Learn by example
By T.J. TOMASI
You can learn a lot by comparing the swing positions of good and not-so-good players. In the photo at left below is Ryder Cup player Boo Weekley, one of the better ball strikers on the PGA Tour. There are several things to note that are instructive:
1. Because Weekley started his downswing by transferring his weight to his left side, he simply continues the process until the weight is on the outer rim of his front foot toward the heel of his foot.
Compare this to the amateur in the second photo. This golfer is on his toes, a sign that he’s had trouble shifting his weight to his left foot to start the downswing. Weight on the toes triggers the neural program for jumping, and to prevent falling over, he will snap his spine upright.
2. Note also how fully released Weekley’s core is. Boo is thick around the middle, but still makes sure to keep his midsection moving freely through the ball. Remember: The core is the drum major in the weight flow parade.
By contrast, the amateur’s chest, pelvis and shoulders appear frozen. The only body part he used to hit the ball was his arms, and that’s not good enough when you play the very difficult Champions course at PGA National as he and Boo are in these photos.
3. As part of his full body rotation, Weekley keeps his right shoulder chasing his left, assuring that he will not “run out of right arm,” an error the amateur has fallen prey to. When this young player stops his shoulder rotation and simply hits with his arms, the trail arm is also stopped, and that causes the club to wrap around the body.
A few years ago, scientists discovered the mimic gene. It controls our ability to learn by copying, using a major tool — the visual system. The moral: Be careful who you watch.