Generating Power, By Chi Chi Rodriguez

"When I was caddying as a youngster in Puerto Rico, I watched the professionals constantly, picking up every tip I could, trying it, then either using it if it suited me or discarding it if it didn't.

I followed the same pattern when I turned professional. I watched constantly, learning, experimenting. The one professional who always made a impression on me was Dr. Cary Middlecoff

I played with him as often as I could, and the part of his game that I always remembered was the way he built his power around his left side.

When I changed my style a few years ago, I kept Middlecoff in mind.

I was looking for more power and I found it because I learned to build a solid wall of my left side, a wall that would not move under any circumstances.

The theory is, if I have a strong left side and can hit against it, then I can develop a lot of power.

At 120 pounds, I need all the power I can find because I have a big family to feed.

This straight left wall begins at the top of the left shoulder and continues to the left foot. When I say straight, I mean it literally.

The worry is not about my head or my hands, but about the body.

It should be perfectly vertical."

Reference : 'Chi Chi's Secrets of Power Golf' by Juan (Chi Chi) Rodriguez. New York / The Viking Press. Copyright © 1967 by Juan Rodriguez.

Chi Chi's Secrets of Power Golf' by Juan (Chi Chi) Rodriguez

The Left Wall Theory, by Chi Chi Rodriguez

Available on Amazon :
Chi Chi's Secrets of Power Golf

Shoulders Arms

"The speed of the swing must come solely and entirely, from the arms and hands. The upper arm muscles, that is, those about the shoulders swing the arms and the HANDLE end of the club while the muscles of the forearms operating the hands through the wrists swing the club HEAD. The muscles of the forearms must also control the direction in which the club faces." Seymour Dunn


Blending of The Arms and Body By Nick Bradley

Play Better Golf with Justin Rose U. S. Open Champion 2013 and coach Nick Bradley. Swing Basics: GASP with PGA Professionals Gary Smith, Johnny Young. Available on Amazon : Play Better Golf [DVD]

Early Part of The Downswing (1909) By James Braid

"The early part of the downswing should be from the arms.

James Braid

James Braid

Keep the body and wrists under tension a little longer.

Another most important point in the timing - there is a strong inclination on the part of the head and body to sway forward as soon as the club gets well under weigh in the downward swing, in too eager anticipation of the finish.

When this happens it is fatal. When the body and head get in front of the club the latter is rendered almost useless, and at the moment of impact it is being merely dragged through.

Be determined to hold the body well back, and the head well back too, but don't go to extremes. Keep them well behind the club ; never let them get in front.

In this way the sense of tension and available spring is still further increased, and much is done towards the proper timing of the ball.

James Braid Advanced Golf 1909Then comes the moment of impact. Crack !

Everything is let loose, and round comes the body immediately the ball is struck, and goes slightly forward until the player is facing the line of flight.

The right shoulder must not come round too soon in the downward swing, but must go fairly well forward after the ball is hit.

If the tension has been properly held, all this will come quite easily and naturally."

Reference : 'Advanced Golf Or, Hints And Instruction For Progressive Players' By James Braid Chapter IV Long Driving, Timing The Stroke, page 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.

Download : 'Long Driving, Timing The Stroke. That is the whole secret of the thing' By James Braid, First Published April 1908, Fifth Edition 1909.


"Beware, above all things, of hurling the arms forward at the beginning of the downswing. It is one of the most frequent errors, and it nearly always produces a shot which flies in any but the straight path." Harry Vardon


As Regards Slicing A Ball (1911) By J. H. Taylor

"As regards "slicing" a ball, that is a fault that affects even the best players of the day occasionally.

Indifferent and poor performers are apt, of course, to suffer from it in a more virulent form; it is, I think, one of the most frequent faults to be met with upon any course in the country.

Taylor On Golf 1911 5th EditionThere is no mistaking the cause of the sliced ball - there is but one thing that is capable of producing this effect. This is the more or less involuntary action on the player's part of drawing his hands in the direction of his body as the club descends.

In describing this I said involuntary advisedly; were it otherwise the leading amateurs and professionals would seldom, if ever, be affected in this way.

This drawing of the hands in toward the body imparts a twist, or rather a rotary motion to the ball after it is struck, just in the same way as "side" is imparted to the billiard ball - the ball flies away to the right, much to the chagrin of the player.

The severity of this curl will vary according to the amount of twist upon the ball as it starts upon its flight, but it will in every case come round to the right if sliced. The cure for the slice is for the player to cultivate a perfect freedom of his arms, to throw them at ball, if I may be allowed to express my meaning in these terms.

The greatest freedom is necessary, and that I have found to be the best method of securing it when I have been engaged in teaching".

Reference : 'Taylor on Golf' Impressions, Comments and Hints by J. H. Taylor Chapter XXXVIII. Mistakes And Their Cures - Hazards, And How To Get Out Of Them, page 261. Open Champion 1894, 1895, 1900 and 1909 With Forty-Eight Illustrations Fifth Edition London Hutchinson & Co. Paternoster Row 1911.

Download: 'Taylor on Golf' Chapter XXXVIII Mistakes And Their Cures - Hazards, And How To Get Out Of Them. Including The cure for the slice plus Winners Of The Amateur Championships 1886 to 1913, Winners Of The Open Championships 1860 to 1910.


"There is no mistaking the cause of the sliced ball - there is but one thing that is capable of producing this effect. This is the more or less involuntary action on the player's part of drawing his hands in the direction of his body as the club descends." J. H. Taylor


Give The Club-Head A Start (1920) By Harry Vardon

"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.

Progressive Golf by Harry Vardon 1920I 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.

Give the club-head a start coming down before you begin to bring the arms round and then hit.

BEGINNING OF THE DOWNSWING By HARRY VARDON

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
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. List Of Charts, Each Chart consisting of five illustrations. Chart VI. The Driving Swing, page 144; text page 141 - 160. British Open Champion 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903. American Champion, 1900.

Download : Chart VI. The Driving Swing By Harry Vardon.

Download :'The Triumvirate Analyzed The Down Swing' Third Article By J. Albert Scott Article and photographs copyright by J. Albert Scott, Golf Illustrated, including "HARRY VARDON DRIVING Just after hitting the ball" and "this is the snap of the wrists"


"When playing for a straight shot, the club should begin to descend before the body changes from its top-of-the-swing position, save in one respect. As the club starts down, the left hip may be pushed slightly towards the hole - not unscrewed, but urged an inch or two forward." Harry Vardon


Unpinned Too Soon (1922) By Joyce Wethered

Roger and Joyce Wethered 1922

The Authors

"Much has been written about the slice and its cure.

The various forms of advice are rarely satisfying. The ordinary 'tip' generally only touches the fringe of a fault; it only scratches the surface.

It is best to go back to the root of the evil and to see if it does not originate, as it is almost sure to do, in a faulty balance; in other words, it is advisable to observe where the weight transference has gone wrong.

When a slice takes place, the weight has gone forward, and over the top of the ball.

The phrases 'dropping the right shoulder' or 'falling in over the ball' indicate what has happened. The right shoulder has been unpinned too soon, before the moment when the left foot should have been ready to take the weight over and pin the left shoulder in its turn.

How can one put the remedy into actual practice?

Granted that the principle is understood, it is quite easy for anyone with a golfing imagination to find out a particular cure. I would suggest one or other of the following :

(1) Not to make the hit from the top - that is, from the right shoulder - but to wait until you have had time to recover the club from its horizontal position. Keep the right shoulder pinned a fraction longer.

(2) To keep the right knee back, both when you are swinging up and when you are swinging down.

(3) Not to let the right heel rise too quickly. Do not lift it until the club head is practically on the ball.

Each of these suggestions has the same end in view, regarded respectively from the position of shoulder, knee, or foot. The object is not to let the plane of the swing get tilted obliquely immediately the down swing commences.

The converse of this process has happened with the pull, which is more likely to creep in when the swing is flat. The weight has been kept behind unduly, and there has been too great a falling back from the ball.

The right shoulder has been pinned too long.

If this is the cause, it will not be difficult to devise a satisfactory antidote. These weight transferences are frequently almost imperceptible.

Golf From Two Sides Roger and Joyce Wethered 1922They should flow into one another without abruptness, and when they do this with a natural smoothness the stroke has attained that rhythm which every self-respecting golfer seeks to acquire.

t is only when something has gone wrong, and it becomes necessary to discover the causes with a view to correction, that one need inquire whether the weight is passing in its proper order. The investigation, however, will generally furnish the clue. If it is kept in mind that the arms will naturally follow the shoulder movements, the recovery of the correct action of the body will restore the accuracy of the swing."

