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PROPER STANCE, SWING CAN GIVE YOUR GOLF GAME A GOOD TURN

QUESTION (continued from last week): Last week I began answering a question about the golf swing. In that column I discussed the grip, stance and the address position. This week I will explain some ideas about swinging the club from the book "Golf, Your Turn for Success" (G. Fisher and J. Geertsen).

First, instead of visualizing the golf swing as a hitting or striking action, think of it as a circular motion, where the golf club circumscribes a smooth, flowing arc around a rotating body that provides the energy for the motion. The arms and club are simply a lever system that transmits power from the turning body but provides little energy. In fact, most bad shots in golf are caused by applying force with the arms and upper body.Since the body turn is so important, I will describe a drill to help you make a proper turn. Hold a club against your stomach, as if it were growing out your navel. Use a normal golf grip, but reach down the club so its end makes solid contact with your stomach. Now bend forward as though addressing a ball. The key to the drill is to move the club by moving only the body.

The first part of the drill involves moving the club back about 3 feet with your body as if making a backswing. The left knee should move away from the target, the left ankle should bend in toward the ground, the hips should turn about 45 degrees, and the weight should shift to the right leg while still keeping the right knee flexed as in the address position. Now, with the body, move the club toward the target. Going toward the target, the right knee and left hip should both move to the left, and the body should turn so that the club (and navel) is almost pointing to the hole.

Another important idea involves the concept of "true center." True center is the point where the spine and the shoulders intersect (just at the top of your sternum and below your chin). At address, this point is positioned halfway between your feet. In a good swing, true center will not move from that established position. The shoulders will turn around it and the hips will turn and move backward and forward, but true center must be maintained. Now practice the turning drill while maintaining true center between your feet. This is the proper action of the lower body during the swing.

With the proper body turn, you can now learn how to swing properly. Perhaps the most important part of the swing is the takeaway. To learn the proper takeaway, stand with your toes touching a line parallel to the target. To make this line even better, place an old shaft or stick vertically into the ground about 3 feet to the right of your right foot and about 4 inches back from the toe line.

Now, address the ball with a 7-iron, using the proper stance, posture and club position. Take the club back with a body turn (remember the drill), and at the same time, move the clubhead straight back away from the ball so that the clubshaft ends up directly over the reference line, with the clubhead slightly higher than the hands. At this point, the hands will be over the ball of the right foot with the right elbow hinged softly, and the body will be turned about the same amount as it was in the turn drill (above). As the backswing continues, the wrists will continue to cock so that the club will be completely cocked by the time the left arm is parallel to the ground. From that point, the shoulders complete their turn and the backswing is complete.

I'll address the rest of the swing next week.