Form vs. Function

Long ago I came to realize that much of modern day golf instruction is based primarily around instructor style preference. Way too much of the information being peddled is form based instead of being function based. Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey's win this weekend on the PGATour illustrates that there is more to a golf swing than simply what meets the eye.

In studying the top golfers of all time - no two swings are alike. Who is to say that Ben Hogan's flat plane is better than Jack Nicklaus' vertical arm move? Who is to say that Sam Snead's slight over the top move was better than Nick Price's drop down transition?

Ultimately it all comes down impact and physics - the forces and angles you are causing the club to impart on the golf ball. Impact is the one position in which all of the great players are decidedly similar. From Patty Berg to Annika and Tom Watson to Phil Mickelson - all these players assume a very similar position at impact. If this is the case, which, trust me, it is, then the appearance of the swing should play far less of a role in a golfer's path to improvement.

Here are the elements of a great impact position with irons:

  • the weight is noticeably on the front foot; 80% or more
  • the handle always leads the clubhead
  • the head remains over the ball, while the hips have shifted to the target; this creates what I refer to as body 'curve'
  • the clubhead travels down (downswing) into the ball; this includes fairway woods and hybrids

Here are two short videos to help:

The next time you take a lesson make sure your teacher works towards getting you into a better position at impact. It is the only way you are going to start hitting better, more compressed golf shots.

The Golf Swing - Right or Wrong?

In 2010 the player on the left, Jim Furyk won the Fedex Cup and the player on the right, Matt Kuchar won the PGA Tour money list. Can you tell which arm position at the top is correct or better?

My opinion is that both are correct and neither is better than the other. The swing methodology a player uses means very little in my honest opinion - it's all about what the golf club makes the ball do. Does it work or not? These guys only split $20 million in 2010 so there is nothing wrong with what either of them are doing! Don't get caught up in what the arms or the legs or body are doing unless there is a problem with the ball flight. The swing may be unique, but if it works, keep it.

If either of these players came to me for a lesson I would find footage of when they felt like they played their best and work them back towards that particular swing.

Don't get too caught up in what the text book says you should do - work towards whatever results in better golf shots for you.  If you feel that you know will win the Fedex Cup next year and would like to place an online bet, visit TopBet Sportsbook. The swing that does not work is wrong and the one that consistently works is correct - no matter what it may look like.