Reference: 'Golf From Two Sides' by Roger and Joyce Wethered. With Twenty-Eight Illustrations. Longmans, Green and Co. 39 Paternoster Row, London, E.C.4. New York, Toronto, Bombay, Calcutta And Madras 1922 All rights reserved. Chapter IV Tee Shots : Particularly From The Ladies' Point of View. 1. The Swing.


"If you commence the down swing by uncocking the wrists, the right shoulder, instead of being held back and coming under at impact, will turn, bringing the clubhead into the ball from outside to in with a collapsed left side and a cut shot with very little power will result." Harry Weetman


Two Things To Be Controlled (1927) By Abe Mitchell

"But a golf swing by the medium of an arm and wrist movement alone is a feeble thing ; it is only necessary to sit on a table and swing a club to realise this fully.

Something more is required than merely arm movement.

Let us consider for a moment what can be done by keeping the arms still and rigid and making a see-saw movement of the shoulders. Quite a long ball can be hit in this way.

If we give this last exercise a little thought we realise that the legs are playing an important part in it ; that, in fact, it is dependent very largely on a good foothold and on bending at the knees. We could not hit the ball far if the stance were on ice.

Now let consider what happens if we keep the arms rigid and try to drive the ball pivoting at the hips. Wherein lies the motive power in this case?

Clearly again the legs come into this movement, even more than in the see-saw movement. That is the first discovery.

But what are the conditions for getting the shoulders back on the return movement? There appear be two.

First the back muscles must keep a rigid connection between the left shoulder and the right hip ; and secondly the right leg and side must be braced and holding, so that when the time for the return swing has come the whole of the trunk above the hip can be moved by unwinding the right thigh and so causing what may be called a hip-swing.

Abe Mitchell Essentials of Golf 1927This movement loses power if the muscles from the hip are not braced, for the hips would rotate under the shoulders, leaving them behind. The player must make the down stroke now by means of the arms and wrists only - like the player sitting on the table.

Let us now consider the case where the back muscles are braced but when there is no pivoting. The stroke is performed by the arm muscles acting from a rigid centre, viz., the left shoulder.

The chip and putt are cases of this kind. There is a stern limit to the length that can be obtained. Why? Because there is no pivot and the left shoulder is held.

In driving, then, there are two things to be controlled, viz., the arms and wrists, and the trunk to which the arms are attached. "

Reference : 'ABE MITCHELL ESSENTIALS OF GOLF By Abe Mitchell. Chapter IX The Drive - Length, page 65. Edited And Arranged By J. Martin Verulam Golf Club St. Albans Hodder And Stoughton Limited London First printed March, 1927. 1919 British Open "Victory Open" St Andrews, joint winner with George Duncan. 1924 Miami Open. 1929 Irish Open. Tooting Bec Cup 1933 Open Championship, St Andrews. Luxury Train To The Ryder Cup

Download : 'Abe Mitchell Essentials of Golf' Chapter IX The Drive - Length including 'Practice Hints, Slicing and Pulling - The Slice' 1927.


"This slinging movement of the hips is one of the secrets of the long ball. Simultaneously with the unwinding of the hips bring the hands downwards close to the body with firm wrists. It is important to bring the hands downwards towards the feet and not outwards towards the line of flight." Abe Mitchell


Under - Not Around (1932) By Billy Burke

UNDER - NOT AROUND Suggesting a Cure for One of Golf's Most Damaging Mistakes by Billy Burke and Grantland Rice, The American Golfer, July, 1932.

Billy Burkowski Burke 1931 U.S. Open Champion Under- Not Around 1932Billy (Burkowski) Burke winner of the 1931 U.S. Open at the Inverness Club in Toledo, and Ryder Cup Champion.

"Born William Burkowski in Union City, Connecticut, Burke played on the PGA Tour with great success.

His first tour victory came in his second year on tour winning the prestigious North-South Open in 1928.

Playing with a slightly unorthodox grip because of the loss of parts of two fingers on his left hand, Burke made golfing records when he won the 1931 U.S. Open at Inverness in Toledo.

Billy Burke is the first person to win a major playing with steel-shafted clubs when he won the U.S. Open.

He did it by out dueling George Von Elm 1926 U.S. Amateur Champion, in a 72-hole playoff, one of the longest playoff ever played.

He was also considered one of the finest Ryder Cup team members of his era going undefeated in the 1931 and 1933 Ryder Cups. Burke was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1966.

Billy Burke was a true pioneer, excelling in the sport of golf years before the other outstanding Polish-American golfers like Ed Furgol and Bob Toski appeared on the scene."

Source : The National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.


"Don't throw the arms forward as you start to come down as though you were mowing grass. Rather throw them back, and let them come round in their own way from that point." Harry Vardon


Straight Left Arm (1932) By Stewart Maiden

"I have heard a good deal about swinging the clubhead and what it will do.

Well, you have to swing the clubhead, because you hit the ball with the clubhead, but I can't go along with the fellows who say this explains everything.

My System of Teaching Golf By Stewart Maiden 1932I've seen too many golfers get back to the top of the swing in such a position that it was utterly impossible for them to swing at all.

And this reminds me that I want to say something about the straight left arm at the top of the backswing. I don't say that the arm has to be absolutely straight but I don't know any reason why it shouldn't be. Anyway, I want that arm fully extended and firm at the elbow, because that means that the muscles of that arm and of the left shoulder are contracted, and if they are not, then those of the right shoulder will be, and it's the contracted muscles that go to work when action is started.

If the right shoulder and arm muscles start the downswing, the right side will swing the club. And if this happens, the right side will swing about toward the left too fast.

The club will be swung around too much, causing what you hear spoken of as hitting from the outside in, instead of having the body turn back easily toward the left, with the arms swinging the clubhead down to the ball from the inside of the line of play.

I notice that where the right shoulder swings around, the player usually has a tough time keeping his head in position until after he has hit the ball. So keeping that left arm firm and as straight as you can at the top of the backswing can prevent a lot of trouble."

Reference : 'My System of Teaching Golf' A Famous Instructor's Conceptions of The Importance of Correct Body Action By Stewart Maiden. The American Golfer September 1932. Courtesy of LA84 Foundation.


"Now, the common and easy and incorrect way of getting the club behind the neck is to bend the elbows and pull in the hands. If you do this you will invariably swing too far with your shoulders, and the swing will lack both power and accuracy. So keep the left elbow fairly extended and get the club around by bending back the wrists." Alex Smith


"This link, AND, between the up swing and the HIT takes us from the top of the swing to the point where the hands are about to pass the right leg with the wrists still cocked and the shaft of the club, as nearly as possible, in the same position relative to the left arm as at the top of the swing." Alfred Padgham


A Wobbly Post (1937) By Archie Compston

"Why does the average golfer remain average? The principal reason, if there is one, he said, is this.

Ninety-nine out of a hundred golfers have a bad left - a dummy left arm.

WRONG: Here is one form of the dummy left arm

"WRONG : Here is one form of the dummy left arm. The elbow is bent and the whole position lacks power.

Another common form of this fault is for the left arm to "give" at the moment of impact, leaving the right in control.

"The weakness of the average golfer is that his strongest side - his right - is always in control.

It ought to be the other way round," says Compston."

The old teaching's true - you can't get away from it. In the old days they used to tell you to compare your left side with the post on which a gate swings.

If you have a wobbly post, well, what can you expect? A wobbly gate.

The weakness of the average golfer is that is strongest side - the right - is always in control.

It ought to be the other way round. The trouble with my pupils is to eliminate the right side.

The best mind presentation of what I mean is to think of your left arm as the spoke of a wheel.

Combine rigidity with flexibility.

RIGHT: It is from this position that the maximum power can be obtained

"RIGHT : Note the left arm and shaft of the club in one straight line.

This is the correct position both in the address and at the moment of impact.

It is from this position that the maximum power can be obtained. "Compare your left arm with the spoke of a wheel," says Compston.

"Combine rigidity with flexibility. You do not need a straight arm throughout the backswing - what you want is a straight left arm at and through the ball."

What you want is firmness with a little 'give' where necessary.

You don't need a straight left arm on the backswing - Harry Vardon never used it - what you want is a straight left at and through the ball.

Miss Pamela Barton, British woman Champion, tremendous snap

"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."

 

The majority of people can gather up the power all right in the backswing, but they don't know how to apply it. They will start the movement in the wrong place.

