Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
Most golfers think that they can pick up some sort of tip by simply watching the swings of professional players. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as there’s more going on than the movements seen by the naked eye.
Pro golfers have worked years on perfecting their swings. Even then, it’s never a finished product, with players making constant adjustments for a variety of reasons.
To help get your swing closer to where it needs to be, today’s Play Smart dives into simplifying your golf swing, with golf teacher Zach Allen showing you some basic ways to do so. One of the main issues Allen sees? Amateurs falling for an optical illusion when studying the pros.
But why is simplifying your golf swing so important? As Allen puts it, “when turning level to the ground, there’s no load or stretch in my body — so I’m not able to use the ground powerfully.”
Utilizing your heavy base during a swing will provide more stability, which, in effect, should allow more hip rotation and speed to swing through the ball with the fastest club speed. This gives golfers the best chance for improved distance and compression.
As the video shows, Allen uses a stick in his belt loop to demonstrate the aforementioned optical illusion that many amateur golfers may see in swings from the pros. He goes on to demonstrate with tape on his shoulders, hips and knees how to properly set up.
“My knees are level to the ground when I start. Hips are level to the ground. My shoulders are level to the ground. I need to get out of this very quickly,” says Allen. “What happens here, in order, is my feet control my knees, my knees are going to tilt my pelvis, the tilt of the pelvis gives me the tilt of the shoulders, and that controls the path of my hands — of the plane of the club.”
“That’s very important because it’s what gets me on plane, coming back and through — which also makes the clubface remain square.”
Simplifying your golf swing takes some work, but there are certain keys to improving.
Feel your feet heavy to the ground for a strong base, avoid using only your arms, and add extra emphasis on the backswing.
Allen says, “the reason why I emphasize the backswing so much is because, what I find with my students, once they get their backswing in place, the downswing becomes down close to automatic.”