"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..." Alex Smith
Sharing Secrets On Being A Big Hitter with DAVIS LOVE III
PGA Golf Series Tips From The Tour. Includes 'Learn how to drive for distance' by Davis Love III. 1987 MCI Heritage Classic Winner. Available on Amazon
Save Himself From Slicing (1907) By Alex Smith
"I wish that you could see me drive a ball, for then it would be a much simpler thing to explain my management of the right forearm and wrist.
My normal drive is rather low, rising very gradually from the tee. Its direction is to the right of the centre of the course, but during the last portion of its flight it begins to curve in a little and falls straight in line.
In other words, it is a ball with just a touch of pull i.e., a curve to the left. Under all ordinary circumstances this is the ball that I always try to get, and for the following reasons:
In the first place, a pulled ball, by virtue of its over-spin, has a much longer run than any other, a manifest advantage.
Secondly, a pulled ball is the direct opposite of a sliced one, and every golfer knows that a slice invariably means trouble, if it is only loss of distance.
Now, the man who normally tries for a perfectly straight ball is apt to drive a little higher than is good for distance, especially against the wind, and the slightest drawing in of the hands turns the straight ball into a sliced one, by which is meant curving to the right of the true line.
If a man invariably plays for a pull, he may not always get it, but he will, at least, save himself from slicing.
If the pull does not come off, the ball either goes perfectly straight, or comes to rest a little to the right of the middle of the course. There is still a respectable distance gained, and the ball is seldom off the fair green. In other words, slicing is the worst of golfing faults, and the one to be avoided most sedulously.
The books enter into learned theories upon the causes of slicing and how to cure it.
I prefer to play for a pull, and so avoid it possibility altogether.
Once acquired, the pulled ball is even easier to control than the straight one and, as I have said, it is the longest one that can be driven.
Wrist Action In The Upward Swing (1909) By James Braid
"Again, it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of seeing that the wrists work properly in going back.
Unless the do so they cannot get in their proper action when they are on the downward swing, and I fear that in many cases the bearing of the preliminary wrist action in the upward swing on the reverse action in coming back is not all appreciated.
It is laid down as a rule, and it is an excellent one, that in going back the left wrist should gradually turn so that at the top of the swing it is right underneath the shaft, the toe of the club having thus been brought to point to the turf.
When the wrists are in their proper place at the extreme point of the up-swing this tension is plainly felt, and there is a very perceptible feeling of power in the wrists alone, such as is impossible when they are in any other position.
Unless they are in the correct one there is absolutely no opportunity for any work on their part in coming down, and by the time they reach the ball they are almost lifeless.
The best way to in which to regard this wrist action is that the wrists are doing a little swing of their own - a swing on their account inside the big swing of the arms and the club - and this supplemental swing will add enormously to the effect of the drive.
They have a little up-swing of their own, a down-swing, and in due course they follow through.
That is the wrist action about which I shall have another word to say a little farther on. It is sufficient for the present to lay final and extreme emphasis on the importance of getting the left wrist underneath the shaft, and so ready for work."
Reference : 'Advanced Golf Or, Hints And Instruction For Progressive Players' By James Braid Chapter IV Long Driving, Wrist Action, page 55, and 61. OPEN CHAMPION, 1901, 1905, AND 1906. With Eighty-Eight Photographs And Diagrams Fifth Edition Methuen & Co. 36 Essex Street W. C. London. Fifth Edition August 1909.
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Hitting Long Balls (1914) By Arnaud Massy
"It is a very rare thing for anyone to succeed right off in hitting long balls. In my opinion it is really a question of equilibrium.
It is in no way a matter of physical strength, nor yet is it a question of adroitness.
Rather it depends on the perfect regularity with which the different movements constituting the drive have been carried out; these must be executed in the simplest and most natural way.
Novices should steel themselves against the tendency they all have to try to lengthen the carry of their ball by hitting with an exaggerated degree of force.
The length desired can only be got by that perfect harmony in the rise and fall of the club which allows the latter to have its maximum propulsive force at the instant when it meets the ball.
We must not therefore jump to the conclusion that if the downward swing is forcefully executed, the ball will never gain anything thereby in length of carry, for there is no doubt many players manage their long shots in this way.
But by making his drive with too great an expenditure of vigour the beginner runs a serious risk of losing all control over his movements and destroying their perfect harmony.
At the start limit your efforts to hitting a straight ball, without any deviations and at a proper height.
Once you have succeeded in this, rest assured it will not be long before you begin to notice that little by little the trajectory of your shots is getting longer and longer without any increase of muscular effort.
Fine players who hit their balls as far as they can be hit do not give the impression of exerting the least effort, because they make their drives with a regularity and precision that are often marvellous.
No need then to be in any hurry about hitting very long balls; be satisfied as a beginning with a reasonable distance, say 160 yards or so, a result you will attain pretty easily and which is only a question of regularity of swing and accuracy of eye.
Then, when you have gained some experience on the links, instead of striving after longer and longer drives, seek rather to make your shots straighter and straighter.
Such is the best advice I can give on the subject, for if the length of the ball's flight is important, its straightness is not less, if not even more essential."
Reference : 'GOLF' By Arnaud Massy Translated By A. R. Allinson With Thirteen Diagrams And Twelve Plates Methuen & Co. Ltd, 36 Essex Street W. C. London. This translation First Published in 1914. Chap. VII Pulling and Slicing, page 56.
The Driving Swing (1920) By Harry Vardon
"Having gone into the questions of our clubs and the way we grip them, let us diagnose the swing with the wooden club. It is the basis of successful golf.
All the good shots in the game (all, at any rate, except the putt, which is a thing apart) are founded on the principle of the body turning on a pivot instead of swaying back and then lunging forward at the ball.
That pivot is the waist.
No doubt everybody who has made the slightest study of golf appreciates this piece of orthodoxy, but the number of people who disregard it, even though they realise its importance, constitute about half the golfing world.
Why do they fail to observe the first law of the true swing?
Presumably the reason is that in the days of their novitiate they fall into a bad habit which becomes ingrained in their constitutions. They perpetrate it without being conscious that they are practising it. That is the way with habits.
There is many a person who will declare till he is black in the face that he is not swaying, when you know all the while that he is.
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. The club-head should be started first by means of a gentle half-turn of the left wrist towards the body, and the arms should follow, thus causing the body to screw round at the hips until the arms will go no farther.
To all intents and purposes you wind up the body with the arms and unwind it with the same agents, your whole frame turning in such a manner that it never moves outside the space which you allotted to it in taking up your stance.
