Direction to better scoring
By Tim Mahoney
All gofers no matter what the handicap level should attempt
to control distance and direction. An
improvement in consistency is the effect of a compatible golf swing. When golfers attempt swing changes without
regard to keeping a balanced or compatible swing, inconsistency is the
result. Golf swings can be upright, Jack
Nicklaus, flat Ben Hogan, shut face David Duval or an open face Nancy Lopez; as
long as all the parts are compatible consistency is the result.
A weak grip should be balanced with a forward ball position,
centered pivot, open face, swing path that is out to in and aggressive hand
action through impact. A stronger grip
should be balanced with a centered ball position, closed face, path from in to
out and an aggressive body motion through impact.
There has never been a perfect golf swing, and probably
never will. Keep your golf swing
balanced and compatible and you will have consistent results.
Golfers are constantly striving for more distance. Trying out new clubs, improved physical
conditioning and the latest secret in a golf publication in an attempt to add
an extra 10-20 yards. All of these
changes are good, but the number one influence on distance is a combination of
club head speed and solid contact. One
without the other simply results in short off line tee-shots.
Speed is the effect of wristcock, arm swing and torso
turn. Maximize all power sources in a
balanced manner will result in an increase in speed. Solid contact is the result of a path that is
from the inside to along to inside.
Swing the club on the manufactured angle with the arms in front of the
trunk will produce the correct path, resulting in a square hit.
All golfers should be striving for balanced controlled
distance for improved scoring. Club head
speed combined with solid contact is a guaranteed means of increased distance.
Speed and Strength through Structure
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.
Sand play is often regarded as the easiest shot in golf, due
to the fact, that the club never comes in contact with the ball during a
greenside bunker shot. As a result of
over 30 years in the golf instruction business, I have found that the greenside
bunker shot maybe the most difficult.
There are several myths when it comes to this shot: first of all, “you must hit 2” behind the
ball, actually with the skidding effect of the bounce the clubs enters the sand
approx. 3-4 inches behind the ball.
Attempting to strike 2 inches behind may result in club ball
contact. Second myth, due to the
clubface open at address one must aim to the left. The golf ball is positioned
forward in the stance (off of left heel)
and no club ball contact the golf ball travels in the direction of the swing
path not the clubface. Keeping this in
mind there is no need to aim left. Third
myth, you must swing more upright.
Ninety percent of all golfers slice the ball due to an upright swing;
swing more upright simply produces a weak glancing hit that will travel a short
distance to the right. And the final
myth, you must look and aim behind the ball.
All shots in golf you make every attempt to strike the ball first, now
we are told to strike the sand first. If
you make 2 adjustments in your set-up: ball positioned off of the left heel and
lower your body in the sand you will automatically strike the sand first. Look at the ball and attempt to hit it.
Consistent sand play is the effect of:
the clubface according to the lie. Good
lie open the face, bad lies close the face.
As you adjust the club you must use the entire club. You never grip down on a greenside bunker
the golf ball off the left heel. This
position will allow the club to enter the sand behind the ball.
your body in the sand by digging in.
This adjustment will allow the club to get beneath the ball.
and swing towards the target. The golf
ball travels along the swing path not the clubface alignment.
3 times the amount of swing. The amount
of sand ways 3 times the weight of the ball.
Keeping this in mind you must make enough swing.
Trust the club and your full swing for the green side bunker
shot. Keep in mind that consistency is
the effect of perfecting one swing shape and make pre-swing adjustments for
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.
Utilize Ground Forces for increased clubhead Speed
During my 20 years working with Bob Toski in the Golf Digest
Schools, Bob would state daily during our sessions, “ The hands grip the club
and the feet grip the ground.” As Player
Development activity has improved with the utilization of Trackman, K Vest,
Gears and 2-D video one area of development is lagging: understanding the force
of the ground. As I instruct throughout
the world, one simple ingredient is being utilized in increased club head speed
for all golfers: using the ground throughout the dynamic motion of the swing.
Golf shoe technology has greatly improved and the feet, ankles and toes have
room to launch and grip the ground.
Golfers slight in weight and leverage have found ways to increase speed
simply by using the ground in the swing.
A simple thought, “ are we more powerful with a cannon from a canoe or
from a firm surface?”
Ground forces start at address with a firm ground and
posture. Arms hanging freely, weight on
the middle of the ankles, bending from hips and spine at a neutral
position. Stability at address allows
the body to load and unload throughout the swing. Feet and ankles must have the mobility to
load and unload.
As you wind up into the backswing, allow the upper body to
wind against the lower body and ground.
Spine is tilt away from the target as the body is turned against the
feet and ground. The gluts are lowered
and activated as you wind against the ground.
There should be a slight lowering of the head during the backswing as
you wind up.
Explode during the downswing into impact. All muscles must fire as the trailing leg is
extended and lengthens. This movement of
thrusting upward creates a swing path and angle of approach upward through
impact. Lead glut is turning behind as
the trailing leg is straightening.
Pushing off of the balls of the feet as the heels rise off the ground
through impact. Low to high concept as
the golfer explodes through impact.
Using th3 ground on the backswing and downswing. Ground forces throughout the golf swing.
The most misunderstood concept in golf is the use and
utilization of ground forces. Low to
high as the golfers loads and explodes.
Use the ground as the legendary golf instructor Bob Toski mentions, “
hands grip the club as the feet grip the ground.”
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.