a poor performer at tennis invariably attempts to play a backhand stroke with the back of a loose wrist pointing in the direction in which she hopes to play the ball.
In this way she loses all the strength of her forearm which she could bring into the stroke were she to grip the racquet in such a manner that the back of her hand were turned towards her.
At golf, this led me to the discovery that I was not making full use of the strength in my left forearm through a similar mistake, and I decided to experiment by bringing my left hand more into play by turning it slightly over to the right.
1. AGE SEVENTEEN. 'THEN AND NOW. 2. PRESENT DAY. These two swings are practically identical, the only difference being that the left wrist is now under the club owing to the recent alteration in the grip of the left hand referred to in Chapter II and shown in Illustration facing p.14.
By this small change in grip I found I had something to it against (if I may so describe the feeling), and the results were truly pleasing.
With the faulty action the wrist has to pull the club, but when the left hand is turned towards the right, the club is thrust at the ball.
Not only does this grip give greater control over the club, but it encourages a straight left arm."
Reference : 'Golf Simplified' By Cecil Leitch. Chapter II How To Acquire Length And Direction, page 48. Winner Ladies' Open Championship, 1914, 1920, 1921; English Ladies' Close Championship, 1914, 1919; Ladies' Championship of France, 1912, 1914, 1920 and 1921; Canadian Ladies' Championship, 1921. Thornton Butterworth LTD. 15 Bedford Street, London, W.C.2. First Published 1924.
Download Chapter II. How To Acquire Length And Direction (in PDF) by Cecil Leitch.
"With the faulty action the wrist has to pull the club, but when the left hand is turned towards the right, the club is thrust at the ball. Not only does this grip give greater control over the club, but it encourages a straight left arm." Cecil Leitch
Left Hand Guides by Robert T. "Bobby" Jones
Robert T. "Bobby Jones" lessons. Volume 2 The Short Game. Presented by Jack Nicklaus
Available on Amazon : Bobby Jones - How I Play Golf Collection, The - Vol. 2 - The Short Game [VHS]
ROBERT TYRE JONES, JR., THE U.S. NATIONAL AMATEUR CHAMPION
"I have always played with a two-knuckle grip, the back of my left hand parallel to the face of the face of the club." Henry Cotton
"Each hand must be placed on the club at approximately the same angle.
The V's formed by the thumb and forefinger of each hand are good indicators of the angle at which your hands transmit force to the shaft.
Place your left hand on the club first, with the hand turned over so that the V points toward your right shoulder. The natural position of your right hand on the club will find its V also pointing toward the right shoulder.
"THE RIGHT AND WRONG POSITION OF THE HANDS Right. In order to work in harmony both hands must be placed at approximately the same angle to the club. Wrong. One hand is bound to work against the other when the hands are placed on the club at different angles."
It ought to be apparent that if the V of your left hand is permitted to point toward your left shoulder while the V of your right hand is behind the club, the variance in these angles will invite the right hand to overpower the left and play havoc with the striking of the clubface.
And this is something that cannot be overcome once the swing has started."
Reference : 'A New Way to Better Golf' By Alex J. Morrison With A Foreword By Rex Beach And An Introduction By Bernard Darwin. London William Heinemann Ltd. Chapter IX Doctoring The Ailing Swing. First Published October 1932 Second Edition October 1932 At The Windmill Press.
Interviewing Alex Morrison By Grantland Rice, The American Golfer, February, 1933.
Try A Change of Grip By George Duncan
"Let the reader put this point to the test.
Let him take a club and standing in the ordinary way for a right-handed shot, prepare to swing the implement with the left hand only.
In four cases out of five where golfers of limited ability are concerned, it will be found that, during the address, the back of that hand is practically vertical to the plane of the ground.
That appears to be natural order. The swing is duly performed. Somehow, it seems impossible to invest the effort with power when the club is held in this manner with the left hand.
Now try a slight change of grip.
Instead of having the thumb pointing straight down the uppermost part of the shaft, which is the commonest and perhaps most natural disposition for it, bring the hand over so that the thumb may be planted on the side of the shaft which is farthest from the direction in which the ball is sent.
This alteration will result in the top knuckles of the first three fingers being brought into view; the hand will be far more over the club than in the former experiments.
Try another swing in the new circumstances. In nearly every case it will be found that there is an altogether greater consciousness of power in the left hand.
There is command over it; and you feel as you near the ball that you can hit it instead of merely poking falteringly at it, which is the sense that prevails when the hand is on the side of the shaft and the thumb on top."
Three Ways Of Gripping With The Left Hand
|Position of the Pullers, left||Correct position of the left hand||Position of the slicers, left|
Three Distinct Overlapping Grips As Exemplified By George Duncan
|The Pullers Grip||True Overlapping Grip||The Slicers Grip|
The Overlapping Grip As Exemplified By The Triumvirate
|Harry Vardon||J. H. Taylor||James Braid|
Reference : 'The Golf Grip How to make the left hand play its part By George Duncan. Golf Illustrated.
"It is a job for both hands, and a job on which there can be no let-up from the start to the finish of the swing." Harry Cooper
Hitters And Swingers (1936) By Alfred Padgham
"GOOD golfers may be divided into categories : hitters, and swingers.
In the case of hitters there is more conscious use of the right hand than in the case of swingers.
And because there is more conscious use of the right hand the shot is a different type of shot.
Firstly, although the shaft may be held at the end of a straight left arm, it will not necessarily be in a straight line with it either at the address or at the moment of impact.
Secondly, the plane of the arc of the club-head will be less likely to cross the plane of the arc of the hands, and the right hand will be more consciously over the left hand throughout the back swing.
