Hello Golf Friends!
I rarely talk about positions in the golf swing. I don’t believe we move the club from Point A to Point B. I feel we swing the club back and forth through connection, pivot, and momentum/centrifugal force. I focus on sensations and feelings in my instruction that will allow that to happen more naturally, easily, and fluidly. If we focus on positions, the swinging action is reduced, it becomes forced, it becomes directed. The club is meant to be swung, not directed.
However, there is one position that I do stress and it occurs before the club moves an inch! It is our set up position; our structure at address. For if our set up position is not athletic and ready to swing; the body will have to make unwanted adjustments and manipulations to TRY to get the club head back to square at impact.
Rick Bradshaw was my mentor, instructor, friend. January 24th was the one year anniversary of Rick’s death due to cancer. He owned and operated the Bradshaw/Dent Golf School at Heritage Isles. Rick gave over 100,000 lessons in his career. He was a walking and talking golf encyclopedia and had an instruction methodology that was simple, yet highly effective. He has numerous DVD’s, appearances on Golf Channel Academy, and hundreds of published articles. I delved into his articles to find a few thoughts on how to Get Set Up To Play Great. Rick did intensive study into all the swing theories and seemed to find the sweet spot with the teachings of Percy Boomer. Here are some thoughts on structure according to Bradshaw and Boomer ( I took the liberty to add a few of my structure ideas as well ).
The Three Braces:
As you set up to the ball, keep your arms and elbows close together. This should feel like a linking together of your arms as one, not two independent arms. If you pull in your stomach, the inward direction of your brace is set. Note: In keeping your arms together, you will also feel they are in front of you more at address. You will notice a triangle formed by the chest, arms, and shoulders. Once you establish this triangle you simply BEND to the ball with a slight knee flex. BEND, DON’T SQUAT to get to the ball!!!!
The idea of the upward brace is no drooping or bending over of your shoulders when setting up to the ball. Maintain a slight arch of your back, which results in proper posture and fixing your spine angle throughout the swing. Note: You should feel your arms hanging down and under you, creating space for the arms to work with the body, not independent of the body.
From Percy Boomer: “ So with our hips, shoulders, and arms braced we no longer feel a loose, flabby, drooping figure, but a more upright, yet compact one. But we have yet one more brace to add and this comes from the hips. It is a twist forward. Just turn your flexed right knee and hip toward the ball to the target slightly. You are sending a message to your body that this is the feeling you want when your body comes into contact with the ball. Secondly, this forward brace will initiate your takeaway with a lower body shift so the arms will swing up on the backswing reactively in response to the body(The arms respond to the body, the body doesn’t respond to the arms; the arms never lead the swing, they follow the pivot motion). IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU ARE PROPERLY BRACED THERE WILL BE NO SENSATION OF WANTING TO LIFT THE CLUBHEAD UP WITH THE ARMS AND HANDS!!!!!!!)
When I work with my students on structure, I stress the following:
- Arms in front (triceps on pectorals) giving a sense of connection and linkage of the upper body. The trail elbow will remain a little softer and lower at address than the lead elbow.
Bend and space so the arms are hanging freely from the shoulders
Spine angle related to correct bend position
Never take your structure; your set up position for granted. It should be an element that is constantly rehearsed and revisited! IF YOUR SET UP IS BAD, YOUR BODY WILL MAKE UNWANTED ADJUSTMENTS AND MANIPULATIONS TO TRY TO GET THE CLUBHEAD SQUARE AT IMPACT!
Next month I will talk a bit on how this structure relates to the swinging of the golf club.
Until Next Month,