I just ran across this video with Ernie Els, Hall of Fame golfer, who describes for us the positions and feel when hitting his driver. This man is what one might describe as the master of understatement. I can’t help but chuckle when he describes the necessary fitness required to play competitively. He speaks about the importance of fitness to increase flexibility and prolong a golfing career. This man is undoubtedly one of the most fit and in shape golfers on the planet and is built like a brick wall. He suggests “try to keep yourself in pretty good shape and flexible.”
Stance and Address Position
He then continues to describe his stance or address position as being one in which he is balanced and in an athlete position, yet comfortable. He goes on to tell us his feet are about shoulder width apart, knees slightly flexed, and back straight. Like any athletic endeavor the address position for a golfer, similar to a short stop when the pitcher is about to throw the ball or a leopard ready to pounce on its prey, the golfer’s position at address must be supple, balanced, and prepared to launch into motion and support in balance the motion of the golf swing.
Ernie also describes how his arms are just hanging from his shoulders in a comfortable position, not stretched out away from his body nor crammed up tight to his body. This allows an effortless back swing and follow through without cramping or inhibiting the full motion of the swing. He also mentions the feel he gets when he begins his down swing as of being a feeling of just allowing his arms and club “dropping down to the ball.” He also mentions his grip is light. Not full of tension.
Ernie tells us that using a driver his ball position is played just about off his left heel or slightly inside his left heel as opposed to using a 5 iron which would be played more toward the center of his stance. As clubs become shorter the bottom of your swing also becomes shorter and thus the bottom of the swing is directed more toward the center of your stance.
Although Ernie does not mention it you can notice in the video as he takes the club away from the ball the left shoulder, arm, and club move as one piece in one motion. There is no discontinuity what so ever. It is as though his left shoulder all the way to the club head is one piece of the same material. He describes it as a “slide of the club back through his arm” to the top of the back swing. He goes on to say he likes to get his left shoulder behind the ball to enable a good position from which to strike the ball.
From the top of the back swing Ernie describes the initiation of the downswing as a feeling of having his left arm and shoulder just falling down to the floor and into the ball. I would like to add a couple of additional points here. I remember the great Ben Hogan in this regard particularly. As Mr. Hogan described the golf swing as being an unwinding of the lower body from the top beginning with the unwinding of the hips which pull the body and waist which then in turn pull the shoulders and arms into the ball.
When watching in slow motion the swing of any great player there is a distinct lag at the top of the swing where the arms and club are still moving back when the lower body, i.e. legs, hips and waist have already begun to make their motion forward. You can also see this if you watch closely in this video with Ernie.
Balance and Follow Through
Again notice how beautiful Ernie’s balance is throughout the swing and his perfect balanced follow through position at the top. If an amateur golfer is striving to lower his handicap and improve quicker, this is one of the best ways to achieve this aim. Strive to swing in balance and to arrive at a perfect follow through position in balance. If you can finish in balance and hold your follow through until the ball stops rolling your improvement, i.e. lower scores will soon be forth coming.
I would also like to add the importance of attitude exhibited by this great player. Ernie is one of the most humble and under spoken of all great golfers I have ever come across. He let’s his golf game speak for itself. The man is never in the spot light and never is touting his game. He is humble, magnanimous, and grateful. I love this guy. When watching the video below you will see what I am talking about. Good luck in the future Ernie.
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