Thirdly, the shot may be played with delayed wrist action in which case the actual hit is still made with the right hand, or, at least, with both hands together, and not with the left hand passing through the ball; or the shot may be made with conscious leverage of the right hand against the left, in which case the down swing will be started with a fling backwards of the club-head, followed half-way down (in theory and room-practice) by a deliberate crossing of the right hand over the left, without unstraightening the left arm, and an attempt to hit the ball with the toe of the club, without follow-through after impact.
Hands Fitted Compactly Together (1948) By Ben Hogan
"Keep both hands fitted compactly together.
They must coordinate the essential factors of left-hand control and right-hand power, and unless they are working closely, your hand action will be faulty.
The greatest pressure in my right hand is in the middle two fingers."
Reference : Ben Hogan's book 'Ben Hogan's Power Golf', A. S. Barnes And Company, The World's Largest Publishers of Books on Sports, 232 Madison Ave. New York 16 N.Y. Copyright, 1948, A. S. Barnes And Company, Incorporated. Tenth Printing, 1952. Page 10.'
Releasing The Hands Tip for Slicers By Gary Player
Gary Player on Golf Volume 1. Video Instructions & Secrets.
Winner of over 120 Tournament Championships
Available on Amazon : Gary Player On Golf, Video Instructions and Secrets from Golf Legend
Lack of Hand Action Causes You To Slice (1962)
"While it is difficult to say too much about the grip and its vital influence on everything in the swing, I have often hear too much importance attributed to the stance.
The usual mistake is to blame either hooking or slicing on whether a line across the toes points to the right or left of target.
The first is called a closed stance. The second an open stance. But this imaginary line really governs only the direction in which the ball starts. Of course, this direction is not always at the hole.
And in the power shots, when you wish to deliver the fullest possible hit from the fullest possible turn, you aim this line down the right side of the fairway, so that a slight right to left flight and roll of the ball (hook) will bring you back into the middle.
Conversely, with a pin well to the right of the green, guarded by a trap, you would aim ten to fifteen yards to the left and try to cut or fade the ball slightly from left to right.
In neither case, however, does your stance determine the drift of the ball.
If you are a chronic slicer, whose shots usually start toward the left rough and fade back into the fairway, and whose feet, therefore, are pointing well to the left of where the ball actually ends up, you'll feel cheated if you suddenly adopt a closed stance to help you hook.
Hinges of A Door (1967) By Gene Sarazen
"The left hand's importance comes in guiding the club and in keeping the clubface in the proper arc and square so that the right hand can swing into the solid left side and continue hitting through the ball.
The left hand is no different than the hinges of a door.
The hinges are so placed as to permit the door to open and close smoothly every time and in the same arc.
The left hand must stand firm in order to guide the right along the downward arc.
When your left hand is right, you will hit consistent shots.
Most of the players who are bothered by a slice keep their left hand too far under. (In looking down they see only one knuckle). They are bound to slice the ball because they have to open the clubface when their hands assume their natural position on the backswing.
The club stays open at impact, and the ball unfortunately has no place to go but to the right.
Positioned incorrectly, the left hand will collapse at the critical moment of impact, leaving the right hand without guidance.
Check the position of your left hand at address.
Make sure you can see at least three knuckles.
The right hand is placed on the club so that the grip is mainly in the fingers and the V points to the right shoulder.
Now it is positioned for a grooved, powerful swing.
They will help put your feet in the proper position. If you were to get your right hand too far over to the left, you would find that your right foot is advancing.
But if you move your right hand back where it belongs, you will notice that your right foot will also move back and square off your stance. You should now be able to sight your target by looking over your left shoulder."
Reference : Gene Sarazen with Roger Ganem's book 'Better Golf After Fifty', Copyright © 1967 by Gene Sarazen. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York.
Buy on Amazon : Better Golf After Fifty (First Award Printing 1969)
"Always the club is so held that full benefit is derived from the wrists." Percy Alliss
Right Hand And The Slice (1986) By Phil Rodgers
"There are three methods of connecting the right hand to the left on the handle of the club.
They are: interlocking, overlapping and 10-finger.
Interlocking and overlapping are the most common. Whichever way you like to connect the right hand is OK.
...Whichever connection you use, the right thumb always angles to the left across the top of the handle, and the hand completely covers the left thumb.
Some golfers turn the right hand to the right so the palm is under the handle and the left thumb is exposed.
They usually hook or slice their shots badly.
Other golfers turn the right hand far to the left, or "on top" of the handle.
The left thumb is covered, but the position is too extreme and promotes a sliced ball."
Reference : Phil Rodgers' book 'Play Lower Handicap Golf', by Phil Rodgers with Al Barkow. Photographs by Steve Szurlej. Foreword by Jack Nicklaus. Copyright © 1986 Phil Rodgers. A Golf Digest Book.
The Half Swing And Freedom in The Wrists by Chris Meadows
"Near the top of the swing the wrists must be bent sharply towards the right shoulder. In this way you set the trigger for the 'throw of the club'." Alex Smith
The Proper Wrist Action (1907) By Alex Smith
"A second essential is the proper wrist action.
I first want to give you a left hand and then a right hand exercise, and for this purpose a crook-handled walking stick or rolled-up umbrella (also with a crook handle) is better, as being lighter than a club, and so more easily managed.
Let the thumb lie on top of the shaft and straight down it. That will ensure the proper grip, with the back of the hand well over.
Swing the walking stick around to the right, aiming at the point of the right shoulder.
The left wrist will properly turn in slightly (towards the body) so that when the stick is well up the left arm will belying close to the chest and you can see the full back of the left hand.
The motion is so simple that you can hardly go wrong in it. For the downswing imagine that you are executing the ordinary backhand stroke at tennis.
You will soon discover that it is this slight inward turn of the left wrist that gives the power and snap to the stroke, and that is all there is to it.
Now for the right hand exercise.
Grasp the shaft in such a way that you can just see the nails of the right hand, and hold the stick as much as possible in the fingers.
In this right hand grip the thumb should be around the shaft - not on top of it - and the holding power will be secured by jamming the shaft between the thumb and forefinger. You will be surprised to see how much of a grip you can obtain by holding the club in this finger fashion rather than sunk in the palm of the hand.
Now, in the swing back, pay particular attention to the point of the right elbow. It should not swing straight out and up from your body, but around it and as close to the side as possible.
The right wrist turns slightly out, so that at the top of the swing you still see the finger nails of your right hand.
The chief thing in this exercise is to keep the point of the right elbow down and close to the side, and to swing around the body in a backward direction.
The reason why I will give in the proper place.
With the right elbow moving out from the body the club is taken up very much straighter than when the elbow moves back, keeping close to the side.
Its second office is to create driving power, and this is secured by what I have called the "throw of the club".
To make you understand what I mean, it will be necessary to resume our exercise in swinging.
The Right Wrist Joint (1920) By Ernest Jones
"The beginner often finds difficulty in moving his hands in the correct manner at the beginning of the upswing.
He can, however, always arrive at the proper movement of the hands by noting the position which the left hand will automatically take if it is allowed to accommodate itself to the extension of the right wrist-joint (see Fig. 21).
He should not, of course, allow his left hand to be passive when he is making the up-swing of an actual shot ; the left hand should be at least as active as the right, but the complete extension of the right wrist-joint will always give the true position of both hands and arms, and consequently the true course of the club-head."
Reference : Daryn Hammond's book 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method by Daryn Hammond', London, Chatto & Windus 1920, First Published, April, 29, 1920 Second Impression, July, 30, 1920 CHAPTER IV The Action of the Wrist Pages 65-79
"Once you have acquired the knack of delayed wrist action, you will be delighted at the economy of labour and the magnitude of the result. " Alfred Padgham
The Wrists Must Give It The Lead (1922) By Harry Vardon
"Many golfers try to hit with the arms. That is a mistake.
The arms should be in effect simply a continuation of the shaft. I do not believe there is such thing as a master arm in the real golf swing.
The two arms work as one, and as part of the entire mechanism of the body.
A common cause of swaying is a tendency to take the club up too quickly.
Once a person has become an accomplished player, the rapidity of his up-swing is not necessarily a matter of great importance, because instinctively he works his body properly, but for the beginner or mediocre golfer, a fast upswing is usually fatal.
It results in most cases in a hasty snatch of the club-head from the top of the swing, and it is an invariable rule that if you start the arms first - either at the beginning or at the top of the swing - the result is bad.
The club-head must lead in each place. The wrists must give it the lead.
Then the arms will follow it and do what is needed of them."
Reference : Harry Vardon's book 'The Gist of Golf' by Harry Vardon Illustrated From The Photographs Posed by the Author' New York George H. Doran Company Copyright © 1922. Chapter I, The Driving Swing With Some Advice Concerning Clubs and The Grip. Page 25.
"Do not start your backswing by breaking your wrists. This will throw off the entire swing." Gene Sarazen. U.S. Open Champion 1922, 1932 ; Masters 1935 ; British Open 1932 ; P.G.A. Champion 1922, 1923, 1933. P.G.A. Seniors 1954.
On Cocking The Wrists (1949) By Ed (Porky) Oliver
"There has been so much stress "on cocking the wrists" that most golfers become conscious of it to the point of "breaking" their wrists at the start of the backswing.
This is regrettable, for it leads to prying the clubhead up into the air.
Just let the clubhead swing on back in a rather straight line away from the ball.
If you arms are both held firm - but not too rigid - you will find that about halfway, or a little past, the wrists will cock automatically.
If you apply this simple method, your arms will remain firm and when you come back down into the ball, the wrists will unleash and the ball will be hit firmly.
You will top the ball less, following this procedure.
When the clubhead is raised too abruptly at the start of the swing, the right arm automatically caves into the body and moves backward. Keeping the right forearm firm on the way back to the point where the elbow wants to "break" naturally, will go a long way toward helping overcome this quick wrist-action and subsequent lifting instead of swinging of the clubhead.
By "breaking" the wrists too soon, the player develops a bad tendency to hit with the right hand only. Actually, both hands must work in unison.
Over swinging on the backswing also is caused by premature "breaking" of the wrists, and invariably this causes a buckling of the left elbow. An overswing puts the clubhead out of the correct hitting position."
Reference : Ed (Porky) Oliver, from 'The Golf Clinic' book, by Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Lloyd Mangrum, Jim Ferrier, Ellsworth Vines, and Ed Oliver. Photographs by Arthur E. Haug. Copyright © 1949, by Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Buy on Amazon : The golf clinic
Hand Action to Create Back Spin or release the ball By Ray Floyd
Ray Floyd's 60 Yards In Video. Master Of The Short Game. Winner of more than 24 PGA Tour Events and 8 Senior PGA Events Available on Amazon : Ray Floyd's 60 Yards In - Master of the Short Game VHS
"Do not hug the right elbow in too tightly; allow the right side to be perfectly relaxed as the club is swung back." Robert T. Jones
Position of The Right Elbow (1937) By Archie Compston
"Here is a perfect top-of-the-swing position, from which the player can deliver a powerful blow without either losing his balance or drawing across the ball from "outside in".
