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Full Swing Fundamentals

Fri,  Dec 27, 2002 - By Bob Dougherty


The goal of every golfer should be to deliver a square club face with maximum velocity through the ball, on the target line, when swinging the golf club. To accomplish this goal, the golfer must overcome false perceptions and feelings of an incorrect swing and replace them with correct ones. This requires a simple understanding of how to swing well and how to prepare for the correct motion of a sound swing. The golf swing motion is a simple and familiar motion. The movement of the golf swing is very similar to many other sport swings, such as tennis, baseball and hockey. Each swing is a rotation of the body on the forward swing, which results in a weight transfer from the back foot to the target foot. The only difference in the golf swing is the angle of rotation at which the swing occurs.

In golf the ball is stationary and you have to initiate the swing. In other sports the ball is moving and you must react with no time to think, this is a problem for some players. The natural urge, for most people, is to hit at the ball, but when they learn to swing... to strike through the ball to the target and then finish the swing, the end result becomes more consistent and desirable.

When a sound swing is developed, the same principles and feelings of the swing will be applied throughout all of the various shots, and their set-ups. Let’s begin by learning how to “set-up” for a sound swing.


   1. Feet, hands, and club face aligned square to the target line.
   2. Shoulders parallel to the target line.
   3. Posture in the alignment has the following requlremeflt5
      a. Spine tipped forward from the hips. (Hips back and without the shoulders “hunched over”).
      b. Chin stays up. (See the ball through the bottom of your eyes).
      c. Knees are slightly flexed.
      d. Arms hang down from the shoulder sockets.
      e. Balance on balls of feet with the shoulders and knees directly above the balls of the feet.
      f. The feet, legs and hips in this posture will feel firm and athletic. The upper torso will feel balanced and ready.
   4. Hands hold the club predominantly in the fingers, with the palms facing each other. Palms of hands and the club

       face are square to shoulders and target line.
   5. Stance width is between shoulder and hip widths, depending on club length.
   6. Ball position varies from just inside the front heel with the driver back to the middle of the stance with the

       shortest clubs.


   1. Rotate/pivot/turn body over the back heel. Stay balanced and in posture.
   2. Hands swing back and up to between the ear and back shoulder.
   3. Keep the arms and hands in front of the body as you make your turn.


   1. Target side heel is returned and planted in preparation for return rotation of the lower body.
   2. Lateral weight shift of the lower body occurs because of rotation of the hips toward the target, while keeping

       your head steady behind the ball.


   1. Shoulders follow the hip rotation and the arms follow the rotation of the shoulders.
   2. The arms, hands and club face come from inside the target line to impact and through the ball with the

       club face square to the target line. The club head will then come back inside and up to the finish.
   3. Finish facing the target with the shoulder rotation greater than the hip rotation... The end result will be

       with the trailing shoulder ending up ahead of the leading shoulder.
   4. At finish weight is completely on target side heel because of a completed swing. (Spikes showing on back foot).




How to Produce Feel in the Golf Swing

Sat Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty


Feel is defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary as “to perceive, or be aware of, through physical sensation”. In his book “How to be a Complete Golfer” which he wrote with Jim Flick, Bob Toski says, “In any sport, the best players perform as instinctively and as naturally as possible”. In other words, they play by feel. He goes on to say that he couldn’t communicate the feel of his golf swing any more than you could tell him how your swing feels. Another quote of his is, “You must feel the force, before you can force the feel”. What Toski is saying is that you must feel the correct sensations in your body by using your mental awareness and the images which the computer inside your head has stored up.

Feel sensations come and go. What we feel today, we may or may not, feel tomorrow. The body changes from day to day, as a result, our feel changes. Our hands may feel very sensitive as we place them on the club today. Tomorrow our hands feel thick and puffy and it may feel like we have a baseball bat in our hands rather than a golf club. Our problem is how to reproduce that feel in our swing that was so good when we shot our better rounds. Our muscles don’t have a memory, so they can’t produce that feel. They can only do what our brain, the computer, tells them to do, and they usually do it perfectly every time. These muscles of ours are moving and doing things based upon electrical impulses they are receiving from the brain. But what is our brain telling them to do? “Keep your head down; keep your left arm straight, etc., etc.” Our brain is telling our muscles to do specific things, not blending them into a continuous, or whole, swing.

If this is the case, we must retrain our minds, or put in a new computer chip, to tell our muscles to make this one continuous, whole swing. Corey Pavln does his crazy, (maybe not so crazy) moves prior to swinging. What he is doing, is telling his muscles what he wants them to do.

