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Identifying cause points in the golf swing

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fl.— In our teachings, we believe we have identified the “cause points” of the golf swing.

Our swing “ideal” looks conventional, but the teaching method is more revolutionary.

In conflict with the modern theory of a big-muscle, body-controlled swing, I believe the hands control the entire process. They are the source of motion, power, control and consistency. Their performance is characterized by pushing, never pulling the clubhead throughout the swing.

Weight shift, coil and a firm left side at impact occur in response to this pushing of the hands.

From a conventional address position, the hands press lightly against each other and begin the backswing with the left exerting slightly more pressure against the right. A pulling motion, especially with the right hand, results in the club being dragged inside, ruining the chances for a good backswing.

We teach a backswing that reaches completion at a three-quarter position. The hands stay more or less in front of the chest, level with the right shoulder, and the shaft is well short of parallel.

But since a pushing motion is the guiding force of this golf swing, the hands, working this way can only “push” to this shortened, but efficient position. If the hands pull on the club, the arms continue well beyond an ideal location.

Here is where we sever ties with conventional instruction by encouraging, in essence, an early hit. The late hit has many theories, but most teachers agree that “hitting from the top” ensures the angle of power will be lost.

In direct opposition, our formula is to “throw the clubhead at the ball.” To avoid translating “throw the clubhead” into an over-the-top move, we employ drills for a proper release.

The most significant is the “hit drill.” From the top of the backswing, you uncock your wrists by pushing the clubhead down on a slow motion path to the ball.

Done correctly, the club shaft aligns with the left arm and promotes an on-line hit of the ball.

You must understand that knowledge is not easily transferred from the intellect to the muscles. Our program is built on learning in gradient steps.

Each element of the swing has an accompanying drill so that the student not only understands the skill but repeats it until it becomes a habit.

When the steps are drilled in, the student has the confidence and ability to play golf by focusing on hitting that ball without concentrating on the mechanics.

Our entire philosophy at the MG Golf Academy is dedicated to making the student understand that golf is a hitting game. Thinking about concepts such as holding the angle prevents students from making solid contact.

Golf is a hitting game just like any stick and ball game. Focusing on positions and mechanics shuts off your natural ability.

Like the other elements, the swing, from impact through finish, is properly executed by the hands continuing their pushing motion from the top.

It is a sense that the body remains quiet and acts as a solid base when the club starts down. The left hip and shoulders are pushed through by the clubhead as it hits the ball. The right hip and shoulder are then pulled through by the clubhead.

This method encourages throwing the clubhead from “A” (the top of the swing) to “B” (the ball). Though this direct route is physically impossible to achieve, it must be the golfer’s intention for consistent ball-striking.

Our emphasis on the use of the hands is, to some degree, a revisiting of more traditional instructional theories such as those espoused by Henry Cotton and Tommy Armour.

But to these historic teachers, the hands were only a piece of the puzzle. To us, they are the centerpiece of a great golf swing.

Our teaching style is organized around this one concept and in doing so, we offer a simple method, with clear definitions of each element of our swing theory and a unified structure of communicating this message.

We try to instill one priority in our students: “Hit the Ball” and allow swing mechanics to fall in line as a result.

It no doubt is a welcome change for the golfer bogged down in technical thoughts.

By: Martin Green, Director of Instruction - Martin Green Golf Academy, Panama City Beach, Fl. From an article published in Southern Golf Magazine Vol. 8, No. 11, November, 2002

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