Symple Swing Core Power
Turning The Shoulders As A Unit
I had an interesting lesson recently that I think everyone can learn from. The student started out quite erratic, mostly tending to pull shots. He felt like he was lost. When he addressed the ball he really had no idea where the shot was going.
I went through the usual checklist and he was doing most of the basic Symple Swing setup things okay. Then I closely watched his upper body and it was obvious (to me) that he was 'arm swinging'. (Note: this is a very, very common fault with most golfers.)
Talking to him he said he was trying to start his backswing as Symple Swing recommends with his front shoulder. However he was doing this by literally turning his front shoulder (and his lead arm) almost over the top of his chest. His front shoulder was moving but his chest (sternum) wasn't turning at least not at first in the backswing. He was trying to do what Symple Swing recommended but it was obviously we didn't explain it well enough. His shoulders were NOT turning as a unit.
Don't Bring Your Lead Arm Across Chest
I then told him 'Your leading biceps (top muscle on your upper arm) should not cover over your pectoral muscle (upper chest muscle) during your backswing. We talked about that for a while and I explained that you should keep the triangle formed by your two arms and your chest intact during your the first part of your backswing.
Shoulders Turn As A Unit
I went on to explain how the swing is powered by your shoulders. More correctly it should be said that the swing is powered by the whole 'shoulder unit' with both shoulders and the chest turning as a unit. He nodded yes said he understood that but his eyes said he didn't fully understand.
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One Arm Core Drill
I wanted to prove to to him the power of the 'turning the core' so we next did a drill that is actually a bit tough to do but absolutely proves the swing is powered by the core of your upper torso (your shoulder unit). I took a wedge in just my right hand, choked up moving my hand to the bottom of the grip and addressed the ball (note: I am right handed so this was my trailing arm). With my left (leading arm) I grabbed my back upper arm holding my upper arm firmly against the side of my chest. I took a small swing with just by right arm mostly by turning my upper body. The was some wrist bend but I was not trying to hit it with wrist power. My trailing upper arm stayed firmly against my chest. My upper body lead the downswing with my lower arm and hand mostly just being along for the ride. I hit a nice crisp wedge shot of about 80-90 yards right down the middle. My student was quite surprised by the distance and crispness of the shot.
Then I had him try it. Taking some practice swings he started to feel the 'core power' of turning the upper body keeping his trail upper arm tightly against his body. He then ripped his first one armed shot right down the middle about 80+ yards. His mouth was open in amazement. (That's almost the distance he had been hitting full power (two armed) wedges just minutes before. He couldn't believe he hit it that far with 'so little movement' meaning short backswing with one arm. He really begin to understand 'core power' and that the power in the swing does not come from the arms.
Next I demonstrated the same technique this time using only the leading arm. Then using just his leading arm (using his trailing arm to hold his lead upper arm against his body) he effortlessly ripped a one arm wedge 100+ yards down the middle. He just couldn't believe the power. At this point he had felt and now really understood, the concept of 'core power' or shoulder power.
The Light Bulb Goes On!
Next he put both hands on the wedge to hit a normal shot. This time he just kept the 'core power' feeling in his mind. This time, automatically, there was no arm swing. He just turned his shoulders as a unit and ripped maybe the best wedge of his life. He smiled broadly and I knew 'he had it'. He now understood and had felt the motion of a proper 'core powered' swing.
He proceeded to go through all his clubs just ripping everything powerfully down the middle. To me it was like watching a different golfer. His original swing was long, loose and 'disconnected'. His new swing with confident, compact and powerful.
The True Source Of Your Power
Not only was he hitting great shots but I knew and more importantly, he knew that he now 'understands the golf swing'. He knows how it should be done. He now knows the true source of his power. His consistency and power will go way up but equally important when he does run into a problem (we all occasionally do) he now understands how to get back on track with just a couple of swings.
The one arm shots, holding your upper arm against the side of your chest are tough to do. We were pretty lucky that both his first shots were so good. It often takes practice to be able to hit good one arm shots this way. Concentrate on your practice swings. Even if you don't hit great shots with one arm you should be able to feel the 'core power' with your practice swings.
To review this is what you need to do:
With your front hand hold the trail upper arm against the body. Grab the trail upper arm "mid biceps". Start by swinging the club in a short little arc back and forth like a pendulum gradually lengthening the swing until it gets to full swing length. The length of the little pendulum swing with the club is controlled by how much you turn the shoulders. Starting short you can feel the "tempo" of the swing. The tempo stays the same although the swing lengthens.
The goal of this drill is "swoosh" the club. We want to make the transition from concentrating on "hitting the ball" to now focusing on "swinging the club" better meaning faster. You have to learn that you have to move the chest (core) faster if you want to make the club swing faster.
You should also experiment with doing the same thing with the front arm (hold it against your body with the trail hand). This is harder to do because you have to learn to fold the lead elbow on the follow through. However, anyone that completes this successfully usually makes a big gain in club head speed and consistency.
P.S. Technical note: The one arm drills are similar to the 'Theory of Connection' that Jimmy Ballard has been promoting for years. Symple Swing makes it much easier to master this 'connection' because we have fewer things going on in the swing.