We have posted many articles from Mark Krause.
MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE GOLF SWING
Lets take the first one: keeping your head down, Have you ever seen a baseball player, tennis player or someone on tv stare at the contact point after contact. How can you turn your shoulders let alone your body with your eyes glued to the ground. How can you maximize clubhead speed in the impact zone if your body can not turn due to your eyes being glued to the ground.
The proper term is “keep your eyes on the ball” so that your torso can turn through the hitting zone to have a complete follow through. How many of you complain to yourself that you do not have a good follow through. This is the primary reason why you do not. Anybody that says to you keep your head down and I will watch the ball for you is trying to help but giving you the worst advice possible.
Left arm straight, the first question you should ask yourself is for how long? I see many friends teaching friends saying keep your left arm straight but never saying for how long. Does a baseball player when swinging a bat keep their left arm straight after impact? In golf, of course the left arm is straight in you setup. So should the right arm since both arms should be hanging straight down. In the back swing the left arm should stay relatively straight in the backswing as your right arm folds and your right elbow folds downward. Centrifugal force should straighten both arms in the downswing, and at impact and thereafter the right arm straightens and rolls over the left arm through impact into the follow through before both arms bend and come to rest on your left shoulder.
Bend your knees to put the club on the ground and reach out my arms so my belly is not in the way. One of the biggest faults we see in golfers is their posture. The posture dictates your swing plane and potential weight shift. Most golfers setup by taking their grip then approaching the ball bending their knees and planting their feet before putting the club on the ground. The proper setup is starting with the underside of your upper arms resting on your chest, then bending in the waist, turning your head to aim, then bending enough to put the club behind the ball. The last part of your body you plant is your feet. When your setup is complete your arms should be hanging from your shoulders with your hands above your toes not outside them. A person’s belly or chest is not in the way if your shoulders turn first moving your arms. Doing this your arms are always in front of you instead of crossing over your chest or belly.
Keeping your right elbow close to your body promotes loss of distance, a reverse weight shift and a slice. This move causes either a very flat short backswing or a flying elbow by the completion of the back swing with a short swing arc and a clubface that is either very open or closed depending on their swing plane. This move also causes your right leg to straighten pushing your weight to your front foot. The way to avoid keeping the right elbow close to the body is by turning the shoulders to move the arms in the start of the backswing instead of the right hand pulling the club away from the ball. Doing this will also allow your right leg to stay flexed which then allows your weight to move into your right side.
Hit down to make the ball go up. This is the major cause of slicing. Why hit down, the club has loft on it. When you swing a bat or a tennis racquet, do you swing them at the ball or the target??? If you swing at the ball how do you give the ball direction??? Don’t you swing the tool at the target with the ball getting in the way of a motion that is forward and at the target?? If you are hitting down you are pulling the club with the left arm and hand. This means that the handle is way ahead of the clubhead at impact. If you entered the hitting zone swinging a bat with the handle way ahead at impact which field would you hit the ball to. Of course right field. Since you bent over to put the club on the ground, if you maintain that waist bend until impact won’t the club return to the ground? Yes, and the club has loft on it, so the ball will get in the air. The goal then is to have the face of the club moving towards the target then left of the target, since your body is turning, to hit the ball straight. The harder you try to get the club under the ball the more vertical the club is traveling so it is very easy to hit it fat or top the ball due to the club traveling to much up and down instead of forward.
The baseball and golf swing are very similar!! Of all professional athletes baseball players play the best golf. This is because the body motion of both swings are very similar. In both swings the head has to stay steady, the shoulders move the arms in both directions and the arms crossover one another in both directions. Neither one is a wrist motion. The motion originates from the sternum to the shoulders to the arms and then to the wrists. In other words, the trunk of the body should be moving the arms instead of the arms trying to move the body. Don’t get me wrong, the wrists play an important role in the swing but they have to rotate due to the body moving them. The wrist and arms can move on to many different plains, so, to have a consistent swing plain the body has to be moving the arms.
Can you swing the club straight back from your target? Only for a short distance, about 8 inches. Since your arms are connected to your shoulders and your shoulders do not move totally perpendicular to the ground, how can your arms do this?
