One of the most usual ways of ruining a good swing just before hitting the ball is by tightening the left side so that the left arm is pulled in against the body. In most cases, I think this sort of action results from a lack of confidence. The player has been able to trust his swing only so far. Instead of letting it go, when it approaches the ball, he cannot resist the impulse to correct or guide it still farther.

The two illustrations, Figure 13, are intended to show how this sort of action looks compared to that which is correct. The picture marked incorrect presents a most common manifestation of the fault I have described. All the muscles in the left side of this player have suddenly contracted. His hip-turn has been stopped prematurely and his left elbow has been jammed against his ribs. It is quite plain that his swing can only go through by collapsing his left arm. With the clubface open, as it is here, the result is a slice and plenty of it.

Figure 13

Figure 13

Left Arm Keeps Traveling Through

Observe that the correct action gives no hint of being retarded by sudden muscular contraction. The left hip is out of the way, and the left arm is swinging through straight along the line of play. To an observer standing behind the ball, in line with the shot, daylight would appear between the two arms. Notice too that the back of the left hand is presented toward the objective. Contact has been made, yet the right hand has neither passed nor climbed over the left. In no case should the left arm be stopped with the idea of throwing the club-head through.

The differences noted in these two swings have their root in one thing only. One player, having given the clubhead all of the acceleration and direction at his command, is able to let it go—to trust it to its work. The other, apprehending that he may perhaps not have done enough, is still trying to do something when it is too late. His convulsive effort actually slows his club down instead of speeding it up.

Series Navigation

<< Climactic Stage of Stroke, Just Prior to ImpactFlat Arc at Bottom of Stroke Directs Club-head Squarely Against Ball >>

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