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Friday, November 14, 2014

Adding a Little Seve to Your Game

Originally I planned to use some actual video of Seve from YouTube for this post but I wasn't happy with the quality of what I found. At least, not for what I wanted to cover today.

Rather than specific swing techniques, I wanted to give you an idea of how Seve approached all of his shots. For Seve, shotmaking was as much a mindset as it was a set of techniques. So I've pulled a couple of videos -- one by Johnny Miller that focuses on full swings and a second one by Martin Hall that focuses on short game swings. First, heeeeeere's Johnny!

And then here's Martin Hall with an "extra credit" video from School of Golf.

The first thing you should notice is that Seve wasn't rigid in his setup, regardless of whether he was making a full swing or a short swing. (He did stand fairly still when he putted, but most putter strokes are so short that you won't move much anyway.) Seve was very relaxed and allowed his knees to move more than most players. That's part of how he got short shots to land softly and managed to curve his full shots more easily. His whole body moves, not just certain parts of it.

Second, Johnny notes that Seve's backswing was always the same -- it was the followthrough that he changed to create shots. Seve was a little wild at times because he was maneuvering the ball by changing the club face during his downswing, not because his backswing was inconsistent. If his backswing was constantly changing, he wouldn't have been able to keep the ball on the course!

Finally, both Johnny and Martin note how much Seve was using his hands and arms to create shots; his lower body moved in response to how he moved his hands and arms, not the other way around. This is how Bubba does it as well; he decides what he wants the club face to do and how his hands and arms should move to get that result. Then he focuses on swinging that way and he lets his subconscious mind take care of sequencing the rest of his body.

This is more of a "reactive" way to swing, the same way we play tennis or baseball or anything else -- we focus on the ball and what we want our hands to do with it, not on what our feet and legs are doing. This is the "natural" way to swing a golf club, and consequently it's the way we can best "feel" when we make a good swing.

All of this is more of a classic swing mindset than a modern swing mindset. It's based on motion and target, not on positions and angles. Although it sounds a bit strange at first, it's really easier once you stop thinking of a golf swing as being different from any other sort of swing. And if you'd like to become a bit more Seve-like in your game, this is the starting point.

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