Go Golfing By Archie Compston and Henry LonghurstListen now - you ought to learn this by heart and repeat it a hundred times every day.

The correct order of the downswing is left hip - left shoulder - left hand - and then the clubhead.

Instead of starting with the left hip, which puts the weight where it should be, on the heel of the left foot, they start with the right hand and make a complete reverse movement with the weight falling forward on to the ball of the left foot.

That' s where that loop at the top of the swing comes from.

They hook or slice simply according to how the club face meets the ball."

Reference : 'Go Golfing' with Archie Compston and Henry Longhurst. Chapter 1. Why Does The Average Golfer Remain Average? This is the Principal Reason, page 10. Pamela Barton, Chapter 14, page 77. Duckworth, 3 Henrietta Street, London, W.C.2. First published in 1937 All rights reserved.

Download : Every Golfer Slicing by Archie Compston.


"You don't need a straight left arm on the backswing - Harry Vardon never used it - what you want is a straight left arm at and through the ball." Archie Compston


Central Position (1933) By Joyce Wethered

HITTING THE BALL

Joyce Wetherhed

"Central position"

"We now come to the question of the shoulders. Briefly, they form the centre of the swing round which the arms are moving (that is the chief reason why we are told to keep our heads still) and they pivot in order to help the arms to swing the club in the right arc.

They are in no way concerned with the pivot of the hips. This is an important point to keep in mind, because a swing in which hips and shoulders move round together cannot be a good one.

The pivot of the shoulders should be freer than that of the hips; and if the hips are allowed to pivot as freely as the shoulders the player will suggest - perhaps very mildly - the whirling and twisting of a top.

Too much turning of the hips is weakening to the strength of the blow; the combination of a very slight lateral sway is a far stronger movement than an excess of body twisting.

The shoulders, however, should have no lateral sway and should all the time have kept a central position over the ball without being allowed to create a sway of the top part of the body.

The waist is the dividing line between the two pivots. Only by recognizing the separate functions allocated to the hips and shoulders will the club head ever flow sufficiently to reach the ideal."

Reference : 'Golfing Memories and Methods' by Joyce Wethered Open Champion 1922, 1924, 1925, 1929 English Champion 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924. With 54 Illustrations London Hutchinson & CO. (Publishers) LTD. Made and Printed in Great Britain at the Mayflower Press, Plymouth 1933.


"HITTING THE BALL. The hips have moved forward and the weight is firm on the left leg. The shoulders are still keeping their central position over the ball." Joyce Wethered


Curing THE SLICE by Paul Foston

Improve Your Golf by Paul Foston and Chris Meadows Video Programme 3 Curing The Slice, Developing Your Swing Plane and How To Draw. VHS Available on Amazon IMPROVE YOUR GOLF Programme 3

"The way in which you set your left arm is not fundamental. The fundamental point is set your arm at a certain reach when you address the ball and keep it at that reach throughout the swing. But so far as your left elbow is concerned, swing as though the joint were stiff. Stiff does not mean dead straight, it means firm." Seymour Dunn


Fallacy of The Straight Left Arm (1931) By W. Howell

George Duncan Top of Swing Left Arm Almost StraightGeorge Duncan

J H Taylor Top of Swing Left Arm Almost StraightJ H Taylor

J Braid Top of Swing Left Arm Almost StraightJames Braid

Harry Vardon Top of Swing Left Arm Almost StraightHarry Vardon

"When the pro said, "Keep your left arm straight," he knew that it would bend slightly at the top of the swing, but thought it safer not to tell the player so. When the player went away he took with him the wrong impression that the left arm must be kept straight throughout the swing.

Look at the pictures on this page of the six-times-open-champion of Great Britain: Harry Vardon and of the present Open champion, George Duncan.

There is nothing straight about their left arms, but there is something very straight indeed about the shots that they hit with these same left arms.

The bent left arm permits of freedom and rhythm, and without it, what Vardon calls the "delayed pivot", is impossible. The delayed pivot sounds alarming, but it is really quite simple, and very very essential.

It is the cure for the complaint of "getting the body in too soon".

It merely means the delaying of the pivoting of the body until the club head has been started on its downward path. This starting movement of the club head towards the ball is nothing more or less than the initial straightening of the left arm, and is to the golf swing what a tickler is to a dynamo.

But if the left arm is already straight at the top of the swing, then this initial movement has to come from somewhere else, the shoulders or the hips, and the so-called snap of the wrists at the moment of impact becomes a very hurried and abortive "snatch.""

Reference : 'The Fallacy of the Straight Left, Some Enlightenment on a Principle of Golf Widely Advocated and Frequently Misunderstood', by W. Howell, The American Golfer, 29 January, 1931. Courtesy LA84 Foundation, Digital Library, www.LA84Foundation.org


"You can see that the club-head has not been 'picked up' by my right hand, for my left arm and the shaft still form a straight line." Louise Suggs


To Make Us Disconnected (1946) By Percy Boomer

"The arms should work in exact relation to the shoulders and chest. The thorax and chest should become one movement.

But things do not work out this way, because we inherently - and in spite of ourselves - consider golf as being played with the arms.

So we use our arms, ever so little it may be but enough to make us disconnected.

And why does he start using his arms? Ninety-nine out of a hundred because he tries too hard to hit the ball! That overwhelmingly common-sense impulse to hit the ball where we want it to go. And how can we hit but with our arms?

So all our carefully-contrived controls go overboard, and we take vicious scoops and lashes at the ball. What a pity! What a pity!

For if we had inhibited our desire to hit the ball and concentrated upon producing a perfect swing - power from the pivot, shoulder controlled by heel movement, arms acting reactively to the shoulders, wrists free for the flail - we would have sent it twice as far and straighter.

Now this is a fine and lost delicate point in which lies most of the difference between a good, a very good, and a superlative golfer.

It is by the management of the arms that championships are won and lost."

Reference : 'On Learning Golf' by Percy Boomer. The Force Center, Chapter XIV, Copyright © 1946 by Percy Boomer. First published in the USA by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.


"On the tee, I had just one swing thought and that was to take it easy from the top. Like many golfers, I have a tendency to come over the top when I hurry the downswing. When this happens, my right shoulder comes forward instead of dropping straight down, which throws the club on a steep, out-to-in path." Annika Sorenstam


Golf As I See It Fred Daly Getting Off The Tee At Impact

Fred Daly Pro At Mahee Island Golf Club 1947 Open Champion. At Impact The Left Arm


"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." Harry Vardon


A Good Cure For Shoulder "Roll" (1969) By Bill Cox

"One of the commonest faults that affect low-handicap golfers almost as much as beginners and long handicappers is using too much shoulder action to start the downswing.

In other words, instead of the right shoulder coming down, under the chin and through, it comes out, round the chin and over. This immediately throws the clubhead on an outside groove, and if the clubface is open the shot will be badly sliced, or if the clubface is closed, the ball will be pulled well to the left of the target.

A good cure for shoulder "roll" is to keep the left arm perfectly straight and the left shoulder up at the address position. Take the club back slightly on the inside groove with the shoulders turning fully and the legs relaxed. By a full shoulder turn I mean that the shoulders should turn through a full ninety degrees between the address and the top of the backswing position.

How much the left shoulder dips on the backswing depends on the club you use - the shorter the club, the greater the tilt. If you are using a driver and you want to hit a long one with a draw which gives it topspin, then try to keep your left shoulder quite well up on the backswing.

Bill Cox's Golf Companion Arm and Shoulder ActionAt the start of the downswing you must transfer your weight to the left foot and make a conscious effort to keep the shoulders wound up until the arms have brought the clubhead into the hitting area.

Only then can you let fly with your whole body, including the shoulders, and try to bring that clubface fast and square into the back of the ball.

Plenty of practice are the only way to get the arms and shoulders working together and the only way to give your shots more power, but it is only if you remember that everything must follow the hands that you will start to improve.

Once the arms, shoulders, or any other part of the body start taking control of the hands, there is no way you can hit good shots consistently."

Reference : 'Bill Cox's Golf Companion' Bill Cox And Nicholas Tremayne With Line and Half-Tone Illustrations J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd London © Text and diagrams, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1969. First published 1969. 2 Bill Cox, Golf Teacher The Swing: Arm And Shoulder Action, page 113.

Download : 'The Swing: Arm And Shoulder Action' By Bill Cox, including The 'Secret' of Golf, page 83 - 88.

