Nepali Times
Tee Break
Swinging by


All golfers know that a good golf swing is vital to playing golf well. I come across many good players who constantly strive to perfect their swing. Interestingly, most golf instructors agree that the perfect golf swing is a myth. Just look at the many professionals who perform so well with lousy swings. What, then, is the secret?

Having the basics right is most important. Those professionals with lousy swings have good basics: the grip, their set-up and aim. They also have great timing and rhythm on every swing, which allows the club to travel on the same plane at the same speed. Then, they have tremendous confidence and faith in their swing. Finally, they have a swing that they can consistently repeat.

Let us be realistic though, practicing at the professionals' level is not practical for weekenders. That is why, even with all the right attitudes and beliefs, they just can't produce the same result. Taking this into account, I decided to share some thoughts that I believe will help give you an advantage in advancing your golfing abilities.

A good golf swing starts with a good rhythm. You cannot make a good forward swing unless you take your time going back. Going back slowly sets up proper rhythm and motion. A back swing that is too fast almost always has the club and body working against each other, inviting poor shots. The object of the golf swing is to create speed on the down swing, not on the back swing.

A fast back swing leads to bad movement. A good back swing starts with the arms and shoulders, not the hands. You don't want to pick up the club at the beginning of the takeaway. You want to draw away in one smooth motion. As the club starts backward, the left shoulder and hips turn naturally to allow your weight to transfer to the right side. Once the shoulder stops turning, that is the end of your back swing. If you try to swing the club even after the shoulder has stopped turning, you are over swinging creating a negative club speed and inconsistent swing.

The object of the down swing is to return the club head to the ball with maximum controllable speed. Just as a back swing that is too fast is no good, a down swing that is too hard will cause bad golf shots. There are many theories on what should start the down swing. Most players who think about clearing the left side (left shoulder and hip) by dropping the hands (using the left hand) on an inner path create a more consistent swing with smooth body motion.

To complete the swing you must have a good finish. The finish in the golf swing, unlike baseball, needs to be high, not left. I see most beginners find it more natural to finish low and left, causing topped shots and having difficulty getting the ball airborne. In the finish, the weight that was transferred to the right side in the back swing must now be transferred to the left side. A good finish has the centre of your chest facing the target and your hands are high, close to your left ear.

The golf swing can be considered simple but is often complicated by too much thinking. Understand the proper technique, don't ingrain bad habits and you will have a lot more fun playing. On another note, don't forget to sign in for the Seventh Gokarna Open, which will be played on 25 June at Gokarna Golf Club. Details are available at 4450444, 4451212. And the first prize is a Star Cruise sponsored cruise holiday!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)