We’ve all seen Jim Furyk and Matt Wolff and wondered
How on Earth do their swings function”
After all, they’re not the prettiest of motions, yet they produce elite level golf. In many ways, they defy almost all of what has been taught in the golf swing over the years.
Well, I decided to record a video with nine crazy “swing experiments” to discuss this topic.
Have you read it?
Before we watch the video, if you haven’t read my Ebook, “Golf Hacks” – a quick and easy guide to fixing shanks, toes, fats, thins, slices, hooks, as well as practicing better and improving on-course strategy – I’m giving it away FREE.
Just pop in your email below, and continue to read this blog. The book will be sent to your email.
Be warned, some of this may make you scratch your head.
I basically tried to think of most of the common swing flaws/movement issues that people panic about, and tried to re-create them.
The twist??? I created the horrible movements but with a functional club-ball impact.
How on earth can those horrible swings produce functional outcomes?
Anyone who has followed me for a while will know why – Impact.
How the club and ball interact (0.75 of an inch of space at the bottom of the swing) is what produces the shot result/quality.
This is undeniable physics.
The ball can’t see what your stance looked like, how your takeaway was, what grip you took, whether you shifted your weight etc.
Do these things influence impact – sure.
But INFLUENCE is the key word there. You could give a 15 handicapper a much better grip, stance, takeaway, sequence etc. than in the above experiments, and I’d still beat them every day on the course – because I’d still find a way of creating a functional impact.
But Good Impacts Come From Good Movements
Doesn’t this whole experiment prove this notion wrong?
I was able to make what would classically be called “incorrect/faulty swings” and still produce results that would get around a course under par.
Conversely, while good movements do correlate with great outcomes, they do not cause them.
If that last line didn’t make any sense, think about it next time you see a tour pro make a normal looking swing and hit it offline.
But You’re Skilled
Yes, I know. And that’s a big part of what I’m explaining.
“Skill” is not some ethereal quality that you either have or you don’t – it is something that CAN be quantified and trained.
So what skills am I using here?
- The ability to identify what impact conditions a movement pattern is creating
- The ability to move those impact conditions back towards function
- The ability to do it with precision
I teach players how to train and develop skill in my programs (which you can learn about by CLICKING HERE).
The 4 main skills that all golfers need to be good at. Top left – the ability to present the club higher/lower. Top right – the ability to present the club farther/closer from your feet AND the ability to shift the low point forwards/back. Bottom middle – the ability to present the face more open/closed.
But Your Swing Mechanics Were Good
Many of you will have astutely observed that, for the most part, the downswing mechanics were pretty good (at least in most of the experiments).
I would say this is pretty true. So doesn’t this go against my own point that “the swing doesn’t matter”?
- I never said the swing doesn’t matter. But it only matters in as much as it creates (or doesn’t) a functional and repeatable impact.
- The fact that my downswing mechanics were pretty good shows how working towards a quality impact interval (the movement of the club through impact) can self organize (automatically bring rise to) good “necessary mechanics”
What do I mean by “necessary mechanics”?
In most articles and videos you watch/read, you will be led to believe that certain positions (such as the takeaway) are absolutely vital to get “right”, or you’re doomed.
Well, a textbook takeaway is not a “necessary” mechanical rule.
If a given mechanical principle is absolutely necessary to achieve a functional impact, then (by definition) those necessary mechanics would automatically happen if we worked on and achieved a functional impact.
If not, then it wasn’t necessary!!!
Phew – take your time to digest that last paragraph.
Im not saying to “try and make the worst swing you possibly can” – that’s completely misunderstanding the point. I’m simply pointing out that, much of what you deem as necessary in a good golf swing is simply window-dressing.
But You Can’t Just Learn a Functional Impact Interval
Yes, you can.
I train golfers all the time to get better at this. And, when they do, their results get better.
You know why??? Because it’s physics! If the impact interval gets better, the result absolutely has to.
So You Don’t Work On Swings?
Let’s reign this in a little.
There are two extreme arguments that most people fall into.
- Any swing goes, or “swing your swing”
- There is only one perfect swing model. Anything that falls outside of this is deemed as faulty, or incorrect.
Both of these arguments are wrong.
As with most things, the answer probably falls somewhere in between the two extremes.
If your swing doesn’t produce function, something needs to change (if you want to get better). So continuing to “swing your swing” will continue to produce the same non-functional results.
However, with that said, the difference between non-functional and functional, for many, is tiny. For example, you can turn a 40 yard slice into an online shot just by changing the clubface by 3 degrees at impact.
That would require much less of a swing change that you think.
Likewise, you can take a lifelong shanker of the ball and help them never shank again without a major swing overhaul. I’ve achieved that regularly with my pupils.
When I’m working with a player, I will be working to improve their skills AT THE SAME TIME as using mechanical changes to achieve a better, more functional and more repeatable impact.
It doesn’t have to be either/or.
Using mechanical changes to influence impact is very different to using mechanical changes to make the swing look better/prettier. Luckily, for Jim Furyk and Matt Wolff, they have teachers that understand this.
The Core Message(s) Here
- Functional shots are produced by functional impacts, not pretty swings
- If the club works through the impact interval effectively, the shot result will be effective – guaranteed
- The ability to identify what needs improving in your impact, as well as the ability to directly and precisely change it are SKILLS that can be learned
- Improving the impact interval often has a positive effect on the movement mechanics. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least you’re now hitting great shots, Mr Furyk.
- You can, and should, work on both movement mechanics (that relate to your desired functional goals) AND skill work. One alone will not be enough to maximize your potential.
- Much of what has been deemed as “necessary mechanics” is just fluff.
If you want to dive in and start learning how to improve from both a mechanical AND skill-based perspective, be sure to check out my online improvement programs.
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