Remember “Swinging A Stick?” Well, That’s My Visual Again

The old-timers here at WAX Golf will remember the video I made back in 2013 where I compared the visual and action of a proper golf swing as merely “swinging a stick.”

Now that I’ve settled the grip question in my mind and have got back to the proper bias and setup position, that familiar visual and feeling have returned.

It’s likely because I’ve ironed out all of my other issues and now feel comfortable with the right-dominant setup and action, so the visual and feel I had when I was swinging properly but for the left-dominant flaw have come back to me.

In the end, all we’re doing is swinging a stick – one with a club head attached to it, that’s the only difference.

If someone were to simply try to swing a stick, there is probably very little that could go wrong.  It’s a simple action, and without putting any pressure on someone, you could likely take a not-so-great swing action and very quickly show someone how to swing that stick:

2013 – Swinging A Stick

Now, put a club head on the end of that stick and and a ball on a tee, and the entire process short-circuits, correct?

I mean, even a swing training aid is essentially no more than a stick, this one with a speed component where you can make it click with a high enough velocity:


A brief aside if you’ll indulge my penchant for self-flagellation – in that 2017 swing, I’m set up right-dominant and swinging in that manner, because I play sports right-handed.

It was when you put a ball in front of me and a club in my hands that I would then switch over psychologically to left-dominant (likely because I viewed the swing as a precision motion rather than purely athletic, and I am left-dominant when precision is required such as eating, writing or shooting an arrow).

My point is that even I, when swinging a stick, would do it perfectly naturally and the way it should be done, only to trick myself into changing when actually swinging a club.

That’s what the barrier is in golf – it’s the mind and the fact that this little impudent ball is sitting there, daring you to hit it.

All you have to do to defeat this little demon is to build your setup and pivot action so that you’re doing little more than just swinging that stick, and I would bet that my proper swing, once I capture it, will look exactly or very close to his motion and setup viewed down the line:

Actual Speed

This is what will create effortless speed, power and of course resulting distance – swinging the way you’d simply swing a stick, with the caveat that you must have the proper setup and swing action to deliver the club face squarely to the ball without having to manipulate or compensate in your swing action.

And if there were a technique for swinging a golf club faster than you can a stick, it would be the way to do it, wouldn’t it?  If not, that’s the way to swing a golf club.

I’ve actually never struck a golf ball with the motion you see above.

There was always some compensation or manipulation that created a speed brake and slowed my natural speed down.

Or perhaps I have struck a ball with a natural motion, just not with an optimal setup and motion – if I did swing naturally, I can assure you that the ball either went dead left or right, because if I just swung hard and naturally (like when you get to a long straightaway hole or fairway and say, “I’m gonna rip this one,”), then the manipulation that I usually employed went out the window and very bad things happened.

Because I had a bad setup and improper mechanics – so no matter how far I could sent that ball, the minute I let my guard down and forgot to manipulate the swing through the bottom, catastrophe struck.

Every. Single. Time.

So, the closer you can get to your natural “swinging a stick” action, the better you will strike that ball, and I’m sure it’s a pretty intuitive notion.

The lower your chances of injury as well, because I could never hurt myself swinging in the manner I’m swinging above.

It’s only when you stray from the optimal that you begin to get increasing difficulty in striking a ball squarely and in preventing injury if you’re going to really go after it.

I can assure you all that once I’ve got all the cylinders firing, even those of you who’ve followed this blog since the early days will see exactly what optimal technique (or as close to it as possible) can do.

It’ll be a great day.

3 thoughts on “Remember “Swinging A Stick?” Well, That’s My Visual Again

  1. Mr. McJohn

    I think the “square clubface” idea is to blame for every manipulation. To be honest, no one can hit a ball dead straight. So maybe experiment with aiming right and closing the clubface a bit, and see if your release is better. Or you could try a fade. Either way, trying to square the face is usually why manipulations occur.

  2. Dave

    I think this ‘swinging the stick’ action is the same as why people people can swing faster on their practice swings with a club – the issue being that the club face ends up being wide open through the impact zone. In a real swing the brain goes ‘nope’ and everything slows down to allow us to square the face.

    In my opinion a practice swing or stick swing is treated more like a sword action, cutting down at the imaginary object on the ground. In a real swing we are turning the sword so that the flat side of it the hits the object – unnatural, right?

    But perhaps there’s something in Moe’s master move, but even he threw his hands at it in the ends to square the face. A well timed move from thousands of hours of practice.

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      In a real swing the brain goes ‘nope’ and everything slows down to allow us to square the face.

      Most times that would be “yes,” Dave – if you aren’t in the optimal setup and performing the optimal pivot and down swing.

      The reasons it’s so difficult are many, first and foremost there not being a standard setup and swing action. That, I’m working on. It’s part of my swing theory that the motion for producing the most efficiency with regards to speed and power is also the one that would produce the most accuracy and consistency.

      That’s why my investigation of the grip was necessary once I noticed what I noticed about the greats.

      In a real swing we are turning the sword so that the flat side of it the hits the object – unnatural, right?

      I hope you’ll stay around, Dave – this is exactly the stuff and the questions I’m working through with my modeling!


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