Tools

I’ve been providing a monthly commentary for ArkansasSports360.com since the fall entitled “Mumbleshed Moments.” I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the thoughts expressed by the likes of Frank Broyles, Jimmy Dykes and Chuck Barrett about dealing with those times in life (a lot like being on the golf course) where you’re not sure what comes next, but you make your way out of it.

Chuck Barrett’s recent thoughts about his broadcasting were apropos for the golf game — sometimes he realizes he doesn’t have his “A game” and just has to grind it out. The best players in the world are the ones who have figured out that if they can score OK on those days where they have to grind, they are usually in the hunt for a tournament title.

ArkansasSports360.com’s editor, Jim Harris, asked me to move away from the Mumbleshed for one month and comment on what I’ve learned about the golf swing over the years.

I’ll start with a detailed description of my ideal downswing:

1. My right hip pushes downward between the left leg and the ball, causing the left hip to move laterally, setting up the support of the torso. This enables the right hip and leg to rotate counterclockwise around toward the target.

2. My left hip moves laterally toward the target.

3. My hands direct the shaft and clubhead between the wrist and ball, maintaining the proper swing plane. (Here is when I first feel stored energy readying itself to be released into the clubhead, via my arms, hands, and then the clubshaft.)

4. As my left hip starts the forward movement, my right hip and knee simultaneously move counterclockwise around the left leg.

5. My right shoulder angle remains constant in relation to the right side of the rib cage. The right hip chases to the right elbow, not the reverse. In still photography, because the right side is rotating toward the ball, it looks as if the elbow is being tucked into the right hip. This is only an illusion.

6. As weight shifts dramatically to my left foot, I feel the torso advancing my left arm on the correct plane to the golf ball. I DO NOT PULL DOWN WITH THE LEFT ARM.

7. I feel my left shoulder returning from a low position at the top of the backswing to a higher position at impact.

8. As my left shoulder moves up, my right shoulder moves down. Both shoulders rotate around the 30-degree angle created by the spine at address.

9. My left thigh rotates counterclockwise around an extended left leg. My left hip closes into and toward the target. This creates tremendous forward rotation and power.

10. My left elbow rotates underneath the left arm to allow the knuckles of the left hand to hit the back center of the golf ball at impact.

11. It is very important that you do not lock the left wrist at impact; just the opposite occurs. Total relaxation of the inside muscles of the left forearms and wrist allows the shaft and clubhead to pick up additional acceleration through the hitting area. The left arm and shaft create one common line that is directly on the plane line of impact. This position maximizes the delivery of the centrifugal force built up by the swing.

12. As the club swings from well inside the target line, back to the ball, my hands-arm unit makes a sidearm motion. (At this point, I feel as if I’m swinging outward and energy is traveling speedily through my arms.) I am also aiming my clubhead at the inside quadrant of the golf ball.

13. While my left shoulder moves farther up and the rotation of the right hip around the left leg occurs, my head remains on the center-line between my two feet, allowing the clubhead to swing through the golf ball up the target line on the plane. The secret to balance is simply to keep your head between your feet.

14. As my right arm and right wrist straighten out at impact, my right-hand speed increases and likewise the centrifugal force.

15. BOOM! The sweet spot of the clubface smashes the ball, just as it’s starting to swing upward at the very bottom of its arc.

Remember this: “The downswing is far too fast and complex an action to be consciously directed.” It’s a sheer waste of time for a golfer to segregate any of the complex body club positions involved during the downswing.

What is very worthwhile is to work diligently at drumming my right-side trigger (pushing the right hip downward and the counterclockwise around the left leg) into your muscle memory. That one trigger will allow you to automatically wing into and through all the paramount positions of links of the downswing connected chain.

Remember, the downswing should not be a consciously directed action. My subconscious allows me to make a smooth transition into the downswing and deliver the club securely into the ball. m

(Mike Dunaway is a former champion long-driver, golf TV show host, writer and manufacturing representative. His monthly “Mumbleshed Moments” column appears on ArkansasSports360.com. Visit www.mumbleshed.com or e-mail: mumbleshed@mumbleshed.com)