Golf Tips - A well-grounded swing is key

By Tom Ward

"Failure in life is not about falling down; it's when you don't get back up."

That profound statement reminds me of what all sports are about. We all are smiles and the world is wonderful when we are playing well. However, once the wheels start falling off, it becomes a bleak scenario that throws us into a dark arena of loathing and self-destruction.

Even the best golfers in the world have hit this proverbial wall of despair from time to time. For them, or any golfer, this is a time when good, sound fundamentals are essential to getting back on the road to recovery quickly. If your golf swing is made up of a bunch of quick fixes and band-aid solutions, then your chances of playing consistently good are minimal at best.

Golf is a billion-dollar industry of misinformation. Manufacturers of equipment want you to spend lots of money on a club that will help you hit it further or use golf balls with more backspin for better control. There is a laundry list of examples whereby golf companies try to make it seem as though you can't play your best unless you are using their equipment.

We have this incredible technology as it applies to golf, however the masses playing the games are not getting any better than they were years ago. The most important thing is learning how to use this equipment properly to get the most out of what it is being offered. People believe they can go out and buy a golf game if they drop a couple thousand on clubs, balls and all the other golf related knick-knacks.

Let me save you the trouble and hopefully money: Approaching golf in this manner will only lead you down a path of frustration, one that will not allow you to achieve goals as they relate to the game.

Golf is not "rocket science," and therefore it is not difficult to learn to play the game well. The following is an example of how I get my students to "never have limits, because limited people build barriers that inhibit them from succeeding in life:"

I will have my players practice with all types of drills involving balance. If your game gets off track, first check that your balance is in tune. I have players hit balls with their feet together, crossing right over left and vice versa, hitting with only one leg and then reversing it and repeating the process with the other leg. Try hitting with one arm only - left first and then right. I also make my students hit balls while blind-folded to get a sense of how their swing feels and what it's like to lose focus of the ball that all too often can hypnotize you into hitting it.

This also builds trust in your swing; if you line up correctly and measure yourself to the ball, all you have to do is swing and project to your target - in most cases, the fairway or the green, but not the golf ball itself. If done correctly the ball will be in the way and get hit automatically.

Another fun shot all the juniors like to do is hitting off your knees. This forces you to stay centered and helps you maintain good balance. If you simply allow your arms to swing around a restricted, fixed foundation, you will discover how centrifugal force will come into play instead of brute strength.

My average drive from my knees is about 280 yards, and I have even shot a round of par-72 golf years ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where I used to live while giving a playing lesson to a friend of mine. I played the whole round on my knees except when I was putting because I didn't want to damage the greens, I think he got the point that I was trying to drive home to him that day.

These examples and plenty more that I incorporate into my teachings make learning the game fun and prove that anyone who has a disability can play the game at a high level simply by maintaining balance.

So when things in your swing start to go awry, check your balance first because without having a sturdy foundation, your house of cards is sure to tumble. *




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