It’s all here: The crossover of the hands, wrists and forearms through and beyond impact is one of the movements (perhaps the key movement) that defines good ball-strikers and their mechanics.
The upper arms are passive as the right hand and forearm ‘snap’ over the left a sure sign of a full, committed release of energy through the ball.
The great Henry Cotton always stressed the importance of ‘educating the hands’, and for me he nailed the essence of the swing. Down the ages, the game’s greatest players have all made the same basic mechanical movement (i.e. a body turn coupled with a wrist hinge); they play with a hand action that both conducts and multiplies the energy created by the body all the way down through the shaft and into the clubhead. It’s no coincidence that the greatest names in golf have all shared a wonderful hand action.
Ben Hogan illustrating golf swing mechanics perhaps better than any other golfer the value of hand/wrist and forearm rotation in maximising the ‘whip’ through the ball.
Britain’s greatest ever golfer, Nick Faldo, is often cited as a ‘mechanical’ player who relies on the ‘big’ muscles in the swing; truth is, Faldo’s hand action has always been his greatest asset.
Good players understand the principle of centrifugal force and they maximise the efficiency with which they rotate their body to create it. More importantly, they translate this force into clubhead speed thanks to this vital component of the swing-hand action.
Modern teaching has increasingly focused on the role of the bigger muscles in the body, which misses the point entirely as far as the weekend golfer is concerned.
Golf is a speed game, not a power game. And you do not create speed with the big muscles, you create speed with the smaller muscles in the hands and forearms. So, with that in mind, let me introduce you to a series of drills to help you improve your hand action.
With practice, they will enhance your ability to create a naturally correct swing that maximises speed.
As your only point of contact with the club, the hands play what I believe to be the most important role of all in the basic development of the swing.
This is something modern teaching has tended to overlook; We hear so much these days about the ‘Big Muscles’ in the body controlling the action and generating power, but all of that, for me, misses one crucial point.
As I mentioned in the introduction, golf is not a power game, it’s a speed game. You do not create speed with the big muscles; you create speed with the smaller ones – the hands, wrists and forearms.
This text is intended as the basis for an intermediate course in mechanics at the undergraduate level. Such a course, as essential…
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* For more information about Professor Shankar’s book based on the lectures from this course, Fundamentals of Physics: Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics, visit http://bit.ly/1jFIqNu.
Fundamentals of Physics (PHYS 200)
Professor Shankar introduces the course and answers student questions about the material and the requirements. He gives an overview of Newtonian mechanics and explains its two components: kinematics and dynamics. He then reviews basic concepts in calculus through two key equations: x = x0 + v0t + ½ at2 and v2 = v02+ 2 a (x-x0), tracing the fate of a particle in one dimension along the x-axis.
00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction and Course Organization
21:25 – Chapter 2. Newtonian Mechanics: Dynamics and Kinematics
28:20 – Chapter 3. Average and Instantaneous Rate of Motion
37:56 – Chapter 4. Motion at Constant Acceleration
52:37 – Chapter 5. Example Problem: Physical Meaning of Equations
01:08:42 – Chapter 6. Derive New Relations Using Calculus Laws of Limits
Complete course materials are available at the Yale Online website: online.yale.edu
This course was recorded in Fall 2006.
1. Course Introduction and Newtonian Mechanics