Thursday, 19 October 2017

Down and Through

All you have to do is watch a professional golf tournament to know that there are many effective ways to swing a golf club. I keep saying it because it's true. You may see it more when watching the Champions Tour players, but even on the main tour when you watch Sergio, Jon Rahm, DJ, and Spieth--to name but four--swing the club, it is painfully obvious that there are more than just one way to get the job done properly. 

Bobby Jones asserted that most players of his day probably never even considered their swing, or if indeed there was a "golf swing" at all, until after they had become very good at the game. They thought of the game of golf as hitting a golf ball, not swinging a golf club. And, quite frankly, I think most of us would be much better off if we looked at the game the same way. After all, the golf ball couldn't give a hoot about what your swing looked like. The ball only cares about how it's struck.

That being said, there is one thing about the golf swing that was once considered very important but seems to be often over-looked in modern teaching. My favourite teacher, though he never called himself a teacher, Bobby Jones, wrote about it in his book Down the Fairway. He wrote:

    "Whenever I could get the feel that I was pulling the club down and through the stroke with the left arm--indeed, as if I were hitting the shot with the left hand--it seemed impossible to get much off line. Curious thing. The older school of professionals always insisted the golf stroke was a left-hand strike, you know."

The only lesson I ever had, as a boy in England, amounted to the pro having me hit shots with just my left hand. He never bothered to explain why this was important, and I quickly forgot it. Later, when I got tendonitis in my right elbow and could barely hold the club with my right hand, I was forced to play this way, essentially hitting shots using my left hand and arm. I played some of my best golf that way. It's a lesson I keep having to remind myself of.

The old teachers knew that, for right-handed golfers, the golf swing was a left-handed strike. It may not be the the secret to the golf swing. But it is one of the secrets to the golf swing. If you haven't tried it, why not try hitting shots with just your left hand. And try to feel you are pulling the club "down and through" with your left hand and arm. It worked for Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Moe Norman, Jack Nicklaus...