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A Pretty Swing …don’t mean a thing

It is high, it is far, it is gone. If you’ve ever watched a baseball game on TV or listened on the radio you’ve heard the announcer use this expression (or a similar one) after the ball is hit and looks like it’s on its way out of the park for a home run.

The idea for this article came to me when I saw a picture in the newspaper, showing one of baseball’s power hitters just after he finished his swing, in a perfect follow-through pose. Was it a home run? or off the wall? or just a long out? or a foul ball?  What would the swing have looked like if the batter hit it off the end of the bat or a fraction of an inch too high? MY ANSWER: It probably would have looked exactly the same. Isn’t it funny how in baseball, the exact same swing can produce a foul back, a towering pop-up, a screaming liner right at someone or a monster blast, depending on where they hit the ball on the bat? Simply put: making solid contact with the bat in the ideal hitting position.

Have you ever wondered why in golf, a good or bad shot is almost never explained in those simple terms? I know I have. Instead, if a shot is hit off-line the TV coverage typically replays the swing in slow motion and analyzes it something like this: See how the club is not parallel to the target line on the back-swing? Notice that the hips haven’t cleared yet, allowing the club to swing on plane? All too often we hear technical language only physic majors understand, not typical amateurs like you and ME.

In baseball, they talk in terms of “did he get it all” or get good wood, or hit it on the fat part of the bat? Again I ask, did he make solid contact? In golf, the announcers say the shot stayed right because the player did not release the club through impact. Imagine being a relatively new player and having an instructor tell you to release the club. If they swung and let it go, could you blame them? What else could it possibly mean? Here’s my 2 cents: If you really want to Keep It Simple, then speak in a language the typical player can understand and can relate to, PLEASE!

In baseball, a hitter is taught to drive the hands through the swing, break the wrists and hit it hard. In golf, we don’t have the luxury of just hitting the ball hard. It needs to go in the right direction and there are no do-overs, like a foul ball in baseball. When a player uses active hands at impact to square the club, many of today’s instructors refer to it as flipping, and that's definitely taboo. Instead, they teach the best players (the guys who hit hundreds or thousands of balls a week) to turn the hips into the ball and let centrifugal force square the club naturally. MY ANSWER: “there’s nothing natural about it”. Watch what the best players actually do with their hands (not what they say they do) and what you’ll see is that great ball strikers have great hand action.

What both swings have in common is they happen in a flash. In golf, the ball makes contact with the club for less than 2 seconds total during the entire round. A pretty swing is nice, but more than 3/4 of the swing is just preparation to impact. Therefore, the most important split seconds of the golf swing are just before, during and immediately after the club strikes the ball. This is the portion of a Pro’s swing you need to copy. In simple terms, if the club isn’t square, the ball could go anywhere.

Any player can quickly learn Thumbs Down, The POWER MOVE of Golf, in minutes. It squares the club with your existing swing, plus adds an extra pop on the ball without over swinging. It’s based on the same sound swing fundamentals taught by the best instructors …made easier than you ever imagined. Bottom Line… more distance, more accuracy, more control and better golf, more often.

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