Decoding One’s True Golf Swing DNA: Part Eight
Here I start considering any potential relationships between developing a limb-only golf grip and swing (the only way to decipher one’s true swing DNA for best developing all that follows) and any given grip/swing style one chooses to implement (if any). Nowhere else but in golf can one find so many different swinging “methods” being taught at any one time to help one try and “master” what is (athletically speaking) comparatively easy to learn to begin with. Some of these promoted golf swing techniques that I am vaguely aware of in recent times are, paraphrasing them, the Simple Golf Swing, the Natural Golf Swing, the Stack and Tilt Swing, the One Plane Golf Swing, the Two Plane Swing (is there a Three Plane Swing?), and there are imaginably many others that I have not even heard of.
I confess I have no idea what any of these swinging methods are about, so I can neither recommend nor discourage anyone from trying them. Whether one’s physical and/or mental make-up might result in one achieving success any sooner, better, and/or by how much in trying to employ any one of these styles over any other one is something every individual must reason out for oneself. I conclude I am one of the lucky ones to be able to so easily ignore the latest swing “secrets.” No matter how badly I sometimes swing, it has been a very long time since I have lost confidence in my swing to the point where I might consider altering something. (The frame of reference of what I physically and mentally needed to hit well against opponents in baseball competition relative to what I need to swing a golf club well remains very relevant respecting this level of confidence). Since I am discussing swing styles here, have you ever heard of the Chicken Leg Swing?
When contemplating swing styles, few will argue that some of the finest players the game of golf has ever known have had some of the most unorthodox golf swings imaginable, and most of those players would probably readily admit it. I have already made it quite clear that swinging at a stationary object generally allows for a much greater tolerance (or “variety” if you prefer) in one’s swinging fundamentals (and individualized characteristics within those fundamentals) than when one seeks to proficiently swing at a moving object. This conclusion is supported even within the swinging style of the largely undisputed best player of today, Tiger Woods. Do not get me wrong. Aside from issues at times like emotional anger outbursts and questionable language after some of his strokes (which could be exploited by superb players), I like Tiger much more than not. He is physically strong, mentally tough, intelligent, displays a picturesque smile and a good sense of humor in many of his endorsement commercials, handles the press well, has his own charitable foundation, and has proven countless times to have the heart and soul of a champion.
But while many routinely jump on Tiger’s bandwagon and call his golf swing terrific, and in extracting just the pure, physical movement(s) of his swing, I would be quite dishonest if I did not label Tiger’s swing as what it really looks like, which is a Chicken Leg Swing. Chicken legs is an expression I especially used a lot as a kid to describe competitors that have legs looking about as thin as a chicken’s and/or execute a performance in a manner that seems indicative of and/or consistent with not having prominent leg strength. In thinking that this would give me an advantage over them, I was often disheartened to a higher degree when losing to chicken-leggers (which by the way I very often did). As it turns out, many of them were/are indeed extremely talented individuals overall. Tiger’s essentially “straight left knee” at the finish of his swing might be the consummate finish of the Chicken Leg Golf Swing Style. Now in reality, Tiger may have extremely powerful legs. You may recall that I explained a while back that taking a stronger grip on a golf club will commonly manifest itself through a more active upper body and less active lower body when swinging, regardless of how much and where one’s physical strength is distributed throughout one’s body. Features of taking a strong grip on a club and also developing strong leg drive during the swing may require a golfer to develop one or more swing traits similar to that of Lee Trevino as an example, whose swing style incorporated both features fairly noticeably. More recently, I noted that using an interlocking style of golf grip (which Tiger does) also tends to promote more upper body rotation with the hands on up and diminished forward leg drive during swinging due to the hands usually being slightly farther apart compared with the more standard overlapping grip. There are always exceptions plus other elements to account for as well, as Jack Nicklaus also used an interlocking grip (but generally used a much weaker hand position than Tiger) and had about as powerful a leg drive movement when swinging as anyone that ever played golf.
I have mentioned before that I do not follow golf with the intensity I used to when I was trying to play the game for a living, so I cannot say with certainty whether or not Tiger’s recent left leg/knee problems were caused by his golf swing technique through the years. But even if his particular injury had nothing to do with his swinging style, such a golf swing style certainly can contribute to if not outright cause such problems. One does not need a medical degree to see that. I am not so sure that a golf swing critic or instructor is being very responsible if calling Tiger’s swing a “classic” or something similar, especially when it might lead to younger kids trying to exactly mimic that swing that can potentially result in such injury to them in the future.