So, good posture with a bend in the waist to start with. Turn the shoulders to move the arms and club on the backswing while maintaining the same waist bend that you had in your setup. Allow your body to start the forward swing by turning to the left. This motion will pull your arms forward. As you are turning your body to the left, allow your forearms to crossover one another releasing your wrists. Continue your body turn by allow your head to turn and follow the ball in flight. This will give you a full finish with maximum clubhead speed.
Presented by: Mark Krause
Muskego Lakes CC, 414-425-6500, Lesson fee of $60 per hour
Left hand first making sure the grip is under the pad of the left hand. Have them hold the club up with the arm parallel to the ground then take off the thumb and first two fingers. The club should be able to stay in place due to the pad supporting the club. Right hand, bring the right arm down from hanging above the left arm covering the thumb of the left hand with the palm of the right hand, making sure the left thumb is between the two pads of the right hand. Then move the baby finger of the right hand over the index finger of the left hand. All other fingers must be on the golf club. Now everybody do this three times at least while we go around checking to make sure you understand and can do it. When looking down at your grip you should not see any part of your left thumb.
- Stand perfectly straight up and down
- Spread your feet apart far enough that each foot is under that shoulder
- grip the club as we previously showed you.
- stretch out your arms and club in front of you till your arms are parallel to the ground and both arms are straight.
- notice that both of your wrists are cocked upward, this must be maintained in the next step
- lower your arms till the underside of your arms are resting on your chest and the head of the golf club is still pointing upward of parallel to the ground.
- keeping your arms straight, wrist still bent and legs straight, bend over till the clubhead is on the ground.
- your arms at this point are still straight and are hanging outside your toes.
- now crack your knees, just a little.
- You should now be in the proper posture, with the under side of your upper arms still resting on the top of your chest and you feeling your arms hanging down straight from your shoulder sockets.
- When you approach a golf ball your upper arms can never come off your chest.
- you noticed that you bent your knees as the last part of the process. The reason is because you have to move your feet to put your body in a position so the club ends up behind the ball. The club can never be put behind the golf ball by moving your arms out of their hanging position in relation to your chest.
GOAL WHEN THE CLUB IS BEHIND THE BALL
- Your right shoulder is closer to the ground than your left.
- You feel more weight on your back leg than your front leg.
- You are looking at the middle back of the ball prior to swinging.
- You feel that you could throw the club forward instead of at the ground.
- When you turn your head from this bent over position you see your target.
Most important is to allow your head to turn when it wants too without your neck and head moving up, down, left or right in relation to your feet and the ground. Your balance comes from your inner ear. To stay in balance and have the club return to the ground, you can not move your head out of the position you put it in when you completed your setup at any time during the swing.
When swinging, you never try and hit the ball. As long as you stay bent over with your head remaining in its original position the club will return to its starting point, making contact inevitable.
You are trying to make a shoulder turn that allows your arms and the club you are holding to move away from the target and around your right hip on the backswing and a shoulder turn in the other directions that allows the club you are holding to move around your forward leg.
As long as you stay bent over in your setup posture till just past contact the ball will get in the air due to the loft on the club.
A ball can only go in the direction you want it to go if the club you are swinging is moving in that direction. Not up and down. When you putt you move your shoulders to move your arms in the direction you want the ball to travel. So it must be with all other clubs.
WORST THINGS TO DO
HEAD DOWN, the proper term is eyes on the ball allowing your head to turn so your body can turn. But the head can not move up or down, left or right of the position it is in before you swing.
LEFT ARM STRAIGHT, only in the setup and until contact. Just like baseball it must bend and fold after contact.
TEACHERS THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- A secure left hand grip under the pad and totally on the club
- right hand turned to the left for right handed golfers
- proper waist bend so that the wrists are not raised up
IN SWING THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN THE FIRST LESSON
- Most important that they stay bent over, no straightening of the legs or waist
- they finish the swing with the front of their body facing the target
BACKSWING PART 1
- Assume the proper grip and posture making sure that the underside of both arms are resting on your chest, and you are bent over enough to have your arms hanging outside your toes.
