The Golf Swing of the Future
Even after all these years, I’m continually experimenting with my golf swing. Because I’m older, I feel that I’ve had to make changes … but I was never really satisfied with my golf swing when I was younger … is/was anyone?
Tiger Woods is an obvious example of never being satisfied with his golf swing – even when he was the best player in the world. I think Byron Nelson may have reached a level of satisfaction with his game – but then he retired at age 34. Ironically, one of his students – Tom Watson – says that he (Watson) was never happy with his own swing until quite late in his career.
Nelson in many ways is considered the “Father of the Modern Swing”. What does that mean? Well, Nelson’s swing is pretty similar to today’s Tour swings – but not much like the swings of Bobby Jones and the players before Nelson.
I think we can all learn from this evolution … and that most of us need to go on a similar evolutionary path. The good early swings had a lot of freedom of movement and good hand-action. Bobby Jones and other early stars had big shoulder turns AND big hip turns. They rotated the club open on the backswing and rotated it through the ball on the forward swing. They hit the ball a long way with a lot of clubhead speed. They relied on great hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and timing.
Byron Nelson struggled with that type of swing and tried to simplify it by minimizing the turning of the hips, minimizing the rotation of the club, and shortening the backswing. Nelson wanted to rely more on the big muscles than on the timing of the feet and hands.
In 1973, Mindy Blake wrote “The Golf Swing of the Future”. Blake said that the golf swing would evolve into the body acting as a spring that winds-up and then unwinds as it hits the golf ball. He emphasized a set-up position that almost faces the target and then the upper body turns away from the target while the lower body stays open – creating a lot of tension. Then, when the upper body unwinds with the lateral driving of the legs, the ball is hit with a lot of FORCE which delivers a powerful golf shot … not power from swing speed like in Bobby Jones era.
Wow. What to take from all of this? Most people need a freer golf motion with better hand action. But, tightening that up can lead to a more consistent golf game. We all need to keep evolving our swing … but we can’t skip the different stages.
GM and Head Golf Professional