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Golf professionals swing completely differently than amateur golfers. This is mainly due to the fact that PGA golf instructors teach their students completely different movements. A reasonable explanation is hard to come up with, because the way playing professionals swing the club is not only easier, but also more effective, which leads to better results.

We first give an overview of the fundamental differences. Then we describe how the sequence of movements differs. However, a trend can also be seen in the professional golf swing. In this respect, we also show what the professional golf swing looked like in the past and how the new young superstars play golf. This is not a positive development. The perfect golf swing is the optimization of the old professional swing. The new swing technique used by professionals is moving further and further away from this ideal swing movement. A worrying development.

Play golf like a pro

Play like a pro, which golfer doesn't dream of it? But while under par rounds are the rule in the professional field, most amateurs struggle with the limits of 90 or even 100 strokes per round. Where long hitters reach the green with two strokes on a par 5, normal mortals need more of 5 or 6 strokes. In hardly any other sport are there such worlds between the performances of pros and amateurs. But what do the cracks do differently?

Before getting down to the technical issues, it should be noted that there is hardly a professional golfer who started playing golf at the age of over 20. Most of them had their first bat in their hands at pre-school age. That has decisive advantages. There are special children's clubs for smaller children, but these are usually too big in relation to their bodies. For an adult to play under the same conditions, their clubs would have to be twice as heavy and definitely 15 cm longer. That calls for a completely different swing technique. Only full physical effort helps. Swinging out of your arms is then not possible. This is how children learn it right from the start. You don't swing the club with your arms, you move your body and your arms follow automatically. Well, with the backswing you have to actively move your arms backwards and then upwards to keep the club above your head and parallel to the ground. But that's more of a stick placement. The actual backswing with the intention of hitting the golf ball takes place solely by moving the body towards the target. The arms are extremely passive and therefore rather relaxed. Golf professionals know this and have learned it from an early age.

However, the golf swing of the pros has changed a bit over the years. Unfortunately not for the better. It's about the way the body is used for the swing. The golf swing is much more athletic today than it was in the last century, especially in the first half. But just because people are more productive today and have modern training plans doesn't necessarily mean it is better. In any case, the modern professional golf swing is no longer a role model for amateur golfers, as it is based on body tension and speed. In the amateur field, the average age at entry is more likely over 40. The speed-based swing that the PGA teaches today would not be a good idea.

Golf is a very technical sport. It's more about a clean, always repeatable movement than about any performance limits. As the young professionals show, you can hit very far even with pure speed and less good technique. The only question is how long. The rapid strength will decrease and the body will not be able to withstand these enormous loads for long. Tiger Woods is the best example. Despite intense workouts in the gym, the modern golf swing has ruined his back in maybe ten years. But he also twisted his back on the swing with insane speed and force. You shouldn't do that. The only problem is that such errors in swing technique only become noticeable many years later. But then it will be too late, as the Tiger Woods case shows. Even in retrospect, he will no longer be able to hold his bad golf instructor accountable and claim damages.

The difference between professional and amateur

There is an essential difference between professional and amateur: The amateur swings with his arms, which swings the body with him in the backswing. The professional swings with the help of his body, which then pulls his arms along. However, this colossal difference already ensures the enormous differences in distance between professional and amateur.

The amateur can also be recognized by an underdeveloped wrist insert. For decades, professionals have been taught to produce as small an angle as possible between the shaft and forearm and only release it shortly before the moment of impact (late release). In the address position, the shaft and forearm are still fairly straight in line. At the end of the backswing, the shaft is above the head and parallel to the ground. In the case of less agile people, the arms will not be perpendicular to the ground. But that doesn't matter either, because then the angle is even smaller, which is helpful.

While a lot of amateurs resolve this angle immediately, even before their arms have even traveled a good distance, the professional holds the angle. When the professional moves his arms towards the ball by means of body rotation, the angle between the shaft and arm is maintained. Due to the inertia of the golf club, it becomes even smaller at the beginning. This will be seen in practically every golfer who has a reputation as a long hitter.

Both aspects of the golf swing deserve a closer look. Especially if you as an amateur want to adopt some of the technology of the pros.

step 1

The setup

Anyone who believes, after playing for a few years, will have achieved an optimal result for themselves, can be right on the wrong track. However, there is not much more to be said here than what has already been said in the "Conventional Golf Swing" section.

A stand that is too narrow is just as unfavorable as one that is too wide. With a narrow stance, you lose your balance too easily and that is extremely important. On the other hand, the too wide stance prevents a simple and quick rotation of the hip while simultaneously shifting weight towards the target.

Shoulder width is a good guide. With the longer clubs it can be a little more, with the short ones a little less. The foot facing away from the target should already be perpendicular to the target line in order to allow more body tension in the backswing. The foot that is inclined towards the target, on the other hand, can be moved a little towards the target with the tip of the foot. This slightly open position can make it easier for the player to reach the end position if the player is either a little less flexible or needs some "support" due to back or knee problems.

The base

The handle

The most important aspect of the golf swing is the grip. This may surprise some, but there must be no deviations from the optimum here. Anyone who tricks with the grip to compensate for mistakes in the swing will never play golf properly. Unfortunately, most PGA golf instructors allow way too much or worse, recommend different grip positions themselves in order to do something good for their student and of course themselves. Who doesn't like to create the image of a miracle healer and swing guru who lets the student play again after just one lesson? However, these successes are usually not permanent because the problem of the incorrect golf swing has not been resolved, but has been superimposed by a second error (poor grip).

The most common mistake is using too strong a grip to do something on the slice. To do this, the right hand is rotated clockwise around the shaft of the right-hander. So you can see the fingernails and not the knuckle of the index finger. In the downswing, when you move very quickly, your hand goes back to the neutral position. This then leads to the fact that the clubface is closed at the moment of impact.

At high speed it is almost impossible to keep the club twisted. Twisting wouldn't make any sense if it didn't affect the clubface. The poor grip may also affect the club head speed, but more on that later.

Don't let yourself be seduced by a bad grip!

By and large, golf instructors pay too little attention to the grip. Of course, one cannot know all of the PGA golf instructors. There are over 1,300 of them in Germany. The damning verdict on golf instructors in Germany is based on personal experience combined with the nonsense that some leading golf instructors make on school videos and on television. After all, we are only reproducing what many playing pros are now saying. The pros play very differently than golf instructors show their students. Anyone who has ever experienced a competition between a teaching and a playing pro knows who is more likely to be trusted. Fortunately, this question no longer arises for you, because you are already reading the right pages on the subject of golf swing.

Continuation with "sequence of movements"