Lag has said several times that it’s hard to come over the top when hitting golf balls from your knees because the swing is very flat and circular. He has also pointed out that, as humans, we live our life at eye level and in straight lines, but when we hit golf balls we are working with arcs/circles and it’s hard because the swingplane and our eyeplane are very different.
Earlier tonight I was swinging my driver on my deck and I was making level baseball swings and gradually tilting into an address position. I began thinking about kids learning to play tee ball and I also recalled a picture posted on this site which showed a kid hitting a baseball off of a tee…his impact position was perfect. Kids also seem to learn pefect golf swings if they start young enough. Maybe it’s because they are short and weak and instinctively swing the club around them, kind of like an adult hitting from the knees?
My point with all of that is this: Why don’t we teach adults (beginners or those with poor, over the top swings) to swing by hitting golf balls off of extremely tall tees that force them to swing horizontally and around their body. When they hit the ball solid and straight or with a draw then lower the tee a few inches and start again. Eventually the tee would get to “golf level” and their body will be conditioned to create a circular force and they will “see” and feel the swing correctly. Maybe handing someone a club and having them hit ground level balls is not the best way?
John Jacobs, the great European teacher, used to say " over the top?..get a hill", which to me implied that the cure was simple in his eyes. I had a hard time figuring exactly what he meant and why, because I never read his explanation. Now, I presume he meant what you are saying…that placing a ball up higher, on a hill in his case, promoted a more rounded swing. I still think that in the process of lowering the ball however, that one does not naturally retain the new non-OTT swing that would be acquired with the ball higher. In my case, It’s like I need more explanation to avoid the backsliding. I’m a hard case.
I grew up like most believing that big swing arcs were the key to power. But history really paints a different story as most of the games greatest strikers have not been super tall… in fact most have been slightly shorter than average. The first time I saw Ian Woosnam was at Royal Sydney in the Australian Open. He was playing right ahead of me, and it was completely shocking how far he hit the golf ball standing 5’6"?
It’s all about rotation really… if you want both accuracy and distance.
The tendency to reach for the sky and come down on the ball hard is all fine and dandy… but it’s very difficult to keep acceleration happening down at the bottom or beyond doing so.
Knee flex is the key to getting down low so you can keep the torso as erect as possible for us taller players. The geometry of flat lie angles is one of the games great secrets as far as I am concerned.
I think we adults over-analyse WAY to much when it comes to certain sport, none worse than golf.
End of the day the goal of golf is to hit the little white ball further left than when you started(right hander). this is all Kids think about when they play, they dont care about swing plane,wrist cock,weight shift etc. Just hitting it…full stop
Next time you hit balls try this, have zero swing thoughts other than " hitting the ball left". Just for shits and giggles I even tried to do it intentionally not swinging it like a golf club. Pretend its a tennis racket,baseball bat etc anything other than a golf club. Let pure human instict and natural co-ordination take over. It will amaze you how co-ordinated the human body really is. I tried it and my body felt so fluid and natural and the result was the ball went mostly where I wanted it to go.
When you throw a ball, Hit a forehand in tennis,chuck a spear, play squash etc. When do you ever think about crap like weight shift,wrist cock,pivot points etc??.. never! im guessing?. All you focus on is hitting the ball and your body naturally rotates,weight shifts on its own.
The human body is amazing its its ability to throw and hit stuff, we are the only species on earth that can do it.Our Neanderthal friends thousands of years ago had to club stuff or chuck things at aminal to eat. If you missed you went home hungry.
You do need to train and practice this ability though and build strength to do so. But i find i do modules at home to build strength and muscle memory, on the course I let my Neanderthal heritage out and I have played the best golf of my life…
So next time your out playing golf pretend the green is a Gazelle you need to hit for dinner or you go hungry…