It is as though you had a neck made of india-rubber, so that it would allow the shoulders to turn without the head moving...
If you are standing properly, the procedure which produces a satisfactory shot is simply this:
The club-head starts first, the arms follow, and the body screws round at the hips with the head kept still until the instrument is in position behind the head.
Coming down, the club-head again starts first, the arms follow, and the hips unscrew until the ball is struck, and the pace which the club has been gathering on its downward journey produces what we call the follow-through.
There are a few points of detail in connection with this operation which call for consideration.
I have said earlier that you start the club-head first by giving the left wrist a gentle half-turn towards the body.
This is important, because it will put that wrist into the only position in which it is capable of doing its work properly - that is, arched inwards under the shaft instead of arched outwards.
If you turn the hips correctly, the right leg will straighten as you take the club back. You could do with a wooden leg at the top of the swing.
As something must give way to accommodate the turn of the body, the left knee bends.
Consequently, the heel is raised from the ground, and as the body-turn continues the pressure on the left is supported by the inside of the foot - to be precise, on that part which stretches from the big joint to the end of the big toe.
|The Mashie. Give the club head a start on its downward path||The Mid-Iron. The club has started down without the body turning||The Cleek. The club, it will be noticed, has been started on the down track without any alteration of the pose of the body||The Driving Swing. The club head has reached this stage from the top of the swing with only the arms having moved. It is at this point the left knee begins to straighten and the right knee to bend so as to allow the hips to pivot for the hit.|
Click on an image to view a larger version
The all-important matter is to get to the top properly and start down properly; after that the swing will take care of itself so long as you let it go, keep your head down, and avoid wondering whether you are likely to miss the globe."
Reference : 'Progressive Golf' By Harry Vardon With 30 Illustrations London : Hutchinson & Co. Paternoster Row Chart Vi. The Driving Swing, page 154; page 160.
Download : Chart VI. The Driving Swing by Harry Vardon for details, with illustrations.
"There is a world of difference between "pressing" and hitting hard. "Pressing" is trying to do more than is possible, "hitting hard" is applying power at the right time." Cecil Leitch
The Art of Long Driving (1922) By Edward Ray
"It is here that I would call attention to the problem of timing, and probably that is one of the most important points in the art of long driving.
The finest example of timing that I have seen exists in the wooden club play of J. H. Kirkwood, the Australian and New Zealand Open Champion, who visited Britain in 1921.
This Antipodean expert uses clubs which contain an inordinate amount of the "whippy" element, and he is one of the few players I have seen who have adapted themselves to their clubs rather than procure clubs which suited their play.
It may be that a fractional error in the case of Kirkwood would lead to trouble of the most dire order, but the fact remains that he contrives to avoid error with his wooden clubs, and very successfully.
That is the result of good timing.
It really does not matter a great deal if one chooses to use the full swing which is characteristic of my own play, or whether one chooses to do away with the follow through as in the style of Abe Mitchell - the thing is to get accurate hitting and hitting of useful length in a style which will suit the individual.
As I have already suggested, I lay no claim to being what is known as a stylist, and perhaps for that reason I am inclined to be a little sympathetic towards the peculiarities of human nature and the vagaries of the human frame.
Something like the idea to aim at in getting a lengthy drive is this: the club is controlled from the wrists, the part of the arm from the wrists to the elbows, from the joints just named, and the arms swing from the shoulders.
The body must move as if dependent for its movements on the spine.
At the same time these movements must be gone through without too much relationship between each, and the net effort must be that a concentration in their effects should accrue at the crucial moment.
That moment is at the exact time when the club-head meets the ball. If anything goes wrong in the manoeuvre which I have endeavoured to describe, your timing is inaccurate and the pure result is what is known as pressing.
In his first few essays at length the player in executing his drive may be tempted to impart too much speed to the commencement of his downward swing, and that temptation in most cases arises from a sort of horror that time has been lost in the slow up-swing. If that error be fallen into that small fault will lead to a conglomeration of faults, and that mixture of faults will end in a drive which will not, to say the least, give the player cause for congratulation.
It is not at the top of the swing that pace and force are required, but, as I have already said, at the point of the swing when the club-head strikes the ball.
Anything in the nature of hurried force at he top of the swing is entirely out of place. Rather let the club begin the down swing with a nice easy movement, and then all the way in its passage to the ball let it increase in its velocity.
Should the elbows and wrists come into operation after the forearms have done their task the hands will get in front of the ball in a most undesirable way, and, in fact, will be in front of the ball before the club comes in contact with it.
Now we come to the question of body-work in the drive, and here I know that I am discoursing on a topic which will cause much comment ; but, yet again, as I have already said, I never was orthodox and I am afraid never will be. Those who have witnessed my play have doubtless noticed that in my up-swing my body has a tendency to sway from the target and then in turn moves in the direction of the ball in the down swing. But, to be quite candid, I would scarcely advise the inexperienced golfer to start emulating me in this respect as there are little points upon which he might go wrong. By far better let him wait until he has mastered the more academic items and then study the matter of sway.
Fairly free pivoting is essential in the first sway, and as the club advances and the forward movement of the body is evident, a slight turn on the ball of the left foot is advisable, the turn culminating in a sort of pointing of the left foot in the direction of the drive. By that means one will achieve a sort of rhythm and ease.
It has been suggested to me sometimes that my somewhat extraordinary build is everything in my driving, and though perhaps it may truthfully be said that my fairly bulky proportions do play a part in my driving, it would be a mistake to say that they entirely govern it.
Though it is conceded by many that build does count in long driving, an argument I agree with to a certain extent, it must be kept in mind that there are players of comparatively small build who can get prodigious length from the tee, and here I have in mind the well-known Ben Sayers, senr., of North Berwick.
This little man, who is merely a shade over five feet in height, uses clubs which do not compare too unfavourably with himself in the matter of length, and he achieves a length which is positively astounding to anyone watching him for the first time. Yet again he is unorthodox in his way much as I am in mine.
His is a case where timing has been reduced to a fine art."
Reference : 'Golf Clubs And How To Use Them' By Edward Ray. Chapter VII Driving Pitfalls. Methuen & Co. Ltd. 36 Essex Street W.C. London. First Published in 1922.
Achieving Effortless Power. The Driver by Bob Toski
Bob Toski Teaches You Golf. With Andy Nusbaum Director of The Golf Digest Instruction Schools Winner of 5 PGA Tour Wins. Leading Money Winner 1954. Available on Amazon: Bob Toski Teaches You Golf [DVD]
"Golf is really a two-handed game; yet it is still a left-handed game for the right-handed man to the extent that the muscles on the left side of the body dominate those of the right side in every swing that is made correctly." Alex J. Morrison
The Proper Set of Muscles (1932) By Alex J. Morrison
"I have already made the statement that golf is, in a way, a left-handed game for a right-handed player and a right-handed game for the left-handed-player.
This is rather an unfortunate way of stating the case, for the statement is inexact.
Golf is really a two-handed game; yet it is still a left-handed game for the right-handed man to the extent that muscles on the left side of the body dominate those of the right side in every swing that is made correctly.
IN THE CORRECT SWING CONSCIOUS USE IS MADE OF ONLY ONE SMALL GROUP OF MUSCLES ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BODY.
I have studied the anatomy of golf as thoroughly as any layman could.
I know the names and and understand the action of all the principal muscles, bones, joints and tendons used in swinging the club.
THE PROPER SET OF MUSCLES USED IN MAKING CORRECT SWING. "Use of these muscles to propel the club in a whirling motion affords the correct swing. By dominating the action of the swing these muscles produce power and accuracy in hitting." Alex J. Morrison
Maximise Your Distance by Pat Dempsey Long Drive Champion
"The late hit is the secret of power." Joyce Wethered
With The Drive You Sweep Them Off The Tee (1963)
"The drive is the only shot in golf in which you don't aim to return the club to the exact position as it was at address.
You don't hit down on your drives - you sweep them off the tee.
The clubhead zings through the impact area just a fraction of an inch above the ground and this enables you to hit the ball right on the screws - smack in the center of the clubface - even though half of the ball was resting above the clubface at address.
I don't recommend teeing the ball low unless you find that you are naturally a "high hitter."
Reference : Sam Snead's book The Driver Book, by Sam Snead', Chapter Three. Preface by Byron Nelson, The Kaye Golf Trilogy, Vol. 1. Nicolas Kaye, London. Copyright © 1963 by Golf Digest, Inc.
"Any man who plays great golf over a long period of years must be a great driver. Obviously, Sam Snead has been one of the best. Sam has won more than 100 tournaments since he turned professional in 1934.
And who will ever forget Sam's 18-hole score of 59 against top competition during a round of the 1959 Greenbrier Open. During my playing days Sam was the best driver on the tour. The history of the 275-yard drive down the middle has been a little like that of the four-minute mile. It seemed impossible until Roger Bannister ran it, and then many others started breaking the four-minute barrier.
Snead did the same thing for driving a golf ball. Now, of course, fellows like Nicklaus and Palmer accurately hit well over 275 yards with regularity. It is obvious Sam Snead can speak with authority in a book on driving. His voice makes it the book on driving."
Byron Nelson, September 1963.
The Drive Animated Instruction Section by Sam Snead, The Driver Book. Featuring Flip-Vision®
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Sharing Secrets On Being A Big Hitter with Corey Pavin
PGA Golf Series Tips From The Tour. Includes 'Learn how to drive for distance' by Corey Pavin
1995 U.S. Open Champion. Available on Amazon
"Accuracy depends upon keeping the body strictly perpendicular, and the head as immovable as possible. The rotation of the body should come from the hips rather than from the shoulders." Alex Smith
Turning On The Power (1948) By Ben Hogan
"Before I go into detail on how I turn on the power, let me say that I don' t go out and blaze away with all of my power on every hole.
I pick my spots.
The long par fours or the long par fives are the holes I usually select to cut loose on with all my extra power in an effort to get birdies.
The idea behind the turning on of your extra power on these holes is to get as far out off the tee as possible in the hope that you won't have a wood shot to the green for your second shot.
The Grip And Stance
In reviewing the changes in the game that have given us tournament players increased and controlled power, let's start with the grip and stance.
We now grip our clubs more firmly than they have ever been gripped.
By using a firmer grip we are able to hit with greater authority and at the same time maintain complete control of the clubhead.
Good Tempo & How To Complete The Backswing by Dale Douglass
1987 U.S. Senior Open Champion. The Master System to Better Golf
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'Don't Slight The Backswing' Helen L. Hicks U.S. Women's Amateur Champion Courtesy LA84 Foundation
Weight Distribution (1953) By Tommy Armour
"In your stance, the position of the ball with relation to your feet is, of course, important, but it isn't so primarily important as the distribution of your weight.
About ninety per cent of all golfers scuff their shots because they haven't thought about how to distribute their weight.
In The Drive
In addressing your drive, have the feeling that about sixty per cent of your weight is being supported by your right foot.
And Other Shots
On the other shots, where the ball is to be hit on the down stroke or at the very bottom of the swing arc, you should feel that at address about sixty per cent of your weight is being supported by your left foot.
The sixty per cent figure is arbitrary.
"Steadiness, not speed, is the keynote in beginning the application of power in a swing. Speed is developed later." Ernest Jones
Timing Is The Way To Get Power (1964) By Doug Ford
"There is some disagreement among the pros over whether a beginner should try for power and distance in his wood shots right from the beginning. I'm inclined to the view that you'll get distance more readily if you make the proper contact with the ball.
If you let the clubhead do the work, and don't press or squeeze, the ball will zoom off and climb into a graceful arc as only a well-hit wood shot can.
If a beginner doesn't use the power of his pivot and wrist snap, of course he's not hitting the ball with the maximum power.
But to strive for power usually means putting on pressure to a beginner, and that is not the way to learn how to use your woods.
I know a number of elderly gentlemen who have little power left in their wrists, and can hardly turn their hips, but they power the ball 200 yards straight down the fairway on occasion, and consistently hit 180 yards, just because they know how to meet the ball.
Timing the hit is the way to get power.
Get accuracy and timing and let the length take care of itself!"
Reference : Doug Ford's book 'Getting Started in Golf', Chapter 4, Your Swing, How to Grip the Club, Copyright © 1964 by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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How To Achieve Power for the Ladies by David and Kelly Leadbetter
From Beginner to Winner. David Leadbetter Instruction DVD. 95-minute programme
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Keep Your Eye On The Ball (1935) By Ernest Jones
""Keep your eye on the ball" sounds very simple and easy, but it is amazing how very complicated even so simple a thing can be made to appear, or at least has come to appear to some.
With the many varied admonitions passed on to persons trying to learn the game, such as, "Keep your head perfectly still," "Hold your head as though it were in a vise," "Don't fail to keep in mind that your head is the anchor of the swing," "Keep your chin back of the ball," "Look at the ball with the left eye." and so on, it is not strange that the real reason for looking at the ball is overlooked.
