Golf theory :swinging/hitting

After reading all this hitting vs swinging I still don’t get it
Isn’t the object in golf to hit the ball and swing the club?
Aren’t swinging and hitting complementary rather than polarizing?
Aren’t some golf shots the primary focus is hitting the ball then matching a swing that goes with it?
While other shots swinging is most important and then matching a type of hit that goes with it?

This excerpt in an SI article about Johnny Manziel, “Johnny Football” and Texas A&M QB, and perhaps the first freshman to win the Heisman caught my eye.

'Whitfield also shortened Manziel’s throwing motion. Instead of stepping long and forcing his arm to do all the work, Manziel kept his body coiled and used his lower body to generate power for his throws. Manziel saw results almost immediately. “Finally, in California, I was a lot more compact. I took a lot shorter stride,” Manziel said. “It came out better. It’s closer. It’s tighter, and it comes out a lot faster.” … =hp_t12_a0

Not yet an expert but I’ll take a stab -

‘hitting and swinging’ are different definitions for how one releases the club… a swinger will release ‘lag’ without any effort… the motion & momentum of the swing will release the club for him. the body outraces the hands, then stalls or slows, this energy transfers into the hands & arms which ‘slingshot through’ impact…powerfull, but very timing based…

This is in laymans terms, so much more to it… but a ‘hitter’ will use strength in their action. The release will be an active firing of the hands, lead by the body pivot. After impact the hitter tries to outrace his hands with the body (hence acceleration). if the body out accelerates the hands, the clubhead will not turn over and close after impact. less timing needed if you master the action…straighter shots, more control. basically the club stays squarer for longer

can i put it simply? imagine swinging as and elastic band wound up tight… letting go is the release and power. trying to re-produce the same result is hard. imagine hitting as a helicopter blade being driven by the shaft… the core spins fast, meaning the tips of the blades rotate quicker. the inside drives the outside, or rotation of the body drives the hands & arms?

I hope this makes sense :confused:

Taking it a little further… it helps me just as much to get my own definition ‘down’

The aim of the hitter is to strike the ball with a flexed shaft. To get a crude idea of this stand in a doorway with a club in hand and mimic impact pressing against a doorframe. Your hands should be ahead of the club head. Notice how the shaft flexes. But also notice how you have pressure in your right index finger. (Trust me its a much nicer sensation when in motion, like I said this is a crude example…)

Anyway this shaft flex creates pressure. This pressure translates into feel

The goal of the hitter is to maintain this flexed shaft, thus feel for as long as possible in their swing. Once you understand this point the mechanics of a hitter make alot more sense. A hitters mechanics are designed to maximize this flex, for the longest time into and through the zone it matters…IMPACT!

That is why acceleration is so so fundamental to a hitter. Because an accelerating shaft is a stressed/flexed shaft. Therefore the to maintain our feel the fastest point in the swing for a hitter is after impact! For a swinger its at impact. For the fastest point in the swing to be post impact, we have to use physical strength and force. This is why a hitter is more consistent, because we release the club ourselves. We can do this because we develop the feel and therefore timing to do so. There is no here one day gone tomorrow sweetness with hitting. But it takes more effort to hit the ball far.

Using physical strength means we have pressures throughout our whole body… suddenly we’re aware of all our intentions/actions in our swing. The brain is literally flooded with information.

What physical strength and force? You’ll just have to sign up and ask lag, I promise you won’t look back.

Using everyday objects:

One would swing with this item: It is the only way because the cord isn’t rigid.

One would most likely hit with this item:

I agree with the above comments and the analogy with the wire and the ruler is excellent. I think that dlam needs to understand that hitting and swinging are both technical terms related to the golf swing. In his post it appears that he is using the words in the way you would in every day language. They simply describe two different ways of hitting a ball as described above. They don’t necessarily refer to the rhythm of the swing, ie swing is slow and smooth, hit is fast and quicker, as they did in the old days. Hope that clears it up a bit.

Useful stuff Craig, thanks. A good summary of some of your research so far. I’m still a way behind you and some questions jump out:-

  1. By “release” what exactly do you mean? I’ve read the word a thousand times but it occurs to me I’m not sure of the exact definition. (Is it essentially just squaring the clubface for impact?)
  2. What exactly is the swinger trying to time? Their body movements?
  3. Why is the swinger’s attempt to master their timing going to be harder that the hitter’s?


A little over my pay-grade but here goes…the simplist way is to understand a swinger wants to hit the ball with a straight shaft… the hitter flexed. So in order to do so a swinger must ‘time’ the shafts release of its flex. When acceleration stops, the shaft will ‘release’ its stored pressure and straighten out. A swinger desires maximum speed at impact. A swinger hits with velocity, a hitter strikes with momentum!