Note particularly the position of the right elbow - pointing downwards and as close to the side as possible without being cramped.
The firm grasp with the last two fingers of the left hand is extremely important.
Far from perfect - and far from rare.
A draught of air under the right arm at the top of the swing should be a warning to every golfer.
The fatal "loop" - the club coming down over the top of the head and across the ball - is just going to begin.
The right hand has been forced partially to let go of the club.
To cure this very common fault try tucking a handkerchief under the right armpit ; it should be kept there without difficulty throughout the swing.
Reference : 'Go Golfing' with Archie Compston and Henry Longhurst. Chapter 1. Why Does The Average Golfer Remain Average? This is the Principal Reason, page 26. Duckworth, 3 Henrietta Street, London, W.C.2. First published in 1937 All rights reserved.
When The Grip Is Correct (1953) By Tommy Armour
"In my teaching, I eliminate every possible detail that might confuse the pupil when he's actually playing. That's no time for him to be disturbed by having to make some conscious effort.
He should be free from the interference of the consciousness.
I have found that one of these disturbing points is the tendency of the right elbow to get away from the body during the swing. This fault is definitely a result of an improper grip.
When the club is held correctly, the right elbow is sure to stay comfortably close to the body and pointing down.
Thus does the correct grip eliminate the pupil's becoming distracted by paying attention to the elbow position during the swing.
When the grip is good, that becomes good automatically.
The correct grip, which is the governing component of hand action, is certainly the greatest single detail towards achieving direction and distance of the golf shot.
Reference : Tommy Armour's book 'How To play Your Best Golf ALL THE TIME', Illustrated by Lealand Gustavson, Copyright © 1953, by Thomas D. Armour. Published by Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, 1953.
Right Elbow Should Point Downward (1957)
"One thought that I frequently keep in mind while swinging is that my right elbow should point downward at all times during the swing.
I do not regard this as a fundamental of the swing, but rather as something that will aid in making you carry out the swing fundamentals.
We have said that the clubhead must be brought into the ball square to the line of flight, which becomes a physical impossibility if the right elbow flies out and up during the swing.
Then the clubhead must be brought into the ball from the outside in - the cut across.
If the elbow is kept pointing downward, it will remain reasonably close to the body, as it should, and will permit the inside-out clubhead action that is essential to meeting the ball with the clubhead square to the line of flight."
Reference : 'Advanced Golf' Cary Middlecoff Edited by Tom Michael of The Commercial Appeal, Memphis. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. © Copyright, 1957, By Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Right Elbow Should Return To The Right Side (1963)
"Early in the downswing the right elbow should return to the right side.
This helps you delay the uncocking of the wrists until the hands enter the hitting area.
It also returns the club to the ball from the inside.
If the right elbow is flying, or flapping in the breeze, you will have a tendency to cut across the ball from the outside, giving the ball slice spin that is all too familiar to the weekend hacker.
The wrist cock is delayed by not only returning the right elbow to the right side but also by lowering the shoulder.
As the hands enter the hitting area - that is, as they pass the belt line - the wrists uncock and you release your power as the clubhead lashes into the ball.
In hitting against a firm left side, with the weight on the left foot and the left arm, hip and shoulder all in line, I feel that I give a slight push off my right foot. I call it a "kick" and it helps me get more snap into my shot.
On the downswing, when I shift my weight over to the left side and then "kick" or push off my right foot the big muscles in my legs and back are generating power.
My hands are merely the contact with the club. They transmit power but generate very little.
Right Elbow To The Side By Harvey Penick With Tom Kite
Harvey Penick's Little Red Golf DVD. Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf. Featuring Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw Narration by Dave Marr. Available on Amazon : Harvey Penick's Little Red Golf DVD
"One further point, and a most important one, although I have never seen it brought out in any of the previous text-books. As the club comes down on the ball, do not allow the left elbow to swing out and away from the body. It must be kept back so as to allow of the "snap of the wrists" at the critical moment when the ball is struck. If the left elbow swings away an instant too soon the hands go through in advance of the clubhead and the result is either a slice or a loss of power." Alex Smith
Key Learning Point
"My theory is that the power of the down swing comes from what I call "the throw of the club".
Now, the true course of the club head in all full driving shots is that of a slightly flattened circle - an eclipse, if you want to use the mathematical term.
All the doctors agree on this latter point, and the only difference is the method by which they make the club head travel in this slightly flattened circle. Of course the new school players do not lift the club straight up as they swing back; otherwise they would be chopping at the ball.
They secure the flattened arc of the true swing by the backward movement of the right elbow. Try it yourself and you will see the difference at once.
With the right elbow moving out from the body the club is taken up very much straighter than when the elbow moves back, keeping close to the side.
Its second office is to create driving power, and this is secured by what I call the "throw of the club".
When the right elbow has swung back as far back as it conveniently can, the club will be nearly perpendicular, pointing vertically to the sky.
Now bend both wrists sharply towards the point of your right shoulder and the club will be in the horizontal position behind your neck.
You will understand, of course, that in the actual swing there should be no distinct divisions in this up-swing, the different movements all blending into one harmonious whole.
I told you that near the top of the swing the wrists must be bent sharply towards the right shoulder. (Note that this bending is different from the turning of the wrists.)
In this way you set the trigger for the "throw of the club" - you feel the weight of the club head poised for the down-forward sweep.
With the right elbow well to the back and close to the side you must now reverse this inward bend of the wrists. Throw them back and out as sharply as possible, and when the club head is some two feet away from the ball let the right wrist take command.