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The One Piece Takeaway by Dale Douglass

1987 U.S. Senior Open Champion. The Master System to Better Golf. 80 minutes of Professional Instruction
Available on Amazon : The Master System to Better Golf, the Seniors

"Slow back is an excellent rule for the novice, and even for the advanced golfer. But by "slow back" I do not mean taking the implement back at snail's pace." Harry Vardon


In Delivering Power (1975) By Vivien Saunders

"For the good golfer the backswing and downswing merge together so well that it is very difficult to pinpoint the end of the backswing and the beginning of the throughswing.

Very often, however, it is the point of transition from one to the other which is the prime source of trouble. The backswing can be executed correctly and the downswing, in practice at least, can follow on. Put the two together at speed and the sudden change of directions can throw everything out of step.

What so easily happens is that, whereas with the practice swing there is no temptation to seek power, in the swing itself one begins to apply much more strength.

This strength tends to be imparted with the shoulders and right arm.

At the top of the backswing they are clearly in a strong, powerful position and it takes a very good golfer indeed to resist throwing in force from this part of the body in setting the swing in reverse.

The shoulders, however, should do absolutely nothing in delivering power to the ball. Indeed the perfect swing shows the right shoulder moving very little from the top of the backswing, while the left arm swings fast and freely away from it.

The movement that is seen in the right shoulder is correctly the result of its having been pulled through by the speed of the left arm and drive of the legs, and not from a direct pushing of the shoulders themselves.

The Rules for Timing

So, in putting the swing together and speeding up the action, keep these two rules clearly in mind.

Firstly, power must never be generated with the shoulders. Start the downswing by pushing the left heel down to the ground to reverse the action of the legs and simultaneously swing the left arm away from the right shoulder.

The Complete Woman Golfer By Vivien SaundersSecondly, the arms and hands have to travel considerably further in the throughswing than do the shoulders and upper body. The whole essence of how well you put the swing together is timing the two so that they reach the follow through position together.

The shoulders must never push the arms on through, but rather the speed of the arm swing should eventually pull the shoulders through.

Once they have turned fully in the backswing, the work of the shoulders is over and from there on they should assume a perfectly passive role."

Reference : 'The Complete Woman Golfer' Vivien Saunders Stanley Paul & Co Ltd. Foreword Peter Alliss. London W1. An imprint of the Hutchinson Publishing Group. First published 1975. © Vivien Saunders 1975. © Peter Dazeley 1975. 5. Putting The Swing Together Looking for power Page 37. Abbotsley Golf Academy with Vivien Saunders, 1977 British Ladies Open Champion, on location at www.abbotsley.com


"When golf instructors say let your 'left arm control the swing', they ought to add : if your right arm will allow it. That is why an educated right arm is essential." Henry Cotton


Common Fault Left Arm Rigid (2004) By Nick Bradley

Nick Bradley The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing BBC Book"One of the most common faults in the backswing stems from the belief that you must keep your left arm rigid and straight during the swing in order to create width, precision and power.

Unfortunately, this normally has exactly the opposite effect.

While it may feel powerful, attempting to keep your left arm as straight as possible as you sweep the club straight back away from the ball on a wide arc will actually limit the amount of power you can create in the swing.

First Problem

The result of keeping your left arm rigid and tense is two-fold.

First the clubhead will travel on an unnaturally wide arc on the backswing and probably cause the clubface to remain closed or hooded during the takeaway. During the change of direction between backswing and downswing, the forces exerted on your left arm will cause your wrists to flex excessively, leading to a narrow, steep arc that creates a whole array of ball-striking problems.

Second Problem

The second problem is that forcing your left arm to remain straight causes your body to turn too early in the backswing.

If your upper-body coil is already complete when your arms have not even reached their halfway back position, your arms will inevitably have to complete the rest of their journey to the top on their own resulting in poor strikes and directional problems.

Moon Crescent Drill

Assume your normal address position, but remove your right hand from the club and place it in the fold of your left elbow.

Keeping your right hand in this position, swing back with your left arm and allow it to bend slightly until you create the subtle 'moon crescent' shape shown in this image."

The Moon Crescent Exercise For The Flexible Left Arm in The Backswing by Nick Bradley

Lightness of the left arm: Once you have performed this exercise a few times, place your right hand back on the club and make some practice backswings, recreating the 'soft and narrow' feeling. As soon as you are comfortable with this feeling, try hitting some practice balls while focusing on the new feeling of lightness in your left arm.

Reference : 'The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing, Picturing the Perfect Swing. Nick Bradley Leading Golf Coach, Law 4 page 86. Foreword by Justin Rose. First published © 2004 © BBC Worldwide Ltd. Copyright © Nick Bradley 2004. www.nickbradley.com

This Reference on Amazon : The Seven Laws of the Golf Swing


"Scientific slicing depends largely upon drawing in the arms, as the club comes down, so as to put a cut on the ball. Now, this drawing in of the arms is a fatally natural movement, and it is unwise to encourage the tendency." Alex Smith


Slice-Free Golf Under The Foam (2011) By Brian Crowell

"My reason for writing this book is simple. I was once the embarrassed owner of a hideous slice. I HATED it! In fact, the slice nearly drove me away from golf.

But I hung in there long enough to find the simple keys to hitting a solid draw.

I still remember the overwhelming joy and power I felt after connecting with my first Slice-Free Golf shot...

Slicing is BY FAR the most prevalent challenge to the typical golfer. And believe it or not, slicing mechanics are the foundation for other top concerns such as inconsistency, trouble playing from the rough, and a lack of distance.

After giving thousands of lessons, I found it abundantly clear that providing a simple, no-miss program to eliminate the slice would bring joy and happiness to golfers everywhere!

Thus, the creation of Slice-Free Golf.

Slice-Free Golf In Three Easy Steps

  1. Step One - Get Set
    • Get Step Key #1 - Align Your Base
    • Get Step Key #2 - Ball Position
    • Get Step Key #3 - Align Your Upper Body
    • Get Step Key #4 - Square Your Clubface
    • Get Step Key #5 - Your Grip
  2. Step Two - Swing
    • Get Step Key #1 - Centered Turn
    • Get Step Key #2 - Swinging Under The Foam
    • Get Step Key #3 - Impact
  3. Step Three - Release
    • Get Step Key #1 - Let It Happen
    • Get Step Key #2 - A Balanced Finish
    • Practice, Practice, Practice
    • Visual Guide To Slice-Free Golf
  4. Don't Slip! - Bonus Drills
    • Drill #1 - Pigeon Toe
    • Drill #2 - Fromunda The Grip
    • Drill #3 - Spaghetti Arms
    • and on to Drill #4 to #26 - A Little Help From A Friend

Why is the Slice-Free Golf method better?

  • Retain your own individual style
  • Easy to follow program
  • Fast results
  • Total dedication
  • Permanent change
  • 100% Proven success
  • Accompanying Support

To eliminate the slice, it is imperative that your club travels on a path UNDER the imaginary foam board en route to the ball.

What in the world do I mean by "under the foam?"

Slice-Free Golf By Brian Crowell No Banana Balls!

Well, imagine you are addressing the ball, and just outside the ball stands a 4'x8' sheet of two-inch thick Styrofoam insulation.

After cutting a hole in the foam for your head to fit through, the sheet is lowered down until it rests on your shoulders.

Slice-Free Golf By Brian Crowell PGA No Banana Balls!The legendary Ben Hogan famously used illustrations with a sheet of glass in much the same way (but trust me, it is much easier to work with the foam).

The foam board idea enforces what we intuitively understand: the club, on an efficient path from the top of the swing to the ball, NEVER needs to travel anywhere but UNDER THE FOAM!

The good news is, the previous keys have prepared you to do just that!

The result will be pure contact and a glorious draw."

Reference : 'Slice-Free Golf In Three Easy Steps More Power - No Banana Balls! By Brian A. Crowell, PGA With Foreword By Gary Player Photography & Design by Dave Donelson Copyright © 2011 by Brian A. Crowell Published and printed in the United States of America by Donelson SDA, Inc. First Edition. www.slicefreegolf.com


"It has been the first principle of golf for years that the hitting of the ball is confined to the arms and wrists alone." Joshua Taylor


Key Learning Point

Phase of the stroke in which the straight left arm is most important has been neglected

"Failure to follow through is, of course, one of the principal reasons, not only why mediocre and poor golfers do not improve, but also why first class golfers sometimes go so badly off their games.

Now, it is easy enough to say or to be told as the reason for a poor shot, "You didn't follow through!"

