I have been working on some stuff for the golf swing that I would love to show you. It has accelerated the process exponentially for my students and for myself when I am getting back in the flow for the day. It is all equated to walking and being able to have your mass in motion moving towards an intention. It is timing and sequencing as you well know, but it simplifies everything a lot and reduces it to feel when you see how it fits together. Your golf swing needs a certain amount of space between where your center of mass begins and the pickup of the ball. Please try this and send me your feedback:
First off, try to imagine you need to break down a door and get to the other side. Now envision that you go up to the door and press your nose up against it before trying to break it down…as you can figure, there is not much force to be generated from that position…you need to have space to create the momentum and fall into it to get the kinetic energy flowing in the direction and through the door.
The golf swing works the same way. If your center of mass is right up next to the ball, you will not have room to get your mass in motion and stay in motion all the way through impact, while also allowing you to have full extension of your arms with the feeling of a full release in your golf swing. This is the first fundamental concept you will lean when taking the Gravity Golf Challenge.
How To Adapt This Feeling
Without a club, pick out a target and start walking towards it, while in stride turn 180 degrees right with your back facing the target and continue moving towards it, then turn back to the left with the front of your body once again facing the target. You should be able to stay walking on a straight line, even though you are turning back and forth. It may help to put a tee in the ground and walk towards it so that you get an idea of how straight your line is.
Once you have shown that you can comfortably walk down a line while turning back and forth, the next step is to do it with a club. Flip the club up to vertical and once again begin walking towards your target. Continue walking and turn 180 degrees to the right like before…first drop your shoulders and arms (practice dropping at different paces for sensitivity), then you can freely turn back to the left, facing toward the target. Make sure you have dropped your shoulders/arms prior to starting the turn. When you do this, you should be able to ground out the club just barely brushing the ground and continue your walk down the target line. Throughout the whole movement, you should be maintaining a progressive move towards your target at a fluid pace.
Do the same exercise, but try to find an uphill slope that will amplify all of the timing, the directional intent (same process used for walking) and your sensitivity to the sequence.
You are going to be doing the same thing, but with a reference point. Put a tee in the ground and begin the same process, now seeing if you can time out the walk and the turn so that you are able to brush the tee without losing sequence, pace or direction. Do this on flat ground and on an uphill slope.
After this, you can begin introducing the ball into the same practice. The more of this practice that you get in, even without the ball, the easier your sequence and timing will become. You will also become much more relaxed with moving toward your intention. This is excellent to do on the course when you have time before or in between your shots, to keep yourself in the flow of motion…especially when moving uphill.
Note: It is easy for your mind to wander to different aspects of the golf swing. Use this self awareness to stay focused on where you want to go, in great detail. and all of the other aspects will start to fall into place. You are creating a reference to all the aspects of movement in your swing by staying focused on where you want to go.
Finding Your Own Natural Golf Swing
When taking this concept into the traditional golf swing, you begin to see and feel how your body must be in motion in the direction that you intend it to go. You need enough space from where your center of mass starts and the pickup of the ball (far enough forwards). This way once you have heaved the golf club up and turned your body back, you can get your body moving towards the target and have momentum so that your arms can then drop softly, with enough room to keep moving all the way through never having run out of space.
An easy walk towards your target will carry everything through. This also creates the perfect amount of counter-fall in your golf swing without even having to think about it…just like you are turning to walk towards something or someone.
A simple way to work on this is to put the ball much farther forwards than you typically would, but leave your center of mass back far enough, so that you have room to really get the feeling of your mass moving. Most people don’t pay attention to how far the fall before they take their first step, you need this sensitivity to have consistency. If you don’t give yourself enough room and the bottom of the arc (your center of mass) reaches the pickup before the club, you will naturally stop the body from moving forwards to make sure you make contact. However this will now force and involuntary pull, because you have now lost your natural kinetic energy that comes from having the body being moved by gravity and you will be looking for power.
As you get more sensitive, you can lessen the amount of room you need to be falling through your shots. It is really good to practice walking through these as well and practicing off uphill slopes. It will give you a lot of feedback as to how well the sequencing and timing was feeding together.
The Sequence of a Gravity Golf Swing
Heave/Turn (so that your back is facing the target and that your club is as vertical as possible at the top of the backswing).
Get the back of your body in motion towards the target without letting your shoulders turn back to the left until the step has occurred (this is where the power is being generated and it will allow you to drop the arms softly, because they now have a mover).
Drop the shoulders and arms (If you start turning left before the shoulders have dropped, they will start pulling you out of balance and there will be an involuntary pull that will not let you continue moving towards your target smoothly and will most often cause a shot that starts left and the continues to draw farther off that line).
Now you can turn the body to the left so you are facing your target and allowing the momentum to continue forwards towards your target….It is important to practice having the ball as far forwards as you can from you center of mass (also try not to set up with the club right up next to the ball, if you shift your weight up next to it you have taken out the space to fall into it)
Alignment & Setup of Your Golf Swing
Equally as important as the sequence of the golf swing, you need to understand so that you can see how the geometry comes into play and how this also has to do with having the golf ball far enough forwards. The initial flight path of your golf ball, as long as your golf club is gripped squarely, is going to be 90 degrees from where your center of mass is, to the ball, to the target. Think of a roofing angle from where your weight is balanced to the ball and then it will show you where you are aligned.
As you move your center of mass towards your target during the swing (utilizing gravity the same way as when you walk), your relativity towards the ball moves back, causing the alignment to move to the right. If you are moving towards your target in the swing using the natural momentum and your alignment is moving to the right as it will naturally do, you must allow for room ahead of time at setup. Otherwise your body will involuntarily throw on the brakes when it senses you are going to go past your alignment or your shots will just start to the right if you allow yourself to keep moving forwards.
If you are able to keep your body moving forwards though, and the ball does end up to far back, it will go to the right and vice versa. If you don’t get far enough forwards, than the ball will go to the left. The funny thing is, as long as your body is moving forwards, there is not ever a problem with a hook. Because even if you don’t get far enough forwards with your mass at impact, but it is still moving in that direction, the ball starts a little left and go straight. I think of it like shooting skeet somewhat, where you are having to lead the shot from left to right. This is a bit of a new way to look at alignment and the swing as a dynamic whole, but it has made a huge difference in the time it takes to figure out how to tap into the feel and the shots that start to develop are nothing short of incredible.
Once you start to see and feel how the relativity between the your body being in motion towards your target (intention), and you see that the alignment is constantly in a state of flux from left to right if you are moving forwards, it allows for so many of the subtleties to become visible. Let this digest and practice some of the moves, then let’s talk about the experience and your golf swing. Have fun!