This is "the throw of the club" and upon its proper execution depends in great measure the power an accuracy of the stroke.
As the club comes down on the ball, do not allow the left elbow to swing out and away from the body. It must be kept back so as to allow of the "snap of the wrists" at the critical moment when the ball is struck.
If the left elbow swings away an instant too soon the hands go through in advance of the club head and the result is either a slice or a loss of power.
A favorite phrase nowadays is "timing the club," by which is meant the securing of the full power of the wrists, arms and body at the moment when the actual hit is made.
The phrase is a good one, but unless the coach can explain how to bring about this desirable result the mere words will not help the beginner much.
My theory is that this "timing" is dependent upon keeping back the left elbow, thereby enabling the full force of the stroke to be brought into the ball.
In my theory of the swing the power of the stroke depends on proper hip rotation, the correct turning of the wrists, and the position of the elbows. Provided, that the right elbow moves around and close to the body on the up-swing and the left elbow is kept close to the body until after the ball is struck, the stroke will be a powerful and accurate one, the arms finishing as shown in the illustration."
Reference : 'Lessons in Golf' by Alex Smith. Lesson II Stance, Grip, and Swing. Open Champion, United States and Western Open Champion New York, Arthur Potow, 48 West 27th Street 1907. Copyright by Arthur Pottow. Grannis Press New York.
Download this extract from 'Lessons in Golf', Lesson II Stance, Grip, and Swing, including Alex Smith's theory on "the power of the down swing comes from what I call the "throw of the club" - With Illustrations.
"And lack of length is due to lack of power in the wrists and fingers.
Miss Pamela Barton, British woman champion and a pupil of Compston since the age of 16, is the longest hitter in women's golf.
He attributes her victory largely to strength in her hands.
Here you see the tremendous "snap" that she is able to deliver into the blow at the last moment."
Reference : 'Go Golfing' by Archie Compston. First published in 1937. Chapter 14, page 77.
"Dear Sir: Can you tell me what probably causes me at time, to hit mashie shots off to the right at an angle of about forty-five degrees? Usually I am fairly straight on these shots, but occasionally I fall into this trouble. I use an overlapping grip and an open stance. D.M.W.
Trouble of this kind comes from hitting the ball back of the heel or socket of the club.
This may be caused by standing too close to the ball, or even by standing too far away, in which case, feeling that it is necessary to reach for the ball, the player over-reaches a bit. Usually where this last is the case, the player stands rather too erect with the knees locked, the arms practically straight in line with the shaft of the club, and well out from the body.
The remedy for troubles of this kind, whatever the came, is to keep the arms from the shoulders to the elbow pretty close in to the sides, especially the right one.
I believe in standing well up to the ball for all mashie shots, with enough of a bend or crouch to allow the upper part of the arms to stay in close to the sides, in addressing the ball.
On the backswing be sure to keep the right elbow close in.
If necessary put a handkerchief under the right arm pit and keep the arm enough in on the stroke to hold it there.
You can stop any trouble of hitting the ball on the heel by following this simple tip."
Reference : 'Golf Medicine From Master Doctors' A Prescription Counter That Has a Cure for Your Golfing Faults. The American Golfer July 12, 1924.
"When you've got the necessary, elementary, though adequate understanding of how to hold the club, how to stand to the ball, and how to get into action from the ground up, the stage is set mentally and physically for the Big Show to go on.
The Big Show is a performance in the fine art of hitting.
To let you in on one of the great secrets of good golf, which really isn't a secret at all, one golfer gets more distance because he uses his hands for power, while the other fellow is trying to get distance by using his body.
On your long shots, hit the ball with the right hand just as hard as you can while keeping the body steady, and on shorter iron shots, hit with the right hand briskly and then, keep the body steady."
Reference : Tommy Armour's book 'How To play Your Best Golf ALL THE TIME', Illustrated by Lealand Gustavson, Copyright © 1953, by Thomas D. Armour. Published by Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, 1953.
"Many golfers make a conscious effort to not uncock their hands on the downswing until the last possible instant.
This is also known as the "late hit", or "saving your hit". The late hit can create a powerful shot, but not powerful enough to make up for the inconsistency it brings to the game.
It is extremely difficult to time. You want a gradual, smooth acceleration. The idea is to have a smooth transition from the backswing to the downswing.
The ball is hit straighter and with maximum power when the body, arms and hands, and club move with constant acceleration in proportion to their size throughout the entire swing.
For another thing, the late hit makes the shaft of the club flex too much. The holding back of the club creates a tremendous bowing of the shaft, and the best golf is played with the least amount of shaft flex. That statement may come as a surprise, which is why it is emphasized.
Recalling the three-gear concept, when going for a late hit you are, in effect, moving the third gear - the club - proportionally slower than the other two through the total downswing.
If it continues at that ratio, with the arms and body going faster, the club will never get to square at impact.
At impact the hands and arms must slow down to let the club catch up. The club then explodes by the ball and creates a "snap hook", the ball diving sharply down and to the left.
If the club doesn't catch up, the ball is pushed or sliced to the right, because the body turns too quickly and pulls the hands and club across the ball from outside in.
To avoid the slice or push, the body must stop turning to let the club catch up. Or the club must be sped up to synchronize with the other two gears. But there is hardly time.
It takes tremendously strong wrists to bring the heaviest part of the club into correct alignment for impact with the ball.
The players who make a career in long-driving contests can do it. But they are also, generally, very wild off the tee."
Reference : Phil Rodgers' book 'Play Lower Handicap Golf', by Phil Rodgers with Al Barkow. The Downswing. Photographs by Steve Szurlej. Foreword by Jack Nicklaus. Copyright © 1986 Phil Rodgers. A Golf Digest Book.
