The Winning Golf Swing: Simple Technical Solutions for Lower Scores
Some of the helpful aspects of this new instructional book did not exist when I first started HoleByHole.com twenty years ago.
Other equally helpful segments would have been easily recognized as useful golf advice, even back then.
Kristian Baker and his acknowledged contributors integrated both old and new instruction into a slim, well-illustrated paperback that should help aspiring golfers who want to know not only the how, but also the why, of a good swing.
Twenty years ago there were no Trackman monitors, Zepp smartphone devices, or Game Golf club motion detectors, able to tell golfers exactly what was happening with their clubs or their balls at the point of impact. Careful observation by the teaching pro and/or the use of foot spray or impact paper on the face of the club, were about the only options for golfers learning about what they were doing and what they should do instead.
The new technology gives teachers and their students an accurate way to measure and understand what they see on the range. It also ended a long-running debate about whether club face angle or swing path at impact had a greater influence on ball flight, an issue discussed in this book.
What these devices show, and how that data translates into performance, is well covered in this book—but it isn’t the primary focus, at all.
Instead, the book’s sections, from stance to grip to swing, present golf instruction principles that would be very familiar territory for golf pros from the 1980s and 90s, as well as the students from that time. The new data simply makes it even easier to understand why these time-honored lessons should be accepted and practiced.
I think the illustrations are among this book’s best features. One photo shows all thirteen possible shot shapes, from hooks to slices and everything in between. A series of photos help describe the gear effect of clubface design and how that influences the ball when hit.
Another series of three pictures, taken from the same perspective, show the slight differences needed to produce straight, fade, and draw shots, combined with data-driven angle references for swing direction and attack angles. Golfers who are “visual learners” should learn much from these parts of the book.
The author’s emphasis on keeping good statistics during a round or a practice session is well made here. I think it is an underdeveloped element of other instruction books.
Knowing how you play, and even more importantly how the pros play, gives a useful perspective on the path to improvement. Perfection is neither required nor likely among the game’s elite. Seeking that goal is a path to frustration and completely unnecessary. Knowing the typical averages for fairways in regulation, greens in regulation, and putts per round for golfers scoring in the 90s or 80s or low 70s, should help new players adjust their expectations as they practice and play.
This book is a good addition to the long list of golf instruction books in the marketplace. For young golfers comfortable with data analysis and new technologies, it should be a good match for what they already bring to their first few lessons.
Review Date: August 12, 2017