Swinging an axe, wielding a broom, or striking something with any kind of stick or club is a definite action. As parts of that action there may be many movements, so that one is apt to become confused as to what is initiative action and what is responsive movement in producing that action.
In trying to hit a golf ball, one is attempting a definite action, aimed at bringing the clubhead into contact with the ball at right angles to the desired line of play.
I always point out to my pupils that, if you try to hit anything accurately, it is a good idea to look at the object.
Cultivate Maximum Hand Action For The Drive (1962)
"So the drive's success, from the combined standpoint of power and accuracy, depends jointly upon the clubhead speed generated and the ability to maintain that speed through the hitting area.
When I was at Annandale, Professor Tom Cape made some thorough tests of these dynamics by means of a high-speed camera. It had already shown him secrets of what happened to metals under stress, and he wanted to see what it would show about a golf swing.
His research is only in the early stage, and I hope he goes from there. But he took a wide sampling of swings from four different golfers: the outstanding Betty Hicks, woman professional; Mike Austin, one of the longest-hitting pros in the Los Angeles district; a slightly better than average medium handicapper from Annandale; and myself.
In all these swings - professional and amateur, woman and men alike - the clubhead was moving fastest at the horizontal point of the downswing.
Betty Hicks 90 mph - 88 mph 217 Yards
In the case of Betty Hicks, it was travelling ninety miles an hour. After she had struck the ball, and after the shaft had reached horizontal again on the follow-through, her clubhead was going eighty-eight miles an hour.
This spoke very well of her ability to maintain clubhead velocity.
To keep this high percentage of clubhead speed through the hitting area ad beyond, she managed a very rapid turn of the toe of the club from a trailing position with relation to the heel to a leading position.
Maximum Speed Without Our Interference (1946)
"The secret of this lies in the fact that speed of swing and speed of club head are entirely different, and oddly enough it is the slow swing which, by enabling the wrists to open at the correct instant, gives you maximum club head speed where you want it - beyond the ball.
The difficulty of accepting this is that it is opposed to the natural instincts raised by our desire to hit a long way.
We feel we want club head speed so we must swing fast, not realizing that the maximum speed can only come when the momentum of the club head is free from our interference, when our opening wrists give it the speed and power of the flail.
That is why I tell you that there is no such thing as a good natural swing. The natural swinger is the golf rabbit!"
Reference : 'On Learning Golf' by Percy Boomer. Chapter VIII Preparatory to the Swing and Chapter XIV The Force Center, Copyright © 1946 by Percy Boomer. First published in the USA by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
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How Near or How Far to Stand from the Golf ball By Butch Harmon
Butch Harmon's Ultimate Golf, Part 2, Power Play Course IQ' video.
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Wood Play v. Putting (1991) By Gary Wiren
"Wood play consumes 25% of the strokes of the better player.
Putting consumes some 43% of the strokes of the better player, thereby serving as "a great equalizer" between the power hitter and the finess player."
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. Macmillan USA. A Simon & Schuster Macmillan Company Copyright © 1991 by The Professional Golfer's Association of America, pages 31-32.
The Challenge of The Course (1994) By T. P. Jorgensen
"Most golf courses are designed to offer a proper challenge to a golfer.
No two golf courses are the same, but most courses have the common characteristic of having four par five holes, four par three holes and ten par four holes.
|4 x Par 5||20|
|4 x Par 3||12|
|10 x Par 4||40|
|Play Par Golf||72|
Usually the distances between the tee and cup are chosen so that well hit balls are needed to offer any hope of paring the hole. There is, of course, much more to golf than just the swing of the club.
How far must a golfer be able to hit the ball in order to hope to play par golf? Where is he to find the needed energy?
The distance a ball goes depends on many factors, but one necessary condition for distance is that the ball have a high speed just after it leaves the clubhead. The conservation of momentum principle tells us that, for a given club and a given ball, the speed of the ball depends directly on the speed of the clubhead.
We have seen that the large muscles of the body must come into play to achieve the tremendous clubhead speed, 100 miles per hour or more, needed to hit the ball far enough to approach the possibility of shooting par golf.
How Distance Affects Score
As we look for energy for the swing, it is of interest to consider how the distances a golfer achieves with his driver and fairway woods affect his possible score on a hypothetical average course.
It will be assumed that the golfer plays perfect golf with two putts on each green.
I have used yardages of regulation courses with which I am familiar; if I had used yardages of other courses things might have come out slightly different, but the general conclusions would be similar.
|Strokes lost to par||15||12||9||7||5||3||1||0|
If you are able to get 160 yards, on the average, for your drives and wood shots you would lose 15 strokes to par just because of this lack of distance.
A ten yard increase in the average distance you could hit the ball with these clubs would decrease your loss to par to 12 strokes.
While few play perfect golf, this table shows how important distance with precision can be in improving a person's score.
For ordinary golfers, USGA handicap index from 1979 to 1990 has remained a steady 17."
Reference : 'The Physics of Golf' by Theodore P. Jorgensen Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. AIP Press. Copyright © 1994 Springer-Verlag New York.
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"I never give a pupil instruction on irons and on driving the same day. The drive is hit slightly on the upswing. The irons must be hit on the downswing." Tommy Armour
Finally Down The Middle (2011) By Adam Kolloff
"When it comes to driving, there's a lot of misguided information out there.
Most of it comes from club manufacturers who target your appetite by promising straighter and farther drives.
Sadly it's worked for years. People are wasting more money on the driver than any other club in the bag. Why? Because hitting a drive long and straight is the biggest thrill in golf.
There's no other shot in golf that players try to emulate the pros than driving. Equipment salesmen are in control because golfers are losing sight of what's really going on.
As someone who's experimented with every club and shaft on the market (post persimmon woods), I can honestly tell you good driving does not come from good technology.
New equipment will not take your game to the next level.
Only you can do that. It's about acquiring the right knowledge, putting in the work, and then applying it to your game.
Finally Down the Middle is a manuscript for good driving.
It focuses on the things that matter besides equipment. The goal is to help you find more fairways, and along the way, add more distance. You will do it if you follow the concepts and changes in this book.
The first step is to understand what I call the core concepts of good driving. They will serve as your foundation for improvement - something to always review on your road to improvement...
The Importance of The Downswing
The downswing is the most important part of the golf swing because it's the motion that delivers the golf club into impact.
