Bobby Jones- a hero to golfers and even non-golfers will always be regarded as one of history's greatest players. His record in national Opens is unprecedented- even as an amateur player.
His achievement of winning the "Impregnable Quadrilateral" or what we refer to now as "The Grand Slam" in 1930 by winning all of golf's Major Championships in the one calendar year may never be repeated again. Amazingly Jones retired right after achieving this feat to focus on his law business.
He didn't however truly leave golf- just the playing aspect of it- as a few years after retiring from competitive play Jones brought to the world stage The Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters- now one of the four Majors that golf's elite chase every year in April in Georgia.
Bobby Jones was also a very knowledgeable exponent of the golf swing and released of series of lesson videos -using several Hollywood actors as props- .. These videos are well worth a look or at least a go over if you have seen them before- as there is some priceless information in those videos- such as the one attached here that I show on my YouTube channel.
Jones also had a penchant for the written word- and this text taken from his book Bobby Jones On Golf- again gives us amazing insight into one of the most problematic areas of the golf swing for the average golfer- The Transition and Downswing
"Now there are a number of important things to be watched in the position at the top of the swing. It is possible to write many pages on this phase of the stroke. But the one feature I have in mind is the one the duffer ignores entirely and yet it has everything to do with the success of the stroke.
At the top of the swing the shaft of the club, which for the long shots is in a position approximately in a horizontal plane- should at the same time be pointing to a spot slightly right of the object the player is aiming at. This will be found in uniform practice among the best professional golfers. It is the result of swinging the club back to the top. rather than lifting it as so many poor golfers want to do.
Now from this position it is important in what manner the club is started downward. The necessary elevation of the hands at the top of the swing draws the right elbow away from the ribs, where it should have remained until the last possible moment. the elbow is not, however, lifted into the air aimlessly; the right forearm should point obliquely, almost vertically, toward the ground and be drawn away from the side only by as much may be necessary to accommodate a full swing of the club.
Many players advance this far with fair success; but the next step usually trips them. The almost irressistable impulse now, when all is in readiness to wallop the ball, is to allow the right hand too much freedom. Immediately that unruly member, which has to be watched continually, whips the club over the right shoulder toward the front of the player, whence it must approach the ball from outside the line of flight. Whether a smothered hook or a bad slice results depends only upon whether the club face is shut or open when it reaches the ball. If anything like a decent shot results it may be ascribed as pure accident.
The proper start down from the top position I have described is in the direction in which the grip end of the shaft is pointing. Since the head end of the club is pointing slightly to the right of the objective aimed at, the grip end will be directed away from the vertical plane in which the ball rests. In other words, instead of immediately beginning to approach the line of flight as the downward stroke commences, the club head should be made at first to drop away from the line.
The importance of this movement cannot be overestimated. the right elbow then will quickly drop back into place close to the side of the body and the player is in a compact position ready to deliver a blow squarely to the back of the ball. there is NO possibility of cutting across the shot.
The cock of the wrists is then preserved during the early stages of the downstroke, while the head of the club drops behind the player so that it can approach from the inside."
This is a brilliant summary of the transition of the golf swing and how it enables us to get a more consistent strike and straighter shots. Just about everything I discuss about this phase of the swing in my own instruction and thoughts- Jones compliments right here in this passage.
As you will see from the photos attached his backswing is nowhere on plane- he takes the club back in a fashion that enables him the greatest chance to deliver the club from the proper path and angle.
Jones heavily discusses that the clubhead we allowed to fall behind the golfer and actually point over/across the ball or target line on the transition/downswing phase.
Jones also discusses the logic of creating space on the backswing via the right elbow and arm so it gives the golfer the opportunity to load back down- with the shaft on a lower plane and this helps put the right elbow back into the body for the hit that is upcoming.
For more information about how you can achieve these parts of the swing that may be a puzzle to you- sign up now for my Online Drill Series... or my Online Lesson... or better still come see me in person for a Private Lesson. All details and availability are stored under the LESSONS tabs on my website. I look forward to helping you become a better golfer.
Bradley Hughes Golf- Where Experience Counts
What is the most important aspect of striking the ball straight and with power?
This is the point in the swing where the ball is struck.
Where the clubface is pointing - combined with the path of the clubhead and the angle of descent of the clubhead and the speed of the clubhead at the moment will very much determine the outcome of the shot being played.
There are many differing thoughts about impact and especially how to achieve it. Let me show you what I know and how I believe through my own experiences it releates to 100% of the best players who ever played the game.
The golf ball can ONLY do what it is told to do - so the better we get to impact the greater the chance of a successful result.
Quality of strike is the number one goal initially for a golfer. IF we can strike the ball solidly time and time again then we open up a full playing field of improvements that will eventually work into our game- being but not limited to direction of the shot and distance of the shot and importantly hitting each club the same distance each time we swing it.
Quality of the strike is ALL about releasing the club onto the ball in a manner that produces a square face and a descending blow. Lowpoint of where the club strikes the ball and THEN strikes the ground fractionally after is paramount and the greatest goal to strive for when your game goes south.
So how do we learn to hit the ball first and hit the ground second without just throwing the hands and clubhead down at the ball and removing the body from the equation in that effort to strike?
Well its a tough one because we honestly cannot truly think of doing something in a golf swing. We all know this to be true when we film ourselves swinging the club and hitting the ball. We try to do something different in our heads but when we watch the playback of the swing itself it looks no different!!! Why??? It is because to make the swing change we really need to alter the muscles - or golf muscles as I call them- that we use. Then and only then will the swing begin to alter and that step in the right direction will be visible. Our brain wont allow our body to do what it cannot handle. However once the particular muscles have been worked to a degree- then the brain will accept and allow and we will see the changes we are so desperately trying to enforce.
Here are two quick videos I made relating to the drill work I get my students to work on. They both work on strengths and range of motion of the "golf muscles" to provide a late hit and a continuation of the body.
The first video- or drill if you may call it that- relates to impact. It may not be what you think or feel happens but this is the ultimate way to guarantee flush solid strikes time and time again.
In reality the left arm and shaft WANT to form a straight line so the later that occurs the more the strike is improved. Thats the downward strike without even having to try do it.
Its why we work on the strength and range of motion in particularly the wrists and forearms early on- so the left arm and shaft line up and hit as the right arm is providing force and speed. When we build up the muscles belonging to this occurrence then we dont even have to try do it or think about it- it happens on its own.
And not only does this guarantee a compressed strike of impact it sets us up to then be able to use the rest of the body into the follow through to increase the compression put on the ball at impact as a result of still having speed through and beyond the strike until we cant go any farther or faster.
IF we are keeping the club moving faster beyond the strike- IF we are keeping the clubface more neutral to us throught the strike by not distorting the clubface by flicking it at ball or leaning the hands at the strike then for all intent and purposes that club is going to be squarer and be moving faster AT impact. We are letting the ball get in the way of what is coming rather than trying to make impact an event. Impact is a time in place that happens... it is NOT a goal.
These two things discussed in these videos alone are what have brought about the biggest change to my students games.
Once they get the workings and strengths of the two things shown here then they ALL understand the backswing is to create space- and then that space becomes a load down... then from working the main components in the videos the HIT HAPPENS on its own. Combine that with the understanding that the hit has to continue well beyond impact - because everyone is ball bound and have too much focus on the ball itself- then their handicaps and quality of game go through the roof.
Want to learn more? Come see me in person at Holly Tree CC near Greenville SC or take advantage of my online lessons and drill series if logistics dont allow you to visit me for a lesson.
Bradley Hughes Golf- Where Experience Counts