Chapter Two
Setting up the Theory of the Physical side


Moving it to the green

When a student listens to a discussion of the swing’s mechanics, the left side of their brain is hard at work trying to comprehend the concept while at the same time, the playful right side is vibrating with excitement as it anticipates the fun of hitting the golf balls. The concept of the swing is really very simple. I relate it here in order to satisfy the technical, didactic left-brain.

Understanding how the mind works is an important aid to better golf - and so is an elemental understanding of a simple law of nature. Centrifugal energy is defined by Webster as “the force that tends to impel a thing or parts of a thing outward from a center of rotation.” Picture yourself holding a rope with a rock tied to the end of it. If you begin moving your fingers in a circle, the rock will begin to move too, following a path directly dictated by the motion you’ve started. As you increase the speed of your fingers, so, exponentially will the speed of the rock increase as well. Along with centrifugal energy the golf swing is based on the concept of center and radius.

Centrifugal energy is the force that moves through the rope to power the rock - it moves from the inside, (your fingers) to the outside (the rock). And it’s the centrifugal energy created by the movement of the golfer’s body that powers the swinging club and in turn, propels the golf ball. In the way your fingers initiated the movement of the rope and then in turn, the rock, centrifugal energy starts inside the golfer’s body and travels outward, to the club head. This energy is a manipulatable force - golfers have many ways to influence its use to aid their golf game. Back to the rope and rock for an example - by increasing the length of the rope the rock will spin faster. In golf the “rope” is the club shaft - and so the longer the club shaft, the faster the club’s head will travel. (now you know the reason why there are so many different lengths of golf clubs - to manipulate the speed with which the ball is hit). The direction of the flight of the golf ball is effected by consciously changing the way the golfer’s body moves. There are two major ways of doing this -1. By altering the golfer’s lateral movement - the body’s side-to-side motion. I refer to this motion as “weight shift” on the back swing and transition on the down swing. And 2. By altering the golfers’ rotational movement. Rotational movement is the coiling and uncoiling motions of the shoulders, hips, ankles and feet. So, the relationship between lateral and rotation affects direction, and is called timing.

Address Position - Starting Body Position

At address, the weight is positioned predominantly to either the left side or right side of the body depending on the club being used and the type of shot being played. The correct "address" ( the proper posture of body) - is correct because it establishes the body angles that help a golfer create the optimal golf swing. To understand the important effect of correct angles on a golf swing, it’s helpful to picture a scribing tool called a compass*. A compass basically consists of a center (the metal spike that holds the unit on the paper) and a radius (the pencil). The compass’ center point functions much like the golfers’ body, and the radius like the arms and club shaft. If the relationship between the compass’ center and radius remain constant, the arc of the radius will consistently follow the same path, no matter how many times it scribes it. The challenge to the golfer is to find the optimal position, maintain it while making the body movements necessary to create centrifugal force, and then keep it throughout the entirety of the swing plane. Becoming consistent - finding the best way and repeating it with every swing - is the challenge - and it’s also the key to good playing.

The geometry of the golf swing with a compass©

We can use a compass to see how the concept of center and radius affect the golf swing. A compass has two main features: a center and a radius. The center point of the compass represents the body and the radius of the compass represents the arms and shaft. If the center remains constant and doesn't move in any of the 360° available to it, the arc of the radius will consistently follow the same path. The challenge is to incorporate the movement of the body necessary to create centrifugal energy with the consistency of the center (body) and radius (arms and shaft).

The concept of examining The geometry of the golf swing with a compass© was first introduced by Robert Gutkin, CHt. in 1991.


Chapter Three
The Body's Motion

"If you Love the game, Skill will come"

--Michael Jordan


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