The downswing is the make or break period of the swing. You can have the worst looking backswing and still make solid contact. It's no wonder why top teachers and players call the downswing the most important move in golf. There's no other movement in golf that plays such an important role in producing accuracy and power.
This book deals specifically with the movements on the downswing. The suggestions you are going to read about are based on research, not just moves that I, or other good players, work on. These moves are commonalities among the best drivers in the world. In essence that's how you become great - you study the best and learn what they are doing.
Are you looking to hit the ball straighter and farther? Look no further than the movement on the downswing. Recently, new technology such as Trackman has proved that by hitting up on the ball, versus down on the ball, can increase your distance by nearly 30 yards.
So if you're looking for more yards off the tee, you need to keep reading.
Is This A Method?
I don't like to teach strict positions. I like to teach moves. I think the best players in the world are great because they move in certain ways. What I've noticed in top PGA Tour driving is a consistent move from the top of the backswing that prepares the club before impact.
This is not a gigantic discovery by any means. All great teachers and players have known the importance of lateral motion with the lower body to start the downswing.
However, what makes this book different is the lower body movement combined with the upper body movement. Of the top drivers that I've reasearched players vary in the degree of lower body lateral motion. Some move their hips more than a foot, while others move only 6 inches. But what stays the same is the movement of the head - it never moves forward. That's a big tip amateurs fail to realize. But no two swings are alike - something Jim McLean hammered into my brain and I agree.
This book outlines a basic move from the top that is adjustable for players of all ages, abilities, and flexibility. I will teach lateral motion with the lower body, while maintaining the position of the head from the top of the backswing to impact. It works for everyone.
First Stage of The Downswing
The beginning of stage one starts with the lower body's initial movement toward the target. This also marks the beginning of the two-way move, a term Ken Venturi nicknamed because the lower body moves forward as the club is still moving back. This proves there is no stopping point in the swing. The swing is a fluid motion from the top of the backswing to the finish. The end of stage one is defined when the left arm is parallel to the ground. Below are checkpoints from the ground up.
At the beginning of stage one, weight distribution rolls off the inside of the right foot to trigger the start of the downswing. This is what great players describe as using the ground for power. They are pivoting off the ground just like a running back pivoting to one side. Both heels remain on the ground during the entire stage...
The right and left arm drop a considerable amount during stage one. This is a natural reaction to lateral motion in the lower body and the unwinding of the body. However, some players can benefit from consciously lowering their arms in order to swing more from the inside. The key is to drop the right elbow close to the body while maintain lag in the wrists...
Reference : 'Finally Down the Middle, 2011. A New Focus on Driving the Ball Farther and Straighter' By Adam Kolloff. Page 4, 5, 41-48. Scratch Golf School. www.scratchgolfschool.com
"And always remember that the first movement of the downswing is a slight drag with the left hand." Arthur D'Arcy Locke
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.
"If a perfectly timed and powerful stroke is the object of the player, he must fix his eye upon the ball, or at least upon the ground exactly behind and beneath it; and once he has concentrated his attention upon that spot he must not allow his gaze to stray until he has completed his stroke and the ball has been swept off the tee.
Many players wonder why they do not succeed in taking the ball off the little cone of sand cleanly.
Probably the cause of this failure upon their part would be found in the fact that they remove their eye from the spot just a fraction before the head of the club meets the ball.
I acknowledge that it is a difficult matter not to allow your attention to be distracted, and to gaze ahead. It would be better not to remove the eye from the original spot until a second or more has elapsed after the stroke has been played."
Reference : 'Taylor on Golf' Impressions, Comments and Hints by J. H. Taylor Chapter XXXI. Driving: The One Thing Necessary. Open Champion 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1909 With Forty-Eight Illustrations Fifth Edition London Hutchinson & Co. Paternoster Row 1911.
"During the last few years two new styles of driving seem t have come in - the result of the rubber-cored ball again!
One must call them styles now, because so many people adopt them, or perhaps one should say fall into them.
One is the hit, or "cricket stroke," as it is generally called, since men who have played much cricket most frequently use it, finding it difficult after all their cricket experiences to swing as golfers ought to do; and the other is the very short swing.
Taking these in order, there can be no doubt that some of the men who use the cricket stroke, and particularly those who have been good cricketers, do get very long balls with it. All the same it is not what one would call a proper golfing stroke, and it is certainly one to be avoided by all who do not feel themselves forced into it by reason of the long time they have spent at cricket.
You often see young players who are very strong in the body and limbs getting into it chiefly because they have that exceptional muscular power and use it in the simplest way possible, instead of taking the trouble to cultivate the true swing. The cricket stroke is a hit pure and simple.
Now, as to the second of the two new styles to which I have referred, that of short swinging.
In the days of the gutta ball you very seldom saw it, because a full swing was then almost necessary in order to get any length at all. Other things being equal, the longer the swing - up to a certain point - the greater is the momentum of the club-head at the time it reaches the ball, and therefore the greater its driving distance.
But it certainly does not need quite so much power to propel the rubber-cored ball as in the case of the gutta, and it happens in this way that many men have got into a system of shortening their swings - particularly, I should say, their backward swing, because they find the result is that they gain something in the accuracy and certainty of the stroke.
Some of the short swings that one sees are very short indeed, and it is surprising what length is obtained from them.
Nevertheless I am quite sure that a certain amount of length is lost, and on the whole I cannot think that the short swing is by any means so good as a full one, at all events for those who have the capacity to make the full one.
But one thing I ought to say here is, that I think many men of comparatively small physical power make swings that are too long for them, and indeed it seems to be characteristic of the weak man that he swings too much. When a man makes a swing that is really too long for him, the usual result is that he does not turn his body as he ought to do, and then the club goes straight up, and at the top almost drops down his back.
The club must always be drawn back in the line that the ball has to take, and if the player finds that he really cannot get the club round in the proper way, making the full swing that as he does, he might perhaps with advantage try a shorter swing and see if he can get more body work in by that means."
Reference : 'Advanced Golf Or, Hints And Instruction For Progressive Players' By James Braid Chapter IV Long Driving, Short Swings, page 67. OPEN CHAMPION, 1901, 1905, AND 1906. With Eighty-Eight Photographs And Diagrams Fifth Edition Methuen & Co. 36 Essex Street W. C. London. Fifth Edition August 1909.
"What has been your main trouble?" I asked him.
"I've got a lot of main troubles" he replied, "but one of them is slicing. I slice every shot I hit, no matter what club I use, how I stand or how I swing."
