Shortened swing arc reduces power
By T.J. TOMASI
Golf is a game filled with misconceptions, more so perhaps than any other game. The brain is a problem solver par excellence, yet it’s fooled when it comes to golf because you must stand to the side of the ball to play. A few examples of counterintuitive golf solutions that don’t make sense, but are correct:
1. You must hit down on the ball to get it up in the air.
2. Your shoulders swing on one plane while the hips swing on another. Golf is one of the few sports where this puzzling “double plane” is a must.
3. To stop the ball from going left, you must turn your hips to the left — in the direction you DON’T want the ball to go. But if you turn them too soon, the ball goes right. Try figuring that out without help.
4. Through impact, the hands and club handle go to the left while the clubhead goes to the target. Thus, the hands and club handle move away from the target while the clubhead moves toward the target.
5. In most other sports, our arms and body work together, but in golf the arms do the up-and-down and the body does the around, and they don’t get into each other’s business.
And then there is the mother of all puzzlements: The average golfer tries to get the clubhead onto the target line at the start of the downswing. This makes sense because that’s where the ball is, but it causes the most common swing error in golf: “over the top,” in which golfers chop abruptly downward to hit the ball as if they were killing a snake. The good player learns to do just the opposite — keep the clubhead off the target line by moving it away from the ball until the downswing is almost complete.
Takeaway: The steep, over-the-top swing angle may be good for survival skills, such as killing snakes and chopping wood, but don’t be fooled into using it for hitting golf balls.