What we are attempting to do here is reproduce the feel in a complete swing. This has to be accomplished with the golf swing moving in sequence. If the sequence gets out of order, the swing is destroyed, because the parts of it get disjointed. This is the sequence of the swing on the backswing:

     1. The left shoulder, left arm and hand push, or swing, the club away from the bail

     2. As a result, the shoulders start turning and

     3. When the left arm is about parallel with the ground; the hips will be pulled around to about 45 degrees.

For those who are more supple, the hips will not be pulled as far. This will allow the arms to swing to the top, about shoulder to ear height.

As a result of the above, we will have put considerable tension between the hips and shoulders. Now our moment of truth comes. Can we overcome the hit sensation and start our swing back to the ball in its proper sequence? The sequence must start with:

     1. A transfer of weight by our hips turning and putting our weight back to our left side

     2. As a result of 1, our arms will be brought down and

     3. Our hands will come trailing behind followed by the head of the golf club.

How do we produce the feel or sequence as to how the club should be moving? Harvey Penick counseled that the golfer should swing a heavy club, weighing at least 22 ounces. This should be done while swinging slowly, or in slow motion. Do this while singing through a fixed spot. This will not only develop and duplicate how the swing should feel, but it will develop good, strong golf muscles. I tell my students to swing a weighted club 30 times a day in season. This tells the mind daily how the swing should feel. Because the club is so heavy it makes the big, slower muscles of the body start and lead the swing, rather than using the fast, quick muscles, i.e. the hands. I personally use and old wood club with a hold drilled through the head. The hole has been fitted with a ~ inch bolt with 3 large nuts fitted on the bolt for extra weight.

Another great “feel” producer is swinging the Matzie trainer, not only is it weighted heavy, but it has a pre-formed grip and a design which makes the hands and forearms turn correctly. Again, swing this slowly and it automatically makes the muscles swing in sequence and produces what a swing should feel like. Chichi Rodriquez felt that swinging a broom produced this feel. If all else fails, swing two golf clubs together. This may be the way to warm up prior to hitting on the first tee if you have no time to warm up on the range.

Bobby Knight, Hall of Fame basketball coach from Indiana, says that the mental is to the physical, as 4 Is to 1. What he is saying is that if you are mentally prepared you can overcome physical problems, and that your mind is the dominant force that makes your body do what you want it to do.

If your mind has been programmed with “The right feel”, then your mind will give your muscles “the feel” to make a perfect swing.


The two most common errors that I see in my students are:

     A) With a full swing they try to “hit at the ball”, rather than “swing the club” and let the ball get in the way.

     B)  In the short game (pitching, chipping and putting), they tend to “come off the ball”, (looking up too soon).

Use game strategy and “play practice” the hole. You have to use your imagination to make the driving range your golf course. This “play practice” will make practicing more fun and you will be able to take your game to the real golf course




Why We Slice

Sat Jan 11, 2003 - By Bob Dougherty


I recently went down to Columbia, South Carolina to play with a friend of mine, Robin All. I had two reasons for going; one was to play with Robin and the other was to get some advice on my own golf swing. I had been getting over the top and pulling the ball with my short irons and fading my longer clubs. As a senior, I don’t need to fade, slice, or play a weaker shot. I need to draw the ball and make a stronger move and move the ball right to left with a draw, not a fade or slice. Robin and I played the Country Club of South Carolina on Sunday and he watched me come over the top and snap hook a couple of tee shots into the trees. If had an open face, I would have hit a big slice. But one thing I can do well is release my hands and forearms to square up the clubface. However, with an outside in club path to the ball I’m going to pull it left. If I had the open face, I would hit a slice. This is the case with hundreds of people I see every year. They usually aim left and swing further left of the target with an open clubface or aim right and swing left pulling the short irons and slicing the longer clubs.

Our second day out, Robin had me aim my feet left of the target and swing to the right. In no time at all I was drawing the ball right to left. This was an exaggeration, but that is where you have to go to correct a bad habit.

Let’s face it. You slice because you swing from the outside in — instead of inside out with a square or slightly closed club face. You hit weak shots with no power. I can get people to draw the ball in five to ten minutes just by changing swing path and learning to release their hands and forearms. “I’ve never hooked the ball” a guy said to me the other day as he smiled at me. This guy was 73 years old and hitting weak shots from left to right. A senior doesn’t need a slice, they need a draw. If they hit the ball 290 yards and were hitting it off the planet, I would probable teach them to fade the ball from left to right. Well, most of us don’t hit it that far, so learn to draw the ball for extra distance.

It has been my experience, playing and teaching, that all good or great players learned to draw the ball before they played a fade.



Home Up Break 100? Your Clubs Two-Plane Swing Feel the Swing Bunker Play Your Putting Your Practice Short Game


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