Learning How To Play Better Golf

Striving To Get Better

Many, if not all, weekend golfers think a lot about improving their game. Here I'm talking primarily about golfers striving to consistently shoot in the low 90s and occasionally in the high 80s. Theories on learning how to play better golf abound around the club house and 19th hole, and of course I plan to offer one here.

If you've been down this road you know that many of these theories focus on what you need to do to learn how to hit the ball swinging like a touring Pro. For around 95% of us this is not going to happen no matter how many hours we spend reviewing, studying, watching, and practicing. There are just too many moving parts in the traditional golf swing. The Pros make it look easy, but realize they have spent a career developing their swing including countless hours of individual coaching.

Professional PGA Golfer LPGA Professional Golfer

(1)  Rickie Fowler                                                                       (2)  Paula Creamer

So if your objective is learning how to play better golf, I am recommending that you abandon the notion that your swing will ever look as pretty as any of the traditional golf swinging Pros. It ain't going to happen. They play a different game than us weekend golfers play. So what will it be ... a pretty swing off the tee and no improvement on the score card or a sturdy, balanced, simple swing off the tee and less strokes on the score card?

The Simple Golf Swing will improve your golf score.

(3)

Learning how to play better golf comes down to keeping things simple. In particular, I'm talking about keeping the golf swing mechanics simple. The Simple Golf Swing puts less stress on the lower back because it is taught with a shortened back swing. This leads consistently to more solid impact when striking the ball and much less stress on the body.

 

The Simple Golf Swing was designed to take out all the unnecessary movements of the golf swing ... scrap them, get rid of them. Instead it stresses focusing on the golf swing mechanics the will get the club head back to exactly where it started when addressing the ball and to get it there fast with a smooth, rhythmic swing.

 

Breaking the golf swing mechanics down into five simple parts, this simplified golf swing is the breakthrough that improves weekend golfers game by 7 to 14 strokes.  The simplified golf swing mechanics include the Set Up, the Grip, Alignment, the Back Swing, and the Down Swing. That's it ... simple. The set up, grip, and alignment are all key components, but the heart of the Simple Golf Swing resides in the Back Swing and Down Swing.

The Back Swing

Both the back swing and the down swing focus on rotating the shoulders around the spine after the the final set up position has been achieved.  Visualize the spine as an axis about which the shoulders, chest, and arms rotate during the back swing and down swing.

 

(4)      Bending slightly at the waist, the back is kept comfortably straight. The hands are relaxed holding the club on Addressing the balla line that intersects the angle created by the back and legs as indicated. The arms, shoulders and chest will move through the back swing and down swing while the back and legs remain in the indicated fixed, RELAXED position.This relaxed position of the hands in relation to the torso bent at the waist remains the same for all golf shots. Only an appropriate adjustment of the distance between the feet and the ball out in front is needed to account for the different lengths of the club being used.

 

At this point you are ready to start the back swing by rotating the shoulders around the fixed position of the spine.   The  set up process starts the simple five steps of the golf swing, designed to get back to the starting position with power and control at ball impact. The combination of power and control is what every golfer strives for, and it all starts with a sound and repeatable set-up.

 

The Simple Swing Back Swing(5)      The shoulders rotate around the spine as indicated. There is no horizontal or vertical movement of the head as the right shoulder turns around the spine. The left shoulder will follow automatically as the right shoulder completes the rotation. The left arm remains straight as indicated while the right elbow remains tucked in at the side. This prevents the "flying elbow" which will typically cause a severe slice or wicked hook depending on movement of the hands at moment of impact.

 

The Simple Swing Back SwingDepending on individual golfer flexibility, from 45 to 90 degrees of rotation will be comfortably achieved during the right shoulder turn.  It is very important that no other parts of the body move during the back swing to compensate.  The shoulders, chest, arms, and hands stay connected as indicated with the left arm straight and the right elbow tucked close to the right side.

 

(6)      The back swing will be complete when one of two things occur. Either your feet will lose firm contact with the ground or your right elbow will be more or less parallel to the ground. The feet must remain in firm contact with the ground throughout the back swing.

 

Think "abs in" during this process. This will encourage using your core muscles to maximize club head speed during the back swing and down swing.  This automatically produces the correct swing plane creating more power, better accuracy, and repeatable swing mechanics.

