I have come to believe that the majority of modern day golf instruction is based primarily around instructor style preference. Jim Hardy has his own swing style, the One-Plane Swing, as do Bennett and Plummer with their Stack and Tilt. These teachers and others have studied the swing and come up with their own interpretation of how it should look, yet too much of the information peddled today is form-based rather than function-based.
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?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to impact — the moment of truth, the split second when the ball is told what to do and where to go. From Patty Berg to Nancy Lopez and from Tom Watson to Bobby Locke, all great players are nearly identical at impact. If this is the case — trust me, it is — then the look of the swing should play less of a role in a golfer’s improvement and the focus should be more on impact.
Here are the elements of a great impact position:
- The weight is noticeably on the front foot; 80 percent or more
- The handle always leads the club head
- The head remains over the ball, while the hips have shifted to the target; this creates what I refer to as “body curve”
- The club head travels down (downswing!) into the ball, which includes fairway woods and the driver
Andrew Rice, director of instruction at Berkeley Hall, is the author of the soon-to-be-released book “It’s All About Impact.” For more information, visit his Web site at AndrewRiceGolf.com.