What are the true Fundamentals of golf…Really?
Let's talk fundamentals…whether you're using a one plane swing or two plane swing, traditional golf instruction teaches and emphasizes the key fundamentals as the foundation of the golf swing. These are grip, stance, ball position, takeaway, club path, wrist hinge, the top position, downswing positions, weight shift, follow through, and finish.
However, if these are the key fundamentals of a golf swing, then why do we see so many variations of each of these so-called "fundamentals" among the best players in the world? If you visit any PGA Tournament range, you will see countless ways to grip a club, and different stances, ball positions, takeaways, top positions, etc...of the world's best golfers!
All you have to do is observe and compare the difference in the traditional fundamentals of the swings of Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Bryson Dechambeau, and Matthew Wolff. You would quickly see that they look nothing alike in these so-called fundamentals. Each player has a different grip, stance, takeaway, club path, wrist hinge, top position, downswing position, weight shift, and on and on…
This fact has always bothered me and influenced my golf game for most of my life. While grip, stance, ball position, takeaway, swing positions, etc., are essential and can affect your shots, they certainly aren't fundamentals for us all to adapt in our swings. I spent a lot of time trying to copy PGA Tour players' swings. Often I was told how pretty my swing was, but it didn't help my game! It was then I discovered it was impossible to copy another person's golf swing, and trying to do it was a colossal waste of time!
I've played with many partners over the years who constantly complain about not being consistent. At times It seems to be their only goal while, like me, they are entirely unclear about how to get there. The search was fleeting at best, and more and more, the frustration built. The task was just too formidable. The solution was too vague.... So, I began to search for another answer to the ambiguous goal of being more consistent. It started with Scott Sackett, Adam Young and Kirk Junge....When I sought solid, pure impact, my consistency magically improved!
Scott Sackett, in his golf article, Impact - the moment of truth, writes:
"The greatest feeling in golf is a dead-solid, perfect impact. The moment of truth: impact! To get that feeling time after time, there is a list of positive things that must happen. If your swing brings the club to impact with solid positioning, all the necessities for a perfect golf shot are there: correct club head speed, correct path, correct plane, correct face position, the club face centered on the ball, and a flat left wrist. These are not as elusive as you might think."
I found The One Plane Swing and it provided the best opportunity for Sackett's "greatest feeling in golf, pure impact." The biggest goal during my golf rounds today, is to make solid impact. Even when the shot outcome isn't what I desire, as long as I'm making solid, pure contact, I can deal with the results! There are always a couple of shots each round where I hit it pure, yet the ball ends up short-sided, in a bunker, or the rough. Bad bounces happen, and chances are each of us will have a couple each round. However, I discovered that my consistency magically improved when I sought solid, pure impact!
So the question then is: What are the real fundamentals of the golf swing? What is the common characteristic among the best players in the world that all golfers should try and achieve? Well, it's simple to observe! It's IMPACT, IMPACT, IMPACT!
It is revealing when one looks at the impact of the best players in the world. While all the so-called fundamentals differed greatly between them, the one true common characteristic of their swings is impact. They all are very similar at IMPACT!
Woods, Furyk, Dechambeau, Wolff, and virtually every great player, reach impact with the club shaft on a straight line from the club head to the right elbow! How they all get there varies greatly, but the one true fundamental of IMPACT is evident!
Impact happens in a blink of an eye, and yet it determines the direction, speed, and quality of the golf shot...It's the most important part of the golf swing!
Here is Adam Young, renowned golf instructor:
"While technique and task are both important and both influence each other - it's ultimately what the club does at impact that creates the results! Making a change to the swing mechanics will ONLY affect the result IF it changes something at impact, period. Working directly on the club-ball impact can achieve a DIRECT change, while at the same time the movement patterns of the swing are changing to correct the new impact."
"It's quite simple really….a reverse engineering of the swing. The industry has done the "change the swing to change the impact" model forever..and many amateurs are disappointed with the results. The "change impact in order to change the swing" model is, in my extensive experience, a much better, quicker, and longer-lasting method to get results!"
So, in my search for real golf swing fundamentals, I began to study the impact of the club face to the ball… It's the MOMENT OF TRUTH in the golf swing! Kirk Junge has known this for many years. His Setup4impact teaching emphasizes what the swing does at impact and applies it to his One Plane Swing instruction. With his help, I began understanding what was important in the golf swing, especially at impact, by utilizing his teaching.
I have received professional instruction over the years focused primarily on "positional" teaching. That is, the focus was on specific positions in the golf swing, from setup, to take away, to the top, to transition, to lag, to contact, to follow through. Most of this positional instruction was about everything in the swing except IMPACT! I did improve (Handicap went to a 5.0), but looking back, it was because my short game skills improved as I played more, NOT because of hitting certain positions in my full swing. I spent years playing this way.…always trying to hit the key positions...some days were good, but there were way too many bad ones that made me feel frustrated and inconsistent.
Enter the One Plane Swing!
I'm not sure when I stopped worrying about positions in my golf swing. It just happened naturally because my mind knew it wasn't helping me strike the ball better. I wanted to become a better ball striker, and my refocused attention on improving my IMPACT with the One Plane Swing provided the way! Quickly everything changed. I could hear it...feel it...that "solid strike," as the caddies in Scotland tell you when you hit a pure shot!
I've found the One Plane Swing to be the simplest method for better impact : I setup with how I envision I am at impact. Then I move back through the swing on one plane and return to impact, and on through the finish on that same plane... So, the focus is always on solid impact!! Ken Martin, PGA instructor and long-time One Plane Swing advocate, says it best.
"The intent on pure impact is the source of pure impact. In order to get good at impact one must focus on impact; one must be Impact Aware. And herein lies a paradigm shift: It's not swing style that produces impact, it's impact that produces swing style. How one produces pure impact is not as important as the result of pure impact. How becomes your style and your style is just that - Your Style!"
As a One Plane Golfer, I've chosen my style as the One Plane Swing! Like Ken Martin said, by focusing on making solid impact...being impact aware, led me to the One Plane Swing. I've found it's the best way of setting my "intent on pure contact". It's become my style! I can't express to you how significant this discovery was for me. Consistency in golf comes from making quality, solid IMPACT of the golf ball first, then the ground, with the hands leading the club head. It's the one true fundamental and the moment of truth in every golfer's swing.
Dr. Chris Nix
**For more information on the One Plane Swing the One Plane Golfer eBook is available for sale on the homepage of this site. It's a beautifully illustrated description of the One Plane Swing and how to apply it to your game.