Straight left arm in the golf swing

Many golfers have been taught to keep their left arm straight. Some interpret this to mean a rigid arm that’s almost locked which can restrict your mobility. Do you want a 90-degree angle in the left arm (right-handed golfers)? Of course not, as we need width in the swing. But a soft left arm with a little bit of bend actually increases your leverage and can amp up your power. When I was competing in long drive the left arm softness increased my arc and enabled me to create more speed. Give it a try.


Sequencing the golf swing properly for more power and accuracy

Here is a video of Adam Scott and Tiger side by side. In the facing portion notice how the right leg stays motionless. No lateral movement at all. There is a turn of the hips but no sliding. From this position it gets easier to initiate the downswing with the lower body.

Golf pitching fundamentals

Regarding pitching, the basic fundamentals are to have a slightly open stance, weight predominantly on the left side (for right-handed players) and the ball pretty much between the feet. This causes the shaft to be leaning forward slightly and helps to ensure solid contact. Then we basically just make a mini swing while keeping the weight on the left side. This will insure crisp, solid contact.

The lie is so important with short game shots. If you have a grass cushion under the ball you have more options. If the lie is tight you have to just hit down on the ball and trap it. Sometimes you just have to take your medicine and get the ball on the green somewhere and hope to make a putt but otherwise minimize the damages as much as possible.

How to grip the golf club properly

To place your hands on the club properly, hold the club in front of you at an upward 45- degree angle with your right hand (left for left-handed players) on the shaft slightly below the grip.  Place the left hand on the grip with the heel pad at the base of the little finger on top of the shaft.  My preference with the left-hand grip is to see the knuckles of the forefinger and middle finger.  For most people this would be a neutral grip. My left thumb is on top of the shaft but to the right of center. When I look at the hand I can’t see the finger tips.

From there, I slide my right hand down so that the left thumb fits into the lifeline pocket of the right hand. There is slight separation between the right forefinger and the middle finger with the grip resting in the middle knuckle of the forefinger.  The right thumb rests on top of the shaft but slightly to the left of center.

The “Vs” formed by the thumbs and forefingers of each hand should be parallel to each other and pointing somewhere between the chin and the right shoulder.  Obviously everyone is built differently. The player should experiment with this “V” alignment to determine which position enables him or her to return the club face to impact with the with the face perpendicular to the target line. As long as a golfer stays within the framework of the fundamentals, some experimentation is always encouraged.

Last but not least is the issue of grip pressure. To determine the proper pressure, hold the club in front of you with the shaft parallel to the ground.  That’s too much pressure. Then hold the club in front of you with the shaft pointed straight up. That’s too little pressure. When the club is held at a 45-degree angle, the pressure should be proper.  Please keep in mind that it’s very easy to have proper grip pressure when we’re in our set-up. The most important part is during the transition phase of the swing where we are most likely to squeeze.

Keeping your golf swing on plane

No less an authority than Jack Nicklaus, as well as my mentors Mike Austin and Dan Shauger, all believed that if the first move in the downswing was to move the weight into the lead foot it is absolutely impossible to release the club too soon. But it’s how we move to the lead foot that is critically important.

Think of yourself as a baseball hitter in the righthander’s batter box. This subtle bump of the left hip (4-5 inches) ideally should go toward the pitcher. When this happens the hands move down from the top and the clubhead approaches the ball on the proper path which is slightly from inside the target line to square at impact and then back to the inside. If the hip moves toward the shortstop (or even worse, the third baseman) the hands move out toward the target line and we end up with the classic over-the-top, out-side-in path. When the hip heads toward the second baseman (first baseman even worse) the club gets stuck behind us and we’ll hit blocks, thins, flip hooks and the occasional fats.

While we’re making that slight hip bump, our arms and hands are soft and relaxed and we’re firing them with all cylinders.  We’re not holding the angle; we’re swinging the arms with as much speed as we can muster. You’ll be surprised at how far the ball goes.

Changes to the rules of golf

For those of you who are interested in golf rules, this Youtube video clearly explains all of the upcoming changes that will go into effect on January 1st.  There are more changes than I had previously heard about and on some of the ones that I had heard about I had received bad information. Maybe you have as well.  

New Rules 2019

Balance in the Golf Swing

Balance is a critically important element of an effective and powerful golf swing.  Here are some drills to help you to achieve better balance in your swing:

Foot lift: In golf posture, lift your left foot off the floor and balance for as long as possible. Then do the opposite side. To intensify dramatically, close your eyes. PGA Tour average is 45 seconds with eyes closed.

Stability ball balance:  If you have access to a stability ball, sit on the ball and then lift feet off the ground.

One-foot golf swings: While standing on right foot, hit shots with wedge. Then do it on left foot.

How Do Hips Affect Swing Plane?

How do your shoulders affect your swing plane? The answer is A Lot! Having had several students recently at Steel Canyon Golf Club who were struggling with getting under the swing plane on the down swing made me wonder. I wondered how often golfers think about what it is that is actually causing their club to get off plane.

Like anything in golf, there are many factors that can affect any number of things in your swing. If I told you that your grip or ball position affects your swing plane would you believe me? Well they do, as well as alignment, weight distribution, weight shift and hoards of other factors. But for players who really struggle with getting to shallow (coming too much from the inside and hitting block pushes and/or flip hooks, I think more thought needs to go into what path their hips are moving on during the down swing.

Think of yourself as a baseball hitter in the right hand batter’s box (reverse for left-handers). During the downswing if the left hip moves toward first base, the hands and the club will get stuck behind you and the club head path will be too much from in to out. To correct this, feel as through the hip is moving more towards the shortstop which will cause you to open up more and get the club head working more down the target line. From here, if the club face is pointed at the target long and straight will be the result.