By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Lately I’ve been feeling the whopping popularity of golf growing rapidly among people. Cable TV stations are competitively airing interesting golf games played by celebrities in assorted fashions to entertain golf-loving viewers.
We smile watching celebrities including senior TV stars, comedians and sports stars playing golf. Just like us, they struggle on the course, readily shooting bogeys and double-bogeys. We find ourselves sympathetic to them. Besides, we enjoy watching them crack carefree jokes.
Also we can see the world’s once-top-class players like Korea’s legendary golf icon Pak Se-ri and Kim Mi-hyun hit tee shots occasionally into hazards, having unwanted scores thrust on them.
Undoubtedly, after not playing golf for a long time, one cannot achieve a satisfying score. You can, however, play decently even after a long absence from the golf course if you have a swing that suits you and your individual physique.
To develop a swing that fits your build, you need to avoid merely copying another player’s swing. You can’t be him or her. You need your own natural swing, which will protect you from disasters like double- or triple-bogeys. A swing suitable for your nature and your body shape will not fail you even if you seldom play. Without a swing that fits and suits you, it is a tall order to play to your satisfaction.
It is my firm conviction that success and failure of your golf swing depends roughly 90 percent on your pre-swing preparations. They include grip, posture, alignment and ball position. Out of the remaining 10 percent, your takeaway and playing thought occupy five percent each.
When you grip the club, you need to relax your wrists, arms and shoulders before holding it lightly or softly. More importantly, you need to preserve the identical light grip pressure throughout the swing.
Stand over the ball in a comfortable posture so your address posture resembles your impact position. Extend your arms from the shoulders rather than let them hang underneath your shoulders to align your club on the same plane as the impact plane. This purges your swing of the multiple swing planes that are redundant and superfluous.
Done correctly, your left arm and club shaft will form a straight line, from the face-on view. The butt end of your grip will point toward the center of your spine, from the down-the-target-line view, with your left wrist a touch raised. Naturally, your right arm and club shaft will create a straight line, with your left arm resting above the right.
Equally important is aiming to hit a draw. A shot that curves to the left just a fraction at the end of the flight travels longer than fade or straight shot. To enjoy a beautiful draw every time, you need to aim your clubface slightly at the right of your target, aligning your body a touch more to the right.
Crucial to proper setup in golf is the ball position. Your ball position dictates your posture and body alignment. Play the ball off the tip of your left shoulder or off the logo on your shirt.
Swing your club back low to the ground along your shoulder line, or drag your club back away from the ball. Just brush the turf, turning your back to the target to finish your backswing. Hit the ball from inside to outside the target line, swinging the club fastest to the left past the ball. Also, don’t forget to keep your left arm pressed firmly against the chest throughout the swing. This allows your upper body to work in sync with your lower body, promoting solid contact.
The author was once a university professor and lives in a rural village near Seoul, teaching and studying golf.
Original posted at www.koreatimes.co.kr