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Preparatory Movements for the Golf Swing: Part 4 (Final)


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This is the final part of the Preparatory Movements for the Golf Swing article series....

When you are learning golf it is most helpful to watch good golfers and to see how they apply the doctrines which your teacher has impressed upon you.

Some years ago I took a pupil of mine to study the players at Sandwich. "They look so firm," was his comment.

They looked firm because they started braced and retained the braced feeling right through the swing.

There is one other aspect of the brace that we must consider, that concerned with the position of the head.

If the head and chin are turned slightly to the right (so that the ball is seen "out of the corner of the left eye," as one of my pupils put it), it will help the feel of the correct brace — mainly because it helps us to fix our shoulders, or rather helps our shoulders to resist the movement of the hips which is trying to pull the right shoulder forward (as it does pull forward the right knee, which does not resist).

I do not mind whether you say that this position of the head fixed the shoulders or merely that it helps to fix them, but I know that it is infinitely easier to brace correctly with the head slightly side-on in this way than when looking straight down.

Also, as it brings the head and chin slightly behind the ball, it gives the right feeling that we are looking at the back of the ball.

For those who like delving into past theories and his¬tories of the game, the following is illuminating. It is a translation from a book called he Jeu de Mail which I picked up in Paris for 10 francs.

It was written nearly two hundred years ago. The extract is from the chapter on "Attitude of the Body."

"The body should not be too straight nor too curved, but slightly bent" (note the nuance "curved" and "bent." Even a couple of centuries ago they had to be careful in picking their words!) " in order that in hitting, it shall be held up by the strength of the hips (reins) while turning slowly backwards from the waist, without losing the ball from view."

It is this half turn of the body that we call playing with the waist (or better, pivoting) which gives a wide circle to the club head.

The old book continues:

"We should not lift the club too quickly but in order to (uniquement) and without allowing oneself to be carried away” (sway, we should say now), "wait a little (se tenir un instant) at the top of the swing (la plus haute portee) in order to hit through the plane"(amusing this, sur le champ) "with vigour, adding however, the force of the wrist (la force du poignet) without changing the position of the body, legs, or arms, in order to conserve the same union of adjustments which we have taken up at the address."

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