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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Learning from an Old Golf Swing (Video)

The swing belongs to none other than Walter Hagen. Hagen won two US Opens, four Open Championships and five PGA Championships (it was match play back then). Hagen is third on the list of all-time major winners, topped only by Nicklaus and Woods.

Why am I posting this? Because this video shows Hagen in Europe in 1928, which means he was using hickory shafts. Although the USGA okayed steel shafts in 1924, the R&A refused to allow them until 1929. That means the swing you see in this video was made with hickory shafts.

You may have seen a lot of weird-looking hickory swings, but you won't see that with Hagen. There's a lot you can learn from this sweet move!

A few notable things you might find consider:
  • Hagen starts his backswing with a slight forward turn of his hips. That makes the start of his backswing a reaction; he isn't starting from a "frozen" position over the ball.
  • Note the full shoulder coil, almost Daly-esque in its length. There's no tension there!
  • The footwork is very simple -- the lead heel comes up off the ground and is then replanted, his hips move back freely and he turns freely toward the target. There's no sway during his backswing, no exaggerated slide forward, no leaning backward at impact. He just "steps" to turn away from the target, then "steps" to turn toward the target. Very simple and natural-looking.
  • Finally, just look at how relaxed he appears to be all the way through the swing. He's not straining for distance, although he was considered one of the longer hitters of his day. He just makes a long, rhythmic swing that moves pretty fast!
Again, Hagen is using a hickory shaft. Most players think you can't swing a soft shaft with any speed, but Hagen is a great example of how wrong they are. Watch and learn... then give it a try with your own clubs.

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