Speed and Strength through Structure
By Tim Mahoney
All golfers from Rory Milroy to Lydia Ko are in constant
attempts to generate more speed and strength throughout their golfing
motion. Golfers we see throughout our
golf schools are attempting more speed and strength as well. The only way to generate more speed and gain
speed is to have stability and structure throughout the entire motion of the
golf swing. The old adage, “would you
rather shoot a cannon from a canoe or a stable surface.” More speed and strength through a stable
surface. Golfers must develop stability
first before attempting speed and strength
Structure starts at address with a balanced posture and
set-up. Bending from your hips with a
neural spine. Weight on the balls of
your feet. Arms hanging directly from
your shoulders with your feet shoulder width apart. Body must be in a position where the muscles
are holding and supporting the movement.
Feet hold the ground as your hands hold the club. Bending from your hips with a small amount of
knee bend. Body must be tall and
balanced. This position will provide
structure throughout your golf swing.
As the arms swing, body turns and wristcock golfers must
maintain the structure established at address.
The feet continue to hold the ground.
Maintain the bend in your hips and the neutral spine. Body turns freely as you maintain the
structure stability and positions. Maintain
angles and positions.
As the arms swing, body unturns and wrist uncock to impact
the structure and stability established at address, top must be
maintained. Body turns around a fixed
point. The fixed point established at
address and maintained throughout the motion. Dynamic motion through a static
As the body unwinds, arms release, wrist uncock and the club
released, structure is maintained throughout the entire motion. Bend maintained, angles and lines kept
through structure. Speed and strength
the effect of stability and structure.
Maintain structure for a strong and fast golf swing.
How to Aim
A perfectly struck shot with an imperfect aim results in an
imperfect result. An imperfect shot with
a perfect aim could result in a perfect shot.
The art of aiming I believe is the single most difficult aspect in the
game, due to the fact that the golfer is inside and above the ball line. I have been in the instruction arena for over
30 years and have tried every aiming tip with my students, and have come up
with the conclusion that all good aimers have 2 common traits: a consistent
ball flight and they always aim the clubface first and body second.
Golf swing and pre swing compatibility will develop a
consistent ball flight. For an example:
strong grip, centered ball position, body supports golf club and a reverse K
posture these alignments will produce a controlled draw. Conversely, a weaker grip, forward ball
position, X posture and an arm control will produce a controlled fade. Uncontrolled ball flights make a consistent
aim impossible. Hooks followed by a
slice develop an atmosphere where it is impossible to aim. Develop a consistent ball flight and then
develop your game plan for aiming.
Clubface Followed by
The only contact with the ball is the clubface. Consistent aimers align the club first
followed by the torso. Step 1 of a
consistent aimer is positioning the clubface behind the ball with the completed
grip. During this alignment the golfer
must align the leading edge at right angle to the target line. After successfully aligning the clubface the
golfer must position the body parallel to the intended starting line. The golf ball and club head would be on the
outside rail of a railroad track with the body on the inside rail. The body will be parallel left. A line across the eyes, shoulders, forearms,
hips, knees and feet must be aligned parallel left. Inconsistent aimers consistently check there
feet, when the feet are only 1 piece of the aiming puzzle. Aiming is guaranteed if you aim the leading
edge at your intended target line and then aim your body parts parallel
left. Your golf club will approach the
impact area on a line across your shoulders; as a result it is an imperative
that the golfers position their trunk parallel left.
Develop a consistent ball fight with a compatible set of
pre-swing and in swing fundamentals and as you aim, position the club with your
body aligned parallel left. Consistent
aiming is the effect of a consistent ball-flight not the cause.
Ben Hogan’s Plane of Glass
By Tim Mahoney
The legendary golfer and technician Ben Hogan in 1946
developed the swing concept of an angle the club needs to swing: Swing plane or simply the shape of the
swing. Throughout the years a debate has
developed regarding the angle or plane of the swing: 1 or a 2 plane motion. Within the Mahoney and Troon Golf Academy we
believe that it is not a 1 or a 2 plane motion, simply an on-plane swing that
is determined by the club and your posture.
The angle or plane that you swing the club on determines the centerness
of the strike, the ability to square your club face at impact and the amount of
divot. Swing plane is not a ball flight
law, but simply, a golf swing preference.
The backswing plane can be viewed as an inclined angle taken
at address running up the shoulders from the ball. The left arm controls the shape of the
backswing, the shoulders, arms, hands and club should rotate and swing on this
angle and not deviate from the intended angle.
Swinging on this determined angle will allow the upper and lower body
the ability to turn freely on both sides of the swing. Once golfers understand how to swing to the
top of the backswing they will solve consistency problems.
