124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



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These were Bobby Jones' keys to good impact—and 1 bad mistake 90s shooters make

The more I learn about the life and career of Bobby Jones, the more I'm staggered at how remarkably ahead of his time he was. Jones was a truly brilliant man; a golfing genius by any definition. And his impact on the game can still be felt today.

Bobby Jones: How to break 90 (part 3)

Which is perhaps fitting, because that's the topic of the third installment of our reboot of Jones' iconic 1931 Warner Brothers (now Warner Brothers Discovery, the parent company of Golf Digest) golf instruction video series, which is geared toward golfers who struggle to break 90. The first two were on the backswing and downswing; the third on impact.

So let's break down Jones' advice about golf's moment of truth.

The importance of impact

Golf coaches have come to appreciate impact as golf's true first fundamental. The stuff that happens before is merely a means to an end. There's no point chasing a cookie cutter swing: If your impact position is good, that's really all that matters, no matter how you get there.

It's a pretty common point of view nowadays, but one Jones figured out himself nearly 100 years ago.

"The critical moment of the golf swing takes place in that fraction of a second between which the clubhead and the ball are in contact. If everything is alright then then the shot will be good. The only reason we bother with form, and the correct swing, is to consistently find the best way to bring about the proper set of conditions at impact."

Jones' 3 keys to good impact

After underlining why impact is the most important move in the golf swing, Jones outlines the three elements he believes make up a good impact position. They're pretty self explanatory, and worth remembering:

"There are 3 important conditions which have to be fulfilled in the instant of impact in order to produce the perfect, straight-flying shot. They are:

First, the face of the club should be aligned to the hole or other object.

Second, that the clubbed should be moving exactly along the line of the intended flight of the ball.

Third, that the club should be traveling at maximum speed."

The common impact mistake

Jones' contention throughout the video—and series—is that the most common flaw in 90s shooters' golf swings is that they allow their right arm to take over their golf swing. This prevents them from being able to transfer them weight, costs them power, accuracy, and a myriad other problems.

"One of the most difficult things for the average golfer to do is to keep the club from moving over to the outside and coming across the line of flight as he hits the ball. This happens when the downswing is started with the right hand, or when the hips begin to turn before the flow of weight is started towards the front foot. The result is either a bad slice, if the face is open when it hits the ball, or a smother hook, if the face is closed or turned over too much. This is in effect what Harvey [below] does. He doesn’t turn his hips enough [on the backswing] then cuts across the ball with a stroke that is nearly all right-handed. The club face is open so he slices badly."

The ideal delivery position

Highlighting this common mistake leads Jones to reiterate that keeping your right elbow close to your side is one of the key moves that can improve your impact position. He talks about it in his previous downswing video, too. It works as an anti-slice move, and it’s a position you can spot in every high quality golf swing, Jones says.

"This is the only position that’s possible to swing through straight towards the hole. The right elbow remains close to the side, the left hip continues to lead the turn. During the downswing the hips must continue their turn until they are well around.”

Some quick comic relief

Each of these videos features a subplot of some sort, usually involving a group of struggling golfers talking about their troubles.

This episode starts with the amateur golfer you saw above struggling with his swing, and a rude older golfer pushing him into a series of bad golf swing tips. Jones politely disproves this unhelpful advice, at which point he waddles away. Capping a scene of some classic 1930s physical comedy.