“There are no absolutes in golf. Golf is such an individual game and no two people swing alike.” – Kathy Whitworth
By Ian Hardie
In the series of posts Taking the club straight back, Taking the club straight back – part two and Taking the club straight back – part three – I used some excerpts from my book I could play golf when I first started to help convey the idea that the golf action is effectively carried out by a couple of different parts of your body rotating and that as a result
There are no ‘straight lines’ going on at any time during the golf action
I now want to introduce you to an idea that expands on that a little to attempt to explain the reason that so many golfers get poor results
As with a lot things that I suggest on Golf Habits – the concept is going to sound a bit strange to some of you but considering most golfers slice by using ‘what they know’ – it’s worth thinking about
Let’s go back to my conversation with Pete Norman and see where it leads;
“……………………So Pete, I believe that when we start to play golf the brain develops a few important points about golf and then gets on with trying to reproduce them every time, however occasionally some sort of outside influence causes an imbalance – quite frequently when golfers are just starting.
Which means the brain has to start…..
“Correcting the imbalance during the swing!”
Right Pete, let’s put that information towards the second and more usual outcome of ‘taking the club straight back.’
In the demonstration action I had got to the top of my back action but what had happened to my left shoulder?
“It had got lower to the ground because in taking the club straight back, your shoulders had rocked instead of turning.”
Do you remember what had happened with my hips because of that?
“They did all the turning to compensate for the shoulders not doing any and pulled your left foot up off the ground.”
Yes, so with what we have just talked about what will be happening in my brain at that point?
“From what you have said it will have realized that the height of your stance had dropped, your hips have done more than usual and that your left foot is off the ground and will be busy figuring out how to correct those imbalances.”
“Opposite and greater reactions?”……………………
………………………..Take a stance position and make a back action, trying to take the club back on as straight a line as possible, for as long as possible. When you reach the top of the back action you will notice that your shoulders have rocked more than turned. To allow that your hips will have done the most turning and your left foot will have come up off the ground to allow this movement. You will notice that your stance is now lower than when you started by a few inches.
Try to make a downward action while maintaining that body position and you will find that the club will hit the ground well before the ball as discussed in the first possible outcome.
Return to the top of the back action that you had by taking the club straight back again. Now do a downward action at about half your normal speed while letting your body do whatever it wants to.
As you start your downward action the first priority for your brain is to fix the height imbalance it will have detected.
It will do this by rocking your shoulders in the opposite direction and as it does this it will restrict your hip turn while replacing your left foot on the ground quite quickly.
As your action gets to the point where the ball is your brain will have performed it’s opposite and greater reactions for you and you will notice that your left foot is planted firmly on the ground, your hips have turned very little (almost left behind) and your shoulders have rocked back so that your right shoulder is now much lower than ideal.
This will result in…..
“The club hitting the top of the ball – that causes topping too!”
Yes Pete, it can certainly be a cause of topping for the newer player, but for someone of your experience it would normally cause something else, any idea what that might be?
“Well if I don’t top my shots I usually slice them.”
Have you ever thought about why that is Pete?
“I always assumed it was just my lack of skill.”
Well, as we have found so far Pete, the answer is quite the opposite.
“Are you telling me that I slice because I am skilful at golf – you’re kidding right?”
No, I was actually referring to your brain again Pete, that is most definitely skilful.
Pete, the opposite and greater reaction to body imbalance is one of the most important points that we have talked about so far and once you understand how it works I am sure you could understand a lot more about why your golf hasn’t been as good as you would have liked.
“That’s an understatement……………………..”
I’m going to leave it there for now so if you want to know what is in the next bit of the conversation – which is actually something really powerful
So that you can find out just what it is that comes next……………….
You will be glad you did