By Bob De Caro, USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional, Wyckoff, New Jersey I’m upset! Recently, while listening to some instructional segments on PGA Tour Radio, I heard the pro thoroughly explain the swing sequence. Yet, why are there so many listeners repeatedly asking the same fundamental questions about swinging over the top, slicing the ball and not being able to deliver the club from the inside? I can’t help but visualize the pro tightening his jaw before answering once again. It’s apparent to me that the listeners do not actually realize that the problem lies in understanding how the swing sequence is executed. I’m upset, not because the pro isn’t doing a good job of explaining the correct swing sequence, but because the player doesn’t seek out what is really required…private instruction. There is so much “free” information available today that it is easy to think it can replace the one-on-one learning experience. It may in some cases, but I don’t believe this is so when explaining the sequence of the golf swing. When dealing with the swing sequence, it is almost impossible to successfully translate audio commentary into the correction required, as it is ultimately driven by a feeling. This can only be achieved through demonstrated drills during private instruction. Perhaps a good starting point is going back to the simple statement that the sequence of the swing is like throwing a ball.  If I were to say, “Picture throwing a ball”, almost everyone could do that. But if I were to say, “Picture making a golf swing and relate that to throwing a ball,” well, that is not easy visualized. The understanding is in the demonstration. Any object thrown or any swing made must abide by the root fundamental that the lower body must go first. A young player seems to never have an issue with performing this sequence. Why? Because it is a natural motion for them. They are always engaged in it. Whether it be throwing a football, kicking a soccer ball or hitting a baseball, it is an innate motion. As we grow older, we play fewer sports and our lower bodies slow down, becoming lazy to respond to our commands. Ultimately, what was once natural becomes unnatural and requires re-learning. In my experience, as a pro, I have learned that this correction can only be achieved through a one-on-one demonstration of how to initiate the sequence. During the transition of the backswing to the downswing, the “feeling” of the lower body going forward before the backswing is completed can be elusive. Therefore, just the simple drill of having the student throw golf balls can be a light-the-bulb moment, leading to a better understanding of how to initiate the sequence. If the student takes the club away correctly and triggers the correct sequence, there is no way that the swing will ever be over-the-top, but will always drop to the inside power position. I’m all for growing the game through the exchange of information, whether it’s radio, internet or television. But with the average handicap still at 16 and higher, it’s obvious that the availability of “free information” cannot replace the one-on-one teacher/student experience. In many cases, the student is left still scratching his head, asking the same old questions, or worse yet, giving up the game. And what a shame that would be. There … I feel better now.
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