I made him swing at a few balls, while I watched him closely before saying anything. He was true to his promise. He had one of the most perfect slices I have ever seen, every form of it from the slow, drifting slice to the sharp break at the end.
I noticed in the first place that he was standing too far away from the ball - so far away that he had to fall forward as he struck.
This is the finest way in the world to hit a ball in the heel of the club and develop a perfect slice.
I noticed after this that in taking his club back he lifted the head on the outside of the ball, in place of swinging back inside the ball with his left hand in control.
This is another sure way of getting a first-class slice.
In the third place I saw that he was aiming for the left of the course, in order to allow for the slice that he knew was sure to come. This always mean that you will pull across the ball.
He had still another fault. On the downward swing he was starting his body in ahead of the hands and keeping the hands all through the swing in front of the clubhead.
Here were four ways to bring on a slice, all in one swing. The wonder is that the ball didn't finish up back of him.
To correct these faults I first made him stand about six inches closer to the ball, with his feet almost upon an even line, the left toe only an inch or so back of the right.
I then made him start his backswing with the left hand and left arm in control, starting the clubhead back inside the ball and along the ground, rather than the sudden upward lift he had been using.
He had been gripping quite tightly with his right. I got him to ease up with the right hand and to keep the left arm fairly straight, but not stiff or rigid. These were the two most important corrections to take up.
He was now swinging at the ball from the inside, where he could let the clubhead go on through in the direction of the green, in place of pulling it across from right to left.
I noticed also that his right elbow had been flying high and wide, so I made him keep this in closer to the body, where he had something to hit with.
The next move was to make him keep his head still and to start the pivot with his left shoulder and left knee working together.
After this I told him to let the swing pull his body through, rather than try to get his body into the stroke."
Reference : Correcting the Common Faults By James M. Barnes Open Champion of Great Britain, The American Golfer, May 1926. Courtesy of LA84 Foundation.
"Optimizing driving distance is a question of:
- High ball speed,
- High launch angle, and,
- Low spin rate.
But you can, in general, not increase launch angle without also increasing the spin rate.
So the fundamental question was: "What determines what spin rate/launch angle combination can be obtained?"
It turns out that for a well hit shot, attack angle is the primary parameter dictating what combinations of launch angle/spin rate are obtainable for a given player.
Attack angle is the primary parameter telling you why you obtain certain combinations of launch angle and spin rate - it is even more important than the club head speed.
Negative or Positive Angle of Attack?
Attack angle, together with club head speed, are the individual swing parameters which dictate the dynamic loft - loft of club at impact - your driver should accomplish.
Negative Angle of Attack
If you have a 90 mph club head speed with an angle of attack of -5 degrees, hitting down on the ball, your optimal launch angle/spin rate is around 10 degrees and 3100 rpm. This would typically require a relatively high lofted driver, around 13-15 degrees, to achieve this.
Positive Angle of Attack
On the other hand, if your attack angle is +5 degrees, hitting up on the ball, with the same 90mph club head speed, your optimal launch angle/spin rate is around 16 degrees and 2000 rpm, but this would require a relatively low lofted driver, around 9-10 degrees, to achieve this.
Significantly, this last combination will carry the ball almost 30 yards further than the -5 degrees negative attack angle numbers.
All things equal, how can the average golfer improve his/her attack angle? While this is a question for golf coaches to answer, I can provide some general suggestions such as moving the ball forward in the stance and probably teeing a bit higher. This will typically require you to swing a bit more inside-out than you are used to.
It turns out that if you hit down or up on the ball with the same club, the spin rate will be more or less identical if you impact the ball on the same spot on the face. This is in contradiction to the myth saying that hitting down on the ball increases the spin rate.
Simplified slightly, the correlations are: Attack angle changes the launch angle, with club loft, including shaft flex, changing the spin rate.
When you hit up on the ball, the launch angle will be higher but the spin rate will be virtually the same. The spin rate is dictated primarily by the spin loft and impact position on the club face.
Having said this, it is still a good idea to hit down on the ball with irons and wedges.
A negative attack angle makes it easier to get proper contact to the ball which ensures a predictable spin rate for your approach shots."
Source : TRACKMAN™ News #2 January 2008 Copyright © Trackman™ 2008 Page 04 of 15 by Fredrik Tuxen The Inventor of Trackman™ As used and/or tested by Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and other leading Tour players. www.TrackManGolf.com
Willie Macfarlane, the 1925 Open Champion, gives this advice:
"The driver is the club that will give the average player the most satisfaction if a little sound judgment is used.
The main trouble is that they want to give the ball a 'ride' at every tee, and the usual result is that the ball gets about one ride in the course of each round, and the grand average is what?
To begin with, I believe the driver is, or should be, the easiest club to use, for everything is in its favor, level stance and the ball teed in just the way you wish.
Now if the average player would concentrate only on getting all drives in the middle of the fairway, in this way I believe not only would his average distance mount up quite a little, but he would be getting some exceptionally long drives with apparently little effort."
Reference : 'Suggestions That Will Reduce Scores, A Digest and Review of Helpful Hints by Recognized Experts', by George Girard, Golf Illustrated, April 1926. Courtesy LA84 Foundation, Digital Library, www.LA84Foundation.org
"William "Willie" Macfarlane (29 June 1890 – 15 August 1961) was a Scottish professional golfer, born in Aberdeen, Scotland. Like many British golfers of his era, he took a position as a club professional in the United States.
In 1925 he won the U.S. Open at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts. He tied Bobby Jones over seventy-two holes, with both men shooting 291. Macfarlane had set a new U.S. Open single round low-score of 67 in the second round. The two men played an eighteen hole playoff and both of them shot 75. Macfarlane won a second eighteen hole playoff by 72 shots to 73.
Macfarlane played in the U.S. Open seventeen times, but only had one other top ten finish. He won 21 times on the PGA Tour."
"With the right foot drawn back an inch or two, you have the slightly closed stance I am talking about. It will help you get more power into your shots.
Most good drivers use this slightly closed stance. They may also use it on their fairway wood shots and long iron shots.
The stance tends to "square up" when you move into the middle irons and it begins to open on the short iron shots. Don't let your driving stance creep into your shorter game.
On a driver, however, a square or slightly open stance would restrict your backswing turn and maybe cause you to slice.
The closed stance leads you into a nice, full turn and helps you swing the clubhead into the ball from inside the target line.
Depending on a lot of other factors, this should put a nice straight flight on your drives, with maybe just a little right-to-left draw on the end of it. This is the flight that usually gives you the most distance and roll.