On the other hand it is often quite difficult for a player or observer to understand just what made the player fail to follow through and how the failure can be corrected. I have observed this condition in the swing of duffers and temporarily distressed experts alike, and shall try to analyze what I consider to be the primary cause of this failure.

It is the collapse of the left elbow immediately after impact.

For many years one of the principal features of the ideal orthodox golf swing, as described and instructed by writers and critics, has been the straight left arm.

While agreeing entirely with (although not entirely using) this theory and feature of the swing, I am of the opinion that the particular phase of the stroke in which the straight left arm is most important has been neglected by the instructors and writers.

That important and particular phase is the quarter arc immediately after impact, commonly known as the follow through.

Most of the comment and instructive articles written about the straight left arm have been devoted to the parts of the swing before impact, starting with the address, all through the back swing, and down swing, up to the moment of impact. This is all quite correct and in accordance with generally accepted best practice by most all the best players and instructors.

It undoubtedly tends to increase accuracy in hitting and control of the club head up to the moment of impact.

However, some outstanding stars have achieved greatness in golf without employing the straight left arm throughout the backswing. Harry Vardon, as the most prominent example, the world's greatest golfer of his time, and one of the greatest of all time, bent his elbow quite considerably at the top of the backswing.

It is absolutely essential that the left arm must be straight Glenna Collett Vare 1933Thus we see that, while certainly advisable for all to cultivate, the straight left arm throughout the backswing is not absolutely essential.

Now consider the follow through, or the part of the swing just after impact through about forty-five to ninety degrees or one-eighth to one-quarter of the club-head's arc. Here I am sure that it is absolutely essential that the left arm must be straight, and that this feature is part of every first-class player's swing, when hitting the ball properly.

With the left hand gripping firmly, just as in the address, and the wrists straightening or "uncocking" at the moment of impact, if the left arm be kept straight thereafter, the clubhead is bound to follow straight out along the line of flight with the face at right angles to this line, resulting in a straight, well-timed shot.

This is the proper follow through."

Source : 'How To Follow Through' by Glenna Collett Vare, June 1933, The American Golfer. Digitized article Courtesy LA84 Foundation

Robert A. Gardner Hits One-A Mile Golf Illustrated July 1920.


Insights

by Jimmy Hitchcock - The first thing I ever do on the long shots

"When I began to work for Mr Burton one of the first things he said to me was: 'Young man, your shoulders are too open.' He took hold of a club by its head and poked me in the soft spot of the shoulder, below the collar bone. 'Jim,' said Burton, 'your shoulders.' And he gave me a sharper dig in the same place. That one really hurt.

Three years after this, when I was playing regularly in tournaments, I went to see him. 'Mr Burton,' I said, 'will you please have a look at me? 'Yes,' he replied. 'What's the trouble?'

'I'm hitting the ball beautifully, but now and again one flies straight left, and I've tried everything, and I've thought of everything I can, but I can't see why this happens.'

I stood on the course with him at Coombe Hill for damn nearly an hour before I hit one straight left. 'Well, there it is,' I said, watching the flight of the ball. Then I felt a tremendous blow across the arm. 'Good heavens!' I said in absolute agony. 'What the hell was that for?' 'I warned you what would happen if I ever caught you again with your shoulders open,' he said. 'You had two warnings. That's the third one.'

Now the first thing I ever do on the long shots is make sure my shoulders are square to the line I want the ball to take.

Mr Burton's technique was the same with the grip and with everything else connected with the game. If you hadn't got it right first time you would get a tap. The second time it would be a knock. The third time he really hit you. This might happen any time, any place."

Reference : 'Jimmy Hitchcock Master Golfer' Stanley Paul Stanley Paul & Co Ltd 178-202 Great Portland Street, London W1 First published 1967 © J. Hitchcock 1967 3 Life with Richard Burton Page 37. Open Champion 1939

by Jim Barnes - If necessary put a handkerchief under the right arm pit

"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 game, 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.

by DT - Calvin Peete golfer developed remarkable accuracy

"Calvin fell out of a tree at the age of 12 and broke his elbow; it was set badly and fused, leaving his left arm permanently bent. Moving to Florida with his father, he left school at 14 and worked as a farm labourer, picking beans and corn and cutting sugar cane. It was tough work performed in blazing heat all day - "from can to cain't", as Peete put it.

Looking for something easier, he moved to upstate New York, where he sold dry goods to migrant workers out of a car. It was there, at the age of 23, that he was taken to a golf course for the first time. "I couldn't get a ride home, so I went along with the fool idea," he said later. "Who wants to chase a ball under the hot sun?" He was hooked immediately, and began playing incessantly, studying books written by the masters to learn the game.

One of the golden rules of the golf swing is to keep your left arm straight ; Pete developed a style to allow for his crooked arm, and developed remarkable accuracy.

Within six months he had broken 80; six months later he was hitting par. It took another eight years, but Peete finally got his PGA card in 1976. He was 32. He won his first tournament, the Milwaukee Open, in 1979, qualifying for the 1980 Masters.

For 10 consecutive years he led the PGA in hitting fairways with his drives. In 1984 he had the lowest stroke average on the tour, pipping Jack Nicklaus to the Harry Vardon trophy."

Source : Telegraph Calvin Peete American golfer who came late to the game and overcame limitations to become a top player, May 2015.

by E. M. Prain - Walter Hagen at impact plus
Walter Hagen at Impact Plus

Reference : 'Live hands A key to Better Golf' by E. M. Prain. Second Edition with an introduction by Bernard Darwin and sixteen photographs. Adam & Charles Black, 4, 5 & 6 Soho Square London W.1 1947. Photo : Walter Hagen At Moment of Impact Plus.

Available on Amazon : Live Hands: A Key to Better Golf

by National Golf Foundation - The cane exercise

"(Fig. 75) You will have moved your right shoulder down and underneath your chin and your body weight over to the left side.

Golf Lessons by National Golf Foundation The Cane Exercise

Repeat the exercise and feel your back muscles stretch as you move your shoulder down and underneath the chin."

Reference : From 'Golf Lessons' 2nd Revised Edition, by National Golf Foundation

Download : Cane Exercise as revised by recognized leaders in professional golf instruction.

by Percy Boomer - Outside on the way down

"One of the most difficult faults to cure in golf is that of the right shoulder coming forward and outside on the way down.

It should come down inside and when it does not it is because it has become part of the hips; its connection with the hips is so lacking in flexibility that it is controlled by them and follows their movement.

Actually we should use the flexibility of our back muscles to delay our shoulder action (in its relation to the pivot) in the same way that we allow our wrists to break back in order to set up delay in our clubhead...

When our right shoulder persists in coming forward, it is because this flexibility has been lost by the muscles of the back being too tense.

Percy Boomer On Learning GolfNow I have already told you that the clubhead follows the movement of the right hip; that is, the brace forward and to the left of the right hip will induce the swing that feels to go from in-to-out.

How does the right shoulder operate in this?

When you study the feel of flexible shoulder action, you will find a number of sensations. One curious sensation is that we do not feel that the right shoulder comes inside from the front of our body but from behind it.

We feel not that it is being pulled inside by the muscles of the chest, but that it is being pushed inside by the muscles of the back."

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.

The Muscles That Make The Golf Swing by Harry Cooper, June 1926.

by Jack Gordon - Too much right

"A question which frequently comes up in the locker room or wherever golf is discussed is which arm controls and does most in making a proper stroke. There is little doubt that the right is the stronger, and, as this is true with the majority of players, it would seem the right should be the master arm.

I believe this mistaken idea is responsible for or has considerable to do with the lack of real progress made by the average golfer. I'll say further that until he gets all idea of the right out of his head and develops a swing controlled and directed by his left arm nearly entirely or seemingly so, not until then will a golfer consistently improve.

From the driver, straight through to the brassie iron, mashie iron, mashie, etc., the left controls. The right only takes command for chip shots and putting and for nothing else.

Why do we overlap, interlock and so on with our hands in the gripping of a club? Certainly not for comfort, yet practically all the golf stars employ some modification of one of these grips.

The constant endeavor is to grip in such a manner that the right hand is weakened and is purposely kept out of stroke except simply to keep the stroke on the proper plane on the back swing and to speed up the club head right at impact.

The right will in my experience will always do its full share at impact without thought of anything else - in fact it's a constant fight to keep it from doing too much.

Slicing and lots of other troubles are largely due to too much right and can positively be overcome by relying more on the left arm control.

Understandable Golf Jack GordonLeft arm is just as important as the right in the making of a good swing but for the average player I certainly would advise using the left as much as possible - making it describe a full ellipse for I am sure the right will always do its share.

