Simplified Base Swing
are two objectives for the Simplified Base Swing:
needs to be simple itself.
can be used on all the shots (e.g. driver, fairway woods,
irons, pitching, bunker, and flop) with
little or no
Golf is hard as is; we don’t want to make it harder by having to
learn multiple swings for different
shots. By reusing the base swing on all shots, we
drastically reduce the things that need to be
learned and mastered.
There is only one prerequisite for the Simplified Base Swing:
you need to have some flexibility in the
core of your body. The swing shares many of the fundamentals
with one-plane and stack & tilt
swings. They are all core-dominated. To perform the
base swing properly you need to be able to turn
your shoulders independently from your hips by at least 30
degrees. Most people have no problem
doing it. With some stretching exercises, even those who
have stiff core muscles can.
Below, we will describe the essential elements of the Simplified
Base Swing. For aspects that we do
not mention, just follow the ‘conventional wisdom’. E.g.
there is no discussion on grip pressure. In
that case, you should follow the good advice of many teachers and
books—don’t grip it too tightly.
Use a strong grip. I.e. the “V’s” formed by the thumb and
the forefinger on each hand point more
toward the right shoulder (instead of the right ear) when viewed
2. Weight centered. I.e. evenly distributed between the two
inside edges of your feet.
3. Bend a bit more from the hip.
4. Connect both upper arms to your pecs.
pair of gloves is a good training aide. (See
picture on the right.) Note that the gloves are
not placed right underneath your armpits.
Instead, they are placed toward the front of
your chest so they can help keep your elbows
in front of you. This will also prevent the right
elbow from sliding behind you or flying up
during your backswing. If you do it correctly,
you will feel your triceps resting against your
Keep your head steady.
can swivel but don’t move off the ball.
2. Turn your shoulders steeply with a one-piece take away.
good way to gauge how steeply the shoulders need to turn is to
feel like you are pushing
shoulder as far away from the ball as possible (or left
shoulder toward the ball). Due to varying distances
between you and the ball with different
this will self regulate the amount of steepness. E.g.
with a driver, you stand farther
the ball and your shoulders will turn less steeply as with a
wedge where you are much
closer to the ball.
3. Push your right thumb pad against your left thumb with moderate
pressure (Homer Kelly’s #1
helps you cock your wrist correctly and keep the club on
plane. It also has a whole host
of benefits that
we will discuss later.
4. At the top of your backswing, your weight should still be
centered or forward toward the target
instead of shifted to the back foot. Your spine from a face
on view should be vertical or slightly
leaning away from the target (but not toward the target).
5. Maintain the arm to chest connections throughout and make sure
the R elbow stays in front of your
body instead of sliding behind it.
Keep your head steady as you transfer more weight to the front
foot and swing the club down.
2. Continue to maintain the arm connections and the #1 Pressure
Point until after impact.
right arm to chest connection is especially important in
maintaining the right and
distance between the clubhead and your body at impact.
If you heel or shank a
shot, check and
make sure your right upper arm does not detach from your pec
Your arms and hands should feel relaxed and rather passive.
not try to flip your hands. Your body will swing your
arms and hands around and release
them without any
conscious hand manipulation. Some people call this “body
contrast to a
“hand release”. The stronger grip ensures a squared
clubface at impact. If you
actively flip your
hands, the club face will be closed at impact and send the
ball left (for a right
Since your subconscious doesn’t want that, it will
naturally prevent a violent
flip. As UST
4 stated, pushing the concerns of the swing elements to
the swing simpler
to execute. Here, we set up with the strong grip and let
should be balanced and can hold the finish for a few seconds if
you want to. If you have trouble
doing so, you are likely swinging too hard. There is a big
difference between swinging hard and
hitting it long. A relaxed and smooth swing will generate
more distance than a tense and jerky one.
gives you lag in your swing.
getting into your impact position
and then apply the
The clubhead will
want to lag behind
your hands and the
shaft leans forward.
This lag promotes
more solid impact
and longer distance. It
will also come
in handy when you want to
hit a knock
down shot into the wind since
slow-motion video below shows the Simplified Base Swing with a
are quite a few simplifications in this Base Swing. Let’s
take a look at their effects.
1. The head doesn’t move off the ball during backswing
you don’t have to move it back during the down swing
2. Weight doesn’t
shift to the right foot
of rocking back and forth, you are only moving weight toward a
3. Right arm
doesn’t detach from the core and the right elbow doesn’t fly up or
slide behind you
forward toward the
target. If you shift the weight to the right foot, you
need to reverse the
transfer a larger amount of weight toward the left. The
timing and tempo of such
is harder to
master and maintain.
weight to the right also prevents the
problem that plagues many amateurs when they transfer their
weight all the way
to the outside
edge of the right foot, which results in the hip sticking out
away from the target
and the spine
toward the target. Here the UST 4 is at work again.
