The Pyramid Of Learning (P10)
SPEED & PRESSURE
Imagine a boxer swinging wildly at his opponent with no balance or focus. He will be using a massive amount of effort with little effect. The same principle applies equally to the golf swing and I see a lot of waste denergy particularly in the swings of higher handicap golfers because they are unable, through poor technique, to apply the necessary pressure to the ball to achieve good shots.
Most golfers would equate increased distance with increased club head speed. In other words they would try to hit the ball further by swinging the club faster.
It is not exclusively clubhead speed which generates distance, but a combination of clubhead speed and pressure applied to the ball. Increased clubhead speed will only influence the length of the shotif the speed of the club is transferred to the ball efficiently. The most efficient way of transferring energy from the clubhead to the ball ( i.e. pressure) is to ensure dead centre hits, with the clubhead hitting the ball on its sweet spot. Study the sequence of Henrik Stenson ( over the page) and see if you can identify with all of the following points regarding speed and pressure through impact:
- Right knee fires ‘parallel left’ of target applying pressure
- The left side has cleared
- Back of left hand leads the clubhead
- Pressure is concentrated on the equator of the ball
- Maintain posture and balance through impact
- Hands feel low through impact
- Right side applies pressure
ANGLE OF ATTACK
A long with club face and swing path, the angle of attack is amajor factor on the flight of the ball.
- If the angle of attack is too steep ( redl ine) the strike will tend to beheavy and impart too much spin on the ball resulting in a high weak flight.
- If the angle of attack is too shallow ( yellow line) the strike will tend to be off the bottom of the club face resulting in a low weak flight.
- The correct angle of attack ( green line) will result in the desired penetrating flight with minimal side spin.
- Poor angle of attack can be greatly influenced by poor balance and lack of constants as referred to in Level2 ( see balance).
- With short erirons as tee per angle of attack is needed to produce a descending blow.
- With longer irons and woods, feel as if you are sweeping the ball away delivering a shallow angle of attack ( exactly as Henrik describes in his sequence).
FREE WHEEL AND ‘COLLECT’ THE BALL
What I feel with the driver swing, by Henrik Stenson
Q. You are one of the world’s longest and straightest drivers of the ball. What is it you think about when you stand on a tee with a driver in your hands?
To hit it long and straight!
Q. Fair enough. But are there any specific swing thoughts you have, any last-minute reminders that you rely on to make your best swing?
No, seriously, that’s what I think about. I make sure that I get a really good fix on my target out there in the distance, and then I picture the flight of the ball.
Q. With out giving away any classified secrets, any swing thoughts that you feel might help club golfers
to achieve a better strike and get more distance with the driver?
The swing thoughts that I have are the ones I have in genera when I play, or for that week. They don’t really change much between clubs. It’s more you want to hit the ball in the right place, and to hit it long and straight you need to hit the equator of the ball just as your swing shallows out at the bottom of the arc so that you create the right spin and enjoy the maximum efficiency in terms of transferring clubhead speed into ball-speed and distance ( for which you also need the right driver and the right loft, so see your proand get properly fitted). Making sure that you are correctly set-up, with the ball position forward in the stance ( as you see here, I play it just inside my left heel) is a simple but very important part of getting ready to hit a good drive.
Q. What shape of shot do you see?
When I’m driving it well, I put very little side-spinon the ball. It’s pretty much as traight ball flight, and with afairly high trajectory. If anything, I have changed over the last couple of years from a fade to as light draw.
Q. At the very start of your swing, you appear to have a very definite pre-set of the club face. What is that designed to a chieve?
That’s the one part of my swing I get a lot of questions about. It’s all about getting my left arm/left wrist ‘pre-set’, which is a deliberate move that helps me to get my hands, arms and the club working inplane.
Q. Is there any particular feeling that you have through impact that helps to promote the trajectory
you are looking for?
Obviously there are natural differences in your posture and the way you are set-up to the ball, given the characteristics of the golf club. A driver is a lot longer and sits flatter than a9-iron. You accommodate those difference sasbest you can, making sure that you maintain a tall posture, your weight slightly favouring your right side ( don’t over-do that). I don’t feel that my swing is any different, necessarily, but the strikeI am looking for isobviously different. The best way to describe it is that I am looking to sweep the ball off the tee–not hit ‘at’it, which I think is atrapthat many amateurs fall into.
Q. Would that be one of the most harmful faults you see in pro-ampartners and amateurs in general?
Definitely one of them. The problem is, if you place too much emphasison the strike, and hitting the ball, you can end up thinking the swing finishes there, when what you are looking for is a motion of gradua lacceleration all the way through impact and on to a full, committed finish. The swing should be one smooth continuous motion, which you have more chance of achieving if you think of collecting the ball off the tee. Just let it get in the way of the clubhead and sweep it.
Q. What’s your average carry in good conditions?
When I’m striking it really good my carry is close to 300 yards through the air.
Q. Thanks for that, Henrik. Now if you’d just go and fetch those balls, we’ll see you back at the club house.