Lesson 1 - The set-up - A Master Reference
We ask that you pay particular attention what we have to say about the set-up, and to study the diagrams carefully. Check your position in front of a mirror often, as it is extremely easy to move out of position, and bad habits are developed quickly. That is why players such as Nick Faldo have someone who understands the method to check him out regularly and it also why some top players drop away from contention so quickly. It is not that they have a bad swing it is just that they have moved out of position without knowing it.
The method you are going to read in these lessons is based on a free swing of the hands and arms. Just as you freely swing your arms from the shoulder as you walk down the fairway so you must learn to swing your hands and arms with equal freedom and fluency in your golf action.
You will be given several exercises throughout the various stages of this course which are designed to achieve this freedom of arm swing.
Therefore the first principle of the swing is ....
THE GOLF ACTION IS BASED UPON A FREE SWING OF THE HANDS AND ARMS INDEPENDENT OF THE BODY.
The body in fact has nothing to do with propelling (cause the movement of) the hands and arms at any time.
A correct swing is based upon a free swing of the hands and arms. A bad swing is based upon body propulsion - an action in which the hands and arms are set in motion by body movement. There is a profound difference between these two types of action. Try to understand this concept right away. The sooner you grasp its meaning the better for you.
The role of the body is to create conditions for a free unrestricted swing of the hands and arms. If the body is correctly positioned at address, and from then on is employed in the correct manner a free swing of the hands and arms can take place. Conversely, if the body is out of position at the start, and is subsequently misused in the swing, a free swing is utterly destroyed and the whole action is wrecked. In short the body moves in response to what the hands and arms are doing. It is never responsible for creating movement. It has a reactive rather than a creative role.
We show you that a free swing of the hands and arms and the correct sequence of body movements upon which the former depends, result in a movement in which a swing into and along the intended line of flight occurs automatically. The swing is so shaped that the club cannot go anywhere but squarely along the line of flight through impact.
Thus the Leslie King method does not consider curing hooks or slices. This is negative. Rather we will teach a swing movement in which you will be programmed to achieve a straight and powerful shot every time you swing.
Note the word swing. We will be stressing it again and again throughout this instruction. We insist that you 'swing' the club, not 'hit' the ball.
Firstly we ask that you start by swinging your arms backwards and forwards. This is the foundation of the swing. The body does not move when you do this. In the golf swing also the body doesn't move, rather it responds to the movement which has been started by the swing. This is a vital concept. You really must grasp this idea if you are ever to develop a reliable swing action. Please think about and understand it.
THE HANDS AND ARMS ALONE START THE CLUB-HEAD MOVING BACK FROM THE BALL. THE SHOULDERS THEN RESPOND TO THIS MOVEMENT BY TURNING, TO ALLOW THE HANDS AND ARM SWING TO PROGRESS TO THE TOP.
The purpose of the set-up is simply to arrange the body for this swing of the hands and arms. A bad set-up impedes the swing ..... or even renders it impossible. A good set-up anticipates the hand and arm swing. Indeed, it is dictated by the intention to swing the hands and arms. Always remember this when you are setting-up for a shot.
Essentially, the golf set-up is a fluid one. There is absolutely no tension or rigidity and the legs, especially, are flexed and supple.
There is no room in the golf set-up for a stiff legged stance. It should be avoided at all costs.
The swing of the hands and arms depends entirely upon a correct basic posture. The correct basic position is the key to success.
1. Stand normally, chest out, with the width between the feet equal to that of your shoulders.
2. Bend the body forward from the waist. This means that the back will be reasonably straight - definately not hunched or curved. We stress that you bend forward from the waist as if you were going to bow to someone. As you do so, allow the knees to flex as in the illustration.
3. If you have difficulty in achieving this bend forward from the waist, take a club, and with one hand at each end place the shaft horizontally across the top of your legs. Now bend forward, exerting a backward pressure on the club so that your seat is pushed back and out. This ensures a correct forward bend from the waist. Now stand erect again and assume the correct body position. Repeat this exercise often.
4. From the correct bending forward position, place the hands and arms in position as if you were holding a club. Note that the upper arms are NOT resting on the chest. Quite the contrary, they are held clear of the body so that they can swing freely, independent of the body correctly from the waist line. The knees of course, are flexed. This is vital.
If you "go with" the club as it swings back you will surely destroy the swing. In fact going with the club is "body propulsion".........exactly what we have warned you against!
Get your position right, and repeat this exercise often. It is your first experience of " freeing off" the hands and the arms from the body.
We have dealt with the correct body position in some detail because it is extremely important. Indeed it is the very foundation of your swing for two reasons.
1. It promotes and makes possible a free swing of the hands and arms.
2. It creates the conditions for correct use of the feet and legs in the swing which has a vital bearing on power and accuracy. For the moment we will say that a very upright position at address is a "weak" position of the body that inhibits correct use of the feet and legs in the swing.
The basic stance - foundation of the golf swing.
1. Bend forward from the waist.
2. The back must be straight with the head held up.
3. The rump should protrude to the rear.
4. The arms must be held clear of the chest.
5. The knees must be flexed.
Perfect this body position by using a full length mirror if necessary. It must be correct in every detail if you are to benefit from the lessons that follow.