First Look: The A Swing Start To Finish


First Look: The A Swing Start To Finish

May 12, 2015

Here are two views of my student Ryan Blaum demonstrating the A Swing.Ryan plays on the Tour and has adopted the A Swing to great effect.If you do a quick scan, you might think it looks a lot like the conventional swing. In many spots it does, as I haven't strayed too far from things I've always taught. But if you look closer, you'll notice Ryan doing things that are far from conventional.His backswing is much steeper than you see with most pros. His arm swing is shorter, but he is fully wound. There is no conscious effort to get the club swinging inside and around the body, even though the left arm is across the chest.At the top, the shaft points to the right, which differs from most instruction. This backswing, in traditional terms, would not be called "on plane." But I'm convinced it makes it easier to drop the club on the correct plane coming down. At halfway down, you can see the shaft has shallowed considerably from the backswing. It's the opposite of the millions of steep, over-the-top downswings we see. A shallow downswing ensures that the club approaches from the inside, and then it's just squaring the face to hit a draw.This motion adds "swing" to the swing. It's natural, and makes synchronizing the downswing easy, leading to greater consistency.


The A Swing starts from a fairly standard setup. One difference is, the right foot is pulled back, creating a closed stance. Every-thing else is aligned parallel with the target line. Closing the stance helps get the club on the correct plane in the downswing.


The first move off the ball is very simple and is initiated largely by the core muscles coiling the torso away from the target. The clubhead tracks back outside the hands, and the right arm stays above the left.


As the left arm reaches parallel to the ground, the right wrist is hinging and moving the shaft onto a steep angle. This is a real difference of the A Swing—working the shaft into an inverted position.


The clubface points at the ball for much of the backswing—a closed face position—but at the top, it's back to neutral. The A Swing grip in large part controls what the face is doing. The backswing is shorter than that of the conventional swing, but testing shows no loss of power.


The beauty of the A Swing is that the downswing is essentially reactionary. Before the backswing is complete, the lower body makes a small shift toward the target. This helps the club drop onto a shallower, more horizontal plane, like the shaft angle at address. Picture a baseball batter stepping into a pitch. It's a fluid motion: Weight shifts forward, club drops.


As the torso starts to unwind, the weight fully shifts to the front side. The left forearm and right palm drive toward the ground to square the clubface. At impact, the right wrist is cupped, or bent back, and the left wrist is flat and facing the target. The hands are well ahead of the clubhead.


The right forearm does not roll over the left as it does in a conventional swing. Eventually the right wrist releases into a bowed position as if you've just thrown a ball sidearm. At the same time, the left wrist returns to a cupped position, much like it was during the backswing.


The finish position looks similar to that of a conventional follow-through. The body rotates as much as it can and then the arms and hands wind the club around the back. It's balanced and relaxed.Adapted from THE A SWING: THE ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO GREAT GOLF. Copyright ©2015 by David Leadbetter with Ron Kaspriske. To be published by St. Martin's Press, May 12, $25.99

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