- Now, move your left shoulder away from the target (towards your chin) keeping both arms straight while you stay bent over. You will only be moving the club back far enough to where it is parallel to the ground.
- Stay in this position and check and see if both arms are still straight, if not straighten them and stay there.
- To see if you are in the right position, you should feel more weight on your right leg. If not, check to see if your right leg is still flexed like it was in your setup. If not, bend it a little.
- Now it is time to learn how to make the forward motion keeping both arms straight the whole time. We are not trying to hit the ball far. These are all half swings or less.
- Moving the left shoulder back should have created stretch in your lower back creating a rubber band effect.
- All we want to do is let the torso turn towards the target. Doing this will move the arms without you trying to move the arms and club.
- The finish position should have the front of your body facing the target, both arms straight at waist high (going past waist high will have both arms folding back towards the body) and your right hand higher than your left hand with the underside of your arms still on your chest.
- Another way of saying what we want to accomplish is to keep your hands below your waist line throughout this half swing motion.
BACKSWING PART 2
In lesson 2 we worked on figuring out how to only move the arms and club when the shoulders turn. This was done by Assume the proper grip and posture making sure that the underside of both arms are resting on your chest, and you are bent over enough to have your arms hanging outside your toes. You then move your left shoulder away from the target (towards your chin) keeping both arms straight while you stay bent over. You only moved the club back far enough to where it was parallel to the ground and both arms were still straight. To complete the backswing all you had to do was let your wrists cock the club upward. Doing this motion moved most of your weight down your right leg and hip and your hands never got higher than belt buckle.
This lesson is about taking the full backswing and being in the proper position at the completion of the backswing to be able to propel the club forward instead of at the ground.
- Take your proper posture and then move your left shoulder back so that your arms and club are parallel to the ground. While staying there, do you feel you can turn your shoulders much more to the right. Probably not, if you stay in your bent over position. This is a good thing. You have created stretch in you big muscles ( lower back and inside your upper right leg).
- While in this position, check to make sure your right leg is still bent and your right knee is pointing towards the ball. In other words, your right knee has not moved at all in the backswing.
- To complete the backswing, you only have to do one thing. You need to create your power lever (fulcrum). To do this you have to allow your wrists to cock so that the right elbow now folds downward.
- At the completion of your backswing, check to make sure your left wrist is flat in relation to your left forearm and the space between your two forearms has not changed from how close they were to one another in your setup.
- You now have created a lot of stretch. This stretch will cause your body to initiate the forward motion. In other words, let the body move first in the forward motion pulling the arms towards the target.
- As long as you stay bent over till impact the ball will get in the air and go straighter.
THE FORWARD MOTION
- At the completion of the backswing you should still be bent over, with your left arm fairly straight, right elbow pointing downward, your wrested cocked and more weight on your right leg than your left. If this has happened you will feel a lot of tightness (stretch) in your lower back and inside of your right leg.
- It is now time to release your power.
- To do this, your body must follow the proper sequence of movements. The tendency is to initiate the forward motion with your hands pulling the club downward at the ball. This will result in a slice.
- Remember that the backswing was turning your shoulders so that your left should was under your chin and your weight was on your back leg. It is now time to get all of your weight over to the left leg.
- To move your weight to your left leg, you need to initiate the forward motion from the ground up. Meaning, you initiate the forward motion with your feet to your knees, to your hips, to shoulders to arms and lastly the club. Another way to say this is: you need to take the right side of your body and turn it to the left which allows your weight to move into your left leg. This is no different than if you were to throw a ball, swing a bat or tennis racquet. The whole motion is always weight to back leg then to the front leg.
- Doing this will allow your fore arms to cross over one another. This is a must to avoid the ball curving to the right. The forearms will cross over as long as your body is turning to the left allowing your arms to move forward instead of pulling the club at the ball. This same motion is made with a bat or tennis racquet. Pulling the club means that the handle is way in front of the club at impact which is the same position that happens when you hit a baseball to right field. Turn left and allow your arms to cross over.
- If your motion is correct, your arms will finish no higher than your left shoulder and your arms will crossover one another at impact and there after.
