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Friday, February 22, 2019

Paul Azinger on Connection (Video)

With Azinger well into his new NBC golf gig, I thought it might be nice to show you one of his swing videos -- especially so since it's about shotmaking and that's a skill that players in Mexico will be leaning on hard this week.

Ben Hogan is most "connected" with the fundamental of connection, but the truth is that all consistent players use it to some degree or other. And Azinger does a wonderful job of both explaining and demonstrating this simple concept in this short video.

And connection IS a simple concept. If your upper arms stay close to your rib cage most of the way through your swing, it will automatically keep your elbows pointed down to the ground. And if your elbows point downward at impact -- as they do at address -- you'll find it much easier to square the clubface when you hit the ball.

It doesn't matter whether you think of keeping your upper arms close to your rib cage, or of keeping your elbows pointed down at the ground. Either one will cause the other, so use the thought that makes it easiest for you.

One point I'd like to make here. While your lead elbow stays connected through the entirety of your swing, your trailing elbow does drift away during your backswing. You can see it happen a little in Paul's swing around the :50 second mark. It's not as pronounced in his swing because he has always had a very flat swing plane.

If you swing more upright, as the classic swingers and other upright players like Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman did, and as Phil Mickelson still does, your trailing elbow will separate more at the top of your backswing. Paul says not to do it around the :45 second mark, but bear in mind that his swing plane is flat and therefore it would be an error for him. An upright swing will look somewhat similar to what he shows as an error.

But don't misunderstand the concept. Some things stay the same, and you need to remember them.
  • No matter whether your swing is flat or upright, BOTH of your elbows continue to point to the ground throughout your swing.
  • If your swing is more upright and your trailing elbow moves away from your rib cage at the top of your backswing, THE FIRST THING IT DOES ON THE DOWNSWING is return to a connected position close to your rib cage.
  • And at the risk of repeating myself, no matter whether your swing is flat or upright, both of your upper arms stay close to your rib cage during the the bottom half of your swing, on both the backswing and the downswing. Waist high to waist high is always connected, just as in the L-to-L drill (this link goes to one of the many posts I've done about that drill).
Connection improves accuracy and, with a longer swing, can help you create tremendous power as well. And Azinger knows of what he speaks, as he was deadly accurate with his clubs. Just working on this one concept -- again, use the L-to-L drill because that's the easiest way to get used to it -- can work wonders in your game.

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