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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Harvey Penick's Magic Move (Video)

This is a decidedly mechanical video, which I generally try to avoid. But Harvey Penick was a legendary teacher, and this video from The Art of Simple Golf does a good job of explaining this technique. Done slowly as a drill, a mechanical action like this can teach you a basic swing feel.

Whether you lift your lead heel or not, let me restate the "Magic Move" so you understand what it is:
To start your downswing, let your lead knee move back toward the target so your lower leg -- that is, from knee to ankle -- is vertical. AT THE SAME TIME, swing your trailing arm down so your upper arm -- from shoulder to elbow -- is vertical as well. Your trailing forearm will point straight "toward the camera" from this position.
That is a very technical description, and I don't expect you to swing with any kind of speed while thinking about this complex motion. Rather, the way to use this is as a slow-motion drill. Swing to the top of your backswing, then swing down to the "magic" position very slowly. And I do mean SLOWLY -- take a four-count to do it. This way, you will get used to how your muscles move and your weight shifts without developing a lot of bad habits.

Here's one more thought that will make this downswing drill translate more easily to your actual swing: Don't try to point the club shaft parallel to your foot line, as it appears in the video. At the "magic" position, although your club shaft will be roughly parallel to the ground, it should actually point outward at a 20° to 30° angle away from you. The reason is because, during an actual swing, your wrists will be starting to uncock at this point, so the club will be starting to move down into impact position. By practicing with this slight angle, it will feel more like an actual swing.

Again, this is a very mechanical drill and, if you use it, make the downswing move very slowly. Some of you won't find much use for it, but it can be very helpful if you're uncocking your wrists too early in your downswing.

Just remember, DO IT VERY SLOWLY. That's how martial artists train to use unfamiliar moves for rapid movement, and you'll learn new moves better that way as well.

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