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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Jeff Ritter on Making a Solid Swing

According to Golf Digest, "Jeff Ritter is founder of MTT Performance, a Golf Channel Academy located at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach." Therefore he should know his stuff.

Jeff has an instructional article at called Five Steps To A Solid Swing. It's a slideshow with five slides and commentary about what he considers the five main positions you should swing through if your golf swing is solid. For this post I want to focus on the third slide, the top of the backswing, because I noticed something a bit unusual -- especially since I've done several posts on shoulder turn lately.

Here's the slide:

Shoulder turn at top of backswing

Now the caption says, in part:
...Golfers hear all the time that it's important to have a "wide swing arc," but that image alone often falls short. A good thought to get and maintain width is, Play keep away. As in, keep your right hand as far from your right shoulder as possible (pictured). Maintain that feeling throughout the backswing.
Take a good look here, folks. Jeff is NOT getting a 90° shoulder turn! He's getting a good turn, with his hands quite a way from his trailing shoulder, but he's not stretching and turning so hard that he loses his spine angle from his address position.

Note also that Jeff is using an iron in this photo. I think that's important as well. Typically your iron shots are made with the ball resting on the ground. If you try to make your shoulder turn too big, it becomes more difficult to maintain your spine angle from your address. As a result, your upper body ends up moving around and it's harder to make solid contact with the ball. Therefore you're more likely to hit your iron shot fat or thin.

However, if you're hitting driver and your ball is on a tee, making solid contact isn't as hard. If you hit the ball a bit low or high on the face, you might lose a few yards but you can still hit the ball solidly. So working to get that bigger shoulder turn -- and a potentially less accurate hit -- is a fair trade-off to get the distance.

My point is that you don't have to swing full out on every shot. Your approach shots off the ground don't require quite the shoulder turn that you try to get with the driver off a tee. Bear this in mind during your round and you may be able to cut a few shots from your score without any extra practice.