CENTRIPETAL FORCE AND THE GOLF SWING

 Centrufugal force cartoon

     This would be a good time to talk a little about centripetal force and how it relates to the golf swing. Now I will talk about quite a few things here that may seem complicated to do, but always remember I can make you do all of this with one or two simple swing thoughts. First of all you must swing the club on plane. It will become clear that you cannot have centripetal force and swing off the correct plane and by swinging on plane you automatically create this force in other words you can not do one without the other. Let me first talk about a quick definition. If I took a string with a rock attached to its end, held it between my thumb and forefinger and twirled my fingers around that rock would spin around on the end of the string as well. The faster I twirled the faster the rock would fly through the air. My hand would represent an inner moving force (centripetal force) the rock would represent the resulting outer moving force (centrifugal force) and the two forces would be equal. In short, the inner force controls and determines the outer force that is centripetal force. Translated to golf, centripetal force allows you to swing the club powerfully and repetitively.  

      Because human beings have two shoulders, arms, hands, hips and legs things get a little more complicated in the golf swing than the example of the rock on a string. We have to find the post point, or the thumb and forefinger which moves the string representing the inner force propelling the outer rock. Because golfers have all of these body parts we have to learn to identify the center of our swing and recognize this as the source of centripetal force and that center is our spine. The spine must move throughout the swing, and this inner central constantly moving force transmits energy through arms, hands and club to the club head itself swinging through the ball to the target. The club head just like the rock represents the outer force in the centripetal force formula. The faster you move your inner force, or spine, with the club swung on plane, the faster and more powerfully the club head will move. In order to do this you must first connect your left arm to your left shoulder girdle great players feel a pinch under the left armpit through the golf swing this keeps it in the exact same position relative to the spine and shoulders from the start to the end of the golf swing and represents an essential fundamental of connection and centripetal force. There are a couple ways of visualizing this. First the distance between the butt end of the club at address and your spine stays exactly the same from address to finish in your swing which means your radius remains constant. Second the triangle formed by your arms and the club at address also stays intact through the swing.

     Of course at about halfway in your back swing your right arms begins to fold naturally as the left does after you hit the ball but the triangular shape you established at address will remain intact throughout the entire swing. Let us return to the address position and see what happens when you assume your grip. Because your right hand extends a bit farther down the club handle than your left, the right hand and arm is longer on the club than the left. And with the left hand in place we accurately describe the left hand and arm as being shorter on the club. The right hand and arm is on the outer force while the left hand and arm is on the inner force of the swing. Make sure your right stays on top of the left from start to finish and you create and maintain centripetal force. If you let your left grow longer than the right the relationship reverses itself. The right arm becomes the shorter of the two and you lose the centripetal swinging action you want. In other words the inner left arm incorrectly becomes the outer force and the right arm incorrectly becomes the inner force. In essence you have swapped circles and lost centripetal force. With the left arm longer than the right you can do nothing more than pull the club in a inefficient and inaccurate manner back to the ball swinging only with your hands and arms. What keeps these essential relationships intact from start to finish in the golf swing? As mentioned earlier, the first part of the answer is the spine. Your spine represents true center, and it must keep moving through the entire swing. Since your spine falls between your shoulders and symmetrically divides your body into right and left halves, move it and your torso, legs shoulders, arms and club will move as well. You will have a rhythmic athletic and coordinated motion throughout. When you do not move your spine, your arms will separate or disconnect from your body and you are lost. Remember as with the rock twirling around the string, you want both the inner force and outer force to remain equal in the golf swing, no pulling excessively or exclusively with the left and no pushing only with the right. Great players hit it is as hard with their left as well as the right which means they have harnessed centripetal force.

     There is a natural lateral movement in all great golf swings. The spine moves 1 to 2 inches to the right into the braced leg (more if you have very wide hips) and then as much as 6 to 8 inches from their on the forward swing to its place over the left leg to a straight and balanced finish. Allow the head to flow naturally in both directions with the spine do not try to keep it still this only restricts motion and makes swinging with centripetal force impossible, also do not try to REACH away from your body with your hands or arms for the same reason.  Getting back to swing plane, since the ball is on the ground you need to swing the club up on the correct plane so that you can deliver it back to the ball squarely with a descending blow. From your address position your triangle swings back to hip height all in one piece and motion. Form this point your right arm simply folds up which places the club on the correct plane. At the top you can determine if you have swung on plane by checking to see that your left elbow is pointing down and that the butt end of the club points to or just inside the ball to target line. Roll your left arm over the right in the manner described above and you can see that the club has become too flat with the plane actually positioned well outside the ball. Let your right arm fold up correctly and the club will fall into a strong and cocked position at the top of your swing. As you swing down you immediately want the feeling of folding your left arm at the elbow to get in the same position you just did on the slower back swing. This is the way you have to swing the club to maintain centripetal force. Maintain these correct relationships and you harness power for a great swing. Let them break down and you create out of plane angles that force you to haphazardly slap at the ball.

Now if you set up correctly keep both elbows down and together back and through, you simply do all of the above!!

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply