Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Golf Swing Model Is Right For You?

Copyright (c) 2010

Scott Cole In lockstep with the golf training aid industry, the golf swing model industry has begun to grow rapidly. The visibility of such top teaching pros as Butch Harmon and Hank Haney over the last decade, has resulted in many top instructors going public with the type of golf swing model they like to teach their students.

Until the late 1980's and early 1990's, we didn't pay too much attention to golf instructors outside of the major golf publications such as Golf magazine and Golf Digest. Instructors such as Bob Toski and Jim Flick were among the more popular teachers in the 1970's and early 1980's. We would read about golf tips in those magazines, and occasionally read a book by Ben Hogan, or Jack Nicklaus. In the mid 1980's, there was a little increased exposure on golf instruction as some PGA Tour pros had some success with a teacher by the name of Jimmy Ballard. Curtis Strange was among his students and he won back-to-back U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989.

However, it was when Nick Faldo's career really took off at the same time as Strange's success that golf instructors started to receive more attention. Faldo rebuilt his swing to make it more reliable under pressure with the help of David Leadbetter. As a result, a new industry was born. Leadbetter went on to create a golf instruction empire by opening academies around the world. He became a golf swing guru over night and attracted a stable of top players to his academies. Ernie Els became one of his top students. During the early to mid 1990's, Greg Norman was the top player in the world, and he was coached by Butch Harmon.

However, it wasn't until Tiger Woods came on the scene that Harmon became more visible. Harmon became a household name as Tiger went on his rampage from 1997 to 2001. After Harmon, Hank Haney became the guru of the moment, when Tiger switched to Haney in 2004 after leaving Harmon in 2002. Haney had a somewhat different teaching philosophy compared to Harmon and had success with Mark O'Meara before Tiger. Over the last decade, the golf instruction industry as literally exploded. As it has become clear that the improvement in equipment over the years has not helped the average golfer to lower their scores, golfers are looking to the golf swing gurus for the Holy Grail. And, many instructors have tried to oblige them. Golfers can now find a whole host of golf swing models on offer throughout the internet.

These models include the One Plane Swing, Two Plane Swing, Rotary Swing, the Moe Norman swing, Stack and Tilt swing, Peak Performance Swing, Perfect Connection swing, Simple Swing, Golf Machine and others. Some swings are sold as more biomechanically sound and will result in both better scores and a pain free round of golf. Other swings are touted as the new hot swing model on the PGA Tour. And still others are built around the golf swings of famous ball strikers such as Moe Norman and Ben Hogan. So, what is the best golf swing model for the individual? The answer is that it is none of these models in particular. Each and every one of these swings can work for a period of time, but a consistent golf swing is often fleeting. Why? Simply because of life circumstances. We have children, we end up with less time to play and practice. We injure ourselves, we are laid up for months at a time, and the injury stays with us. The real answer is that there is a set of basic fundamentals in the golf swing that every golfer should strive to improve upon in their own game. This includes the grip, stance and posture, and how the body should move during the swing.

How much you want to turn the hips and shoulders, tilt the spine one way or another, etc., will be a function of your body type and your physical abilities. There is no perfect swing model that can be applied to everyone. There is, however, a swing that will work better for each individual. Take the case of Ben Hogan. Early in his career he was known to fight a nasty hook and it kept him from having much success. Hogan was very flexible, and this was most evident in his wrists. As a result, he had the ability to move his hands quickly through impact, and if his body was in the wrong position, he would hook the ball. Many golfers simply do not have flexible wrists like Hogan, nor the flexibility in the hips. Therefore, trying to copy Hogan's swing would prove futile to most golfers. Hogan understood this. The swing he built for himself was meant to fight a hook. He held the club with a much weaker grip than most people. Most people slice, so if they tried to copy his grip, their slice would be worse.

What every golfer needs to do is get a thorough physical assessment of their body. They need to learn their strengths and weaknesses, and then try to improve upon the weaknesses. At the same time, they should work toward building a golf swing with sound fundamentals around their own particular physical strengths and weaknesses. Improving and maintaining a good golf swing takes time and effort. It can be lost as quickly as it can be found if the golfer loses track. Just look at the examples of Ian Baker Finch, David Duval and Michael Campbell, golfers who won major championships only to lose their swings to the point where they could barely break 80 in competition.

Many of the top instructors are now becoming more aware of the physical limitations of their students and know not to force feed a particular swing model down their throats. Golf instruction is now evolving into a more modern approach, much like the training in other sports. With that in mind, the golfer should find themselves an instructor who is understands the impact of physical limitations on the golf swing, and how to work on improving upon those limitations or around them. There is no perfect golf swing model, but there is a perfect swing for each golfer.

Read more: Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives

No comments:

Post a Comment