There are a total of 14 swing principles: 3 pre-swing and 11 in-swing. Today in Golf Fundamentals, we covered the next eight principles following grip, aim, and set-up.
As PGA Instructor Jay Friedman explained, sometimes there are limitations to a student’s physical ability. It could be an injury or the inability to move in a certain way. That doesn’t mean a swing style can’t be changed to accommodate a player’s physical ability. A swing that’s a little different isn’t necessarily wrong, just different, especially if the student is consistent.
The in-swing principles we’re focusing on right now are: swing center, dynamic balance, swing plane, width of arc, length of arc, position, lever system, and connection. I’ve included whether each principle primarily influences either distance, direction, or both.
Swing center (distance/direction) = the point between the top of the spine on the back of the body and the top of the sternum on the front of the body.
Dynamic balance (distance/direction) = involves the appropriate transfer of weight during the swing while maintaining body control. The golf swing resembles the side-arm throwing motion that a second baseman makes on his way to first. The legs make for a solid platform and can provide additional power. Much like a throw, the trailing knee is always flexed and never rolls outside of the trailing foot and the upper body coils inside the trailing leg.
Swing plane (direction) = the tilt and direction of travel of the inclined plane made by the shaft of the club as it moves through the swing. It provides a general, consistent starting point for the downswing plane.
Width of arc (distance) = the amount of extension between a player’s hands and his center of rotation. This helps set the club in the right position in preparation for the downswing.
Length of arc (distance) = the total distance the clubhead travels during the entire swing. Longer backswings don’t necessarily result in longer shots.
Position (direction) = the relationship of the back of the leading hand to the forearm. The position can either be flat (Tiger Woods), cupped (Jack Nicklaus/Bobby Jones), or bowed (Dustin Johnson). Flat isn’t necessarily the best, but it is the most common position on Tour and is the simplest position from which to return to impact.
Lever system (distance) = contained in the leading arm. It is the “L” shape formed by the leading arm and the club in the backswing. The left wrist (for right-handed players) is hinged at the shaft so that it forms a 90-degree angle with the leading arm. If a player hinges too early, he will be narrow and steep. If he hinges too late, he will be overly wide and will tend to come over the top.
Connection (distance/direction) = the positioning and maintaining of various body parts in the setup and during the entire swing. The triangle formed by the arms and shoulders should maintain its relative position throughout the swing.
The backswing sets up the player to return the club to impact.