All You Gotta Do Is ... Act Naturally
This is kind of a continuation of my last post, where I was talking about seeing something in my golf buddy’s putting set up that triggered the light bulb to go off in my own head about my putting set up. The title of this post, by the way, is the name of that old song that both Buck Owens and The Beatles recorded way back when.

Anyway, I’m a big proponent of allowing the “natural order of things” to be relied on as much as possible in the golf swing, whether it’s a putt or drive . . . and all shots in between. One of those “natural” fundamentals I strongly believe in is that the arms need to hang comfortably and “naturally” from the shoulders at address, and that they can be more reliable passing back through that natural position as you swing through impact.

Think about it this way:

If you set up to a putt, chip, pitch or full shot with your arms – particularly your left arm – hanging naturally from your shoulder, your body is being “manipulated” to the minimum degree. It would make sense, then, that returning your arms/hands to and through this “natural” position as you stroke a putt or chip, or swing the club back and through, would be easier to accomplish with consistency.

Contrast that with an address position that puts your arms and hands in a “manufactured” position, someplace away from your body. Doesn’t it make sense that it would be much more difficult, first, to start in that exact same “manufactured” place from shot to shot with any degree of consistency ?

And that it will also be much more difficult for your body to turn backward and move your arms away from the ball . . . and then return them precisely to that same "manufactured” position as you swing through impact ?

Try this with your putting first, right there in your home or office if you want. Stand comfortably and bend over from the hips/waist into your putting posture. Hold the putter lightly in your right hand at address, and just let your left arm hang naturally from your shoulder.

Then just allow the putter grip to nestle gently into your left hand. It should take very little movement of your hand to achieve this, but you will probably find that your hand is further down on the putter grip when you do.

Don’t worry about that for now, but then just make some simple, slow and smooth strokes in this relaxed position and see if it doesn’t seem easier.

This same natural position is the key to a sound chipping and pitching technique I’m also convinced, so pick up a wedge and see if it doesn’t feel a little easier, too.

Of course, there’s no way I can give anyone a “lesson” here, but I’ll always try to share things with you that I think can help you continue to improve and score better.

And as always, let me know if this tip does that for you.
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[ comments ]
Mike says:
Hey Terry,

One of my key faults is slouching over at address.

If I can find a way to set up and let my arms hang naturally, on a consistent basis, don't you think that will eliminate that fault ?
8/12/08
 
Steve Wozeniak PGA says:
Terry, you are right on here as usual!!

This is what every GREAT player does that lasts, and stands the test of time. Players that don't do this are never on Tour very long!! ------
My 60 degree Eidolon is my favorite, NOTHING spins as good.
Steve Wozeniak PGA Director of Instruction Bellevue/Lake Spanaway
www.stevewozeniak.com
8/13/08
 
Mike Douglas says:
Terry,

For my students and customers, I have always suggested shorter than "average" shaft lengths.

My putter is 32" in length and it allows me to stand with my eyes over the line, arms hanging naturally and extended, and bent over so that my body doesn't interfere with the movement of my shoulders and arms.

Most women who I teach, use a putter that is almost 3 inches too long for them; the result being they stand too upright and too far away from the line. Even with corrected lie angles the shaft length puts the golfers eyes too inside of the line.

Do you have any idea where the standard of 35" for men and 34" for women came from?
8/29/08
 
wedgeguy says:
First Mike; Slouching at address is a simple posture fault, but focus on your posture to feel the change to a more athletic position to start. And yes, then your arms can hang naturally.

Second Mike, I don't know where that standard came from, but I would guess it was just a continuation of "logic" from the 35-1/2" wedge. Not really sure, but it has been around a long time. And we see continual changes or evolution in the golf swing with time. The tour pros of today have a much different posture and set up than those of 20+ years ago, to accomodate the more powerful move they make through impact.
9/10/08
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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