Posts Tagged ‘ben hogan’
Impact is the most important part of the golf swing! The ball spends an average of 1/2000 of second on the face of the club, yet it is during this time that it receives it’s all-important travel itinerary. How high; how far; what curvature; spin rate; and ultimately what destination is all determined in that fraction of a second.
The above picture is an ideal impact position.
The weight is comforably on the front foot
The handle is leading the clubhead into the ball and the clubhead is travelling slightly down for a ball-first, divot-second strike
The head is over the ball with the weight in front of the ball leading to body curve
There are only three errors a golfer can make at impact and here they are:
In this example the head has worked back behind the ball too much and the weight remains on the back foot. This golfer scoops the ball off the turf and tends to hit weak, high fades and slices with the occasional pulled shot. Should a divot occur it is most often before the ball is impacted. This is a typical what I would call ”weekend warrior” swing.
In this example the golfer has found a way t0 “squeeze” the ball and actually strike it fairly well, however, due to the upper body being positioned in front of the ball, direction is a major challenge. Divots are quite deep and this golfers’ tendencies will be to hit pull draws with the occasional push or flare. There is not enough body curve in this mid-level impact position.
This impact position is invariably the demise of the better golfer. Here the golfer has found a way to attack the ball from the inside while still delivering a downward blow to the ball, yet there is too much of a good thing. The head hangs back while the hips drive to the target, dropping the clubhead too far to the inside and encouraging the hands to flip through impact. This golfer will tend to play well with good timing, but should things get nervy they will hit blocks and quick, sweeping hooks.
Analyze your shot pattern on the golf course and start to get an idea as to which of the above categories you fall into. Get in front of a mirror and work towards improving or tempering certain elements of your impact position. As you do this remember feel is very seldom real when it comes to golf. Create the correct look in the mirror and then absorb what that ‘look’ feels like and take that out to your next practice session.
Long ago I came to realize that much of modern day golf instruction is based primarily around instructor style preference. Way too much of the information being peddled is form based instead of being function based. Tommy ‘Two Gloves’ Gainey’s win this weekend on the PGATour illustrates that there is more to a golf swing than simply what meets the eye.
In studying the top golfers of all time – no two swings are alike. Who is to say that Ben Hogan‘s flat plane is better than Jack Nicklaus‘ vertical arm move? Who is to say that Sam Snead‘s slight over the top move was better than Nick Price‘s drop down transition?
Ultimately it all comes down impact and physics – the forces and angles you are causing the club to impart on the golf ball. Impact is the one position in which all of the great players are decidedly similar. From Patty Berg to Annika and Tom Watson to Phil Mickelson – all these players assume a very similar position at impact. If this is the case, which, trust me, it is, then the appearance of the swing should play far less of a role in a golfer’s path to improvement.
Here are the elements of a great impact position with irons:
- the weight is noticeably on the front foot; 80% or more
- the handle always leads the clubhead
- the head remains over the ball, while the hips have shifted to the target; this creates what I refer to as body ‘curve’
- the clubhead travels down (downswing) into the ball; this includes fairway woods and hybrids
Here are two short videos to help:
The next time you take a lesson make sure your teacher works towards getting you into a better position at impact. It is the only way you are going to start hitting better, more compressed golf shots.
Please watch the following – it will change how you attempt to improve….
Any thoughts or ideas? Am I just plain crazy?
Have you ever struggled with shots that just don’t seem to go where they should? The ball always seems to leak right or hook left. Today’s post strives to get at the root cause of why your golf swing is so reliant on timing.
One of the more frequent mistakes I see golfers make is to stand up or lose their body angles through impact – the “stand and deliver” move! The loss of body angles or posture causes the body to stop rotating and as a result the hands now assume the responsibility of squaring the clubface. Remember – if the body does not rotate to clubface square, then the hands will help out. This move is very difficult to time, especially under pressure, and often leads to the hands overworking or flipping through impact. If the hands rotate the clubface too early the shot misses left and if they’re a touch late, then the shot misses right.
Consistently straight shots are achievable only when the clubface is being squared via the rotation of the body through impact.
An indicator that you are losing your body angles through impact is that your divots (if you are even taking any) are always deeper on the outside than the inside. They are toe deep. (A big reason why an “active” fitting is not always the best way to go!)
A good method to ensure that the body continues it’s rotation through the hit is to work on maintaining your posture or spine angle that is established at address. Hit little pitch type shots with an eight iron trying to feel that your torso stays down over the ball while clearing through the strike. A good feel is to try and sense that the hands are low through impact – they should feel like they are actually lower at impact than they were at address. You may even have the sense that the toe of the club is higher at impact than the heel. Try this DRILL
This is something that all of golf’s greatest ball strikers have in common – Nick Price, Lee Trevino and Ben Hogan all did a fantastic job of maintaining their posture through impact. This allowed them to take the hands, and timing, out of the equation – a recipe for consistently good golf shots.
Thanks to reader Chuck for this enlightening article posted by Bradley Hughes from www.bradleyhughesgolf.com:
FLAT LIE ANGLES -
The Reason and Logic Of The Greats
I know from personal experience in a question asked directly to Lee Trevino that he used clubs that were at least 3 degrees flat in lie angle from the old standard.
Doug Sanders also informed me in the interview I recently did with him (on page 2) that he had his clubs flattened down so the toe sat down and the heel would never strike the ground first.
If we look at Ben Hogan’s club that is in USGA Golf House Museum it is close to 6 or 7 degrees flat in lie angle when compared to clubs of the same length and loft of today.
- The upright clubs make the player come steeply into the ball on descent.
- The upright clubs tell the body stall and insist that the hands flip through impact to try and square that upright lie angled club with the ground.
- The upright club straightens the right arm away from the body and increases clubface roll throughout the shot making timing a huge problem.
- Upright lie angles deteriorate the swing by not stressing the importance of swinging the golf club behind and around the body and rotating through impact with the correct body effort and sequence.
Too often we now see golfers throwing the club through impact – pushing the club head off to the right of the target or throwing the clubhead left of the target with their hand roll – flipping the club face over by hand action trying to correct the mistake.
Today’s clubs should all come with a warning label:
“Swing Deterioration And Poor Mechanics Possible By Using This Club”
Add the fact that the shafts are too long and the swingweights and overall club weights are too light and it is little wonder we don’t see ball striking mastery on any level any longer. Remember: Feedback of the club and the swing is necessary for improvement to take place. That’s why golfers are not improving. They don’t know the difference between a good strike or a bad strike of the ball because the permieter weighting and large sweet spots don’t allow such reference. The equipment golfers are using is NOT designed to help them adjust their swing to the correct efficient motion.
Very well said Mr. Hughes. I have an inkling as to why manufactureres insist on making clubs lighter and more upright…… Firstly, the clubs are more upright as it causes the faders, who happen to be the majority of golfers, to reduce the amount of curvature of their shots. Notice I never said anything about improving their swings – the upright lies in fact encourage these golfers to continue swinging the way they always have. And secondly, the light weight leads to more speed which creates a Wow! factor when they first hit the clubs. The lighter the club the faster you can swing it. You also, however, relinquish a measure of control over the clubhead and a feel for the club.
So the slicer who tries his buddies new 7-iron and hits a straight bomb over the green is amazed as he has never hit the ball that straight and that far before – he simply must have a set!
As with most things it comes down to $$$$! Don’t get sucked in and allow yourself to be enticed with new gimmicks. Know your numbers (length and lie) and play something you like the look of and can feel.