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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Series: Finding the Perfect Swing for You

I promised you a new series, and here it is. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever tried to do what this series will do, and I expect it will revolutionize the approach many of you take to the game.

Yeah, that's a pretty big claim, but I think I can deliver.

Most weekend players (and even many pros) struggle with their games because they're confused by the sheer number of conflicting techniques presented to them as "THE way to better golf." Let me clue you in on a secret: There is no single best way to swing a golf club. Everybody is different -- their builds are different, their musculature is different, and they have different "learned responses" to different movements -- so each of these players will, when they are playing their best, swing the club a little different. Jim Furyk, Lee Trevino, Annika Sorenstam, Jack Nicklaus, Juli Inkster, Arnold Palmer -- each of these has a very different way of swinging the club, and yet each of them is a major champion and each has dominated their respective tour at one time or another.

While my approach to golf can best be summed up as "creating a low-maintenance swing," there's a lot of room for variation there. If you've read my book Ruthless Putting, then you know what I mean. The book outlines four "low-maintenance" strokes, each different, and helps you identify which stroke (or combination of strokes) most resembles your natural way of putting; then it helps you use that knowledge to apply low-maintenance principles to your natural stroke. Ten people can use the book, and each may have a different stroke when they finish... but each will have a stroke that works well.

This series will apply that same concept to the full swing. I'm going to break the swing down according to some standard criteria -- body types, swing planes, temperaments, power sources, etc. -- and then reinterpret them in ways you've probably never thought of -- utilizing your existing muscle memory patterns, using physical limitations to maximize consistency, choosing equipment to exploit your existing swing, matching what you feel to what you do, and the like. When we're done, you'll be able to examine a teaching and know whether it will work in your swing or not, and you'll be able to choose the techniques that complement your swing and require less work for integration into it. You may decide you've been trying to swing in a way that works against your strengths; if so, you'll know what you need to change, so you don't waste time jumping from one technique to another.

When we're done, you should be more accurate and be hitting the ball farther as well. And it's not going to cost you a penny! What more could you ask for?

I'm nicknaming this series Route 67 because it's intended to put you on the road to better scoring. (Clever, huh? I was up all night thinking of that one.) These posts, each of which may be categorized with more than one label, will all be in a "Route 67" category and I will probably make a special page for them later on. The name, of course, comes from this post at the end of 2009 where I pointed out that relatively few PGA players rank better than 67% in the Driving Accuracy, GIR, or Scrambling stats. When we're done, you should be well on your way to beating those stats. (BTW, I checked PGATour.com while writing this, and the averages STILL aren't beating 67%.)

So get ready for a little road trip down Route 67, starting with a tour of the eternal struggle between accuracy and distance.

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