By getting the weight
your subconscious will maintain the correct spinal angle.
you let your right arm detach, you will have to wait until it
reconnects with your core (so the
4. As shown in the
diagram below, by not flipping the hands through impact, the body
arms and the club
are into the slot) before you can turn your body hard into the
timing of it could
be quite tricky and is a significant source of inconsistency.
If you miss-time it
by a little and
start turning the shoulders before the hands
and the club
drop into the slot
can easily get a big slice. If you let the club drop too
low before you start
you will be coming
down from the inside and will
hook the ball if
you flip your hands to square
In contrast, by
keeping the right arm connected with the core and the right
elbow in front
of you, the Simplified
Base Swing keeps your
club in the slot all the time. You
don’t need to
worry about timing the
drop of the hands. One less thing to learn and one less
thing that could
you a more generous zone for impact. If you catch the ball a
little early before the club face squares
up (or a little late), the ball won’t spray as much.
The #1 Pressure Point is a “Mega Swing Thought” that we discussed
in UST 2 (The fewer the
concerns of a swing, the simpler it gets). It has the
keeps the club on plane during the backswing (prevents the
clubhead from going too much
keeps your right arm connected and your right elbow in front
of you. Try flying or sliding your
behind you while applying the pressure. It’s much
harder, isn’t it?
pressure also extends the left arm straight. It
creates width for your swing that promotes
a flat left wrist at
the top which is what you want (unless you are fighting a
encourages more shoulder turn.
pressure inhibits the right arm from lifting the club up.
When you can’t use your right
arm to pull the
club up, the only way to get the club to the top of the
backswing is to turn your
Go to the top of your swing, pause, and then apply the #1
Pressure Point. You will
feel the right
shoulder getting pushed and the
getting pulled clockwise. This
you turn the
shoulders just a bit more.
Finally, the same Base Swing can be used for all the clubs from
your lob wedge to the driver. See
the slow-motion driver videos below for an example on a long club.
is not better unless it’s consistent
you are an inquisitive golfer, you will no doubt find other more
complicated ways to hit the ball
farther. For example, given the same amount of shoulder
turn, lifting your right elbow so your right
arm has more room to swing can add additional thrust to the club
and generate higher club head
speed. However, you must ask whether or not you can do it
consistently with limited practice time. If
you can’t, you might hit one 7-iron 160 yards and two of them 140.
Your average distance will be
shorter than the simple Base Swing that makes consistent sweet
spot contact and sends the ball
150 yards every time. You will also score better with the
tighter distance dispersion. Psychology
comes into play as well. When you can consistently hit the
sweet spot, you mind is more confident
and you will be much more relaxed. We all know that relaxed
muscles can generate more clubhead
speed and distance. Finally, if lifting your right arm
reduces your shoulder turn, you will end up losing
length instead of gaining. Due to all the reasons above, for
most amateurs the simplest swing is
also their longest swing.
will be times that you need to control the trajectory of the shot.
Instead of introducing
manipulations that you do DURING the swing, we simplified it by
moving all the concerns to before
the actual swing. Remember the advice from UST 3: Don’t put
off till the actual swing what you can
do before it. Here is how to create the shot shapes you
hit the ball low: move it back away from the target at your
address. Your subconscious will
do the right
thing for you (UST 4).
hit the ball high: move it forward toward the target.
hit a draw: Address the ball with a closed stance; rotate
your grip (not your hands) so that
the club face is
facing the target (i.e. closed). Swing along your
stance line (i.e. inside out
from a target
hit a fade: Set up opposite to the above and swing
along your opened stance.
discussed all the basics of the Simplified Base Swing above.
However, there are still many
other factors that need to be right to produce a good shot.
They are required no matter what swing
you use. For example, good posture, good tempo, balance,
concentration, and visualization. If you
follow the Base Swing faithfully but still are not able to hit
them flush. Don’t despair. We know that
per UST 1: A good swing requires many many things to be right.
It will turn bad if only a few of them
go wrong. You are likely to have a lot of it right and
all you need is to fix one or two things that are not
unique to the Simplified Base Swing. Have a pro look at your
swing or video yourself and compare
your swing with a tour player’s. It won’t be long before you
find the culprit.
Fixing a golf swing is like debugging a computer program. It
takes sharp eyes, sound logic, a
systematic approach, and perseverance. All else being
equal, a simple program is much easier to
debug than a complicated program. Since you started with the
simplest swing possible, your fixes
should come much easier as well. Good luck and have fun.