When you are ready to start the swing, to uncover the first fatal flaws that appear, with the horrible shots they produce, and to learn the first of the magic moves that will cut strokes from your score.
Ironically, these first flaws that creep into the average player’s swing produce an effect that is the exact opposite of what he wants. Just as you have, he has read and heard all his golfing life that certain things are essential.
The first of these is that you must pivot, the second is that the club must be taken away from the ball inside the projected line of flight, the third is that the wrists should be broken late and upward.
You twist your body as you start the take away.
This brings the club back on an inside line. Fine.
It opens the face of the club too. Excellent, you say, for you know it should be open at the top of the swing.
You delay the wrist break as long as possible and then let the wrists break upward.
Then what happens? The very thing you wanted most to avoid. You hit the ball from the outside in, with an open face (usually), and you get an outlandish slice.
If you close the face on the downswing you probably will get a pull, or a smother (if it’s closed too much), or a hook. If the club is outside the line far enough, you will even get that most horrible of all shots, a shank.
You are then thoroughly crestfallen. You have done everything you’d been told to do and you still hit those awful shots. Why?
You hit them because your early movements got you into such a position at the top that you could hardly hit anything else.
Your early pivot, your attempt to “turn in a barrel,” didn’t permit you to transfer your weight to your right leg. You kept too much of it on your left leg.
Taking the club away inside (it was probably quite sharply inside) got it moving too flat, as well as opening the face.
Then, to get the swing farther along, you had to bring the club up. At that point things began to get tight and uncomfortable.
To ease them you stopped the turn that your shoulders were making and let your left wrist collapse, or bend back and go under the club. This let you raise the club and get what you felt was a full swing, without being uncomfortable. The face of the club, of course, was wide open at the top.
What happened next was inevitable.
You started the downswing by regripping with your left hand, which had loosened, which made you get the club head started moving too soon. Your weight, being mostly on your left leg, moved back to the right leg.
You turned your hips and shoulders sharply, which threw the club onto the outside-in line you were trying to avoid. And you came down across the ball. Chances
are that as you did, your left knee snapped back and locked and your right knee bent straight out in front of you. And your follow-through, what there was of it, carried the club around you instead of up and out after the ball.
You, however, see none of these things as the cause of your bad shots. You feel only that you haven’t done well enough what you are trying to do, and in your efforts to meet the standards, you exaggerate the actions.
You don’t improve. You may easily get worse. And you finally end your practice session frustrated and dejected, or your round, if you are playing, with a shameful score.
Fortunately, there is a cure for all this, a cure that is almost miraculous. The magic move that puts you on the right track immediately is simply this:
Start the backswing with an early backward wrist break.
Of course this sounds too simple to be true. It violates every rule you ever heard about starting the swing.
Your first reaction is that the best golfers have gone completely off their rockers. But it is true and unless your swing is now everything that you want it to be, you will find out how and why this magic move is made.
The wrist break itself is simple enough, actually, though if you have been breaking in the conventional way you may need a little time to convince yourself of what is to be done and to make yourself do it.
Since the backward break is one of the key points in our system, let’s be absolutely certain you understand what it is.
First, hold your right hand in front of you, fingers together and extended, thumb up and the palm squarely facing the left.
From that position bend the hand to the right, trying to make the fingers, come back toward the outside of the wrist.. You can’t get them anywhere near the wrist, of course, but a person with supple wrists can bend the hand back until hand and wrist form a right angle. This motion of the hand, straight back, is the backward wrist break.
The way the right hand should move from the wrist in the early backward break straight back toward the outside of the forearm, with no turning or rolling.
The standard wrist break is quite different. Hold your hand again as you held it before. Now, instead of bending it backward, bend it up, so that the thumb comes toward you.
That is the orthodox, accepted wrist break. Forget it.
You will get it eventually, but you don’t want it now.
You will remember that the grip we stipulated was one which, at address, showed only two knuckles of the left hand and one of the right hand.
You will also recall that the right hand was put on the club so that the left thumb lay right down the middle of the right palm. This brought the heel of the right hand against the big knuckle at the base of the left thumb.