The title was originally “Push & Pull,” however after receiving an email from a reader on the subject, I agree that the term should be “Pull & Push” based on the sequence of actions in this motion
When I was in the early stages of researching the golf swing back in 2007, I had an visual concept that one could either “pull” the swing using the leading side of the body (the left side and hand for right-handers), or one could “push” the swing using the opposite side and the right hand.
Looking at most golfers, especially the higher handicappers and those who struggle to create power with the golf swing, you’ll see that most of them are “pullers” or “pushers.”
This usually manifests itself in various ways – a big head dip on the down swing, a strong over-the-top move and a great deal of upper body movement both going back and coming down.
What I didn’t realize for some time, until I began to look at the classic swing of long drive pioneer Mike Austin sometime in 2008, was that for a powerful and mechanically-sound golf swing, you had to combine the two into a motion that both pushes and pulls the swing.
Looking at the impact and follow-through positions below in a Driver swing, I will try to create the visual picture for you that I use.
To use an analogy from another sport, the most efficient way to create power with the golf swing is to swing the club with the left arm and hand the way you would hit backhanded tennis shot, and to simultaneously swing the club with the right arm and hand the way you’d hit a forehand smash.
The key to this is to think of pulling the butt end of the club with the leading hand while pushing it with the power hand (the lower hand on the club). But you wouldn’t be pulling the club down with leading hand, you’d be pulling up on it! And this is where most people would look at the swing with completely new eyes.
If you think of the shoulders as turning vertically on a wheel axis (like a steering wheel or Ferris wheel, instead of a merry-go round), you will see in an efficient swing that the left shoulder comes up and back through impact, while the right shoulder moves down and forward. If a line was drawn through the shoulders, they would form a spoke, if you will, in a wheel that must turn counter-clockwise on the down swing (for a left-hander, the wheel of course turns clockwise looking at the swing head-on).
The leverage in the swing is created by the “pull” of the left side against the swing, and you add power and acceleration with the “push” of the right arm extending through the down swing. At impact the right arm is still bent, but in the process of extending in the “throw” action of a side-arm baseball throw.
If you are looking to add power and speed to your swing, remember that you have two sides to your body, not one. Don’t just pull, don’t just push, make sure you pull and push that swing!