Cause and Effect
First of all, you have floored me with all the responses to my questions in Tuesday’s post. We’ll be sorting those out and putting them in a pot to name the winners of the free wedges, but most of all . . . THANK YOU! It always pleases me when I get a lot of responses to a post, and this one generated the most immediate responses ever. Was it the free wedges? Or something else that made you all chime in so feverishly?

But on to today’s subject – cause and effect in the golf swing. I have been working with a couple of the local high school kids and the one of the biggest issues I see them struggling with is swing speed. NOT the kind that generates clubhead speed at impact, but the overall pace of their swings, particularly their backswings. To most of them, the game is all about power. They all have watched so much TV golf and heard so much about how far these guys hit it. And they all have bigger, stronger kids hitting it past them. So they naturally try to kill the ball with every club in their bag, not just the driver. And that promotes quick, right hand dominated backswings which leads to inconsistency.

I’ve been trying to convey to them that there is no applied power in the backswing. You don’t hit the ball with that part of the swing – it’s merely a way to get the club into the proper position from which to make a powerful downswing. So the more deliberate you are with that part of the swing, the more likely you are to get in the exact right position to optimize your downswing move through impact. And that advice can be applied to many of the mid- to high-handicappers I observe and advise.

The golf swing can be broken down into three basic parts – backswing, impact zone and follow through. And all of them are cause and effect.

The backswing is caused by the way you hold the club, your stance and posture and your ideas of where the club needs to be at the top/back of its travel. I’m a big proponent of visual golf, and if you have a very vivid, clear picture of where you want the club to be at the end of the backswing, you are more likely to get it there. With any shot – from drive to putt – the backswing should be a deliberate motion to put the club precisely where it needs to be to set up the initial move toward impact. And you don’t win any awards, get any bonus points or gain any distance for getting there quicker.

The initial part of the downswing is caused by two things – your vision of how the club moves through the impact zone, and where you started from . . . the top of your backswing position. Most golfers think that they need to “hit” the golf ball, so the downswing move is too often initiated by a subtle tightening of the right hand and a move with the naturally stronger upper right side to begin the action of “hitting” the ball at the bottom. If you change your notion of impact to a pulling motion of the entire left side through the impact zone, the first move will subconsciously change from a right hand dominated action to a left side action, beginning with the legs, then hips, upper torso and upper left arm. And you are getting closer to proper impact.

The impact zone action is caused by this initial downswing move and the way you envision releasing the club through the ball. If you continue this left side dominance, you can more easily release the club in a rotational motion, rather than an unhinging of the wrists. And longer, straighter shots, with crisper impact will be the result.

Finally, the follow-through is a natural action that reflects the quality of the action through the impact zone. Very few good ball strikers have funky-looking follow-throughs. And a nice looking, balanced follow-through will NEVER result from an improper move through impact.

Thanks again for all the input and feedback from my Tuesday column. We’ll release the winners’ names in Tuesday’s column. Keep the individual questions coming in through the “Ask Terry” link at the bottom of each post. We still give away a wedge every Tuesday. Or more than one!
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
SMccain says:
I'd be willing to bet that each of those kids has an I-pod of some sort, make them hit balls in sync with music that you approve.
Hogan tempo'd with the Waltz.
I have a tune "The Gael" that helps me when I start spraying it all over the place. I'm VERY strict about listening to certain music choices while in route to the golf course.

Kind of like this:
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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