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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

If You Want to Experiment with the Loop…

Because the loop motion is so familiar to most of us, experimentation is a simple matter. Here are a few hints to help you get the hang of it more quickly.
  1. Remember, the loop I’m talking about is a single-plane loop. It shouldn’t change your current swing other than smoothing out your rhythm and eliminating any jerk at the change of direction. (If you currently have a two-plane swing, there’s a good chance you already loop the club.)
  2. Because the wrists aren’t fully cocked until you’re halfway into the downswing, it doesn’t really matter if they aren’t fully cocked at the top; you don’t have to get the club to parallel in order to get good distance. I can get to parallel easily, but the extra cocking motion causes the shaft to hit me across the back on the way down. OUCH! If this happens to you, just point the club more skyward at the top.
  3. Bobby Jones once said that nobody ever took the club back too slowly. Because your hands move at a constant speed through the change of direction and until you’re halfway down, you’ll find that a slower backswing actually helps you keep better control of the club at the top, so you’re more accurate.
  4. There is no need to ‘hold the angle’ with a loop; the wrist cock is increasing on the way down. You can’t ‘throw’ the club from the top if you loop.
  5. For some people, both elbows will bend a little while looping; for others, only one elbow. Either is okay; it just depends on how you normally move when you swing.
  6. The loop can really help you get more distance with less effort, but that doesn’t mean strength won’t help you. A strong looper can put some serious hurt on a golf ball; it’s just that loopers tend to get better results from their strength. And remember, the loop eliminates jerking the club at the top; loopers can get that extra length and still be pretty accurate.
Now, I can’t promise that you’ll consistently drive the ball 300 yards using the loop; the fact remains that most of the big hitters are very strong and/or over six feet tall. Still, the loop can give most weekend players more distance with better accuracy; and, if you decide to make it part of your swing, you should be able to go to a more flexible shaft, which will give you some additional distance. (A more flexible shaft also makes it easier to draw the ball, if that’s important to you.)

The loop is a bit of traditional technique that’s been cast aside by most modern teachers, but it has a lot to offer the modern player. You might be pleasantly surprised by how quickly you see results.


  1. I can't visualize the loop. Are you saying there is no natural cocking of the wrist at the top of the driver swing? A loop suggests a Lee Trevino rerouting of the club?

    1. I can see how you got confused. Let me see if I can help clear it up.

      You didn't mention whether you read the two previous posts, which also talked about the loop -- especially the post right before this one, which has a sequence of drawings showing the wrist action. That may help.

      The key to understanding the loop is realizing that it doesn't have to be a reroute of the club. The drawings in the previous post actually show a flyswatter motion, and that all happens in one plane.

      So it's possible to loop to a second plane a la Trevino and not cock your wrists at all; or to create the looping motion in one plane, which is all wrist cock. In the reroute, the hands just drop straight down to the second plane and the clubhead loops; in the single plane loop, both your hands and the clubhead make a loop.

      If you study the drawings in the previous post and slowly try to duplicate the motion, I think it will start to make sense. If it doesn't, just leave me another comment and I'll see if I can find a way to explain it better.

  2. Your use of the term loop is what is really confusing. A loop is a circle or part of a circle. You should use another term. Loop would mean to me a rerouting of the club which your fly swatter demonstration does not show. A loop to me would be where your hands drop behind you like Jim Furyk.

    1. I'm sorry this is still confusing, Don, but this really is a loop. The club is rerouted but, instead of your hands moving behind you, they move straight down toward the ground. The result still reroutes the club to a different plane; it's just that it's a very slight plane change.

      Let me repeat that in a slightly different way: This is still a loop but your hands drop straight down toward the ground to create a small reroute. They don't move behind you on an angle to create the larger reroute you're thinking about.

      I would have needed a second series of drawings from a different angle to show the reroute and even then, I'm not sure it would have made the reroute any clearer.