Golf swings come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, but the good ones have at least one thing in common, says PGA professional Danny Caverly: proper balance. Caverly spends his winters teaching in Orlando at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, and will spend his eighth summer at Willowbend as the Mashpee club’s director of instruction.
“During the course of my teaching summer, I have the opportunity to look at a variety of golf swings, all with their own unique look. My instruction goal is to work with what the student brings to the lesson tee. I do, however, try to get the starting position, top of backswing position, and finish looking natural and balanced. Let’s look at these three positions.
“Start From A Strong Place. For a swing to be balanced throughout the swinging motion, you have to start from a balanced position. A good stance is wide enough to handle swing speed, but not too wide where it inhibits hip and leg movement. Position the club in front of you, not awkwardly pushed out too far to your left hip (for righthanders) or dangling behind and to the right of the belly button. Very critical here: Keep your chin up. If you were to describe this position to someone, it could be summed up in one word: ready. Find a mirror and check your position with a 7-iron.
“Be Balanced At The Top. Stay with that 7-iron, get into a balanced setup with the weight evenly distributed between the balls of your feet and your heels, and get to the top of your backswing. You should feel balanced here: hands and arms away from your chest, club pointing parallel to the target. From this balanced position, you can move with freedom and free of compensating moves to the finish.
“The End Result Looks Natural. Some of my students have asked me the question, ‘Since the ball’s already gone, what difference does it make how I finish?’ To which I answer, ‘Two important items. When you finish in balance, it shows that your muscles are relaxed enough to be fluid in your swinging motion, and it also demonstrates that you have swung within a speed that you can handle.’ Picture in your mind the finishes of Rory McIlroy, Fred Couples, and Ernie Els. They are all great examples of a full and balanced finish.
“By working on balance from start to finish, your swing will become more fluid and natural, regardless of your personal swing shape. Find your mirror, swing to your finish, and see if you can be balanced at the end.”