The Proper Swing Sequence
The Proper Swing Sequence
Some people who listen to my golf lessons think the swing is all about moving the right body parts. But knowing which parts to move isn’t enough. You also need to know what sequence to move them in, when, and how quickly. Building rhythm, timing, and tempo into your swing is a prerequisite to hitting good golf shots time and time again.
Helping players develop swing consistency is a priority in my golf instruction. I work diligently with them, to help them learn both the …
Below is the swing sequence I recommend in my golf tips. Following it builds rhythm, timing, and tempo in a golf swing. Practicing it builds consistency.
Initiate the swing trigger.
Player, Palmer, and Nicholas all start their swings with a little move that triggers the action. Player kicks in his right knee. Palmer waggles his club one final time. And Nicholas turns his head to the right. These movements help each player make a smooth, fluid start to the backswing, preventing any jerky movements that destroys critical swing linkage.
Start the takeaway.
Requiring a one-piece movement, the takeaway determines the swing’s shape and tempo. Moving the club, hands, arms, and chest in unison keeps the clubhead low and the backswing full. It also starts a wide and a powerful move away from the ball.
Set the clubhead on the right plane.
During the first few feet the swing, the club must move gradually inside the ball-to-target line. At the same time it must stay outside your hands. The key to setting the clubhead on the right plane lies in starting the swing with the butt of the club. Moving the club in towards your right thigh helps set the club on the right path.
Open the clubhead slightly.
I recommend in my golf tips that you think of the clubface as a gate that opens slowly clockwise in conjunction with the turning motion of your body. Open it slowly as you set the clubhead on the right plane.
Check the club at the mid-point of the backswing.
At this point your left arm should be close to your body and the right elbow splayed out slightly, pointing down toward the ground. Your wrists should be fully cocked, forming a 90-degree right angle between your hands and the club. From here, it’s an easy move to the top of the backswing, also known as the slot.
Turn your head right.
Here, you should be aware of some tension in your right knee. Your left shoulder should be comfortably underneath your chin. Allowing your head to turn to the right as you swing the back to the ball encourages your spine to rotate. It also gets your weight moving in the right direction. The club should be as parallel to the target line as possible when it reaches the slot.
Start turning the lower body.
The body as a whole is then able to unwind in one motion. The movement produces a swinging motion of the arms, hands, and club, allowing the clubhead to peak through impact. Think about swinging the clubhead, not hitting the ball.
Straighten and release your right arm.
Do it as early as possible from the downswing, maintaining the 90-degree angle at the back of your wrists. Gradually opening up your body the target widens your downswing arc and puts the clubhead on a square path to the ball. In my golf lessons I tell players to drive the right knee toward the left. but to delay the club’s release as long as they can, creating solid contact.
Firm up the left side of your body.
It needs to both support and resist the release of the clubhead as your torso unwinds. At the same time drive your right side through the ball as hard as you like. Your arms should be fully extended and your weight going forward, sort of like a lumber jack chopping down a tree, to generate optimum impact. I have players in my golf instruction sessions practice swinging the club like a baseball bat. Then, I have them lower the club to the ground, but continue to swing the club the same way.
Rotate the body fully through impact.
Most of the player’s weight will end-up on the left side of your body and your right heel will be up. At this point, the knees touch lightly, the hips are fully turned, and the right shoulder is pointed at the target. Accelerating the clubhead through the swing carries the player through the swing.
Finish with hand high above left shoulder.
The player will be in a straight up, balanced position when the swing is completed. Your hands will finish high, just like you see in golf instruction manuals.
Producing good golf shots requires not only knowing which body parts to move in isolation but also examining the swing holistically. Practicing the steps I describe above in the sequence encourages this holistic look. Successfulyl linking them together into a smooth swing, with rhythm, tempo, and the right timing, builds a coordinated, repeating action, and generates consistency and accuracy.