Monday, April 20, 2015

The golf swing has only one purpose

  Yesterday afternoon I watched Jim Furyk win The Heritage Classic in a two hole playoff with Kevin Kisner. Furyk birdied both holes in the playoff to win his 17th PGA Tournament. During his career he has finished second 29 times and has won over 63 million dollars. Not bad for a "weird" golf swing.
   John Jacobs, one of the most influential golf teachers in history has an interesting perspective on the golf swing. He said, "The golf swing has only one purpose: to deliver the club to the ball correctly, and to achieve such impact repeatedly. How a player achieves this is of no significant importance as long as it is repeatable. If golf were about getting into correct positions throughout the golf swing, then the greatest players in the world have had it wrong."
    Hank Haney, one of many disciples of Jacobs recently spoke at our PGA Education Seminar. Haney has taught over 50,000 lessons during his career including some of the best players in the world.  He echoed the same message. Don't change a player's swing just because it doesn't  conform to the "perfect swing" image we all have in mind. All players are different when it comes to height, body shape and swing characteristics.
     As long as the player makes consistent contact and produces a repeatable ball flight there is no reason to change their style. Let's say a player comes to you and is having trouble hitting his irons solid. Sometimes he hits them fat and other times thin. He is a 13 handicap and has been playing for over 25 years. You watch him hit a few balls, and notice his hands are not staying firmly together at the top of the swing. The left thumb and right palm have separated during the backswing and then reconnected at the start of the downswing.  You explain how this causes a casting motion leading to both fat and thin shots. He corrects the fault and immediately begins hitting his irons solid. 
    A less experienced teacher would also want to correct the quirks in the player's swing because they don't look quite right. He would be doing the player a major disservice. I teach beginners the correct fundamentals so they get off to a good start, but I also realize they are individuals and accept that each will have their own particular swings.

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