Because a swinger relies on centrifugal force for power there is little pressure in their hands, thus feel. It makes timing harder. Not just the shaft release, but that of ‘lag’ etc. Swingers are often referred to as having dead hands. The advantage of swinging is it takes little effort to send the ball far, but ballstriking becomes a day to day anomoly. Why? Because the centrifugal force causes the hands and arms to disconnect from the body, the brain clocks this, so stalls the pivot, and the hands slingshot through to catch up and generate speed. All of this has to be timed to perfection!

Check out fred couples slow-mo here. Coming through impact watch the zipper on his trousers. It doesn’t move, yet look how far his hands and arms travel If anyone can imbed I’d be gratefull…the stalling is from 19secs to 24

Hitting removes this because we have feel and our pivots don’t stall, but it takes more physical effort to do so. Lag’s drills are designed to strengthen your golfing muscles whilst at the same time building the co-ordination needed. That is the beauty of it. You earn your own swing.

You only need to look at the post impact X-ray of a swing to see who has more control over the club between the two styles…

Both hitters and swingers will strike with velocity…
The swinger is coming into impact with the clubhead having already reached maximum velocity, therefore is striking with momentum. The hitter is still picking up speed (acceleration) thereby holding shaft flex. The muscles have to be still fully engaged to hit.

Notice Hogan here…


nothing relaxed going on. Veins are popping out of his arms with the intention of hitting right through the impact arena and beyond. Hogan mentioned reaching maximum velocity at a point a foot or two past impact in 5 Lessons. While the ball will slow down the club from the forces of impact, if a ball were not there, then YES, one could still be accelerating the club past lowpoint… which is the proper action for a hitter.

Swinging is harder to “time” because there is much more clubface rotation post impact. Proper hitting keeps the “clubface looking at the target much longer” as Trevino once described.

Notice Johnny Miller here… well past impact, yet nothing flipped or rolled over with the hands. Muscles still fiercely engaged. Some great hitting action here.


Here you can see Hogan’s clubface is still working at right angles to his shoulder rotation. Everything is still locked in and connected. This is striking with rotation… not flipping the hands independently to close the face up. Right arm is still firm acting as a support and structural system more than getting involved in the efforts to drive, straighten or also aid in independently closing the clubface.

platinum m8.jpg

It is so important to understand that this is NOT a position that is accessible through thought or some kind of swing key. The muscles responsible for the rotation of the torso post impact MUST be trained and strengthened before this would be accessible to a golfer hitting FULL shots. You EARN your way into this. What we do here at ABS is show you how to get there. Take away the confusion and mystery, and leave the effort for the student void of dead ends or U Turns…caused by incomplete or even incompetent instruction.

Thanks guys, this thread inspired me to start reading the archived Lag’s golf machine thread from ISG. Wow - most of Sunday gone and still plenty left to read :slight_smile:

Craig - the video of Couples was really helpful there. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed that before, and I’ve watched loads of pros’ swings. It’s so obvious now. At the opposite end, is Sergio the most often used example of a hitter on tour? I don’t see any stall in his slow-mo (

Sergio & Furyk are definately hitters, although Garcia shows some symptoms of swinging post impact (a touch of clubface roll & fractional stall in some vault vids) my assumption is its more to do with his light equipment than any fault…

ignore Kostis, infact mute the vid, talk about smoke and mirrors!!! “look at that angle he creates…” err any idea how he does it??? reminds me of this. Winds me up that swing instructors so miss the mark then claim to be a more consistant & powerfull ball striker than the current greatest on tour, followed by a sales pitch… Hmmm there’s a reason comments are disabled… Rant over!

Youtube really needs a lag/bradley analysis of garcia’s swing! make it happen please guys!

Still confused by all the responses
If my primary focus is to use the club as a weapon I have to hit the ball
I can also strike the club by swinging the club and cause a collision between club and ball and that would be a hit
At the end of the day this is all semantics

Swinging without hitting the ball would be embaressing

Not really. Maybe swinging and hitting aren’t great terms because they can be used interchangeably in everyday golf-speak, so let’s temporarily rename them golf swing style 1 (swinging) and golf swing style 2 (hitting).

Golf swing style 1:
dead hands, arms straighten through impact, lots of clubface rotation through impact

Golf swing style 2:
Aggressive hand/wrist action into impact, right arm stays bent, left upper arm pinned to torso, minimal independent face rotation through impact

When someone refers to hitting on here, they are referring to swing style 2. This style is dubbed “hitting” because of the more aggressive hand/wrist/torso action through impact. Conversely, “swinging” refers to style 1, which could be characterized as a more gradual acceleration from the top of the backswing down into impact. Swingers typically have a more flowing look, while hitters’ swings often appear more aggressive (though not always - this is not a reliable indicator of whether or not someone is more of a hitter or swinger).

These explanations just scratch the surface of the distinction between the two, but it’s important to realize that “hitting” and “swinging” refer to two separate golf swing methods.