What Are Golf Swing Fundamentals?
Most golfers have been told that they need to work on golf swing fundamentals if they want to improve. The problem is, golf swing fundamentals are a myth! Yes, golf instructors like to talk about teaching golf swing fundamentals, but if you ask a number of instructors about fundamentals and what they are, you will get a variety of answers. A fundamental is supposed to be a rule, law, basis, or foundation for something and when used to define a golf swing movement, any golf swing fundamental should apply to all golf swings. However, there are no fundamental movements that apply to all golf swings.
For proof, all you have to do is look at the swings of tour players. Every one of them is different, some by quite a bit. You have strong grips and neutral grips, upright swings and flat swings, heads that stay still and heads that move, pros that roll their arms through impact and those who don't. Some have cupped wrists at the top of their backswings and others have arched wrists, some have flying elbows and others don't. My point is, whatever you may think is a fundamental, there will be a number of the best players in the world who don't do it, so I repeat my claim—there are no golf swing fundamentals!
Now that I have committed golf instruction heresy, I will now contradict myself, and I'll do it twice. First, there is one thing that good players consistently do that poor players don't, and that has to do with the position of the hands at impact relative to the clubhead. With good players, the hands are at least slightly ahead of the clubhead when they make contact with the ball. Without going into detail, the importance of this position is that the clubhead can, but it is not guaranteed, be traveling downward as contact is made. Hitting down on the ball is an absolute requirement in order to be able to hit the ball solidly, shot after shot!
While I concede that this could possibly be considered a fundamental because it does apply to all golfers, the fact that it is a position rather than a movement makes this claim somewhat tenuous. There are a variety of ways to get to that position and there are a variety of ways to finish a swing from that position and these movements may range from awful to excellent. This can be said about any swing position. Because the golf swing is a movement, focusing on positions tends to be unproductive because of the different ways to get there. In other words, attempting to force a position by any means is quite different than getting into the position as a result of moving a specific way.
My second point of contradiction to my claim that there are no golf swing fundamentals regards the swing of Ben Hogan. The Ben Hogan golf swing consists of very specific movements that most efficiently use the disciplines of physics, geometry, and biomechanics. Anyone attempting to learn Hogan's swing must perform these very specific movements at least reasonably well in order for the swing to work and since these movements are mandatory with this swing type, they are fundamental to the Hogan swing! These fundamental movements are only relevant to the Hogan swing and do not apply to any other swing method (I discuss some of the Hogan fundamentals on the next page). There are other swing styles that also have certain specific fundamentals that apply only to that particular style so, technically, there are other golf swing fundamentals, but again, these aren't fundamentals as golfers think of them—they don't apply to all golfers!
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