"Let me pause here and discuss the single most important point in good golf - hand action.
Hand action is what causes the whoosh to a swing. It is the zip, the pep, the power, the life of a swing. Too many golfers confuse hand action and wrist action, and in their confusion doom themselves to the permanent status of duffers.
Your wrists bend naturally. That's part of the mechanics of the bodily functions. Simple as that fact is, duffers don't fully understand it.
Most beginners slice. An important reason for slicing is their habit of picking up the club at the start of the backswing.
They take their stance and and then bend their wrists back to start the club on the backswing. They are thinking in terms of wrist action. This is true of most beginners and of most golfers who fail to break 90.
As I have pointed out in the one-two-three-SWING exercise, the wrists are straight during the one-two-three part of the exercise. But on the SWING count there is a slight give in the wrists. That is hand action. With very short chip shots there is practically no hand action.
There is only the slightest give in the wrists. As your shots get progressively longer, there is more and more give in the wrists. As a result there is more and more hand action as the shots get longer.
If both my wrists were broken and taped up, I could still swing a golf club. But I would do it in a mechanical fashion. There would be no whoosh in my swing. There would be no life. It would be like a driving machine.
Now, what is the difference between hand action and wrist action? Wrist action is the conscious cocking and uncocking of the wrists during a golf swing.
Hand action, on the other hand, is the controlled action of the hands.
It is somewhere between stiff, unyielding wrists and the other extreme, loose flopping wrists.
Learning hand action is one of the primary reasons behind my teaching you the one-two-three-SWING exercise. In the one-two-three part of the exercise I am deliberately teaching you to hold your wrists straight and firm.
In swinging the club rapidly just to the ball, you force your wrists to remain firm and your hands to be in control of the swing.
On the SWING count you have the freedom of the fuller swing - enough to produce that give in your wrists and yet to have complete control over the club.
And that is hand action. Again let me stress that hand action is the natural result of a good golf swing.
You don't have to worry about that. It will simply happen.
I have taken time out from this lesson to explain it principally to impress upon you that hand action will not occur if you consciously cock and uncock your wrists.
It will not occur if you pick up the club at the start of the backswing by bending your wrists instead of swinging the club away. With good hand action you will swing the club away for the backswing.
And the downswing will have that satisfying whoosh of the club shaft that signifies power, control, and distance."
Reference : Johnny Revolta's 'Johnny Revolta's 'Short Cuts To Better Golf', Revised Edition, by Johnny Revolta and Charles B. Cleveland. Illustrated by Jerry Gibbons. Copyright © 1949, 1956 by Johnny Revolta and Charles B. Cleveland. Designed by Maurice Serle Kaplan.
Buy on Amazon : Johnny Revolta's Short Cuts to Better Golf
"In a discussion of Control the subject of Hands is almost synonymous, for it is only possible to feel what you are doing with the clubhead through your hands.
One cannot pay too much attention to the proper use of the hands and one can never over-emphasize their importance.
One can see, for example, that golf is a two-handed game, yet the most natural failing is to let the right arm overpower the hands from setting the clubhead in motion.
It is, therefore, very important to cultivate the feeling of the left hand being in control of swinging the clubhead.
For example, anyone using an axe or a heavy hammer would find that the hand holding the end of the handle would not lose the control of swinging it, though the lower hand might be sliding up and down.
The hands take a natural position on the handle of the club. I often illustrate the fact that the hands take the same relative position, the palms facing each other, when holding the club - the hand faces the line of flight to where you want the ball to stop.
Placing the hands too much under the grip is the most common fault in holding the club, for when the hands are opened it would show the palms pointing upward instead of to the line of flight.
Again, it is the "line of flight" that we are interested in when placing our hands on the club, not the arc taken by the ball, as that is governed by loft of the clubhead."
Reference : My System of Teaching Golf By Ernest Jones June 1932, The American Golfer.
"...what you should do, then, is to push the club head back with the left hand leading and doing most of the work.
Keep the left arm straight and the arms from shoulder to elbow close to the body and avoid pushing the arms outwards or you will get across the ball on the downswing.
At the same time the left knee begins to turn inwards and you commence to pivot with the hips, so that when the back swing has reached its maximum you can feel that your left shoulder and back are 'behind' the ball...
When you pivot, you, as it were, you wind yourself up like a spring and you have to unwind so that you get the maximum effect at the moment of impact.
On the down swing the body and hip movement must keep pace with, but not get ahead of the arms and hands.
If you unwind the body too quickly you will get your shoulders round before you hit the ball and this will cause you to draw the club head across the ball and may result in a slice, while if you do not unwind the body fast enough the reverse is the case and the shot will probably be hooked.
It is not very easy to explain, and photographs, I think, do not help, but if you try it out in front of a long mirror I am sure you will grasp what I mean."
Reference : 'GOLF for the Middle-Aged and others', by George McDonald Bottome, Faber and Faber London. First published in Mcmxlvi by Faber and Faber Limited.
"At the turn of the 20th century, the great players of the world first started their right hip and arms away in the backswing, letting the hands and clubhead follow as though they were being dragged. The clubhead would catch up and pass the hands in a reflexive fashion, cocking the wrists in the process.
In the 1930s and 1940s the "one-piece takeaway" became the vogue and players started to cock their wrists in the backswing somewhere between their right leg and right hip, until they were fully cocked when they reached the top of the backswing.
