Generally Eclectic

Golf
Guide to the Golf Swing
Introduction

"The nice thing about these (golf) books is that they usually cancel each other out. One book tells you to keep your eye on the ball; the next says not to bother. Personally, in the crowd I play with, a better idea is to keep your eye on your partner." Jim Murray from The Sporting World of Jim Murray

The Audience

This Guide is targeted at the serious golfer - the golfer who wants to improve his or her game and has invested time and energy in a methodical and organized process of improvement, and is prepared to do more.

Serious golfers can include beginners. Golf is a difficult game to start playing. Typically, beginners' swings lack power and the ball goes nowhere, or the swings are mighty but technically flawed and the ball goes everywhere but down the fairway.

While many beginners visit the driving range either occasionally or on a regular basis, serious beginners have gone further. They have probably bought a golf book or two dealing with grip, stance, posture and other details. Most golf books provide few clues about the theory and dynamics of the swing.

Serious beginners have also probably tried a series of lessons from a professional golfer. Like the authors of typical golf books, golf professionals deal with the grip, stance, posture and other details. Once these are addressed, they try to get the beginner to start hitting the ball, and then they try to correct errors.

The problem with standard instructional approaches through books and golf professionals is that they try to get the beginner up and going quickly, so the focus is on a few basics. What gets missed is the basic theory of the swing. Without the theory of the swing, beginners do not have a foundation to rely on when they are on their own (which amounts to most of the time) whether at the golf course or the driving range.

The problem lies not with the golf professionals; they are just trying to satisfy their client. Nor does it lie with the client; most are in a hurry to get instant success, are satisfied with whatever help they get, and do not realize the need for a structured, long-term approach. If blame needs to be assigned, blame the golf swing. It is complicated, with six basic movements occurring within a fraction of a second and involving muscles all over the body.

To summarize, this Guide is for the serious beginner - one who has read the standard golf books and taken some lessons and is probably already addicted to the game of golf, but is looking for a more fundamental understanding of the golf swing, and has the patience to work through the underlying theory of the golf swing.

The Guide is also targeted at serious advanced players who have played a lot and have perhaps played well and who are looking for more. The theory of the swing - the subject of this Guide - is not readily found in conventional golf books. An understanding of the theory and dynamics of the swing may help to coax a few extra yards out of anyone's swing. The exercises should also help.

What is included

Golf consists of a number of elements. The full swing is important. So too is putting. There are a myriad shots requiring less than a full swing (three-quarter and half wedges, chipping, pitching, sand play, trouble shots); these are important for a complete game. Not only is it important to be able to execute shots. It is also important to know when to execute shots, where to aim and how to select the right club. For the competitive minded golfer, it is important to know how to play well in competition. For all of us, it helps to manage our game, to keep a good round together for eighteen holes, and to quickly identify and solve problems that could translate a good round into a bad one. Finally, fitness has a role too. General fitness helps manage fatigue and prevent injuries. Fitness targeted specifically at the golf swing can create strength and flexibility and lead to increased power and distance.

This Guide focuses on the full golf swing, and fitness targeted specifically at the golf swing. These aspects of golf are not more important than others; they make up only one part of the fascinating game of golf.

If you are looking for a different perspective on the golf swing and golf exercises, read on.