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Primed for Success
Richard Simmons

In my career as a journalist, which has involved writing several instruction books with perhaps the game's most astute coach (David Leadbetter) and Britain's greatest-ever golfer (Nick Faldo), the single most notable piece of advice that I have had burned into my understanding of the swing is that it is, quite simply, a chain reaction that is programmed in the course of creating your set-up and then reinforced in the very first move away from the ball.

The shape and the rhythm of a good swing is, to all intents and purposes, 'plugged-in' by the time the hands reach waist high - that's always been the way Faldo has described it (over the page he shows you how to achieve it). With the hard work done, it's then down to the relative safety of winding and unwinding the body to generate the speed and the momentum.

'As ye waggle, so ye shall swing'

So goes the old Scottish saying, and taking on board Weir's example could well help you to get your arms, hands and wrists working correctly during the first all-important move away from the ball, with the result that the clubhead will begin swinging freely.

Displaying the good posture (knees slightly flexed, spine angle created at the hips) that allows the arms to hang comfortably, Weir primes his backswing with an extended waggle that sees the wrists hinge and the club swing up on a good plane. The hands and arms are 'soft' and you get a real sense here of the way in which Weir is simply swinging the weight of the clubhead.

This is exactly what he wants to feel when he makes his swing for real. And, in so doing, he gets the clubhead swinging very early - the momentum of which is enhanced as the body winds and unwinds to complete the backswing and through-swing. At impact, the ball simply gets in the way.

When you next get a chance to practise, see if Mike Weir's example doesn't help you make a better swing. If you do give it a try, keep in mind also the wisdom of the great Sam Snead, a double Masters champion, and one of the smoothest swingers ever. Snead always said he liked to hold the club as softly as he would cradle a small bird in his hands. Wonderful imagery that can help you to a better rhythm.


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