Mastering the golf swing is by no means a simple task.
However, the frustration experienced by many weekend hackers stems from the lack of knowledge as to the science of golf. It is adjusted with the appreciation of precise mechanics.
Once you know how a golf swing is supposed to behave, you can begin to try to perfect and emulate it. Until you know how the relationship between ball, club and science is supposed to work, you won’t know what you’re trying to execute.
So let’s forget swing planes, hip turns and wrist hinges for a moment. Let’s examine the first of three most crucial scientific aspects of understanding the golf swing – the trampoline effect between the ball and clubface.
The Trampoline Effect
If you’re standing on a trampoline and you push down with your legs, what happens next? The trampoline pushes you back up. Keep this in mind the next time you’re standing over a golf ball.
When a club comes down and its face makes contact with the ball, two things occur. First, the ball compresses, and then the clubface compresses. When the face then trampolines back out after compression, the ball is launched slingshot-style into the air.
Because the ricochet action between the ball and clubface happens at a speed too fast for the human eye, it can be difficult to trust. As a result, recreational golfers often try to “sweep” or “scoop” their shots. They do not understand or trust that the trampoline action occurs as a result of a downward strike.
It isn’t the strength of your arms and hands that creates distance and velocity, but the converged elasticity of the ball and clubface.
The Smashing Tees Drill
By “smashing tees,” you can prepare yourself to better enable the trampoline effect to work its magic.
Place a tee in the ground as though you were preparing for a drive. When you swing with an iron, focus on striking the tee. This will force you to maintain a downward trajectory, instead of inadvertently scooping the ball and losing the trampoline effect.
Move the tee a little lower with each successful swing, still focusing on striking the tee. Continue the drill until the tee is essentially buried.
At this point, a ball placed in the same position will be ricocheted with greater distance because of the trampoline effect.
By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver.
A former PGA Tour pro and US Open record holder, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For details on the instructional programs offered at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, call 843-785-1138, 800-827-3006 or visit www.palmettodunes.com.