“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (Philosopher, Essayist)
Sometimes it can be helpful to see things in a different way. To view something you’re very familiar with, with a slightly altered or skewed perspective.
We can after all become slaves to our daily routines, rituals and behaviours, and as such tend to see our world the same way over and over. Now this can be very useful for things like following traffic laws, which help you to stay safe on and off the road. However for some things it can be like a rope around our neck holding us back from releasing the potential of our golfswing.
In this article I want to shine a light for you on the most significant principle of every sound golf swing from amateur to tour pro; the double pendulum effect.
THE DOUBLE PENDULUM
Picture in your mind for a moment a simple pendulum motion. Imagine it swinging backwards and forwards with a consistent rhythm. Now add another pendulum to the bottom of it, one that has a flexible hinge so that one can swing independently of the other.
The left arm and golf club act like two pendulums in your golf swing. In the following photo you can see the first pendulum (The left arm) and the second pendulum (The golf club) and how one trails behind the other then catches up and moves in-line.
TIMING THE TWO STICKS
The key to hitting your golf shots longer and more consistently is to “time the two sticks” so that the golf club catches up to the left arm just after the golf ball has been struck.
Every golfer has the two sticks relationship, and the timing of these two sticks is different in every single golfer. Inconsistent ball strikers don’t time the two sticks so the golf club catches up at the right time. In most cases it’s much too early.
In other words impact occurs too soon!
Study the photo above of PGA tour golfer David Toms carefully and pay particular attention to the last two frames. Impact with the golf ball occurred in the second last frame when the golf club and left arm were almost in-line. The in-line condition actually occurred as the clubhead passed the left shoe.
This is really, really important!
Now go back to the start of the downswing and study the left arm to clubshaft relationship and notice how the shaft (green line) is accelerating gradually away from the red line? You can clearly notice that the green line and red line angle doesn’t change much until the red line is at about David Tom’s waist. It’s at about this point that the green line (golf shaft) starts to accelerate rapidly, opening the angle up ready for the collision with the golf ball.
This is the key principle to understand.
PULL DOWN PLANE
Now’s here’s how you can do it. Since a simple way to understand a force is to think of it as pulling or pushing something.
The fact that we want the golf shaft to trail or lag behind the left arm at least until your hands are waist high, it makes sense to pull the left arm/shaft angle down the plane line.
When you pull the two sticks down plane (towards the target) you delay the triggering of the second stick (clubshaft) until well into the downswing.
This is NOT what inconsistent amateur golfers do.
They tend to pull the sticks towards the golf ball which sets up impact much too early. The strong impulse to hit the golf ball is the culprit, and this impulse ruins any chance the golfer has of delaying the releasing of the clubshaft at the correct time.
If you tend to release the golf club too early, the next time you’re out on the practice range try to pull the left arm and clubshaft down plane rather than at the golf ball. It will feel different, possibly quite strange, but hang in there because its only by changing your perspective that you can unleash the potential energy of your golfswing.