The right arm helps to steady the left, especially at three-quarter point on up swing, keeping club on proper plane, and applies power or speed at ball.

Try using your left, keeping it straight - getting the greatest diameter possible for your swing.

On the down swing try to make it all left - a pull from the left shoulder and you are sure to feel the difference.

A good way to help strengthen the left arm is to take your driver in your left hand and make a few swings with this arm only, every time you go out to play.

That pleasant feeling of a well-hit ball can only be had through the proper swinging of that left arm."

Reference : 'Understandable Golf' By Jack Gordon. Chapter 6. Pivoting. Professional Country Club of Buffalo Williamsville, N. Y. Illustrations By Hare, Buffalo. Copyright, 1927 By Jack Gordon.

by Joyce and Roger Wethered - The arms are performing the office of ropes

"In case it should be thought that looseness and lissomeness make for a slack or "sloppy" shot, it would be well remember, correctly, the left arm must be kept as straight as possible (although not stiff) throughout the whole swing.

That is to say, the club must be swung in as big an arc as the left arm at full extension will allow. At the same time there is no tautness or setting of muscles. The feeling should be that the arms are performing the office of ropes connecting the body with the club head (rather than with the top of the shaft).

You are moving the clubhead. Therefore try to have the sense of the club head, if you can, rather than of your hands and the shaft of the club.

A little of the flail movement is excellent so long as it does not tend to enfeeble the wrists and render them flabby. A hinge, as it were, in the most important lever, working on its own account, is likely to be fatal. Allow the wrist to break and the strength of the connection is ruined.

Of the most insidious faults that exist, possibly that of the left arm bent at the moment of impact is the most destructive. It should be extended for as long as possible throughout the most critical phase of the swing, which includes the vital act of striking the ball, and the portion of the arc which immediately follows.

It is also an additional safeguard for the element of straightness to be extended for as long a period as the suppleness of the arms and shoulders permit. Mr. Bobby Jones is a notable example of this straightness of arm.

The Game of Golf The Lonsdale LibraryIt may not, of course, be within everyone's capacity to observe such a counsel of perfection. Still, it is only reasonable to compare with it the exact symmetry of the rim of a wheel, of which the spokes do not vary in length. In the same way the arc of the swing cannot waver if the straight left arm is maintained.

If straightness at the top of the swing is a painful position to maintain, it is obviously ruled out of the question as impracticable, since it would contradict the whole idea of smoothness and rhythmical action.

But the natural reluctance to maintain straightness, which occasionally afflicts us, must be reckoned with and resisted, especially if it proceeds from a tendency to flinch from the shot.

Let the ball receive the full value of the swing. A prematurely bent left arm must detract from both power and control."

Reference : 'The Game of Golf', The Lonsdale Library of Sports, Games & Pastimes, Volume IX, Chapter Three, Wooden Club Play, by Joyce & Roger Wethered. Seeley, Service & Co. Ltd. London  1931. With one hundred illustrations.

by Crafts Wright Higgins - The object of a practice swing

"An increasing number of golfers are beginning to realize that a practice swing is of some value.

The late F. G. Tait was accustomed to make assurance doubly sure by indulging in one before anything but the easiest of shots ; and both Taylor and Vardon, when they have got their backs to the wall, rehearse the most important line in their parts, that which contains what the wrists have to say to the stroke, before they walk on and give their actual performance.

To judge by the action of the two professional ex-champions alone it would seem that the object of a practice swing is simply to remind the wrists of the duty expected of them.

But the example of Mr. Tait suggests that it is the fingers rather than the wrists which need a reminder. He used frequently to adjust his grip in a manner peculiar to himself. After grasping his club tightly with both hands as much under the grip as possible he would twist them round the leather in opposite directions until they assumed a comfortable position.

Then came the practice swing as if to test finally the results of this process. No man can become a fine player by imitating unintelligently the idiosyncrasies of great golfers, but he can do much to hasten his improvement if he discovers the idea which lurks behind the visible expression of it.

If it be true, as here suggested, that the real object of the practise swing is to secure the correct disposition of the hands upon the grip of the club, it is in all probability also true that the practice swing is of little value except to the hard hitters, who fear the temptation to "press". Their intention to hit the ball out of sight makes them instinctively stand to it in such a way as to secure a feeling of power. This feeling they produce by letting the right hand overmaster the left in the address; the left wrist is allowed to bend instead of being kept taut; and the faulty condition thus produced continues throughout the stroke.

Now the guiding influence of the left hand once lost anything may happen. Occasionally a long straight shot results, but more often one of the many kinds of foozles, a top or a duff, a hook or a slice.

The over-forceful golfer may be advised to try the effect of a practice swing. He will naturally take it easy, and his hands will therefore assume the correct position and divide the work of the actual stroke properly between them. Thus one of the things which distinguish pressing from hard hitting would have been eliminated.

The worst of giving good advice is that it may be taken by the wrong persons. If the self-centred players, the men who forget that a golf match is an affair of two balls, not one, acquire the habit of the practice swing, they will certainly carry it to grievous excess.

A famous member of a famous touring side once met such a person, and their match took three hours and three-quarters to play. The tourist counted the number of trial swings which is opponent took, and invariably went one better. Also putts had to be studied with emulous care. - Exchange."

Reference : 'Practice Swing' By Crafts Wright Higgins, The Golfers Magazine The Organ Of The Game, Page 171, February 1908.

by Alex J. Morrison - Keeping the chin back

"Earlier along in this series of articles on the correct way to swing a golf club, I made the statement that the three basic essentials, viz.,

  • the two hands working together,
  • balance,
  • and keeping the chin back of the ball,

appeared so simple in their outline that a great many golfers find it hard to believe that they cover the whole subject, since many followers of the game have come to regard golf as a puzzling, mystifying matter, that just naturally has to have a lot of complications.

Alex J. MorrisonYet, in spite of the fact that these fundamentals are simple to state, they are not so simple to put into execution to that point where they become habitual, especially for players who have gone along for some time accentuating faults which are in conflict with these principles.

Time and time again, one may see a player lift his head, when he is absolutely certain that he did not, and the same applies to numerous other bad habits.

The editor has suggested that printing the answers to some of the many letters containing questions which have been received may be a very good method of emphasizing the points I am trying to get over, so some of these are reproduced here:

"I am afflicted with that terrible disease known as 'hitting with the shoulder', because, when I watch experts play, they appear to me to slam that right shoulder as far into the ball as they can. So that has been my policy in trying to develop a sound swing. I have had several instructors look me over, but none of them ever told me how to correct my trouble.

"Your advice to keep the chin back of the ball throughout the stroke, is in my estimation the greatest thought ever expressed to establish a stroke fundamental. It taught me that these experts, although it appears to the eye that they put the right shoulder in there with the club, actually do no such thing, at least, not with any conscious intent to do so.

Keeping the chin back keeps my shoulder in place until the ball is struck, and the final turn of the hips brings it around under the chin.

And so I found that my right shoulder should not go in there with the club, as I had come to believe from watching certain good players, but really followed." P. G. M.

Keeping the chin back is something that every good golfer does, or at least they all hit past the chin, every time they hit a good shot, regardless of what club is used."

Reference : Three Fundamentals Cover All 'All Golf Faults Trace Back to Some Violation of These' by Alex J. Morrison, The American Golfer, June, 1929. Courtesy LA84 Foundation, Digital Library, www.LA84Foundation.org.

by Walter J. Travis - The effect is usually to depress the right shoulder

"Reference has been made to the introduction of a jerk in the swing.

This is generally a sure sign of pressing - i.e. suddenly exerting more power than usual.

The effect is usually to depress the right shoulder, and sclaff badly.

If the extra power is harmoniously distributed, no harm is done.

As a general thing, however, it is advisable to keep back some reserve force.

The man who utilizes his full measure of existent strength at every full stroke is far more liable to drive unsteadily than he who represses such inclination and determines to keep well within his natural limitations, and the few yards occasionally gained by pressing when the shot comes off do not compensate for the more frequent foozles."

Reference : 'Practical GOLF by Walter Travis. Illustrated From Photographs. New & Revised Edition. New York and London Harper & Brothers Publishers 1903', extract from Chapter II, The Swing. Copyright, 1901, by Harper & Brothers May 1901.

by Daryn Hammond - Slow-Back is practised by no-first class golfer

"The principle of slow-back which is dinned into the ears of every beginner is practised by no first-class golfer.

