Right sequence needed for proper impact

  • Tue Jun 26th, 2012 7:28pm

<b>GOLF TIPS | </b>By Tyrone Hardy For The Weekly Herald

Hey Ballinger buddies. I hope everyone is enjoying the season and getting out on the course in between the showers.

This week’s column was inspired by a conversation with a frustrated golfer who was having trouble with his swing despite spending time at the range and playing golf regularly.

During the conversation I realized that he is having the same problem I consistently hear about from most struggling players. Getting the club through impact correctly is ultimately all that matters during the swing.

Swings vary as much as the people holding the clubs, but getting the club through impact correctly is something that every good player has accomplished and every struggling player must learn. Though there are many reasons for this, I feel there is one universal issue among those that struggle: body sequence. Whether you take the club inside or have an upright swing, or you are a one-plane swing versus a two-plane swing, everyone must get the right sequence.

Some have compared a golf swing and a baseball swing. While there are similarities, they aren’t really the same. A pitcher’s motion, on the other hand, is virtually identical from a mechanics standpoint. Note that while pitching motions are vastly different, the sequence is still the same: hips, shoulders, and then the hand.

When pitchers have planted their front foot in preparation to release the ball, they then turn the hips toward the plate; this in turn gets the shoulders rotating towards the plate and finally moves the hand/ball. At the release point the hips and shoulders are facing the target (home plate).

The golf swing is exactly the same sequence. As with the pitcher, the first move a golfer should make to initiate the downswing is to start to rotate the hips toward the target.

The hip rotation will start the shoulder rotation, then the hands and finally the clubhead. Unfortunately, most of the golfers who are struggling start down with their hands from the top of the backswing. Then the rest of the body follows.

If you were to see a picture of the proper motion and the incorrect motion at impact, you would see that in the proper sequence the player at impact has the hips turned toward the target and the right heel (for right-handed golfer) slightly off the ground.

The picture for the incorrect sequence shows that at impact both feet are planted on the ground and the hips and shoulders are in the same position as they were at address. This is what the term “early release” refers to.

Imagine if a pitcher, at the point of release, had his or her hips and shoulders pointing toward third base. That would look quite awkward. The sequence of events is as important as any particular swing mechanic.

Tyrone Hardy is co-owner of Hardy Golf LLC and director of golf at Ballinger Lake Golf Course. For more information, go to www.ballingerlakegolf.com. Also check out Ballinger on Twitter and Facebook.