- Other tell tale signs that you made the correct motion include: both of your elbows are still as close to one another as they were in your setup. Both hands are still completely on the grip and all your weight is on your left leg and you are able to be in a full finish position long after making contact.
PUTTING & CHIPPING
To get the ball close to the hole it is all about solidness of contact, the proper acceleration speed and learning how high each club hits the ball. Once you learn how high each club hits the ball you can then pick the right club for the situation and then land the ball at a pre-determined spot.
POSTURE and STANCE
- Move your hands down to the lowest part of the grip.
- Open your stance, left foot pulled back. The feet will be pointing way to the left of the target.
- Play the clubhead in the middle of your stance and your hands over your left knee.
- Make sure your shoulder line is parallel to your target.
- Both arms should be hanging down straight
- Put your feet close together, no more than 1 foot apart.
THE MOTION for chip shots (25 yards away or less) not pitch shots (more than 25 yards from the pin).
- It is all about moving the shoulders to move the arms and the club.
- First you must stay bent over, no straightening up from the knees or the waist
- Both arms should remain straight throughout the whole motion.
- backswing, only go back far enough to ensure that the forward motion is an accelerated motion.
- Rock your shoulders to then start your arms swinging that then make the club move.
- On the forward motion be sure to keep your hands and the grip ahead of the clubhead through impact.
- If done correctly both arms should remain straight and pointing at the target when the motion is completed.
- A feeling you should have is of the hands always staying low to the ground. This is done if the upper arms do not lift off of your chest.
WHAT CLUB TO USE IN WHAT SITUATIONS
- When your ball is in a place where the distance from the edge of the green to the pin is less than the distance from the edge of the green to your ball you need your most lofted club. Another time you will need your most lofted club is when your chip shot is down hill and the distance from fringe to the hole is minimal.
- When using your most lofted club you can normally figure your landing spot is between half and ¾ of the distance from your ball to the hole. If chipping out of the rough the ball will roll more than it would out of the fairway. This is due to solidness of contact. In the rough, grass gets between your ball and clubhead, from the fairway this does not happen.
- Less lofted clubs should be used when the distance from the fringe to the pin is fairly substantial and the distance from your ball to the fringe is normally less than 15 yards. You do this so the ball flight is lower, you then need less of a swing and the ball then is only in the air for at most 1/3 of the total distance to the pin.
- A poor setup. Feet might be spread to far apart, your hands and arms are not hanging down, your shoulders are not lined up parallel to the target, your hands are not over your left knee.
- Backswing, to fast, to far back because the arms did not stay straight, arms did not stay on your chest but instead lifted upward.
- Do not initiate the forward swing with your hands. All you have to do is move your shoulders at the speed required to hit the shot the planned distance,
- Other mistakes include: not keeping your arms straight, straightening up of your body instead of staying bent over, not moving your shoulders in the direction of the ball.
To score well you need to have a good short game. This means that your normal chip shot is within 20 feet of the hole all the time. It should take no more than 3 shots ( 1 chip and 2 putts) to get the ball in the hole.
Is all about not moving any parts of your body other than your shoulders and arms while staying bent over during the whole motion so you can control your distance.
- No putt will ever go in if it is the wrong speed
- Seldom does a golfer miss a put way left or right of their target but many times do leave their first putt way short or long of the hole.
- Movement in the head, wrists or knees are the killers to not having the putter moving at the target.
- When taking a practice stroke, concentrate on what speed you want to move your shoulders to hit the ball the distance you it to go.
SETUP. Feet close together, arms hanging from your shoulder sockets, eyes over the ball and both arms hanging down straight is what you want in your setup.
MOTION, a penelum type motion with your shoulders moving your arms and the putter. At no time shoulder the wrists be bending in any way. This will cause the putter head angle to change at impact, resulting in both loss of direction and distance. When done with the stroke you should be watching the putt roll from a bent over position, not standing up straight.
HOW TO READ GREENS
- Seldom is a putt that is longer than five feet a perfectly straight putt.
- All greens are created with some tilt so that rain water can run off of them and to make it more difficult.
- Watch others peoples chip shots and putts to see which way they break.
