Translate

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Top Hand Golf

I call my blog, or blogsite, Top Hand Golf. It is called that because, in my study of the teaching of Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Moe Norman, Bob Toski; the list goes on; I discovered they all emphasize the importance of the top hand in the golf swing. There are lots of gimmicks and guarantees on offer from a variety of instructors and manufacturers out there. But the Top Hand method is one thing that I am willing to wager is pretty much guaranteed to work for everyone. Don't believe me, believe Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Moe Norman...

Don't believe it? Hell, I'm offering a money back guarantee. If playing Top Hand Golf doesn't cure your slice, trim five strokes off your game, make you a better player, even a better lover, just write me back for a full refund. Of course, since Top Hand Golf requires no money up front, or later for that matter; no equipment to buy, no videos to watch, nothing to strap on, nothing to hold under your arm or between your legs, there really is nothing to lose. You can try it and no one will even notice, unless of course you start striking the ball better.

The golf swing, according to many, if not all, of the great right-handed players was controlled by the left hand and arm.  As usual, it turns out that the opposite of what we would naturally expect ends up being the rule in this case. Just like you must swing easy to hit hard, swing to the left to make the ball curve to the right, hit down on it to make it go up and so on; as a right handed player, you should control the club and the swing primarily with the left hand and arm. 

This may seem odd, because for must people swinging right-handed this means they are controlling the swing with their weaker hand and arm. But, while it may seem odd, it is definitely the case that the left hand and arm should control the swing for a right-handed player. In fact, the over-use of the right hand, or the improper, or early, application of the right hand for a right-handed golfer is the biggest cause of many of the things that plague the average player; the slice, the pull hook, flipping the club, losing lag in the swing, etc. The dreaded over-the-top move is caused by the right hand and the right side attempting to apply the power too soon in the swing. As Bobby Jones taught, the golf swing is essentially a back-handed strike of the ball with the left hand for a right-handed golfer. The feeling for Snead, Jones, Moe Norman and other great ball strikers was one of pulling the club through the ball with the left hand, not hitting at it with the right. 

I find it interesting, and not a little ironic, that my only lesson, as an eleven year old, living in England, involved the pro having me hit balls with my just my left hand. At the time, I thought it was crazy. I was very much right-handed and felt I must be losing all my power by eliminating the right hand. The young pro never bothered to explain at the time why he was having me do this exercise. The end result was, I went merrily on my way and forgot about this lesson for the better part of forty years.

suggest the next time you watch the pros playing, focus on their left hand and arm if they are right-handed players. As they swing the club and strike the ball, notice how firm the back of the the left hand and wrist is through impact and how for most of them the left arm pulls, or sweeps through the ball down the target line to the finish. I read somewhere that Byron Nelson, in 1945, when he won eighteen times, including eleven in a row, had only one swing thought. That swing thought was the back of his left hand going through the ball towards his target. 

It may just not be a coincidence that two of the greatest ball strikers ever were left-handed and played golf right-handed. I'm talking about Ben Hogan and Moe Norman. Phil Mickelson has done quite nicely as a right-handed person playing left-handed. In the case of these players their dominant hand and arm was, or is controlling the swing; something worth thinking about for someone just taking up the game. Don't just automatically assume, if you are right-handed, that you should swing right-handed clubs. In fact, if you bat left in baseball, or play hockey left-handed, perhaps you should do the same when it comes to golf.  My first club as a youngster was left-handed, but my father switched me to right-handed clubs. Whether that hurt or helped, or made a difference at all, I'll never know. But it's certainly worth thinking about if you are just taking up the game.

The Top Hand method is also important in terms of the grip, not just the swing. Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Bob Toski, Ben Hogan, and many others, when talking about the grip, all emphasize the importance of controlling the club with the last, or smallest, three fingers of the left hand for a right-handed player. Those three fingers of the top hand are sufficient to maintain control of the club, without the need to squeeze the life out of the grip with the other fingers and hand.

So, I am going to recommend, if you are not already doing so, you become a Top Hand golfer. Let that top hand and arm pull the club through impact. Keep that bottom hand from getting involved too soon and messing things up. Try it, I think you'll like it. Don't forget, I'm offering a money back guarantee, and nothing to buy. Just grip the club securely in the three smaller fingers of the top hand, push the club back with the top hand and pull it through. It's so simple, it's like falling off a log. And what's more, it works with every club, from the putter to the driver. 

Sound too good to be true? Perhaps it does, but it couldn't hurt to give it a try. At least you won't look silly out there with a basketball between your legs, or wearing some contraption. You can even be a secret Top Hand golfer if you want to be. You don't have to tell a soul that you are trying it out,  because only you will be able to feel what you are doing. And, after all, feel is what this game is all about.

By way of a postscript, there is an exceptional young man, named Tommy Morrissey, who plays golf with one arm. He plays right-handed clubs and uses only his left hand and arm. As a three year old, he hits the ball a hundred yards with one hand. He is living proof of the superiority of the top hand method. I suspect he will become a very good player if he decides to keep playing the game.