This past weekend I hit the ball like I never have before–NO SLICES WHATSOEVER, and long and straight. Perhaps you want to address my feelings in one of your tips, perhaps you don’t. But in any event this is coming from someone who has been a puller of the ball for years, which as you know means I had the same faults as a slicer but I did let the club release, whereas most slicers don’t. Anyway, these are my various thoughts:
The most destructive photo in my swing sequence is the “power position,” where the golfer appears to have crunched his body together and down, with the club still cocked almost full up in the air. For years, I have tried to make this power position come true for me and would practice going from the top into this power position, and no further, which of course was not reflective of centrifugal force and relaxation at all. In fact, it requires a muscular move to try to “crunch” the body into this position.
Related to the above is the movement of the right arm, or more specifically, the right elbow. When attempting to make this strong move into the crunch position, the right elbow stays very bent, and in fact it “seems” like, in slow motion, that this is the only way to keep the club up in the air in that power position. As some pros, and perhaps you, have pointed out, a relaxed body and right arm will keep the club on the right path if you allow the right elbow to release, i.e. straighten, as it will, but don’t use your wrists. The relaxed wrist is what keeps the club cocked longer while the relaxed elbow is straightening naturally.
I know that this is hard to put into words, but your tips have further brought it home. I now make the shift you describe (sort of into a horse stance, for a fraction of a second), but when I do so I DO NOT try to crunch my upper body down when I do it. In fact, I now feel my entire relaxed body just going with the flow, and I allow my right arm to straighten as it will, without trying to make it straighten and without trying to keep it bent and jam it into my side. Then, when the hips do turn open fast, the club just whips around and there is little control you need to feel. It just happens.
If one wants to continue slicing, all they have to do is continue to try to muscle their way into the power position photos of the pros, thinking this will keep the club inside, which in slow motion it appears to do, but at speed the club will fly outside before meeting the ball.
Thanks for all your tips, Richard
Here are a couple things of note from Richard’s comments.
His mention of “straightening the right arm.” Although in a good player’s swing the right elbow does connect to the hip on the downswing, it is usually the result of another move, such as a shift of the hips. Amateurs will overdo this elbow move and jam it into their side. This can actually send the club over the top or leave the clubface open.
By straightening your right arm from the top of the swing, you are approaching the ball from the proper inside position, and you are also keeping your upper body quieter and allowing for your clubface to square up sooner on the downswing. These are very good anti-slice positions.
His mention of a “horse stance.” This brings a good image to mind. Richard is saying that to initiate the downswing he assumes the position you would have if you were riding a horse, whereby your left hip and knee would separate, or bow. This will create the weight shift back to the left side and allow for your arms to fall without having to make them fall. Imagine you are holding a range basket between your thighs. You would want it to fall to the ground when establishing this “horse-like” position.