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Learning Curve
I have been trying to help others learn this game for most of my life, as helping people get more enjoyment out of the game is a passion of mine. The most frustrating thing is trying to get someone to understand and embrace the basic premise of the golf swing and impact. It is very difficult for right-hand dominant people to trust that the golf swing is not a hit . . . but a swing of the club dominated by the pulling action of the entire left side.

Because we are so very right-hand dominant, it is instinctive to believe that the best route to contact success is to use that right hand dominance to try to deliver the clubhead to the ball precisely. WRONG! That is why the vast majority of golfers are trapped at an unsatisfactory level of performance with their golf swing. If you want to see just how unsuccessful you will be with that approach, tape a marker pen onto the end of your driver, hold the grip in one hand and step back from a wall and try to sign your name. You’ll find it looks like your 3-year-old penmanship at best. If you can’t even do something as familiar as signing your name, how in the world will you ever groove the striking of a golf ball?

The golf swing – and that doesn’t matter whether it is powerful swing with a driver, a paced swing with a middle-iron or a slow motion short swing to hit a 20 foot pitch shot – is a left side dominated action. It has to be in order to build any repeatability at all.

Furthermore, that left side dominated swing of the golf club has to be controlled by the turning of the body core in order to keep a steady center to the action. If you will get up and stand in golf posture, and put your forefinger right in your sternum, you’ll find that you cannot move your body more than a half inch or so in any direction without getting off balance. But you can move your arms and hands all over the place and stay in balance. So, the closer to the body core you control your swing action, the more likely you are to repeat this action with deadly accuracy time after time. Doesn’t that make too much sense?

The other crucial part of the golf swing is the proper release of the club through the impact zone. I’d venture to guess that over 95% of all golfers do not understand this, as all the golf swings we observe happen so fast, we cannot see it. Proper release HAS TO BE LEARNED IN SLOW MOTION!!!

Personally, I think this game is taught all wrong. Until or unless a golfer has learned to hit quality chip and pitch shots of less than 20 yards . . . where power is not in the equation at all . . . will that golfer have even the most remote chance of learning to hit quality iron shots, or wood shots. These shots can be learned in slow motion, because chipping and pitching is a slow motion action. Power and distance are not objectives, so they are removed as obstacles to the learning curve.

Any and every golfer who is struggling with their game, or is unhappy with their progress, handicap, etc. should focus 100% of your learning and practice time on the shortest of shots. Learn how the body remains steady and balanced while the left side dominates the swing action on short chips and pitches. Learn how the club and hands rotate through the impact zone, with the clubhead following the left side through the plane of the golf ball.

What you learn there can be extrapolated into your full wedge and short iron shots, your middle irons and hybrids, into your fairway woods and finally to your driver.

If you really want to improve . . . DO IT!
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 ]
Gordon 1955 says:
On the Ladies Pro Tour the average club head speed for a driver is more akin to the average male club golfer with clubhead speeds of 90 to 105 mph. The angle of attack is very important for the lady professional. They have to maximise their technique to create extra club head speed.

I tend to have too quick a back swing and lose control (and therefore distance and accuracy). Too many teaching pros just focus on power nowadays but I would rather sacrifice some distance for more control. (Or is that just because I getting older!!)
8/12/11
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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