In the last two decades we've seen players like Jack Nicklaus and Miller Barber who wait almost to hip height before cocking their wrists. It does encourage a wide arc, but can result in occasional "rebound" of the hands from this late cocking at the top, causing timing of the impact to be more difficult for the average player.
More recently, a trend is to have the club nearly pointing vertically by the time the left arm is horizontal, as in the style of Seve Ballesteros. (Players with a low hand position at address, like Ballesteros, essentially have their wrists partially cocked already.)
Some players also complete the wrist cock after the forward swing has already begun. Ben Hogan was perhaps the best example in this category. This move, the further cocking of the wrists on the forward swing, by the way, is characteristic of most-long hitting players.
A possible viable option for the future is the preset. In this style the wrists are cocked before the backswing is in motion, a precocking method.
The player must select a preference. If based on today's popularity, it would be a combination of "one piece" with a little "early set" action blended in."
Reference : Gary Wiren's book 'The PGA Manual Of Golf', The Professional's Way to Play Better Golf, Gary Wiren PGA Master Professional, Ph.D. Chapter 7. In-Swing Fundamentals: The Remaining Principles. Macmillan USA. A Simon & Schuster Macmillan Company Copyright © 1991 by The Professional Golfer's Association of America.
"It is a mistake to suppose that by putting the back of the right hand under the shaft, and holding the club deeply in the palm, you get more power.
Or perhaps I should say that it is an error to suppose that you profit by getting more power in this manner, supposing that you do obtain it.
As a matter of fact, you ought not be conscious that the hands in particular are doing a lot of hard work.
Their function is to put the club-head into the proper position for hitting the ball; not to do the hitting.
They are to all intents and purposes a connecting link between the arms and the club - nothing more.
It is the swing - the swing of the club, the hands, and the arms acting as one piece of mechanism - that produces the power and makes the ball travel.
If you try to hit with the hands, you are almost sure to spoil the effort by holding too tightly with the right.
The player who falls into this error generally slices.
The hands in their desperation arrive opposite the ball before the club-head reaches it, and the latter is therefore drawn across the ball.
It is a fallacy to suppose that any particular part of the body, such as the arms or wrists, has to be very specially applied to the task of hitting the ball.
The whole anatomy should work as one piece of mechanism, with the club as part and parcel of the human frame.
You need to hold a club firmly, especially with the thumbs and forefingers, but not like grim death.
There is no earthly reason why so many golfers should have corns on their hands - the consequence of very tight gripping. The palm gripper nearly always has a lot of corns.
The club is held so that the two thumbs rest on the shaft, and, with the fore-fingers, form V's. The right hand, instead of being under the shaft, is brought round, and the back of that hand faces away from the line of play. The back of the left hand looks towards the line of play.
Here, then, we have the hands nicely balanced - the backs of the hands facing in opposite directions, and the thumbs and forefingers formed into V's with their apex uppermost. This is a sound grip so long as you remember to make the hands meet on the shaft. They must not be apart, even to the extent of the tiniest fraction of an inch.
To proceed from that the grip described to that known as "overlapping", all that you have to do is to bring the right hand a little higher up so that the ball of the thumb rests on the back of the left thumb and the little finger of the right hand deposits itself on the forefinger of the left.
In this way you make the grip more compact and render the union of the hands complete.
It is a point well worth remembering that when the early effects of changes advised by a teacher make the shots seem more difficult than ever, it is often a prelude to success. When the only way to put a player right is to undo at the outset all that he has done wrong, he generally suffers a period of purgatory."
Reference : Harry Vardon's book 'The Gist of Golf' by Harry Vardon. Illustrated From The Photographs Posed by the Author. New York George H. Doran Company Copyright © 1922. This extract from : Chapter I, The Driving Swing With Some Advice Concerning Clubs and The Grip, Function of The Hands.
Source : 'The Gist of Golf by Harry Vardon', online at the Internet Archive Universal Library.
"In the 1920's after winning the U.S. Open, I was having a lot of trouble with my swing. As you all have no doubt done, I started experimenting with my swing.
I would pivot differently, try a more upright swing, shift the weight or keep it up front, make a larger shoulder turn. I even changed from the interlocking to the overlapping grip.
Nothing worked, and the different grip only resulted in a loss of yardage.
I studied other golfers who had streaks of wildness and noted that we all had one thing in common: we were prone to losing the club at the top.
On the other hand, greats like Hagen and Jones kept their hands firmly in place all the time.
This explained the inconsistent golf I was playing. But what could I do about it?
Then one day, after playing a round of golf with Ty Cobb, the great major league baseball player, at the Augusta Country Club, I asked him if he had any special training regimen to help him stay on top in baseball. "Gene," he said, "I carry a leaded bat around with me when I play. And during practice sessions, I run around with shoes that are weighted too. I practice swinging the bat in my room every day."
After talking to Ty, I decided the idea could be transferred to golf by means of a weighted club. I put lead pieces in the head of one of my clubs until it weighed 22 ounces. Every chance I had I would swing the club back and forth forty or fifty times, until I felt I could move it without losing my grip.
I had similar clubs all over my farm, in different rooms in various places where I was staying, and I would swing them whenever I got a chance. Gradually I developed hand action.
In a couple of years I saw a tremendous change in my game. I started to get full control of the club from start to finish, and I began to cut out the disastrous 7's and 8's that would ruin a tournament for me.
During a tournament in 1931, I noticed that my hands were in the same position at the top as they were when I was addressing the ball. I knew I had solved the problem by using the heavy club. That' why the weighted trainer has become a regimen with me. It is the only thing that could have cured this fault.
I am very strongly in favor of this 22-ounce club for golfers who play only on week ends. A lot of these golfers play a very fine game, but the layoff from Sunday to the following Saturday would hurt even a pro's game.
