Gary Player Golf Swing

Golf Sage - Saturday, January 14, 2012


Gary Player swings hard at the ball, and he makes very few mistakes during his golf swing:
  1. On the backswing, Gary’s left knee pops out away from his body, instead of working back toward his right knee.  This affects perfect balance at the top of the backswing, as your weight is likely transferred to the right heel and outside of the right foot instead of where it should be—the inside of the right foot.  Perfect balance is a key factor in the player’s ability to smoothly and quickly start the downswing back to the left side with a hard leg drive; thereby delivering maximum power at impact.  Gary may be sacrificing some distance on his shots because of his left knee movement on the backswing.
  2. As Gary’s backswing nears the top, his right elbow flies slightly away from his body, making it more difficult to get on the proper downswing plane, one that is flat enough.  When your right elbow flies away from the right side of your rib cage at the top of the backswing, there is a tendency to swing on too upright of a downswing plane, from outside-to-inside, cutting across the ball and causing a slice.  It is very difficult to consistently return the right elbow to your right side on the first half of the downswing to return to the proper, flatter downswing plane and deliver a square clubface to the ball at impact.
  3. At the top of the backswing, Gary swings the club shaft past parallel to the ground, making too long of a swing.  This makes it harder to control the club on the downswing and consistently deliver a square clubface at impact, producing straight shots.
Gary Player is a great champion because he executes many fundamentals flawlessly:
  1. At address, Gary stands with a good flex in his knees.  This is important because the legs are free from muscular tension, so he can drive his legs hard and smooth through impact and utilize all the power from the large muscles of the legs.
  2. At address, Gary’s right foot is set perfectly square to the target line.  This makes it easy to keep your weight on the inside of the right foot as the backswing proceeds. When you do this, you naturally keep your right leg in address position and your right knee pointed in throughout the backswing.  These two factors enable you to restrict the hip turn and maximize the shoulder turn, which creates maximum coil in the upper body at the top of the backswing, so you can deliver your maximum power at impact.  When your weight stays on the inside of your right foot, it is easy to stay balanced at the top of your backswing.  This makes it simple to smoothly start your downswing move with the legs and quickly start transferring your body weight back to the left side to generate maximum power at impact.
  3. Gary uses a forward press of his right knee to consistently trigger his golf swing. This ensures a consistent and rhythmic start to every backswing.
  4. Throughout the backswing, Gary keeps his right leg and right knee in perfect position.  The right leg stays at the same angle it has at address, and the right knee stays pointed in.  This gives him a very stable and balanced lower body and restricts his hip turn around to the right.  Thus, the upper body and shoulders can rotate around to the right and create maximum coil in the upper body.  The tighter this coil is stretched, the farther you can hit the ball when the coil unwinds through impact.
  5. Gary keeps his left arm straight throughout the backswing.  This produces the longest possible swing arc and allows the player to hit the ball as far as possible.
  6. Gary swings on a perfect backswing plane, with his shoulders and arms turning around his body, not traveling up in the air on too upright a backswing plane.  This flatter backswing plane makes it easy to keep your left arm against your chest and your right elbow tucked against the right side of your rib cage throughout the backswing.  These fundamental moves during the backswing lead to the proper position at the top of your backswing, making it easy to drive your legs through the ball and have your upper body unwind naturally on the downswing.  Gary’s arms and hands have great clockwise radial rotation during the backswing, then counter-clockwise radial rotation during the downswing, so they deliver a square clubface at impact.  This produces very straight shots.
  7. At the top of the backswing, Gary has restricted the hip turn because he kept his right leg in the address position and kept his right knee pointed in throughout the backswing.  To deliver your most powerful strike at impact, it is critical to combine a restricted hip turn with big shoulder turn, creating the strongest possible coil in your upper body, which your legs lead through impact.  
  8. Gary starts his downswing with a powerful, smooth, lateral leg drive.  This great weight transfer back to his left side starts this sequence of motion—legs lead shoulders, shoulders lead arms, arms lead hands, and hands lead the clubhead through impact.  This sequence of motion creates maximum leverage in your swing, so you can hit the ball as far as possible.
  9. On the downswing, Gary returns his flying right elbow back to the right side of the rib cage, which puts him on the proper downswing plane.  This allows him to swing from the inside and deliver a square clubface at impact instead of executing the downswing on too steep a plane, resulting in the clubhead traveling on a left-to-right path and causing a sliced ball flight.
  10. Gary preserves the angle of his cocked wrists until very late in the downswing.  The later in the downswing the wrists release, the more power your swing can deliver at impact.
  11. Gary’s right leg and right knee powerfully drive at the ball, pulled quickly by the left hip and left leg on the second half of the downswing.  This generates very powerful shots.
  12. Gary keeps his head down until well after impact.  This means his head remained still during impact, ensuring the downswing stayed on the proper plane and the clubhead stayed square at the moment of impact.  Keeping his head down until well after impact also allows Gary to extend his swing down the target line, ensuring a square clubface at impact and producing very accurate shots.

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