Those who teach the Square-to-Square Method stress over and over to their pupils that the proper back swing will not feel natural while they are learning the Method. The reason why this correct backs wing feels unnatural is simply because the normally weaker left side must dominate the normally stronger right side from waggle through impact.
Bear in mind, however, that as the Square¬to-Square Method becomes more natural through practice—and as you begin to strengthen the “new” muscles of your left side (or the right side for left-handers)—you will gradually regain your old rhythm as well as new, and far superior, shot-making skill. The more you strengthen your left side and “teach” it to dominate your right side, the more you will improve.
A very important move of the swing, according to those who teach the Square-to-Square Method, occurs at the very start of the back swing. This is the move that establishes the straight-line, “square” relation ship between the back of the left hand, wrist, and lower forearm.
Those who teach the Method describe this vital, first move of the back- swing as a slight “curling under” of the last three fingers of the left hand. Nothing more. There is no turning of the whole arm involved in this initial move. Only the last three fingers “curl under.” This curling under occurs at the very start of the back swing, just as the club head moves back from the ball.
A slight “curling under” with the last three fingers of the left hand while the club head moves straight back from the ball not only helps establish left-side dominance, but also puts the back of the left hand, wrist, and lower forearm into the vital straight-line, “square” impact position at a time when the golfer has maximum control of his or her swing. Once this square position is established, the player must merely maintain it through impact to assure that the clubface will be square to the target line when it strikes the ball. The curling-under, accentuated here and shown from two different perspectives, should be slight—merely enough to establish straight- line position.
To get an idea of how this move looks and feels, merely put your left hand out in front of you in the same position it would be in if you were gripping a golf club. Hold this imaginary club very gently.
Now squeeze the “club” with the last three fingers. As you squeeze you will notice that these fingers want to “curl under.” Let them. As you squeeze and as these fingers curl under, you will gradually see less and less of the back of your hand. Continue the curling under only until the back of your hand and the back of your forearm form a straight line.
Practice this move a few times until the curling under and squeezing of the last three fingers feels natural. You should feel a bunching of muscles of the underside of your forearm.
As you “curl under” with the last three fingers of your left hand, you should push the clubhead straight back from the ball with left arm extending fully.
Taking the club head straight back forces your left shoulder to start turning under on a plane that will help give you a sufficiently upright swing. If club head moves inside target line too soon, swing plane probably will become too flat. If you curl under properly, and just enough to establish a straight-line relationship between the back of your left hand, wrist, and lower forearm, your club face will continue to look down the target line, with no indication that its toe is moving back ahead of its heel.
“WORIUNG” THE CLUB UP
If you have worked the club up by turning your shoulders on a tilted plane, the club shaft should be about vertical and your left arm should be straight at the moment when your hands have reached shoulder height. Working the club up in this manner helps assure that your left side remains in control and that you are fully stretching the big muscles of your back and legs. If you raise the club by merely lifting your hands, without much shoulder-turning, your left arm will bend and your club shaft will move past vertical by the time your hands reach shoulder height. You will fail to create sufficient tension in your back and leg muscles.
At the beginning of your actual swing, as you curl under on your takeaway, you should move the club head along a path straight back from the ball. Your left arm should be extending fully. If your right hand and right side are sufficiently subordinate and relaxed, you will feel that your left hand and arm are pushing the club head back and out along that portion of the target line that continues behind the ball.
If you have curled under properly, your club face should continue to look at the tar¬get—square to the target line—as long as it is moving along that line. There should be no indication that the toe of the club head is moving back before the heel. If the toe leads the way back, you have fanned open the club face. If you find that this is occurring, you must further emphasize curling under, until it seems that the heel of the club is leading the toe going back.
The club head should move straight back from the ball until it passes the right foot, and then gradually begin to move inside the target line. Taking the club straight back for this distance serves two vital purposes. First, it assures that you achieve full extension of your left arm. This extension is vital if the left side is to dominate the swing. Should the left arm bend, the right hand will take over control of the club. Second, moving the club head straight back for a goodly distance encourages the shoulders to tilt on a sufficiently upright plane. If the club head is allowed to move inside the target line and around the body at this stage, the shoulders will turn on too level a plane.
It is the turning of the shoulders on a tilted plane that forces the club head to begin moving inside the line and upward. If the shoulders turned on a level plane, one with no tilt, the club head would move inside, around the body, but it would not move upward. It is the tilting of the shoulders— lowering of the left shoulder and the resultant raising of the right—that causes the club head to move upward. Those instructors who
teach the Square-to-Square Method insist that during the back swing the club must be “worked” up by the left shoulder’s moving down and under the golfer’s chin. The club must not, they stress, be lifted by the hands and arms independently of the shoulder turn. When the club is lifted, the right hand and arm will automatically do much of the lifting. This puts the normally stronger right hand and arm back in control and forces the club to move out of proper plane.
At the top of your back swing your left wrist should be firm and straight, forming the continuous line between the back of your left hand and lower forearm. Again, this is the “square” position that you must maintain throughout your swing until the ball is well on its way. Check yourself in the mirror to
see that you have maintained this relationship.