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Myth Busting: Explaining the Oldest Clichés in Golf


By Brad Shupe, PGA Poppy Holding General Manager


to teach me to play. He told me to “ keep my left arm straight.” So I listened. That puppy was as straight and as stiff as a 2-by-4. Then he told me to “ keep my head down.” Man, I didn’t look up to see a golf shot for two years. The problem was, by keeping my arm straight, I created so much tension in my golf swing, I couldn’t move properly. And by keeping my head down, my body wouldn’t rotate through impact. It is amazing today that


I


with all the video instruc- tion and information out there on the golf swing,


grew up playing golf. When I was about 10, my dad, who was probably a 14 handi- cap at the time tried


most golfers still try to do these two things. I un- derstand where the myths come from, and what most people see. But I would argue that these two golf myths have harmed more people than they have helped. Let me explain:


Golf Cliché No. 1: “Keep your left arm straight” I would say the left arm


(for a right-handed golfer) should be extended, not straight. The difference is most people who are told to keep their arm straight keep it stiff. Tension in the golf swing is probably the No. 1 enemy to most golf- ers. Watch Fred Couples, Paul Goydos or even Mark O’Meara, and you will see a left arm that is actually


bent at the top of the swing. Ideally, the left arm is fairly straight at impact, not at the top of the swing.


Golf Cliché No. 2: “Keep your head down” This is the oldest advice


in golf, but unfortunately, it is more of a symptom of a bad swing than a root cause of a bad shot. Typically, your head comes up because: • Your swing path is too steep or too shallow, so the body lifts up to avoid hit- ting it fat. -or- • Your swing features a


reverse pivot, so your head comes up to keep balanced. The reason your body


comes up is to either make room for the golf club, or because it is out of balance.


It is classic that the


moment someone tops the ball or hits it thin, he or she says, “Oh, I lifted my head!” The problem is they are right. But the reason they come up has nothing to do with their head. If the golfer tried to stay down, he or she would hit it fat…I call it timing your leap. Golf is a crazy game, but getting the correct informa- tion about the golf swing will go a long way toward making you a better and more consistent golfer. I encourage you to seek out your local PGA professional and invest in your game. •••


I am truly looking


forward to meeting all of you at your course… Poppy Hills.


GOOD FINISH. A well-balanced finish produces a solid shot.


BAD FINISH. Keeping your head down is a symptom of a bad swing.


STRAIGHT ARM: The left arm should be extended, not straight. A straight arm, pictured here, causes tension.


WINTER 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 55


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