The Simple Swing Back Swing         (7)

The Down Swing

At the top of the back swing the objective is to smoothly start reversing the shoulder rotation described above with an emphasis on "smooth" ... no herky-jerky movement. Think about keeping the arms connected to the chest and shoulders. The right elbow should stay comfortably positioned close your side while keeping the left elbow straight. This will control straight ball flight after impact.

Hands, wrist, arms, shoulders, chest stay connected             (8)

Focus on making the hands and arms a direct extension shoulders and chest as indicated.  Keeping the spine the axis of movement, turn both the shoulders and sides directly around the spine.  The left arm and wrist stay locked keeping the connectivity triangle in tact.  This is the critical moment of ball striking that produces long and straight ball flight.  The hands, arms, shoulders, and chest must move together during the downswing.

 

Flipping the right wrist on top of the left wrist at the point of ball impact while help maintain hands, wrist, forearms, shoulders, and chest connectivity.  The ultimate goal is to keep the left elbow and shoulder from "lifting" up as the club head comes through the ball.  Just "flip" the right wrist through the ball, which will maximize club head speed.

 

If the hands and arms get ahead of the shoulders and chest during the down swing, a banana ball to the left (hook) might be the result.  If the hands and arms lag behind the shoulders and chest during the down swing, a banana ball to the right (slice) might be the result.  So what controls this?  Simple golf swing timing and tempo do, but timing and tempo can't be taught ...  they become optimized with practice.

 

Once the swing mechanics described here are completely understood, practice at the driving range will be needed to internalize these muscle movements to the point they can be executed without thinking about them.  This should occur in a surprisingly short period of time.  We are in pursuit of our new "grooved" golf swing here. and keeping the shoulders, chest, arms, wrists, and hands connected as described here will greatly facilitate acquisition of the grooved swing.

Balanced Follow Through

After ball contact, continue the shoulder rotation around the spine and now the left elbow is comfortably tucked close to the left side.  The wrists and hands have completed the roll over and the right forearm is crossing over the left.  Shoulder, chest, arms, wrists, and hands are still connected as indicated.  Flipping the hands through ball impact as described above will help to naturally complete the follow through, but it is very important that the spine remains the anchored point of balanced rotation.

Follow Through Nearly Complete Completed Follow Through

(9 & 10)

Avoid any lateral sway of the spine.  As the follow through is completed the hands will be high as the chest and shoulders complete the rotation around the spine.  At this point it is natural to pick up ball flight as the balanced follow through is completed as the shoulders and chest face in the general direction of the target.

Keeping The Head Perfectly Still

It is crucial that the head remains perfectly sill through the entire back swing and down swing while the eyes remained fixed on the golf ball.  This is really the easiest step, but the one that will help produce the most consistent results.  It may help to think of the head as an extension of the spine, around which the shoulders are being rotated during both the back swing and down swing.  There should be no lateral movement of the spine or the head.  With practice keeping the head still will become very easy to do, almost without thinking.

From Bobby Eldridge To David Nevogt

The genesis of The Simple Golf Swing goes back to the Full Swing developed by Pure Point Golf Head Teaching Pro Bobby Eldridge.  While in college at Indiana University David became close friends with Bobby while looking for a way to improve his golf game.  Bobby worked with David who went on to become a low handicap golfer in a relatively short period of time.

 

David then decided to put his accomplished analytical skills to work describing his new golf swing.  With the encouragement of his father, he went on to publish this extensive project into an eBook, The Simple Golf Swing.


Header Image Credit (1) Image Credit (2) Image Credit (3) Image Credit
(4) - (10) Image Credit

 

 

2 thoughts on “Learning How To Play Better Golf

  1. Kyle

    I'm an avid golfer and this has been extremely informative. My swing is poor and I'll have to apply some of these techniques next time I play. Any advice for putting?

    Thanks!

    Kyle

    Reply
    1. admin

      Isn't it a great game? I play mostly at an Executive Course close to my home. It doesn't have any par 5s, but has some challenging par 3s and par 4s. One of my favorite things to do is to go over in the early evening and walk the course. I bring my pitching wedge and putter with me. When I come to a green that is not being played (and not being watered) I stop and pitch a few balls to the green and then putt them out. It's not legal, but the course is in a retirement community and I look like a resident. I often run into others doing the same thing.

      Putting is such an individual thing, but nothing beats practice. But not at your typical putting green. These are usually pretty flat and don't give you practice reading the greens. That's why I do my early evening stroll above. I'm a traditionalist and don't think much of all the odd grips and belly putting styles that have come along. I use the standard overlap grip and consider myself an above average putter.

      Reply

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