The beginner is led to believe that some subtle magic resides in the process, and he performs the laborious operation as though he were anxious to get the club over his right shoulder without any profane onlooker seeing or hearing what he has accomplished.

It is, of course, possible to hit a good shot after treating a golf club in this ridiculous manner. It may be less difficult to hit a good shot in that manner than after snatching the club-head away from the ball as though the golfer had suddenly gone mad or suddenly imagined that the club-head was burning the new half-crown ball away.

The slow-back doctrine is a clumsy statement of the principle of control.

The golfer must obtain and retain control of the club.

It is seen that he almost necessarily loses control when he jerks the club away from the ball, and instead of the root principle of control being intelligently explained to him, he is told without ceasing to go "slow-back".

He begins to regard "slow-back" as an end in itself instead of a bad means to that end, and he plods on, for ever missing the whole significance of the golf swing. It may be objected that the person who makes the up-swing at a snail's space does in fact possess control of the club. This, however, is untrue.

The best golfer is the golfer who has greatest control of the club, and it may well be that he is the golfer who has the quickest up-swing.

The beginner should therefore always keep in mind the great question of control, and he must steadily refuse to be side-tracked, whether he is considering, or practising, either the up-swing or the down-swing."

Reference : 'The Golf Swing The Ernest Jones Method' by Daryn Hammond. London Chatto & Windus 1920. Chapter III. The Swing.

by Jock Hutchison - Slow back swing
Jock Hutchison

Jock Hutchison

"The club is taken back slowly - not over-exaggerated but it is necessary to remember that the ball is not being hit with the backward swing and that any fast movement is likely to throw one off.

There are different ways of starting the club back.

The backward swing, therefore, can be deliberate.

Chick Evans has what he calls the press forward, which permits the hands to go out ahead of the club and then back but this is chiefly habit.

George Duncan is very emphatic about the hands starting the first movement and then the club head.

The idea of both of these movements is to get the feel of the club immediately."

Reference : 'The Art of Getting Distance' By Jock Hutchison, British Open Champion, The American Golfer November, 1925.

Download : 'The Most Valuable Stroke in Golf, The Shot That Can Improve More Scores Than Any Other in the Ancient Game' By JOCK HUTCHISON, British Open Champion, The American Golfer, Courtesy of LA84 Foundation.

by James Barnes - Proper movement of the shoulder

"When it comes to golf instruction you hear a lot, at different times, about the grip - wrist action - the head - turn of the body - and the stance. You will also hear about the straight left arm and the right elbow close in against the side.

It isn't often that you hear anything about the action of the shoulders, and yet the shoulders have a lot to do with the right sort of swing. They are much more important than most golfers seem to think them. They can make or spoil good shots as often as any other part of the body.

In the first place I should say the shoulders are used too much in taking the club back. This belongs to the hands and arms. The shoulders should turn in a natural way with the left one, dropping slightly on the back swing. But the effort here should be a natural one.

If the head is lifted going back the chances are it will stay that way all through the swing, which means that the right shoulder is going to be too high when you strike. If the shoulders are too high or too low most of the power is taken from the swing and there is little control left.

If they turn in the right way, they help to keep the head in one place.

In addressing the ball the right shoulder should be held a little lower than the left.

Then the left hand and left wrist start the club head back and, as they begin to move, the left shoulder easily and gradually comes around until the top of the back swing is reached.

Don't make the mistake of letting the left shoulder stop too soon in this turning process. It should not be held up or checked until it comes to the end of the turning motion, with the left knee turned in towards the ball.

The left shoulder and the left knee should start turning together on the inward motion without moving the body to the right or left and with the head held in its place as anchor to the entire movement.

Naturally if the head is lifted, or moved to the right, the shoulders must follow unless one is a contortionist. There should be nothing stiff or forced in the action of the shoulders, especially the left shoulder which starts with the first pivoting.

If the shoulder motion is free and open, if the shoulders don't lock at any part of the swing, if they only turn as they should and keep their place, one gets always a feeling of additional power that can never come from the hands and wrists and forearms alone.

To sum up then, see to it that your shoulders swing easily and smoothly, thus providing a set of useful hinges.

Reference : How Are Your Hinges Working? Hints and Suggestions on the Proper Movement of the Shoulder in the Golf Swing James M. Barnes United States Open Champion. The American Golfer April, 1922.

by Laddie Lucas - How much do you honestly feel Archie helped you with your golf?

"I put the question which had long interested me.

'How much,' I asked, 'do you honestly feel Archie helped you with your golf?'

Pam did not answer at once. Then speaking deliberately - thinking aloud, really - she let her mind run on and on, uninhibited and extrovert. There was a short preamble before she came to the point.

'I started off with the feeling that I ought to be able to win. Why, I don't know; but the feeling was there, rather like one gets a premonition that something is going to happen.

'I had the advantage that I was strong and could hit the ball naturally. Even before I had learnt to play properly I felt I played better when I was excited and things mattered. I played badly when I didn't care. But I was lucky in always wanting to be out on the course, playing or practising. I was happy doing that and time meant nothing. I could lose myself in what I was doing. I had bags of patience and I wanted to win; but I knew I had to improve if I was going to succeed.

'So I had all that before Archie started on my game; that was the point. What he did was to let me develop quickly what was already there. He helped me to make the best of it. I felt he could do that, that's why he gave me so much confidence. The trouble was that I used to lose it if he wasn't there. I had to get over that, to feel that I could do it myself. America helped because I was on my own and I had to get on with it; but I never lost the feeling that I wanted to be able to get to Archie quickly if things went wrong - which they often did.

'Whether I would have been able t get things better myself, or with someone else helping me, I don't know. I think it might have taken longer.'

'Were there,' I asked, 'any special things he told you which helped you more than the rest? Or was it just a combination of adjustments which ultimately brought the results?'

There was no hesitation now.

'Oh, yes,' she said, 'there were two things Archie made me work on - not at the start, but later on - which turned me in about a year from being an erratic player, sometimes very good, sometimes very bad, into something much better.

'He shortened my backswing by about a foot. It was probably no more than two or three inches, but it felt to me like a foot. I thought of it as that; that was the amount I aimed in my mind to chop off. This, I am sure, was the principal thing.

But he also made me get firmer at the ball and through it.

He got me to go through the ball with firm hands and forearms, particularly the forearms. I got to feel I was hitting the ball more with my arms - the upper part of my arms - than with my hands.

'Before, I had slapped at it too much, slashed at it with loose fingers and wrists. I was too sloppy and flicky at the ball. Archie firmed all that up. The shortened backswing helped me to firm up my action.'

I put a last question.

'Did you have anything, any trick, any rule which you applied when you were under the whip and there was an important shot to play which you shouldn't miss? Did Archie suggest anything for use in a crisis?'

The Sport of Prince's Reflections of a golfer Laddie Lucas'Archie didn't,' said Pam, 'but I found something for myself which I kept as a stand-by in moments of real tension.

I found that if I aimed to hit the bottom of the ball instead of just the ball itself, it would prevent me from getting "late" and would hold a not-very-well-struck-shot well enough to stop it getting into real trouble.

It helped my driving and the long irons, but most of all, it was my insurance against disaster.

I always thought of it on the important shots.'

The Wing's operation with the bombers the next morning was uneventful and, after lunch, we flew back to Coltishall. Fragments of the absorbing conversation of the previous evening, and the act of chance which had brought it about, kept recurring to possess my thoughts.

It was a shot in a million that we should meet like that."

Reference : 'The Sport of Prince's' By Laddie Lucas Reflections of a Golfer Stanley Paul. Chapter 11 'He Aimed Right and Hit Left', page 133. First published 1980 © P. B. (Laddie) Lucas 1980.

Download: 'The Sport of Prince's Reflections of a Golfer' do you honestly feel Archie helped you with your golf? by Laddie Lucas

by Cecil Leitch - Put a handkerchief under the left arm pit

"This looking up is often the cause of that terrible complaint called socketing.

The very word is hideous, but it is nothing compared to the results of the disease. I can truthfully say that I very seldom fall a victim to this complaint, but I have socketed quite enough shots to be able to realize the agonies one can suffer when in its grip.

The more socketed shots I see played, the more I am convinced that the cause is to be found in the arm action.

The club is taken back in a hurried manner, and on the forward swing the player throws out her arms, with the result that the club-head is thrust too far out at the moment it meets the ball.

There is no bad shot in golf which flurries a player so much as a shot off the socket, and this probably accounts for the invariable repetition of the mistake. If a player, who is inclined to socket, only half sockets one shot, she will encourage the germ to grow, and it will grow.

