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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Whack the Tire

Jack Nicklaus claimed in his book, Golf My Way, that he had never read an instructional article.  If so, he was definitely smarter than your average bear.  

Golf is simply tough enough without worrying about what your right knee, or hip, is doing during your swing.  Sam Snead felt that his swing was worthy of imitation because of its simplicity.  He also had great rhythm and tempo, but Sam's swing was about as natural as it was graceful and powerful.  His swing keys--and he did have them--were pretty simple as well.  Take the club back low and slow with the left hand and arm, begin the downswing with a pull of the left hand, and wallop the hell out of the back of the ball; that was his swing in a nutshell.

As far as what his hips, shoulders, knees, and feet were doing, Sam felt they just naturally moved with the left arm.  I just read the book, The Square-to-Square Golf Swing.  I'm told it was a classic, but somehow I had managed not to read it until now.  It recommends a swing dominated by the left side, particularly the left hand and arm.  The reason is, for right-handed players, the left side is generally under-employed.  Furthermore, the early application of the right hand ruins more golf shots than anything else.  Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Moe Norman favoured a left-side dominated swing.  So do the majority of top players today.  That's because it works.

What's the best way to learn to use your left side?  Hit balls or, better yet, hit an impact bag or an old tire using your left arm.  You will feel the benefit of pulling the club with your left side, instead of pushing it with your right.  Bobby Jones said the golf swing was a back-handed shot with your left hand.  Try whacking a tire, then balls, with your left hand and you'll soon see why.  I love that old tire drill.  It's great therapy whacking that tire with your left hand, then your right, then both hands.  It also builds muscle.

And perhaps the best part is it tends to simplify your swing.  Somehow, when all you are focussed on is whacking that tire, or the ball for that matter, your swing tends to become more simple.  You tend to take the club back far enough to know you are in a position to make the strike and then you let it go.  The last time I broke seventy it was right after using the tire.  I swung all day like I was just whacking the tire.  I really need to use it more often; even if the neighbours think I'm nuts.