But remember, I said drop the right foot back only an inch or two from the line to the target. Don't pull it way back in the bucket, as they say in baseball, or you'll mess up the entire swing arc."
Reference : Sam Snead's book 'The Driver Book, by Sam Snead', Chapter Five Stance and Posture. Preface by Byron Nelson, The Kaye Golf Trilogy, Vol. 1. Nicolas Kaye, London. Copyright © 1963 by Golf Digest, Inc.
"As I gave you a cure for five other common ailments earlier in the book (see Faults and Fixes) it would be cruel not to offer the same treatment for slicers, who as we say are among the vast majority at club level.
So here we go; the reasons why you slice and how you can eliminate it from your game.
The advice which follows applies to the longest clubs in the bag, specifically the driver, as these straight-faced clubs are the ones most prone to an attack of the wicked slice.
First things first; let's analyse the actual geometry of the slice, because this information will accelerate the correction process.
The path of the swing is out-to-in, which means the clubhead is travelling to the left of the target at impact, or across the line.
The clubface is also open to that path, so you get a glancing blow which creates clockwise spin on the ball.
The ball starts to the left, which reflects the path of the clubhead, then swerves to the right in the air, which reflects the sidespin on the ball generated by the open clubface.
That's it, in a nutshell.
So how do these faulty impact factors come about? What's the root cause?
Well, it starts at the address position. More often than not, the ball is too far forward in the stance.
In other words, too far to the left relative to where your feet are. That has a negative chain reaction, in as much that you have to reach for the ball which drags your shoulders into a position whereby they align left of the target.
Standing in that fashion, it's impossible to do anything but swing on an out-to-in path. This is a key point of understanding in the geometry of your golf shots; the path of your swing is pre-determined by the ball position.
Of course, swinging to the left means the ball flies to the left, so as an instinctive reaction to counteract that you open the clubface and effectively "slice" the ball back into play. It's a little bit like a backhand slice in tennis.
There' s no release. And as a result, there's no power.
So the way to correct a slice is to go back to the start of the problem, your address position, and systematically rectify the individual faults.
Make sure the ball is placed opposite your left heel; absolutely and definitely no further forward than that. This immediately squares-up your shoulders, so they are aligned parallel with the ball-to-target line.
Remember, the path of your swing is pre-determined by your ball position. So what you'll find is that it will feel easier, natural even, to swing the club on the correct path.
The clubhead approaches the ball from inside, not outside, the line. It then reaches the on-line portion of its arc at the exact moment of impact, so the ball starts on-line.
Your first few shots may slice to the right in the air, as you'll still be keeping the clubface open as if you were playing for a slice.
But instinctively you'll start to square the clubface to produce a straight shot.
Think in terms of a topspin forehand in tennis, the right hand rolling over through the ball. That release action produces much more power and something you might not have seen before; a proper draw flight.
You'll enjoy that. As you will the extra distance that comes with that kind of strike and trajectory.
In fact, you could reasonably expect to gain another 15-20 per cent in terms of the yardage of your best drives. And it will feel easy, it really will."
Reference : 'The A to Z of Golf' Written by Steve Newell. Slice, page 88 (S). © Green Umbrella Publishing 2009. www.gupublishing.co.uk
Available on Amazon : The A-Z of Golf: A Golfing A to Z (Little Books)
"I am looking over my left shoulder, which is fully pointing to the ball.
Notice that the backs of my shoulders are facing down the fairway.
I had a painful experience of the trouble that can arise from not completing the backswing during the 1949 Open at Sandwich.
I had reached the fourteenth in the first round and at that point was six under fours. The wind was directly behind me for this long hole and driving out of bounds never entered my head. The fairway is, however, intersected by a stream, and it is possible, if you hit a long shot, to finish in the water.
I must have had this in mind when as I drove, for I did not complete my backswing and did not get the full turn of the shoulder to point to the ball.
The result was that my hands were ahead at impact and the ball was cut.
It bounced on the right edge of the fairway and went out of bounds."
Reference : 'Bobby Locke On Golf' By Bobby Locke. First published in 1953. Country Life Limited 2-10 Tavistock Street London W.C.2. Part Two: How I Play Golf 1. Five Fundamentals, 5. Downswing to Impact, page 87, 6. Now the backswing.
"The Swing. How do we get that rhythm; how do we get that swing?
I'm going to feel like I'm going to turn my chest to the target; extending the club through to the target. I feel like almost I'm throwing a discus.
I'm gonna throw the discus through the ball.
That's where I'm going to use all my weight and all my power to get through the ball."
Reference : Ian Woosnam 'Golf made simple! the Woosie Way' DVD video. Filmed at Celtic Manor Golf and Country Club. Produced and directed by TWI for BMG Video, a division of BMG Entertainment International UK and Ireland Ltd. Executive Director: Anabel Sexton. Designed and conceived by GDO. Copyright © 2002 BMG Entertainment International UK and Ireland.
To custom fit your golf clubs use the Forgan Golf Custom Fit Wizard
Ian Woosnam Winner of the Berenberg Bank Masters 2011 and Defending Champion 2012, 29 June - 1 July Golf Club Worthsee Photograph Ian Woosnam and Gary Player, courtesy of 'Golfen im Club Mai 2012 Golzeitung Fur Deutschland' by Reiner Sirsch at www.golfenimclub.de
"The Driver 2-9:
A good posture check is to review the relationship between the clubshaft and your left arm at address. They should form a slight angle. You don't want them to describe a straight, unbroken line."
Reference : 'Corey Pavin's SHOTMAKING' with Guy Yocom, Golf Digest Pocket Books Published by NYT Special Services, Inc. and Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. New York. Copyright © 1996 by Corey Pavin Foreword copyright © by Tom Watson Photography by Jim Moriarty Book Design by Laura Hammond Hough.
"Centrifugal force is an interesting factor in golf.
I was told just after the 1972 World Series at Firestone Country Club, by someone who should know, that in a powerful swing the clubhead speed deriving from centrifugal force becomes so great by the time the club is about hip high on the forward swing that the golfer's problem is not really to accelerate the club further, but simply to go along with it in such a way that he doesn't check its velocity.
I told my scientific informant that even if this is true I distinctly have the feeling that I do accelerate the club right through the ball on full shots. He felt this was correct, in that if you don't at least feel you are accelerating throughout the forward swing there's a possibility you're actually holding something back.
But this theory seems to explain a shot I hit at the par-3 fifteenth in the second round at Firestone.
The choice of club lay between a two-iron and three-iron, and I decided to go with an easy two-iron.
