Jack Nicklaus: Use Your Legs
WHAT I WROTE IN 1977
I'm much more of a "legs" player than a "hands" player. This doesn't mean my hands don't play an important role in the swing—they definitely do. What it means is, my hands and wrists are subservient to my body and leg action; they're followers, not leaders.
Basically, my hands and wrists function as a hinge to store, then transmit the force created by my body and legs. So they come into play reflexively, with no conscious effort.
My legs don't work like they used to, but I try to keep them strong. That's a lesson for all of us. Keep your legs in shape by walking whenever you can. I'm often trekking around the courses I'm designing, or just following my grandkids. I still play tennis, too, which is great for the lower body.
My hands have always been followers. At the range, I try to get my hands and legs to work in the proper progression, from the ground up. I still have that feeling that my lower body leads the backswing and the downswing. Focus on starting down with your feet and knees, letting your hands and arms react. Some days I get my legs to work a little bit more, and those are the days I play better.
Jack Nicklaus writes only for Golf Digest. In this series he looks back at his classic lessons published in the magazine.