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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Is There a Natural Golf Swing?

I was watching the British Masters and one of the commentators talked about Shane Lowry having a very natural-looking golf swing. There was then some commentary about the golf swing not really being a natural thing. Interestingly, that view seems to be common among many golf professionals. Is there a natural way to swing a golf club?

Ben Hogan certainly didn't think so. In fact, he said something to the effect that we should reject every natural instinct and do just the opposite to swing the club properly. But is that really true? Bobby Jones would have certainly disagreed. In fact, he wrote about players with natural-looking swings. He said their appearance of naturalness often came from them having learned the game as youngsters where they went about hitting a golf ball with no more concern than they would have beating a rug, or chopping wood. They may not have had a competent instructor, but they had time, and liked the game, and kept whacking the ball until they learned how to make it behave. Many of these players never even considered their swing, or if there indeed was a swing at all, until they had reached a high level of competence.

How things have changed. Many promising golfers are, very early in the proceedings, taught the mechanics of a sound swing. As a result we see a lot of successful tour players with cookie-cutter swings. They are sound swings. But they often lack the natural appearance of players like Shane Lowry as they take pains to set up and swing the club according to Hoyle, or Hogan.

So, according to Bobby Jones, there is a natural golf swing. It isn't the same for everyone. It's the swing we develop when our focus is on striking the ball, rather than swinging the club. It might not be the prettiest swing. But it might just be the best swing for you.