What Makes a Great Golf Swing?
There are about as many ways of successfully swinging a golf club as there are professionals on tour, every player is unique, so how can there be one optimal swing method?
Of course we’re all unique, but (unless we have a major disability or injury), we all have broadly the same bones, joints, muscles and tendons. Our bodies are designed to work in the same way.
A common argument against the existence of an optimal swing is that we all walk differently, with different gaits based on our build, so surely we will all swing a golf club differently? It’s true that every individual has a unique gait pattern, but it’s also true that there is a most efficient gait pattern, and that physical therapists use an optimal model to address problems and help people develop a more efficient gait, resulting in decreased risk of injury, less energy expenditure, and improved muscular balance.
This becomes clear when you extrapolate up to sprinting — when you watch the Olympic 100 metres final, how many different styles of sprinting do you see? Sprinting isn’t golf, but it’s a complex athletic movement in which inefficiencies are clearly and quickly exposed, and where (unlike golf, until now) science has been used to develop an optimal model movement pattern that is used by all elite contestants to improve their performance.
Sports biomechanics tells us that there is only one way to move the human body, as it was designed to function, so as to most effectively swing a golf club in order to send the golf ball to the target powerfully, accurately and consistently.
Yes, we are all built slightly differently. Some of us have longer arms, smaller hands, broader chests etc. That’s why Golf Loopy does not talk much in terms of specific distances or angles. And when we do talk about positions, they are described relative to the relevant parts of your own body, whatever your shape and build.
Yes, you can play at the highest levels with an imperfect swing — every tour professional does! Tour professionals can do this because they’ve practised a huge amount, and they have extraordinary athletic ability — the only way that they can get away with their inefficient and extraneous movements is through great timing and coordination. Because of this, most of them are inconsistent and suffer from a myriad of golf-related injuries. Yes, they’re a lot more consistent than amateur golfers, but they can rarely maintain their best golf for a month, a year, a career… no matter how good they are and how much they practise. And for you to learn to swing exactly like any given professional would be ineffective, you’d need to learn not only the good movements, but also exactly the same compensations and manipulations which stitch it all together and cause that golfer problems.