I have tried a lot of different golf swing styles and ideas over the years, from styles I learned from watching the likes of Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, to the Gary Player I studied my first few years out of high school. My favorite golf swing of all time is the Nicklaus swing, and I have been attempting to recreate it since I was 16 years old. I am still obsessed with getting it right.
There are some key things that are common to almost all of the swings I have studied and tried. They include:
• An aggressive arc to the top. This is not just one move that follows a loop through the shoulders, back, and hands. This arc is a continual arc of motion that begins at the shoulder blade and ends with your front heel just before the golf ball.
• Forward, long, horizontal load transfer from your chest to your downswing. This load transfer begins with your left shoulder driving the shaft of your club, then your left arm and right wrist providing momentum and direction. Your left leg stays fairly still to provide stability and balance. You feel this left arm, wrist and left leg, which transfers the most energy in the swing, acting as a counterbalance.
• A constant focus on front shoulder release and rotation. While the player’s back should remain stable throughout the swing, his front shoulder should remain facing straight up. As the club reaches the top, the golfer needs to make a very subtle and deliberate rotation in the front shoulder to see the ball and create a solid hit.
• Reactive spine flexibility and a low, square turn through the hips. As you complete the backswing, your pelvis and hip bones should become parallel to the ground.
• Releasing the club and making the forward face of the top contact point square, with your shoulder, rather than tilting your upper body to the left or the right. This forward strike through the top is the opposite of the torsional face and the result of the complex, yet very simple, golf swing.