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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Pros and Amateurs Differ

This post was born while I was watching Golf Central Monday night. They were talking about what Justin Rose has been working on and I realized it might confuse some of you.

See, Justin has been working on turning his shoulders less, which is the exact opposite of what I harp on in this blog. Although I have called it a shoulder turn or coil on occasion, I generally call it a one-piece takeaway since it's the early turn of your shoulders that keeps your arms straight but relaxed.

So what's the deal here? Should you turn more or less?

The problem here is that the typical pro has the exact opposite tendencies of the typical amateur: Amateurs tend to fight slices while pros tend to fight hooks. Obviously that means the two are trying to do opposite things:
  • The amateur struggles to get a 90-degree shoulder turn; the pro (at least the younger ones) frequently get 110-120 degrees.
  • The amateur struggles with an out-to-in swing, the pro often fights an in-to-out swing.
  • The amateur swings over-the-top; the pro may have an exaggerated under-the-plane loop.
  • The amateur typically can't get his hips turned fully in his downswing; the pro may be getting stuck because his hips turn so much faster than his shoulders.
  • The amateur leaves the clubface wide open at impact; the pro flips his wrists and closes the clubface too much.
These differences often mean that your favorite pro is trying to do something you're working hard to stop! It can be very confusing if you try to copy them. It can even make your problems worse if you're not careful.

But there is one thing the pros are trying to do that amateurs want to do as well: Each is trying to create a balanced controllable swing. This means that, ultimately, both players have the same goals but they're approaching them from different sides. It might help to think of the ideal swing as being halfway up a hill -- or down a hill, depending on your perspective. You may be at the bottom looking up and someone else is on the top looking down. These different starting points require different means to get to that midpoint.

What I want to help you do is to understand is how that balanced swing -- the halfway point -- works. Once you understand that -- and know where you are in relation to that standard -- you won't get confused as to how you should get there. Just bear in mind that I assume the vast majority of you are on the typical amateur's side of the swing, and that's how I decide what tips to pass on to you.

And in this case -- unless you're Justin Rose, that is -- you should probably be working on more shoulder turn, not less. Smiley Faces

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