How to Feel a Real Golf Swing- A Comprehensive Review
By Bob Toski and Davis Love Jr.It was a couple of years ago that I came to the realization that improvements in my swing should be viewed as if adding ingredients to a pie. If I discovered that I needed a little more sugar, I try to add the right amount, not dump the whole jar in.
We as golfers have a tendency to take the whole bottle of aspirin when it comes to swing changes. If, for example we were found to be wristy in the take away it won’t be long before we are locking our wrists like they are made of concrete.
If we were too bent over at address, we will stand taller to the point that we are almost vertical. It’s just what golfers do- if it works doing it this much, then let’s do even more of it. You set that one thing up as the savior of your swing, and then two weeks later, you are lost and confused again.
I have read and absorbed just about every instruction book you can still buy, and some that you can’t like “How to Perfect Your Golf Swing” by Jimmy Ballard. As you get older in the game you begin to see that everyone has something to teach that you can use in some way. But I do believe that by enlarge; teachers have forgotten HOW we learn in real life. They have substituted video and swing analysis software in the place of feel.
We don’t watch video of kids riding a bike to learn how to do it.
Also, I believe you should learn one thing, be able to feel it, and then move on to the next ingredient. You add the ingredients as you go.
How to Feel a Real Golf Swing is unlike any other book that I know of in that it takes key elements of a good swing and breaks them down into feel. You master that feel and then you “graduate” to the next one.
The book is organized as a workbook, complete with actual checklists to mark off each drill that you successfully complete.
Starting with chapter one, how the club should behave; the book is organized in sequence with the most important elements presented first. Many golfers are not aware of what the club should do in a good swing and most golfers probably can’t tell you if their clubface is open or closed at that top, or anywhere else in their swing for that matter. Everything that happens in your swing is contingent upon what the club and the face of the club are doing throughout the swing. They give you simple drills to FEEL that the shaft has to rotate in the first part of the back swing and that it has to rotate back through impact. They showcase the relationship between the back of the left hand and club face, teaching you to judge what your club face is doing based solely on your feeling the back of your left hand. That is invaluable information. You solve many problems when you have a square clubface.
The next chapter is the hands chapter, and they are quick to point out that it is the chapter that will probably provide the most dramatic improvement, Let me tell you that I bet you money that you will discover something that can be improved in one or both of the first two chapters of this book; and more importantly you will FEEL it.
Although learning the swing through the big muscles can work well for the pros, I still think that educating the hands, and letting the body respond, is the best way to teach the average player, and really, even the better club player.
Loves, Toski, et al… believe that the further you go from the hands on the body, the more you are reacting. In other words, the club needs to rotate, the hands need to grip lightly and swing the club, the arms will swing as a result, because the arms are swinging the shoulders will turn, as the shoulders turn the rest of the body is now pivoting. This as opposed to trying to learn the pivot and then letting your arms and hands respond.
People have debated the sequencing of a good swing for decades but let me suggest to you that if you can learn to feel things through your hands, you will be more in control of your swing from day to day. There are those who will disagree, but I am speaking to the majority of players, not the pro who plays and practices every day.
Notice that I did not say if you develop a hands-and-arms swing you will be more consistent from day to day. I said if you learn to feel through your hands.
In any activity that you can think of, say horseshoes, you swing your arms and your body responds to it. It is how we are wired. I believe that we have what I call a target finder and it starts with a secret awareness somewhere in the hands and emanates out to the body.
People will say no, no the body controls the hands. If I could deaden your hands some how, it would affect your pivot. If you grip the club too tightly, you will struggle to make a full and free turn.
Tightrope walkers use their arms as an integral part of their balance. All of these things are connected.
Teaching someone how the hands should feel on the club, and what the hands should feel like on a club that is moving on plane is short cut to better golf that will last a lifetime.
There are a few drills that show case how the left hand should behave, and one drill in particular, the Hitchhiker Drill, is worth the price of the book.
