“The sole purpose of the golf swing is to produce a correct repetitive impact. The method employed is of no significance as long as it is correct and repetitive.”
– John Jacobs OBE
The above statement is proven to be true every week on the PGA Tour, European Tour or in fact for any good player who performs to their full potential and hits solid repetitive golf shots. From Jim Furyk to Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods to Phil Mickelson – they all differ in style but are all the same for repeatability.
We all have that member at our club with an ugly swing who hits every fairway and green, while we stand in front of the mirror trying to perfect our posture and swing plane and wonder why ‘Mr Ugly-swing’ outplays us in the monthly medal. Having a swing that you can repeat is key and when I’m teaching a golfer, that’s my aim. No model swing, no textbook and absolutely no prejudice as to how your swing looks – so long as it repeats!
Back in 2011 I met a man by the name of Jim Hardy. Jim is a Hall of Fame teacher with many years experience as a player and teacher on the PGA Tour. Jim along with Chris O’Connell founded a golf instruction company called The Plane Truth – an instruction program for teachers like myself to learn from the very best in the game. This was a revolution for my teaching career as all my pre conceived ideas about what was important in a golf swing went out the window. Jim introduced me to his teaching system and since 2011 I have continued to have success with my students like never before.
So on the basis that “The method employed is of no significance”, how do we change a golf swing to make it more “correct and repetitive”?
I see every golf swing as a mixture of elements that, if they balance, will produce at least a correct or repetitive impact, or both. These elements are simply termed as ‘Steep’ or Shallow’ and if you are a golfer with an incorrect impact and a non-repetitive motion, you are either too steep or too shallow, period. Too steep would be a motion, move or position from address through to impact that would cause the club to crash into the ground at a too vertical angle. Too shallow would be the opposite, a motion, move or position from address through to impact that would cause the club to miss the ground at a too horizontal angle. My job therefore is to neutralise the golf swing so it’s neither too steep nor too shallow.
The first thing I will look at with a student is their ball flight. This tells me whether the golfer’s impact is too steep or too shallow. The sound of impact also gives me information, there is a distinctly different sound between a steep and shallow shot. There is also a pattern when I watch a golfer hit balls. Sometimes to the golfer it can seem like they are hitting every ball flight under the sun, swinging it differently each time and that there is no consistency. That, in fact is not the case. There are many ball flights connected to a steep or shallow impact and although they may look different to the golfer, I can tell what bracket they fall in to. For example a steep golfer will slice, pull, chunk, sky a driver or hit from the toe of the club – all different shots but all steep. A shallow golfer will hit hooks and pushes, fat or thin and tend to hit from the heel – all different shots but all shallow.
Once I know what bracket the golfer falls in to I can begin to make changes to neutralise impact and make the ball flight less steep or shallow. Because I have no prejudice of what the swing looks like, I can choose from a host of areas to make the change to get the desired result. I always go the area where I feel the biggest improvement can be made from the smallest change. If that doesn’t have the desired effect than I target a different area – there is more than one way to hit it better!
Plane Truth Golf’s motto is “Hit your next ball better” – This has become my goal with every player. I believe everyone can improve immediately and you should not get worse before you get better!
With Jim Hardy and Chris O’Connell in Houston, 2014.
With Jake Sandusky of Plane Truth Golf, The Byron Nelson PGA TOUR Event 2013.
Learning from Jim and Chris, Arizona 2012.