I have started collecting “older” golf instruction books. Really just for fun. One I am re-reading now is How to Play Golf, by Sam Snead with a copyright of 1946.
It’s really fascinating to read great players view of the golf swing. The Snead book, at times, can be a little dry. But you never know when (or where) you might get that little gem that can propel your golf game to a new level.
What is interesting (especially in the excerpt below) is the emphasis on eliminating tension in the golf swing – a true hallmark of that silky smooth swing of Sam Snead.
I am going to be highlighting excerpts from other not widely known golf books as on ongoing type of post. I hope you enjoy them. Please comment and let me know what you think.
Sam Snead on “The Head” from How to Play Golf.
The head is often refer to as the anchor of the golf swing. It keeps the clubhead on the correct path.
You may argue that you have seen expert golfers move the head during the swing, and you are partially right. Fast action pictures have shown that good shotmakers do move the head – but it is a slight movement, and it is a good idea to keep the head as close to the position as possible all during the stroke. It is one way of acquiring a grooved swing.
Think of the head as the axle of a wheel, the club as a spoke, and the clubhead as part of the rim. Any movement of the axle transferred to the rim through the spoke. If the head, or axle, is lifted, control of the clubhead, or rim, is lost. Experts keep the head in the same position for some time after the ball is struck.
The head should not be held so rigidly that tension welds it to the top of the body. This is as bad a condition as moving the head during the swing. If the head is completely isolated from the rest of the body through rigidity, turning of the shoulders cannot take place in a proper swing.
When tension appears, and the head begins to pop up before the ball is struck, attempt to execute the stroke with more ease, starting the swing more slowly. Check the grip, tension might have started there.
I think this is something we can all learn from. First, remain steady throughout the swing as Sam Snead recommends. This has a lot to do with having solid core strength (we have lots of articles on core strength on GolfDash, please check them out) but try to think in terms of visual images.
For example, think of your swing as if your as solid (not tense) and grounded as the Eiffel Tower. I always thought that was a good one to reinforce the idea of being anchored and compact.
Second, you have to be aware of tension in your body. It’s not easy if you don’t have a concept of “tense” and “relaxed.” There are many, many relaxation programs out there. We have a number of good ones in our “21 Ways . . .” listed below.
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