DON’T make the turn

Most of current golf swing teaching is based on what is considered the modern, rotational swing. A lot of emphasis is placed on getting your pivot right, body driven swing, maximum shoulder turn etc. One plane, deep turn, big weight shift.

One plane, deep turn, big weight shift.

Trouble is, that’s really bloody difficult for the average joe like you and me.

So in one of my many experimentation sessions at the range, I found myself making no conscious effort to turn my shoulders at all and I was striking the ball much, much better. I’ve since been back to the range two or three times, focusing on keeping my shoulders very square to my target line, with no conscious effort to turn them. They do move of course, and I don’t try to resist them, they just don’t move as much or as early as they used to. I used to start my swing by pretty much moving everything in one piece, at the same time; shoulders, arms, club and hips – with very inconsistent results.

And then interestingly, as is often the case, I have managed to validate my findings on the old interweb. Leslie King, a renowned teacher from the 60’s and 70’s, had this to say:

‘The swing is started by a backward movement of the left hand and arm

Now let us repeat the left hand and arm movement with a club in the hand. Keep the shoulders still and move the clubhead back moving the left hand and arm as described. Now since the shoulders are square (at address) the left hand and arm can only move the clubhead back towards the ball, along the arc for a distance of about a foot before being blocked by the square position of the shoulders. Try this.’

I promise you it works. I set myself up well, with good posture including knee flex (Leslie King also makes a big thing about maintaining right knee flex, something else I’ve been doing anyway), and basically imagine my body is scaffolding that isn’t going to move. It’s just going to support the swing of my left arm/ club unit. I start the swing by simply moving my left arm across my chest and my shoulders naturally turn when the left arm meets them and forces them too. But they aren’t moving first (or dipping, or tilting) and they are no doubt not moving as much as they used to. I’m sure my hips aren’t moving as much either. Less moving parts = less that can go wrong. It is also the most simple way of keeping the club on plane.

Even modern teachers are giving the same advice. Monte Scheinblum, not really my cup of tea generally but very popular, put this out on YouTube (I don’t take any notice of the ‘Cast’ bit):

My shots are straighter and longer – and that’s with my hybrids, driver and 3 wood, not just my irons. The fat and thin shots are vastly reduced. It feels right, even if intuitively I want to control the swing with my shoulders thinking that is how I will get power.

It’s actually easier too, and seems to have eliminated my lower back pain.

This is a major turning point for me I feel and I if you happen to be reading this I strongly suggest you give it a try. Turn less, let your arms swing.


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