Stop Manipulating the Club

 Stop Manipulating the Club
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

stop manipulating the club

The most damaging swing error is also the most logical – it seems reasonable that to make the club go faster, you should use your hands to apply force, but actually over-using your hands can ruin your swing. Yes, it is true that your hands are involved in generating power, but only because they act as a lever which snaps open at just the right time and then empties the power built by coil into the shaft. Levers are multipliers of this power, and the correctly timed use of them maxes out your power potential. In addition to levers, a powerful swing takes advantage of tangential acceleration – it works as follows.

Don’t Force It

Your swing path is an arc, and that arc has a tilt or angle toward the ground called the swing plane angle. Each club in your bag has such an angle built into it (aka – the lie angle).  Here are some standard lie angles, although they vary among companies: A driver is ~50 degrees; a five iron ~60 degrees; a pitching wedge ~64 degrees. Is lie angle important? You bet – if you’re too steep or shallow coming down, you’ll miss your target, and then all the power in the world won’t help you.

So, one way to think about your swing is that the clubhead is in orbit as it moves around your body. As you start back to the ball, any force incorrectly applied to the clubhead pushes the clubhead out of its orbit – this is called tangential acceleration, and when a force is applied to any rotating object, it wants to leave the orbit in the direction of the force applied. This is why you have to be alert riding in a golf cart – if the driver suddenly veers to the left, you’ll be ejected in the direction you were moving when the veer occurred; and it’s the same relative to your orbiting clubhead – using your hands to force the club to move faster ejects the clubhead from the orbit causing you to swing across the ball from outside to in. This is one reason why there are so many pullers and slicers of the ball.

And the hands are not the only culprit. In the case where the back shoulder juts out toward the target line, the shaft “stands up,” meaning it becomes more vertical to the ground during the downswing. If the lie angle was 60 degrees at address, its effective lie angle is now much more half way to impact – you’re off plane with milli-seconds to contact. 

TJ Article # 124 photo 1

Standing up the shaft and leaving the orbit can both be stopped by simple adherence to the golfing maxim “the inside moves the outside,” which means that the motion that guides the clubhead is coordinated from the center of your body.

TJ Article # 124 photo 2

Rotation of the core allows the clubhead to stay in its orbit. The hands hinge and unhinge, the elbows fold and then refold, while the forearms gently roll through impact – if your swing was an orchestra, the maestro is your core.   The arrow indicates that my center has rotated to face the target on its way to a position left of the target.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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