To avoid contracting this complaint, the hints on how to play an ordinary mashie shot must be regarded. "Prevention is better than cure" is a motto which every golfer would do well to bear in mind.

The player who is suffering from an attack should go to a quiet corner of the course and try the following cure.

Put a handkerchief under the left armpit, take up a firm stance with ball in line with the left heel and the weight on the right leg, keep the head still and the left arm close to the body throughout the shot.

If the handkerchief remains in the position in which it was placed, it is almost impossible to socket."

Reference : 'Golf Simplified' By Cecil Leitch. Chapter III Up To The Pin, And Into The Hole, page 65. 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.

by Stewart Maiden - I want to say something about the straight left arm

"I have heard a good deal about swinging the clubhead and what it will do. Well, you have to swing the clubhead, because you hit the ball with the clubhead, but I can't go along with the fellows who say this explains everything.

I've seen too many golfers get back to the top of the swing in such a position that it was utterly impossible for them to swing at all.

And this reminds me that I want to say something about the straight left arm at the top of the backswing. I don't say that the arm has to be absolutely straight but I don't know any reason why it shouldn't be.

Anyway, I want that arm fully extended and firm at the elbow, because that means that the muscles of that arm and of the left shoulder are contracted, and if they are not, then those of the right shoulder will be, and it's the contracted muscles that go to work when action is started.

If the right shoulder and arm muscles start the downswing, the right side will swing the club.

And if this happens, the right side will swing about toward the left too fast. The club will be swung around too much, causing what you hear spoken of as hitting from the outside in, instead of having the body turn back easily toward the left, with the arms swinging the clubhead down to the ball from the inside of the line of play.

I notice that where the right shoulder swings around, the player usually has a tough time keeping his head in position until after he has hit the ball. So keeping that left arm firm and as straight as you can at the top of the backswing can prevent a lot of trouble."

Reference : 'My System of Teaching Golf' A Famous Instructor's Conceptions of The Importance of Correct Body Action By Stewart Maiden. The American Golfer September 1932. Courtesy of LA84 Foundation.

by Percy Boomer - The plunging right shoulder

"The plunging right shoulder is fatal because if your right shoulder dips below its correct position relative with the left, you cannot go on through the ball - you become blocked just as you get past the ball.

The right shoulder must be felt to come square against the back of the ball, neither under nor above it.

This dipping is a fault of the right hip as well as the right shoulder. One is the counterpart of the other.

When we see a fellow with his club and hands curled around his left leg at the finish, we know that his right side has buckled on the way down, and so his follow through has been blocked.

Now let us go into the question of the right shoulder more minutely. I want you to become much more conscious of your right shoulder than of your left.

When my left heel and leg are going forward I feel that my right shoulder goes back, but I have enough experience to know that what is probably happening is that my right shoulder is stationary in relation to the hips.

We feel we are pushing it back when actually we are holding it back - but that is the basic difficulty of analyzing golf swing feels; we mistake opposition for movement.

Now we have to find a similar fixing for the shoulders, to control their position and direction of movement.

How should they be held at the address and what is their movement?

You have to incline them forward slightly as you address the ball, but see that it is only slightly, only as little as your build makes necessary.

And keep them both up; especially keep the left shoulder up as you go up and the right shoulder up as you come through.

Just as the barrel has made your hips turn horizontally, with no sway, so should your shoulders feel that they turn horizontally.

Connection Between Left Heel and Right Shoulder

But my own method of fixing the shoulders is different.

It is to feel that there is a direct connection between the left heel and the right shoulder, a diagonal tie that keeps them connected and at an unvarying distance one from the other, as we go back, as we come down, and as we follow through.

Percy Boomer On Learning GolfThis is a difficult connection to describe, but once you have grasped its full meaning you will realize its value. As we lift our left heel - going back - we will (if the tie is properly realized) feel our right shoulder move back in response.

The shoulder and heel keep their distance, never getting closer or farther away; so when the left heel comes down, we will feel the right shoulder moving forward in a straight line against the ball - neither dipping under it or rising over it. This is right. The right shoulder should never feel to dip under the ball, though it should be felt to go down to it.

In fact the feel of the shoulder movement in a correctly braced swing is that the shoulders move round parallel to the ground."

Reference : 'On Learning Golf' by Percy Boomer. Chapter VIII Preparatory to the Swing & Chapter XIV The Force Center. Copyright © 1946 by Percy Boomer. First published in the USA by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

by E. M. Prain - Beginning of the backswing

"The first check is the beginning of the backswing and it is here that many players go wrong.

So often at this point you see the player raise his shoulders.

This is brought about by picking up the club instead of swinging it.

By raising the shoulders the player has immediately changed the plane in which the arc of the swing should be described.

Eric Prain Live Hands The BackswingIn order to neutralise this there must be a compensating movement, and it appears in the form of a drop of the shoulders on the downswing.

There is a tendency at this stage to break the wrists, or to take the club back with the left hand only, leaving the right hand to hang loose and lifeless on the shaft.

It is true the left hand must guide, but the right hand must work in unison with it.

Therefore, feel for the clubhead with the manipulative fingers of the right hand.

We are going to use BOTH hands at the ball and so we start them back together."

Reference : 'Live hands A key to Better Golf by E. M. Prain. Second Edition with an introduction by Bernard Darwin and sixteen photographs. Adam & Charles Black, 4, 5 & 6 Soho Square London W.1 1947.

by Bobby Jones - Reason for a bad slice

"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.

by Tom Watson - How do you stop a slice?

"The most commonly asked question to me is how do you stop a slice?

Everybody seems that they slice the ball and they want a solution. Well, there are several things I tell. The first thing I look at is the grip... A lot of the time, that's the only solution that's necessary for people who slice the ball."

Reference : Tom Watson's Lessons of A Lifetime DVD, Instruction from one of Golf's Greats, Your Step by Step guide to a better game in 44 lessons. Two Disc Set & Instructional Booklet © Copyright 2010 Tom Watson Productions, tomwatson.com.

by Paul Runyan - What can be seen (the arms and shoulders and body generally)

"The wrists, continuing to cock after the arms have stopped, then carry the clubshaft to its full arc of two hundred and seventy degrees - slightly more, perhaps, for the swinger, slightly less for the puncher.

By the time the club has reached this maximum point the body has started uncoiling the other way, back toward the ball. The tension created in the thigh muscles of the right leg and the deltoid muscle of the left side through the full stretch of the backswing begins to subside to allow for a turning of the body back to its starting position.

Though this return pivot of the body back to its address position is completed very quickly, it leaves the arms and hands only about half-to-three quarters of the way through their downswing. Somewhere about now, at the half or three-quarter point down (a little earlier with the weak-handed person, a little later with the strong-handed one), the wrists come into play.

They begin to uncock, to make their throw or thrust or turn (however you wish to think of it) in order to get out of the path of the fast-moving clubhead.

There is impressive evidence, from high-speed camera studies, that strong, quick, free-wheeling wrist action does not actually speed up the clubhead, as most of us have always thought. Instead, the wrists actually keep the clubhead from decelerating in the hitting area from the maximum speed reached when the shaft of the club is horizontal.

Yet this unleashing of the hands is still a major factor in clubhead speed, whether creating or maintaining it. For, while the hands are making their throw, the turning action of the body and the speed of the arms is arrested. Neither comes to an abrupt stop. But there is a pause.

The motion of the body seems to die out as the player comes into the ball.

The clubhead is flying so fast through flexible hand action, that, of course, it cannot be seen. And the momentary pause of the body and arm thrust at this point which all top-notch swingers seem to have gives the illusion of effortlessness. "He hits the ball so easy", they say, watching a swing like Snead's. The effort and speed are all there, but they are invisible to the naked eye.

What can be seen (the arms and shoulders and body generally), does not appear to be moving as fast nor working as hard in a good swing as in a bad one. A poor swing lacks the unleashing, unseen, hand action which enables the body to be relatively quiet.

The high handicapper is leaning on the ball more, trying to push it out there with his arms and shoulders, and his attempt to do so shows. At best arms and shoulders are very poor substitutes, and the visible difference in form that the two kinds of swings demonstrate can often be quickly appreciated even by the most untutored observer. One looks graceful; the other does not."

Reference : Paul Runyan's book 'Paul Runyan's Book For Senior Golfers', The Drive, Chapter 13. Dodd, Mead & Company, Copyright © 1962 by Paul Runyan. Pages 112 - 114


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