Three keys to solid strikes (III)
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
We teed off in the arctic morning at about 7:30 a.m. when the gale that had been ferociously rattling the window through the night was still raging. It was freezing but I dared to defy the cruelly bitter wind, putting on a brave face. After all, I was far away from home partly for golf’s sake; unfavorable weather always leaves me determined to rise to the challenge. Overcoming it and playing even better than usual, you’ll also be ecstatic with particular joys of achievement. I returned from the golf trip deliriously happy.
For proper weight shift, start down from the ground up
Kim, such an assiduous-looking gentleman, was in deep, hot water, afflicted by a swing that is too artificial and lethargic. At the bottom of his rather dull swing was a poor weight shift to the left on the way down. Other elements of a good swing including pre-swing preparations were all acceptable.
My advice for him was to swing back and down with the lower body. Every sport is played from the ground up. A baseball pitcher, for instance, moves his lower body first, then his arm as he winds up. He leads again with the lower body on the forward motion, the arm trailing. This is equally true with a golf swing. For the proper sequence of the motion you need to swing back and through from the ground up.
Particularly under pressure or in a fierce wind when you have to make a controlled swing, it’s essential to swing back with the lower body moving first, which indicates a proper weight shift to the right at the start of the backswing. In addition to a correct weight shift, you can better control the swing with the feet and legs than with the hands and arms. Arms-only swing tend to get too quick, presenting insufficient time to transfer bodyweight. It also spells the loss of balance and rhythm.
To put it another way, by initiating the swing from the ground up you can better shift your weight and hit the ball better with a fluid, dynamic swing. After all, you need to start the transition from backswing to downswing with the feet and legs so they assist the hands and arms in swinging down and through the ball freely and fully.
An excellent way to make a good weight shift to the left as you swing down, or rather to start down from the ground up is to imagine a beer can under the front of your left foot and picture yourself crushing it on the way down.
Just start your downswing by pressing it hard with your left foot, and your bodyweight will automatically shift to the left, presenting a better chance of swinging at full tilt. That move will encourage you to create a good impact position, the ultimate goal of your weight shift on the way down.
Here are other alternatives that can help you with a proper weight shift and create good impact position without having to think about. They include:
1. Clear the left hip, with the shoulders staying parallel to the ball-target line as they were at the address, so the hips are open 45 degrees at impact
2. Get the belt buckle pointing to the target at impact
3. Turn the belly toward the target through impact
4. Show two pockets at impact by getting the hips out of the way. This means your hips are open to the target at impact with the shoulders still remaining square.
5. Rotate the right hip to the left toward the target as you hit the ball. This prevents you from hitting with your hands. In a good downswing the hands remain passive, doing nothing but holding the club.
6. Complete the backswing so the right knee is pointing to the ball at the top and kick it toward the target through impact. Feel as if hitting the ball with the right knee.
In a golf swing one good action usually triggers a chain of good reactions, while holding superfluous movements at bay. Doing one of these will let other good things look after themselves, presenting better chances of hitting farther and straighter on a more consistent basis. It will even improve your pre-swing preparation without your having to think about it.