By popular demand, I have written a step by step, practical guide to the golf swing. “The Basic Motion” explores the anatomy, alignments and action required to produce a precision golf swing.
At over 10,000 words in length, accompanied by over 60 high quality diagrams, “The Basic Motion” is one of the most comprehensive guides to the golf swing ever created. It describes in detail the different ways in which your body’s joints can move - and how you should move them. It also demonstrates how to set up perfectly, from the grip, to club and arm alignments. Concepts from The Golfing Machine such as “Extensor Action” and the “Flying Wedges” are also explained.
“The Basic Motion” contains instruction you will not find anywhere else. For the price of a single lesson with a local golf professional, you can learn from me how to become your own instructor and create a repeatable, accurate golf stroke.
I’m often asked to write a “how to” guide on the golf swing. A set of instructions a golfer can follow to make a precision stroke. I’ve been reluctant to do so for a few reasons.
Firstly, quality golf instruction follows something known as the “IPO model”. IPO stands for “Input Process Output”. If you were to visit a golf instructor for a lesson, you would provide “Input” by demonstrating your golf swing. The instructor would then “Process” what they’ve seen, using their expertise and experience. Finally, they would produce an “Output” by telling you what’s wrong with your swing and advising you how to improve.
When following golf instruction from a book, magazine, internet videos or DVDs, there is no IPO model. The instructor doesn’t have your “Input”. They haven’t seen your swing, they don’t know what your golfing problems are. They are producing an “Output” without receiving your “Input”.
What does this mean for you? It means you’re receiving instruction that is generic. It isn’t tailored to you, but meant for everyone. That kind of instruction is seldom helpful.
Secondly, unable to follow the IPO model, golf instructors writing books or producing videos have another problem. Without your input, they have to make lots of assumptions.
They assume you’re physically fit and able to perform the motions they’re asking you to; that you’re flexible, that you don’t have any noteworthy previous or current injuries, that you don’t have any physical disabilities, that you’re more or less symmetrical, that you don’t have any musculoskeletal issues. Unfortunately, that’s never the case - we all have issues that affect our ability to move our bodies and swing a golf club in a particular way.
It’s also assumed you understand the instruction being given. If I were to explain something to you in person and you didn’t understand, you could stop me, and I’d go into more detail or explain it in a different way until you got it. There’s no such option with a book or video. To circumnavigate this issue, most golf instruction in books and videos is kept simple.
The third issue is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. There is almost an infinite number of different ways you can move your body and the golf club to perform a precision golf stroke. My job as an instructor is to find the best swing for you, given everything that is unique about you - not to show you a precision golf stroke and help you emulate it. Unfortunately, when it comes to golf instruction through the written word and video, that’s about all you can do.
The final issue I have is a practical one. The golf swing is fantastically complex, because you, as a human being, are fantastically complex. Your body has hundreds of joints, which can be moved in all manner of different ways, to varying degrees, in all sorts of combinations. If I fail to describe exactly what your joints should be doing during the golf stroke, I’d be simplifying something very complicated. And as Mr Kelley points out in the above quote, that would leave my instruction “incomplete and ineffective”.
Given the above issues, how can I write an instruction book that is genuinely useful to you, a student of golf?
The following guide will be complete and effective in a way I guarantee you’ve never seen before. There will be no “missing and unknown factors or elements”. I’ll go into such detail there will be no room left for any doubt, confusion or guesswork on your part. I’ve managed to do this by narrowing the focus of this guide in two ways. Firstly, I will be explaining only the most important part of the golf stroke: the Basic Motion. Secondly, I will be demonstrating one way of performing it.
The Basic Motion is a concept developed by Mr Kelley in The Golfing Machine. It is a short “chipping” motion, moving the clubhead a few feet. So why is a chip shot the most important in golf? Because it contains the nucleus of every golf swing you’ll ever make. Those few feet through impact should be exactly the same no matter if you’re aiming to chip the ball a couple of yards with a wedge, or 300 yards with a driver. The alignments involved, the way in which you move your arms, the direction and orientation the golf club moves through impact, should be exactly the same for all types of shots.
Once you understand impact should be the same no matter what club you’re holding, or length of the swing, it makes sense to start with a short motion. Master that as best you can, and simply increase the length of the stroke from there, doing your best to not alter impact as your chipping motion becomes a full swing.
The Basic Motion I’ll be showing you is performed by moving the arms only. Given its short swing length, no rotation from the body is required. With this in mind, we’ll be concentrating on what Mr Kelley calls the “Power Package” - the arms and club. We’ll be looking at the anatomy and biomechanics of the shoulders, arms and hands. Then on to the different alignments involved in setting up our Power Package, before finally learning how we’ll be moving our arms to produce this Basic Motion.
By the end of this guide, you’ll understand exactly how your hands, arms and shoulders operate, and how to effectively use them to create the beginnings of a precision golf stroke.