Jul 17, 2023

T-Time Podcast // Ep. 57: Biggest Misconceptions About the Golf Swing with Justin Klemballa and The Babes

beginner golfers golf tips and tricks mental hurdles of golf on the course podcast

Join Tori and Justin Klembella, an esteemed golf instructor, as they unravel the biggest misconceptions surrounding the golf swing. Justin, mentored by renowned golf educator Jim McClain, draws from McClain's book The Eight-Step Swing and his experience working alongside him for six years. Along with Tori and the Babes Golf team, Justin aims to debunk these myths, providing clarity and guidance to help golfers overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Prepare to tee off with them as they unveil the secrets to debunking the biggest misconceptions about the golf swing.

1.   Lifting The Left Heel Off The Ground

Research shows that lifting the left heel during a golf swing can generate more power and speed. While beginners may benefit from keeping it down, advanced players can use this technique to increase distance and impact. Challenge misconceptions and base instruction on thorough research to improve your game.

2.   Setting Up Parallel To Your Target Line

Aligning perfectly parallel to the target is not necessary in golf. Successful players like Lee Trevino and Sam Snead aimed left or right at their target. Rather than aiming for straight shots, prioritize a consistent curve. If you fade or slice, aim left; if you draw, aim right. Focus on aligning the club face first and adjust your body accordingly. Changing techniques is challenging, and old habits tend to resurface under pressure.

3.   Keeping Your Left Arm Straight

The idea that you must keep your left arm perfectly straight during the backswing is a common misconception in golf. However, research conducted by Jim McLean's Golf School reveals a different truth. Among the top 100 players studied, a staggering 95% of them had a bent left arm at the top of their swing. This finding challenges the notion of absolute straightness. Instead, avoiding excessive tension and maintaining a relatively straight left arm is more important. Only when the left arm bends excessively should you consider straightening it to some degree.

4.   The Grip Position Should be a Certain Way

Golfers' grips vary greatly; a neutralized grip is unnecessary for all players. Some benefit from a stronger grip, while others find a slightly weaker grip more advantageous. Many excellent players, including Josh Broadway, use unconventional grips successfully. Different grip styles can be effective, challenging the notion of a one-size-fits-all approach.

5.   Golf is a Left-Sided Game

Using the left side to square the clubface helps those who tend to hook the ball, but many great players generate power from their right side. Positioning the right hand for throwing provides more power and benefits the swing. Blaming the right side for bad shots is a misconception; it can be advantageous. Golf is not solely about the left side; many top players involve their right hand in the swing. Remember, golf is highly individual, and what works for one may not work for another.

6.   Taking the Club Straight Off the Ball and Swinging Down the Line

In golf, the misconception of moving the club straight back and through ignores the circular nature of the swing. The game is based on swinging on a circle, as highlighted in The Golfing Machine embracing the circular motion, which goes up and in, down into the ball, and back up and in again. This creates the linear force for a straight shot. Initially unfamiliar, committing to the circular motion improves your swing and alignment.

7.   Keeping Your Head Down After Impact

A common misconception in golf is that topping the ball is caused by lifting the head. However, tension and fear of hitting the ground are often the main reasons. Telling someone to keep their head down can create stress and tighter grip pressure, resulting in topped shots. The goal is not just hitting the ball but hitting the ground in front of it. Great shots occur when the club strikes the grass just ahead of the ball. Instead of fixating on the ball, look slightly in front of it and aim to hit the ground at the right spot.

8.   Swinging in a Barrel is Not Necessary for a Controlled Swing

Swinging in a barrel benefits the backswing, promoting rotation and discouraging excessive hip sliding. However, during the downswing, the hips should move laterally to the left, "busting through" the barrel. Insufficient weight on the left side at impact is a common cause of fat shots. Aim for 70 to 80% of the weight on the left side. Avoid a big shift to the right in the backswing to simplify the weight transfer and achieve a better impact position.

9.   Start with Your Hands Ahead

Starting with hands ahead of the ball is beneficial for irons but problematic for the driver. We want a more neutral hand position with the driver to allow for an upward attack angle, maximizing distance. Lowball flights sacrifice carry distance for more roll, resulting in a net loss. Getting height on the ball is key for increased distance. Placing the grip and getting the head behind the ball helps launch the ball higher. When popping the ball up, focus on not hitting the tee, which encourages a higher strike on the face. For irons, imagining the swing like a paintbrush can help create more lag by avoiding starting with hands too far forward.

10.   The Club Face Should Point at the Target and Then Swing Across Your Body

Staying square while opening the face leads to better contact. Similarly, starting with hands too far ahead in chip shots causes digging into the ground. Instead, utilize the bounce and a neutral shaft position for improved results. Reading greens with eyes alone is limited, so straddle putts to feel the ground and gather valuable information on slopes and breaks. Uphill putts are best read from behind the ball, while downhill putts are better read from behind the hole. To enhance play, start reading greens early and maintain a good pace for an enjoyable round.

11.    The Putt Breaks to the Water

The idea of putts breaking toward the ocean is a misconception because it depends on the slope, not the water. Trusting your feet and not just your eyes is important. Improving scores in golf doesn't always require changing technique; strategy and practice plans play a significant role too. Taking two practice swings before every shot isn't necessary for everyone. Finding what works best for you in your golf journey is essential.

12.    Hands Ahead When Chipping and Pitching

Leaning hands too far ahead is a misconception in chipping and pitching, and it eliminates bounce and causes the club to dig into the ground. To utilize the bounce, keep the shaft neutral, not leaning forward excessively. A slight forward lean is fine, but too much can lead to trouble. Beginners may need hands forward to lift the ball, but it varies for each golfer. Every swing thought has helped someone, even if it's not entirely accurate. Critiquing ideas can be challenging as different thoughts work for different people.

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Justin Klemballa:

Instagram | Paradise Valley Country Club | Forest Highlands Golf Club

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