Probably the heaviest thing these golfers have in their hands during the week is a cigar or a martini glass. But if they had a heavy club, they could go out on the lawn, or in the garage, and swing it back and forth. When they returned to the club the following week end, they would have a better swing than when they left the previous Sunday.
There is no doubt that the weighted club is a great training aid for the golfer who wants to stay in the groove and increase his power.
You see, you have to cure faults in a natural way. One of the troubles with today's hurry-up golfer is that he thinks he or his pro can cure a fault in five minutes. Well, a great player can't cure a fault for weeks and weeks.
Then to make certain the correction stays with him, he has to test it under the stress of competition and the pressure of the score card and pencil. Then if it will live through that stress, he has mastered it and achieved his goal.
My career has spanned some forty-five years, and I get a great kick out of watching the modern players, the terrific power hitters, powder the ball long and straight. But it is better to get some naturalness into your swing. Mechanize it, instead of trying for the long ball as the young fellows do.
The correct grip will put this naturalness into the right groove.
And if you learn to grip the club correctly, your swing will begin to grow around your hands."
Reference : Gene Sarazen with Roger Ganem's book 'Better Golf After Fifty', Copyright © 1967 by Gene Sarazen. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York.
Gene Sarazen made his first major breakthrough in golf by winning the 1922 U.S. Open at the age of twenty. By 1935 the Old Squire became the first golfer to win the four most important events in golf: the U.S. Open, P.G.A., Masters and British Open.
Almost twenty years later, Sarazen was again winning tournaments. This time it was the 1954 P.G.A. Seniors. He repeated in 1958.
"As you swing back the weight is retained wholly on the left foot. The shoulder pivot which takes place and the accommodating turn of the hips merely transfers the weight from left heel to left toe, and back to the heel again on the downward stroke.
There should be no lateral shift to the right foot.
For on these shots you want to make sure the club catches the ball on a downward arc. The pinching action causes the ball to run up the club face and be gripped by the grooves there to produce backspin. From a horizontal hit the ball would fly off the club face sooner and you would get no backspin.
In pitching, the backswing should be a bit firmer than in the full shots, in direct ratio to the length of the swing.
If you make a swing that is twenty-five percent full, you manage only a twenty-five percent cock of your wrists. For a half-swing, the wrists cock half-way; in a three-quarter swing, three-fourths of the way.
You must maintain this ratio of arm to wrist swing.
Otherwise, if your arms travel through only a quarter of their normal arc, for example, and your wrists break fully, you will probably go past the ball on your downswing before your hands ever catch up. And even if they did catch up the result would be too powerful.
So, the arms return to the ball with the wrists from this more limited cock. You then have a natural follow-through. Its length depends not only on the fullness of the backswing, but also upon how much turf has been taken in hitting the shot.
Your head must stay meticulously still, both vertically and laterally...
As I have said...
From Paul Runyan's book 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers', The Pitch Shots, Chapter 8. Dodd, Mead & Company, Copyright © 1962 by Paul Runyan.
"Ten years ago I became a professional.
The other night I got out my pencil and started figuring. Estimating that I have instructed and played with an average of two hundred golfers each year means that I have watched and observed over two thousand golfers, ranging from the new beginner to the best players in the country, both in the amateur and professional ranks.
I am not setting this up as a record or an unusual figure. Many professionals, longer in the game than I, could truthfully quote much larger numbers. But the thing that I do want to emphasize is that I have really watched every golfer I have come in contact with and as a result of this study have learned some things which I believe are really worthwhile...
There are two major things that make a golfer - they have been present in every golfer I have ever observed and lacking in every man who failed to play the game.
Now you may say "I hook" - "I slice" - "I top" - but those things are results, not causes, and my experience shows that if causes are removed proper results follow...
The two big "causes" that my observation leads me to believe are responsible for the majority of golfing ills are a) lack of control of the club; b) hitting outside the line before reaching the ball on the downswing.
Control of the club simply means that the "feel" of the shaft and the clubhead is in the fingers of both hands all through the swing - every second during the shot I know where my club face is - back - up - impact - through a finish - every second. So does every other professional and a great many good amateurs.
Balance takes care of itself when you have the feel of the club. This control the club - or the "feel" of it - is almost impossible to convey to a man who has never had it in golf.
But there is another method, by direct description, of imparting it which I will deal with later (Ed. read PDF version).
Control of the club is the thing which gives sureness to the shot - which gives mastery of the length and strength of the swing. It ensures timing - crispness- balance - most of the things which good golfers have and poor golfers lack.
So much for control - and you must have control - "feel" - before you can hit on the correct line.
The second thing is hitting outside the line before the club head reaches the ball.
This means you are hitting towards yourself instead of away from you - it makes you struggle to hold your balance at the finish - it may be the result of "looping" - body in too soon or any one of a dozen different things - but it prevents your getting full power into the shot - absolutely excludes the possibility of your hitting on that straight line, "the correct flight path" before and after reaching the ball.
For - this should be explained and understood - the man who has the feeling of "hitting away from himself" does nothing of the kind - he makes his club travel on a straight line at the vital part of the swing - the bottom.
These are the two big things in golf - control of the club - hitting inside the line."
Reference : 'What 2,000 Golfers Have Taught Me' The Young Ravisloe Professional Propounds Some Novel Ideas About the Game' By Eddie Loos, Golf Illustrated, April 1921. Courtesy LA84 Foundation, Digital Library, www.LA84Foundation.org
Find out more about Eddie Loos : Philadelphia PGA Section
Back to top