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See the Line Every Time! The EOB Putting System

Golf Swing Basics

Dear Dr. Putt:
I'm a terrible putter. I can accept that for now. What bothers me most is my swing. the take away I understood that when teeing off you keep a straight left arm (shoots right) after waist high you cock your wrist then to complete your body turn you bend your left arm and rise it somewhat. This form is to give you a better coil. When I do this I tend to on the foward swing chop down and hit the ball early. The ball tends to pop. Any suggestions? A player told me that I should take away by swinging back to cock my wrest and start my foward swing. Is he right?
Harvey in Deer Lake

Dear Deer Lake Harvey,

Dr. Putt is amazed that you can swing at all if these are the things you are thinking. The swing is a swing, not movement from one position to another. Yes, there are a couple of check points, but that is all they are, just check points. As far as trying to cock ones wrists at a certain point and uncock them at another -- Dr. Putt will not even try to go there! And trying to keep the left arm rigid and then let it break down past the 9 o'clock position to get more coil? Again, much too complicated.

So let us start over with a completely different swing concept. You cannot control your wrists during the swing -- maybe Tiger or Jack can, but Dr. Putt cannot and he doubts that you can. It all simply happens too fast. The weight of the clubhead and a light grip allow the wrists to cock and uncock naturally as a byproduct of the overall swing. The grip must remain light throughout the swing so that the wrists will uncock at the bottom -- with no conscious effort on your part.

And to keep the wrists loose one must keep the arms loose -- they should feel rubbery throughout the swing. This means that they are NEVER rigid. If you do not believe Dr. Putt, see if you can easily keep your arms rigid while keeping your wrists loose. It can be done, but not easily. Then keep both loose and see how much relatively easier it is.

Ok. Now we have eliminated two things that you do NOT have to think about while swinging. That should make it a lot simpler. So what do you think about? Dr. Putt will suggest two things.

One, what ever else you do, take a smooth swing at a waltz tempo and finish in balance. Make it pretty with a nice pose at the end. If you can do that, then most of the time you will have hit a decent, if not good, shot. And the reverse is true. If you fail to finish in balance and are unable to pose, you will have almost certainly hit a bad shot.

Two. Swing by turning your shoulders and let the arms and hands follow. The backswing is nothing more than rotating the left shoulder forward and so that it moves under your chin and the downswing is nothing more than keeping the chin in place (behind the ball) while rotating the right shoulder back under the chin, and then hold the finish. This rotation is around the spine -- you should not be dropping the shoulders. They move in almost a flat rotation.

The weight shift will take place naturally if you do these two things with rubbery arms and maintain a light grip throughout the swing and pose in a balanced position at the finish. Most people blow it by strangling the club as they start the downswing. As Sam Snead said, draw a slow bead and start down slow -- tempo, a waltz, not the twist! Remember?!? He also said hold the club no tighter than you would hold a small bird in your hands. More good advice!

Yes, there are checkpoints. Halfway back the shaft should be pointing pointing down the target line and the face should be slightly closed. You do not want to go inside on the backswing or roll your wrists so that the face of the club point to the sky. At the top of the backswing the right forearm and wrist should be as though you are supporting a tray of food (elbow out and forearm straight up).

But these are just check points that you work on during practice swings. When you really swing, just thing about looseness, tempo, and turning the shoulders.

Dr. Putt would surmize that your current swing might be most efficacious off the golf course in dispensing with vermin and other offensive creatures. So you may want to keep practicing that swing if you should find yourself in need of a new career.

Seriously, if the waltz imagry does not work for you, you might take more of Sam Snead's advice and think about gently flicking the flower off a daisy with your swing.

There are other issues, such as grip and stance (atheltic balanced stance with feet and shoulders parallel to the target line) and distance from the ball (arms hanging loosly down, hands about under the chin, not reaching way out or cramped in), but Dr. Putt will not go into these things as you did not ask about them.

Please give this a try -- a serious try. It will not be easy to change. Be patient. Give yourself time. But then again, there is always a career in pest control.

Please let Dr. Putt know about how you are doing. And if it works (Dr. Putt is certain of that), then take a look at the putting device that sponsors this column. Once you are hitting the ball, you need to improve that putting!

Dr. Putt

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