- Watch other peoples motion to see how much momentum you will need to hit your putt the proper distance.
- When walking onto the green, let your eyes look at the whole green to see the tilt that it has.
- To read your putt, go to the low side as far away from your ball as possible. Pick a spot to aim at. This is normally the apex of the line of the putt. Apex is the point where the ball will start to curve.
- Once you take your stance aiming the putter where you want the ball to go, you are now aimed and it is now time to concentrate on your shoulder speed to hit the ball the proper distance.
TO ANALYZE AFTER THE STROKE HAS BEEN MADE
- How was my distance control
- did I stay bent over
- did I keep my arms straight
- did I not move my wrists or did they bend causing the putter to go off line
- Setup, arms to chest, bend over to place club on the ground, then move your feet to put the club behind the ball.
- When teeing the ball up, half of the ball should be above the top of the clubhead.
- When done with the setup, your arms should be hanging down over your toes
- Ball position if you setup properly will be with the ball over your front foot.
- With all woods and utility clubs you want a motion that sweeps (picks) the ball off the ground. There is no vertical motion with your arms and club. This is why the club position is off your front foot, so your club is contacting the ball on the upswing of your motion.
- Backswing, as with all clubs the right leg must remain flexed and your left arm straight while keeping the underside of your left arm remaining on your chest.
- The forward swing as with all clubs is started with your torso, not your hands and arms. The goal is to get the right half of your body to turn to the left so that the right shoulder is over your left foot when the swing is done. If done correctly, your right forearm will cross over top of your left arm at impact and thereafter.
- If you are slicing or hitting the ground, a number of things might be going wrong.
- First check your posture and ball position
- Second try and feel if your right leg is straightening in the backswing or you have lifted your arms off your chest.
- On the forward swing you may be dropping your right shoulder instead of turning it towards your left foot. Doing this will not allow the arms to extend at impact and cross over one another.
REACHING FOR THE BALL. The end of the grip should be no more than a hand spread from their inseam. Reaching for the ball makes it hard to swing the club on the proper plane and get under the ball with your longer clubs.
FEET SPREAD TO FAR APART. The further you spread your feet the less active your legs can be. This will cause the hands and arms to take over the swing.
RIGHT HAND GRIP TURNED TO FAR TO THE RIGHT AND GRIPPING TO TIGHT. This puts your right arm in control and usually caused the club to be brought inside and up to quickly.
SWINGING THE CLUB ALONG THE GROUND TO LONG AND INSIDE THE TARGET LINE normally causes a reverse weight shift at the completion of the backswing and a blocked shot to the right.
RIGHT KNEE STRAIGHTENING ON BACK SWING also causes a reverse weight shift leading to a big loss of power and a shot that is either topped or goes very high and to the right.
HANDS TO CLOSE TO YOUR RIGHT EAR AT TOP OF SWING means that you had very little or no turn of the shoulders on the backswing. This then results in the arms starting the downswing and a casting of the club. A large loss of distance results.
TRYING TO SWING UNDER THE BALL TO GET IT AIRBORNE INSTEAD OF SWINGING THE CLUB TOWARDS THE TARGET. This is the most common of all faults. If you try to swing under the ball, your right shoulder dips towards the ground to much and will always cause the clubface to be open.
LEFT FORARM NOT ROTATING THROUGH THE SHOT. Is the main reason for loss of distance and a slice. If you were swinging a baseball bat or tennis raquet your left forearm on the backswing rotates open.(Knuckles of the left hand rotate towards the sky) Consequently, your left forearm must rotate in the opposite direction on the forward motion. If this is done your right hand will crossover your left just after impact. You will feel a snap of the wrists and see your left elbow pointing towards the ground as you finish your swing. You will also wear out a lot less golf gloves
TRYING TO KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, INSTEAD OF YOUR EYES ON THE BALL. I can not tell you how many times I have heard the excuse “I looked up”. Have you ever seen a Professional on TV staring at the ground when he was finished with the swing? “NO”. If you do not let your head turn to keep your eyes on the ball, you greatly restrict the turn of your body and pull on muscles that should be free to move.
Fixing any, if not all these faults will help to lower your score. Good Luck