Coming into the ball I was deliberately "soft" with my hands. I've never hit a better two-iron in my life! The ball finished over the green.
Maybe this explains what happens on those good drives where I often have a "soft" feeling in my hands through the ball.
You could say that my hand action on such shots was merely a reaction to the earlier accelerative effects of centrifugal force on the clubhead generated by proper leverage. My hands went along for the ride.
It's an interesting possibility. All I know is I wish it happened more often."
Reference : Jack Nicklaus' book 'Golf My Way The Instructional Classic, Revised and Update' Jack Nicklaus with Ken Bowden. Illustrations by Jim McQueen. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks Copyright © 1974, 2005 Jack Nicklaus Copyright renewed © 2002 by Jack Nicklaus.
"One reason, or excuse, offered by the average golfer for a bad slice is that he got his body in too soon.
The average golfer usually experiences trouble for one of two reasons.
Either he omits the forward movement or shift of the hips that must precede and blend in with the beginning of the unwinding, or he moves his whole body, including head and shoulders, in a sort of lunge at the ball.
He cannot hope to do other than cut across the ball if he holds the greater part of his weight upon his right leg, or falls back upon it as he brings his club down.
In the correct swing, starting down, the hips shift forward slightly before any noticeable unwinding takes place.
I like Abe Mitchell's expression that "the player should move freely beneath himself."
In other words, the head and shoulders should not accompany the hips in this initial movement.
I have often referred to the stretch that I feel up the left side and arm, from hip to hand, as the result of leading the downswing with the hip-turn while the club is still going back.
Now the hands drop almost vertically downwards, starting the right shoulder movement below the left, from which point the swing is able to pass through the ball on a line approximately straight toward the objective.
Reference : Bobby Jones' book 'Bobby Jones On Golf', Robert Tyre (Bobby) Jones. Chapter Four. Foreword by Charles Price. Illustrations by Anthony Ravielli. 1966 Doubleday & Company, Inc. New York.
"I rate Sam Snead as the greatest driver who ever lived.
Craig Wood I rate number two, with Bobby Jones and Byron Nelson not far behind.
Harry Cooper would be right up there with them, if accuracy alone were considered.
Ben Hogan hit the ball very powerfully, but on the whole more erratically.
George Bayer is, without question, the longest driver of them all, but his accuracy too, has to be improved before he can be ranked with Snead.
In the early part of my own career Jimmy Thompson was the king of the swat."
Reference : Paul Runyan's book 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers', The Drive, Chapter 13. Dodd, Mead & Company, Copyright © 1962 by Paul Runyan.
"John E. Laidlay had an amazing record which included winning ten gold medals at Musselburgh, ten at Muirfield and a further nine silver medals.
In 1878, at the age of eighteen he joined Luffness Golf Club playing over the old course near Aberlady. In 1883 he became a member of the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Leigh, and two years later he joined the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St Andrews.
During practice before the 1889 Amateur Championship at St Andrews, Laidlay had lost his game and could not hit the ball.
In desperation he took out Willie Campbell to try and find out what was wrong.
They tried everything and as a last resort Campbell suggested that he should hold his driver at the bottom of the leather - and it worked.
Laidlay won the Championship and held his clubs short ever since.
In the final he defeated Leslie Balfour Melville at the nineteenth hole.
Laidlay's caddie at St Andrews was Jack White who apprenticed as a club maker with Tom Dunn at North Berwick before joining the professional ranks at Sunningdale."
Reference : 'Famous North Berwick Golfers'. John Ernest Laidlay J. P Amateur Golf Champion 1889, 1891, runner-up 1888, 1890 and 1893. Laidlay invented the grip used by the vast majority of golfers. Many of his medals are now on display in the British Golf Museum. Copyright © Douglas C. Seaton 2011. www.northberwick.org.uk/laidlay.html
"This problem has been studied for a long time. Some 3000 years ago the Greek discus thrower found he needed to get his hand holding the discus moving at high speed before he let the discus fly. The modern method of throwing a discus is a complicated matter, but I felt that the discus throwers might have something important to say to golfers.
A regulation discus is now a flat disk having a mass of 2 kg (it weighs about 4.4 lbs here on Earth) and is 8 5/8 in. in diameter. It is thrown from inside an 8 ft 2 1/2 in. circle. The thrower starts his throw with his back toward the target and completes one and one-half turns before he lets the discus fly. His intention is to throw the discus as far as he is able to. He has wide latitude as far as direction is concerned.
We are not interested in the details of this turning. Rather we find that some of the first motions of the discus thrower are of interest because he has found how to supply energy to the discus through the use of the large muscles of the body, those of his legs, thighs, and back.
His turning allows him to do this for a longer time than if he were to throw without moving his feet. The golfer's motion is restricted since he performs his action with his feet essentially at rest so that he may have precise control of the direction of the flight of the ball.
In throwing the discus it is held in the right hand with a straight right arm and is swung from right to left in the throwing motion. The golf club is held in two hands, but is controlled mainly by the left hand, and is swung from right to left with a straight left arm. Though these appear to be entirely different motions, they are surprisingly similar.
In a description of the modern technique of discus throwing we are told the throwers' feet should be comfortably placed slightly more than hip width apart. From this position, with knees slightly bent, he takes two to three preliminary swings in which his weight shifts easily from one foot to another.
On the last swing to the right before the throw, the discus is swung as far back as possible bringing the discus thrower into a coiled-up position, with most of his weight supported comfortably on a straight right leg with the left leg flexed slightly at the knee and the left heel slightly raised.
In this coiled-up position the shoulders have rotated with respect to the hips and the hips have rotated with respect to the feet. The thrower's back is straight and more or less vertical.
The reader will recognize the similarity of the discus thrower' s position at the start of his throw to that of the golfer's position at the start of his backswing. An essential difference is that the plane of the swing of the golfer is closer to the vertical and that of the discus thrower is closer to the horizontal. However, in each case this coiled-up position allows for a powerful action of the large muscles of the body at the start of the motion.
The discus thrower is advised to start the motion by moving his hips ahead of the shoulders and the shoulders ahead of the arm holding the discus.
This advice is given undoubtedly to emphasize that the discus throwing is not done by the shoulders alone. One finds similar advice given to the golfer probably for the same reason.
Reference : 'The Physics of Golf' by Theodore P Jorgensen, Chapter 6. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. AIP Press. Copyright © 1994 Springer-Verlag New York.
How To Spot a Fake Club, by The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group GMACWG
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