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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Full Motion Punch Shot

(PAY ATTENTION, RIGHTHANDERS! Normally I describe things as a righthander, and lefties have to transpose it. But Brian is a lefty and this is his project, so you righties will have to substitute “right” for “left” and vice versa. It will give you an appreciation for what lefties have to go through when they learn the game. But here’s a hint that will help: View any diagrams as if you were looking in a mirror.)

We’ve talked about how to use the lower body. Now we need to learn how to use the upper body―the arms and hands―so that it syncs up with the lower body and doesn’t sabotage all our good work so far.

Ironically, the best way to learn how to use the arms and hands properly is to learn how not to use them at all. Specifically, I’m going to start you off with what I call a punch shot.

As I’ve said before, I approach the golf swing backwards from most teachers. I believe you start with the putting stroke; then you gradually stretch it out longer and longer, making small adjustments to complement the longer stroke, until you have a full swing. If you check the posts in the Basic Principles of the Game category, you’ll find that what I call a punch shot is essentially a chip shot that has been lengthened by the addition of a full upper body coil. There’s no wrist cock to the swing; in a full-motion punch shot, the club shaft remains in the same relationship to the arms that it does at setup, or at the halfway point of a one-piece takeaway.

In essence, at the top of a full punch, the club shaft sticks straight up in the air.

Why would you want to learn a swing like this? There are some tactical uses that I’ll cover at some future point, but its most important use right now is that it teaches us to use our shoulders properly. I’ll cover the shot itself tomorrow, but here’s a chance for you to use your mind to help you improve…

See if you can figure out why the punch shot teaches us how to use our shoulders. Here’s a hint: Wrists are shock absorbers.

Check your answer tomorrow. Good luck!

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