Jim Suttie: The two motions of the golf swing

A great deal of golf instruction is going on this summer. Some of the people approaching instruction and playing seem to be making the game of golf more difficult than it should be.

First, try and relax. Tension is one of biggest causes of problems with the golf swing. Arms should hang loose, and hands should grip the club at about a 2 on a scale of 1-10. Grip the club as you would a fork when eating.

Next, remember to keep your breathing easy. Breathe in your nose and let it out through the mouth. Slow your swing down. Most of us swing way too hard and fast.

When practicing on the range, every golfer must make two motions when he or she swings a club.

These two motions are:

• 1. A turn of the body both to the right and to the left.

• 2. A swinging of the arms up and down.

The obvious reason for this is the very position of the golf ball. Because the ball is to the side of us, we can call the golf swing motion a "side of the line" hitting game. The turn of the body to the right on the backswing takes care of the inward motion of the club. But because the ball is also on the ground, we must make an up-and-down motion with the hands, wrists and arms.

The downswing is also a turn to the left and a swinging of the arms downward. So, let the position of the ball dictate the two motions needed in your golf swing.

Essentially, there are two turns in a good golf swing: a turn back and a turn through. The turn back loads the weight to the right side while, at the same time, gets the club in loaded position at the top of the swing. You don't try to shift the weight; the turn creates the weight shift.

Hope you are playing a lot of golf this summer.


Dr. Jim Suttie, the 2000 PGA Teacher of the Year, is director of instruction at The Club at TwinEagles in North Naples and at Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. His new book is "Your Perfect Swing" and is available at bookstores and at amazon.com. He also is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and rated No. 15 by Golf Digest. Suttie coaches the FGCU men's golf team. E-mail him at jmsuttie@aol.com

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