They also encourage you to hit balls in slow motion, citing DL III as an example of developing club head speed through learning to hit 100 yard drives with a full swing in slow motion.
The book then moves to the arms chapter, which showcases how the arms move and how relaxed arms are fast arms, with consistent radius.
The book hits the most important points, without bogging the reader down in unnecessary verbiage.
The next chapter is on the feet, which they point out is close second in importance to the hands chapter. They do a nice job of describing weight shift and how the feet should be planted.
Then there is the legs chapter, which is an area that most players can improve. There is one drill in particular, the Melhorn Drill, which teaches how grounded legs with traction feel. An Improper concept of how to let the hips turn in the swing is a plague for the weekend golfer and this one drill causes you to feel the leakage of power, tempo and leverage that you have let seep out of your swing from poor foot and leg work.
We don’t really turn our hips, we move our feet and legs and our torso and our hips respond. If you sit in a chair and try to turn just your hips, you will see what I mean at once.
It is so helpful to put the body parts in their proper place.
The book progresses on to the torso and head and eyes.
The last couple of chapters are very helpful in putting all of it together. There are tips on practice and the mental game that are wonderful.
This book provides you with a plan, and gives you little goals to work towards as opposed to presenting a theory and asking you to find the details of the theory through the use of video and swing analysis software.
This book is the one book that has helped me not only snap out of a bad streak, but actually elevate my tournament swing to a new and more reliable place.
What great players do is learn by feel. If you ask some of the best players you know what they do for a given shot, they will probably describe the feeling that they have while performing that action.
The best teachers distill complex theory down to useful feels. This book connects all of the dots in a simple and easy to follow format, with checklists where you literally check off the box after you learn to master a drill.
I can’t emphasize enough how useful it is to know that you are working on one aspect of your swing at a time, and how great it feels to know that you will at some point get to work on that next thing in your swing. We should add ingredients as we go.
I have improved so much just from learning to feel a square clubface, and then the hands chapter, that I want to continue just working on these hands and club drills until it’s automatic. I am ok with not moving on because I know that I will soon get to the arms chapter, and then the feet and the legs, and I can already imagine how once I get there, and can concentrate on that one thing, how I will improve.
For example, I can already kind of sense that I let my weight escape onto the outside edge of my right foot in the backswing. I know that once I have the feels and motions mastered from the previous chapters that the Melhorn drill will clearly show me how much my footwork can improve, and I know I will get more solid and consistent because of it.
In any method that you try to learn, you must put the building blocks down in the right order, or you will always be criss-crossing around back and forth trying to plug up leaks.
You must understand what are the causers and what are the effectee’s if you will of the method you are learning.
The hands and arms set up everything in this Love/Toski swing, and if you master those feels, everything from that point is much easier because the hands and arms create the rest of your body action.
NOT ONLY, do you get to work on one thing at a time, using feel as your guide, but the sequence of starting with the club and hands will naturally help improve things like your leg action and your pivot. After working at the hands chapter for a week or two, my whole swing looks 50% better, and held up and a very heated match in a tournament.
I have more rhythm and the club is in better places after I discovered through feel that I had a bad habit of twisting my left hand in the early part of the backswing. My face was opening halfway back and therefore my right arm action sucked.
By learning to use the left thumb and back of my left hand as my guide I changed the physical look of my swing through using my sense of feel to allow the hand to be in the right place at the right time.
I have also learned to feel again, which when you get pivot oriented you tend to lose feel of the clubhead if you are not careful. Not every player does, but many do.
Having a square clubface throughout the swing solves so many problems, and the hands are what you connect to the club with.
With my face and shaft positions being what they were, I could have labored for months on the range, with video, and I never would have gotten to the root cause of the problem.
No one had to tell me, I found the problem through feel.
This book provides easy to feel and understand checkpoints that you can use as a reference. If you get a little off, you know it’s off because you can feel it up against that correct reference.
I am so excited about this book and I recommend it to anyone.