During the downswing motion, the golf club MUST swing under
and below the back swing plane. The
shallowing of the club on the downswing is a significant power boost at
impact. The slight lateral shift of the
hips towards the target as the upper body is turning back, allows for a
“flattening” of the downswing plane. As
the hips are sliding laterally, the right elbow connects to the side as the
left hips turns behind. Hands or
shoulders starting the downswing establishes an over the top or steep
angle. Steepness in the downswing causes
toe hits, open club face and a decrease in club head speed. Create a flatter downswing as compared to the
backswing results in greater power and consistency.
Drills that will assist in creating this angle: baseball swings above the ball and chip shots
where the club stays below your hands on both sides. These drills will allow you to focus
primarily on the shape of the swing and the intended plane.
Club face, angle of attack, centeredness of hit, club head
speed and swing path are the ball flight laws that effect every shot from a
putt to a chip, to a full drive. Ben
Hogan’s plane of glass or swing plane is every gofer preference to golf
excellence. Swinging the club on the
intended angle, determined by the club and your posture will provide longer,
straighter and more solid strikes.
Low short game shots
The average professional golfer on any of the world tours
hits an average of 11-13 greens a round.
As a result, 5-7 opportunities are presented for an up-in or an actual
chip in. After 35 years of teaching golf
around the world, mastering the chip shot is the fastest way to lower your
handicap, provide more enjoyment and assist all levels of golfers an
opportunity to exceed their personal objectives.
At the Mahoney and Troon Golf Academy we have eliminated
shots titles: chipping and pitching and have replaced the situation with a low
shot or a high shot. In all short game
situations the player’s goal is to land the golf ball safely onto the putting
surface and allow the golf ball to release to the hole. Successful short game
results are the effect of a correct set-up, swing motion, and club choice.
Club choice is the effect of the lie of the ball, the amount
of green you have to work with and the distance you are away from your desired
landing area. Worse the lies choose a
higher lofted club. More green you have
to work with, take a lower lofted club to allow for more run out. The further you are away from the landing
area, choose a higher lofted club in-order to land the golf ball safely onto
the green. When in doubt, choose the
higher lofted club and produce a lower ball flight.
Preparation in the short game is 90% of the success of the
end result. For a lower lofted shot,
position the ball towards your back foot, lean your body weight towards the
target with the shaft leaned forward.
Keep in mind that the golf club will bottom out directly below your
nose, Position your head in front of the ball and the club will find its low
spot in front of the ball.
During your swinging motion, minimize the amount of hand
action and pivot on the back swing and allow your upper body to turn back with
arm motion. The club head should remain
under your hands. On the forward swing
allow your resisted core hips to initiate the motion with limited hand and
wrist motion. The club head should
remain under your hands. Hold your
finish until the ball comes to rest.
Eliminate the shot titles during your golf rounds and
attempt to the control your short game shots with elevation. Set-up, club choice and motion will give you
controlled results and lower scores.
Controlling distance with your Wedges
Golf is a unique activity where you have the combination of
distance, direction and trajectory control of the golf ball. In the short game the ability to score is
directly related to controlling the distance of the golf ball. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie
Fowler have the ability to control the distance of their wedges within 95% of
the required goal. For an example, on a
30 yard shot, Spieth has the control of his wedges to hit the ball 28.5 yards,
a differential of 1.5 yards in total distance.
Distance is controlled by club choice, length of club at
address, length of swing, elevation of the shot, solidness of the strike and
the speed of motion. All golfers should
have a minimum of 3 wedges with the lofts of 48, 52 and 56 degrees of
loft. All wedges should have a
differential of 4 degrees of separation.
As you work with the wedges identify the distance of ½, ¾ and full
Length of club at address will have a direct impact on the speed
of the motion throughout. Golfers should
attempt to grip down the shaft, ½ of a grip and a full grip. Combine this with different length of swings
as well. A shortened club will work with
a shortened swing and a long club will work with a long swing. All wedge swings should be balanced or
symmetrical on both sides of the motion.
A partial backswing should match a partial forward swing. The golf swing
needs to be balanced in order to control speed and distance.
A mirrored impact position and address, of the will assist
with controlling the loft of the club. The impact position should be identical
to the starting position. Unlike the full swing where the shaft needs to be
forward leaned for speed in pitching the shafts needs to match.
Solidness of the strike is the effect of the angle or plane
of the swing. A vertical swing motion
will produce a toe hit and conversely a horizontal or flat swing will produce a
heel hit or a shank. The club must be
swung on the desired angle or right angle to your spine.
Distance control in the short game is the effect of the
club, speed, length of swing and solidness of the hit. Control these variables and you to will pitch