By: John Lombardo PGA Of America
I seem to have come full circle. In a nutshell, I am now swinging the golf club with a true release and squaring of the club face at impact, at the bottom of the swing.
Like all true meaningful discoveries, this one kind of happened by accident.
To re-trace a bit, I have spent the last five or six years learning to swing the golf club with my core muscles, learning to keep the club in front of me throughout the entire swing. Keeping in tune with the huge growth of big strong Tour players, I have tried with great success to follow their example of swinging with the large muscles. Much of my views and teaching approach is described on www.golfteacher.com.
Last week after work I wanted to hit a few balls on the range so I grabbed an old six iron that we had lying around in the bag room. It turned out to be an ancient Powerbilt iron with a stiff shaft. I hit a few good shots then went into a funk trying to swing this club with the modern method. So I just decided for some reason to grip the club extremely lightly with my fingers, and just let it swing using gravity and golf club design as my guiding light.
The results improved dramatically as my shots started to fly high and straight with very little effort. It seems I actually tapped in to a distant memory of how I used to swing a baseball bat. While my body played a huge role, the ultimate power came from a strong free release of the bat head through the hitting zone. This could only be accomplished with a very light grip, letting the wood do the work so to speak.
So I decided the next time I played golf I would grip the club so lightly that the grip actually moved around in my hands as I moved into my back swing. This has become my only swing thought: a grip so light the club feels like it is moving around in my fingers. My body seems to coil so much easier into a compact, full turn with the club fully loaded and ready to swing.
But when it comes time to change direction, my coil uncoils and I just, to put it simply, “throw” the club head at the ball, letting gravity and the design of the club square the face at and through impact. Yes, throw the club head at the ball. The results have been astounding. I am hitting my 9 iron 145-150 regularly and my ball striking and accuracy have improved.
What is more important is that this swing feels totally natural, spontaneous, and un-rehearsed. It is a free and tension free approach to swinging a golf club, that works in all kinds of weather, and repeats itself of its own volition and free will. My only swing thought is to grip so lightly that the grip moves in my hands. My body gets involved naturally without me thinking about it, I take straight deeper divots again, and am able to get my full body involved without thinking about it.
I finally came to the conclusion that I am not a Tour player, and while the modern approach to swinging, large muscle ultra contolling motion, woks for the big strong and well conditioned it is not going to work for me over the long haul.
It feels so good to actually “know” what I am doing with a golf club without actually controlling or knowing what it is I am doing.
Letting gravity, force and my nature swing the club is what will carry me through. I do not have the physical prowess of the big strong swingers, but have gained distance, and control of my trajectory and shot shape. All my previous hard work is not in vain. There is so much more going on that I could not have accomplished without my previous training. But the thought and process has become a matter of simplicity, trust, and talent.
It is a winning proposition.