The golf swing in its essence can be a very complicated thing. When we are talking about the movement of the human body there are so many moving parts involved that can create thousands of different possibilities in which we may swing the club. Even at the highest level of play, body types vary greatly. Take for example some of the bigger names, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, and Bubba Watson. All three of these players have different body types in comparison to the others mentioned. Their body types have greatly influenced the way in which they swing the golf club. Lee Westwood has a much more compact backswing paired with a hitting motion through impact, as opposed to a player such as Bubba Watson who’s body is much taller and slimmer allowing him to create certain levers more efficiently and swing with a different movement pattern. These two swings have very different mechanical components however, they correspond perfectly to the players swing pattern which in turn gives them the optimal results for their swing. A pattern, is the specific way in which a player makes his swing. In this pattern are several components that can make the golf swing work well. Components can be things such as grip, wrist action, knee action, etc. Not all component possibilities work well with certain swing patterns, we will see this later on in the article.
What does this mean for the amateur or recreational player? It means that your game may not need as much fixing as you may think. One of the key indicators of your specific swing pattern can usually be found in your ball flight.
Some players who hook the ball may have a natural draw swing pattern however, somewhere in their swing they are doing something that does not work with their pattern of swinging the golf club which creates a massive push-slice rather than a nice draw. This person may feel comfortable or accustomed to releasing the club a certain way (or lack thereof), however it may not match well with everything else going on in their golf swing.
Same applies to a player who may have a solid fade swing which has potential to produce very accurate results, however this player may have a component in their swing that forces them to hit pulls or sweeping slices on every tee shot. This can be caused by things such as an improper grip, improper acceleration, not making a proper turn motion into the back swing and many other possibilities. This is why teaching professionals serve much more of a quality of reference as opposed to “quick tips”.
Importance of understanding what a swing pattern is or more specifically your own, is crucial to improvement. Reason being, is that you can now understand what will and will not work for your swing. For example, a player who is hitting sweeping hooks may read the latest golf magazine tip which is titled “Three Knuckles for Power”, suggesting that the player strengthens their grip to hit the ball further. However, if you strengthen the grip of a player who predominantly hits large hook shots, you are only making the situation worse. If you understand what your swing pattern is, you will be able to steer clear of advice or tips that are in actuality bad for your swing. In an upcoming post, I will provide some further insight on how to use tips and books to your advantage. But the first step, is understanding how you swing the golf club.
A player who understands their own swing pattern then becomes a much more effective player. Having knowledge of what your golf swing is and isn’t capable of will bring about a great improvement to your course management skills. You will then be able to play a course to all of your strengths while managing to stay away from your weak areas. Knowing your pattern will give you a clear feeling and mental picture of what you need to do to produce the best shot possible for you! The best and probably only way to find out what your true pattern is, is to consult a knowledgeable teaching professional. There are an incredible amount of factors in a golf swing which they will be able to understand and help you become aware of what you are working with. Not all of us can compete with guys who physically train and hit balls for ten hours a day, but we can all have our own competitive identity on the golf course among whomever we play with. Consult with your local pro to get you started on the right track this season!