What to do when the swing is gone

every golfer has shared this common experience: One day some swing thought or action works perfectly; one has the game beat. But next time out the same thought or action doesn't work at all; the game strikes back.

Why is this?

It is because every swing has a number of component parts. And the day this thought or this action worked so well all the other components worked well too. Next time out one of them doesn't. One link in the chain has broken, so that the whole chain is broken.

Hence the need to have a known swing pattern of one's own, which, when things go wrong, can be very easily checked.

In "The Golfing Machine," Homer Kelley lists 24 components (Star System Press , Seattle) and serious students of the game should study these. But for our purposes here I think a checklist of six items is probably enought:

1. Line of aim -- have you it firmly in the mind's eye?

2. Address -- are you standing in the right relationship to the line of aim?

3. Grip -- are you holding the club in the best manner or has the alignment of your hands slipped a bit?

4. Takeaway -- are you swinging the clubhead back just "inside" the line and is the takeaway smooth and rhythmical?

5. Shoulder turn -- are you getting a good one, without sway?

6. Hip or leg action -- have you got your usual amount, not too much, not too little?

All these items can be checked as one takes up the address position and during the waggle before making your actual swing. There need be no waste of time.

Run through this checklist as a matter of habit.

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