Sunday, December 27, 2009

Golf Swing Key Concepts - Part I

The other day over at Dana Dahlquist's forum a poster asked about what he should be prepared for as he just purchased the Stack and Tilt book.

I mentioned that he needed to change and understand some different concepts and not get too fixated and 'overdo' some of the concepts.

Then the other day I was playing golf with a neighbor for the first time and as he struggled I was once again confirmed that conceptually, the average amateur is wayyy off when it comes to the golf swing and why good golfers hit good shots and bad golfers hit bad shots.

Anyway, I thought this would make for a good blog series as I would just go over some very key, and I believe simple concepts, to the golf swing. These concepts are not in any order of importance and I believe many blog readers either already know or things I've already posted before. But I believe this is a good time to help new readers, many of which are just trying to improve their games, to understand some concepts and to 'clear the fog' so they can see the path to improve their swings.

Please note, I don't consider all of these concepts to be 'fundamentals' although many of them are.

The first concept I want to get into is related to divots and striking the ball.

Simply put, when you are hitting an iron, you want to hit the ball FIRST, then take a divot. This allows the golfer to properly compress the golf ball which thus allows the golfer to possibly hit the ball with their optimal distance, optimal accuracy and optimal trajectory height.

Any good instructor, be it somebody of pure TGM influence, S&T influence, MORAD influence, Manzella influence, etc. way or another teach golfers to hit the ball FIRST, then take a divot.

This video of KJ Choi shows a swing where the golfer hits the ball FIRST, then takes a divot.

Bobby Clampett, who wrote a great instructional book called 'Impact Zone', talks about it incessently. According to Clampett's studies, the deepest part of the divot for the average tour player is about 4" in front of where the ball was. Note, the deepest part of the divot is near the end of the divot.

Take a look at this video at the 1:05 mark where Clampett illustrates perfectly of hitting the ball FIRST, then taking a divot and how the deepest part of the divot is about 4" in front of where the ball once was.

Now, there's many pieces that go into, some of which I'll mention later on in the series, but the main idea is that you have to hit the ball first before you take the divot and that divot is out in front of where the ball was, not under or behind where the ball once was.



Anonymous said...

seems like everyone who hits the ball well loves Clampetts book...I understand the idea but its a lot of words and chapters that never gave me an inkling on how to do it....

Rich H. said...

Hopefully this series of concepts will give you some ideas.

Greg Brown said...

ahhh hitting the ball first, as a concept I think for many an easy concept to understand....but much more difficult to make happen for the hinger handicapper.

Rich H. said...

I certainly agree, Greg. But, most golfers have no idea about the concept or they don't believe it actually exists. So I think it's important to talk about it and prove that it does indeed happen.

Greg Brown said...

Oh I know, was just lamenting how hard it has been to get my higher handicap friends to hit down, out , and through the ball due to all the reasons that we know about.

Dave @ Mud Ball Golf Blog said...

Fact 1... stand on a par 3 hole for a couple of hours and watch the players go through at a top flight competition. You will see lots of shallow, thin, perfectly formed divots starting after the ball. You will also notice a certain noise as the ball is hit.. this noise will sound different to the noise most golfers make when they hit their ball.
Fact 2... go to any regular golf course and check out the divots at a par three. They will be deep and somewhat irregular in shape and point in various directions. If you look closely at these divots some will be deeper on one side than the other.
Conclusion: The quality of the divot is related to the quality of the swing.
P.S. For those that haven't realised the different sound I mention is the ball being hit first as opposed to ball and ground simultaneously (or worse still ground then ball). Seriously worth visiting a pro competition to see and hear it for yourself.

Great subject Richie... your readers make a good point... how is key...

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Anonymous said...

Bad times make a good man.

Ruprecht-Karls—Universitat Heidelberg

Anonymous said...

you are a slow walker,but I never walk backwards.