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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Martin Hall on Jack Nicklaus

On School of Golf Wednesday night, Martin Hall focused on how Jack Nicklaus played the game. (Not unlike what I did in Tuesday's post.) This clip is the "extra" that gets posted on GC's site with extra material not on the show.

There are a couple of tips on this one, but I want to focus on the first one concerning swing plane. How do you make sure you have a swing plane that lets you hit the golf ball straight?

Just to sum up the tip, make sure that your position at the top of your backswing and your position at the top of your finish match.
  • If you have a flat backswing and an upright finish, your plane is set up to push the ball.
  • If you have an upright backswing and a flat finish, your plane is set up to pull the ball
  • But if the two match, you have a swing plane that's aimed down your target line.
Simple enough, eh?

I did want to mention one thing Martin talked about near the end of the broadcast that may help you all understand why the things I say on this blog sometimes sound very different from what you hear other instructors say... although I insist that I'm not teaching anything different.

Martin said that Jack told him the secret to hitting a predictable slice was: He made sure that the palm of his trailing hand pointed at the sky when he reached waist high after impact. Martin said he told Jack that he had plenty of video showing Jack hitting shots and his palm NEVER pointed at the sky. And do you know what Jack told him?

"I don't care what your video shows. I know what I feel."

Jack was using the same principle I use when I post instruction on this blog and in my books. Jack wasn't actually twisting his hand so his palm faced up. Rather, he was making sure he didn't flip his hands at impact... and he did that by feeling that his palm faced up. It wouldn't have been as effective if he had merely tried not to flip his hands, because it's always easier to DO something than to NOT DO something.

That's what I do in my instruction. I want you to feel that you're doing something else, something that will prevent you from doing the wrong thing.

A classic example: I teach you to not to twist your forearms during your backswing by telling you to feel as if the club shaft points straight up in the air when you cock your wrists at waist high during your backswing. The shaft won't actually point straight up when you make your normal swing -- there are physical laws that determine where a swinging shaft points, especially with all the angles in your posture and with the bend you create in your trailing elbow. But the effort keeps you from twisting your forearms -- and therefore the club shaft -- incorrectly and therefore interfering with the natural motion of the club.

If it's good enough for the Golden Bear, it's good enough for the rest of us.

In case you can't run the video from the player above, use this link.


  1. One more tip

  2. Jack told the sister of this qualifier to use her legs more