We’ve determined that there are 5 Simple Keys® – hence the name of the entire system – to learning to play good golf, and we have the data to back this up, particularly with our continued work with technology. In fact, while at the show, we filmed segments in the Swing Catalyst booth to measure pressure. We’ve used AMM data, Trackman/Flightscope data, and more to corroborate our findings, as well as our experience seeing the swings of good and poor golfers.
Key#1 – Steady Head
The average PGA Tour player moves his head one inch during his backswing and less on his downswing. Since virtually none of them move their heads forward on the backswing, that means that for every guy who moves it two inches, there’s a guy moving it zero inches. For every guy that moves it three inches, there are two guys who don’t move their head one bit. A relatively steady head is important because it’s efficient to turn our shoulders in a circle. If the circle remains relatively steady, contact with the golf ball becomes easier and more consistent.
Key#2 – Weight Forward
Speaking solely of impact numbers, the average PGA Tour player has between 80-95% of his pressure on his front foot at impact. The average amateur has 55%. Oh, some amateurs get to 70 or even 75%, but many will be backing out of the shot and the 75% number comes earlier in the downswing. If we’ve maintained a steady head, then it becomes easier to get our weight forward at impact, and to do so properly. BTW, we have some numbers on the backswing, and while they measure pressure (you can’t really measure “weight” in a dynamic system), they’re surprising. Lots of pressure right at the top of the backswing.
Key#3 – Flat Left Wrist
With a steady head helping the golfer to get his weight forward at impact, the third key becomes simpler. Keys 1 and 2 feed into Key 3. Great golfers deliver a good amount (not excessive, but enough) of shaft lean at impact. Though the driver is a specific case (ball position contributes heavily), throughout the set the best players deliver the shaft in such a way that it has not passed the line of the left forearm prior to impact. No good or great golfers “flip” at the ball a significant amount, and a flat left wrist helps to compress the ball to strike it “pure” every single time.
Key#4 – Diagonal Sweet Spot Path
While the first three keys are built to ensure a pure, compressed strike on the golf ball, the last two get down to brass tacks in terms of actually controlling your golf ball. Golf is not played on a vertical or a horizontal plane, but rather, on a tilted plane. We swing the clubhead back, up, and inward. On the downswing we swing the club forwards, down, and out. The “up and in” and the “down and out” account for the “diagonal” nature of the sweet spot path, whether you’re viewing the path down the line or from the player’s perspective. Good golf is not played, contrary to what Johnny Miller says, with the club traveling “down the target line” for more than an instant. Regardless of the plane on which you swing, whether it’s Jack Nicklaus’s or Matt Kuchar’s, you need to learn to deliver the sweetspot to the ball properly.
Key#5 – Clubface Control
The holy grail. Even PGA Tour players fail at this more often than you’d think. Clubface control is simply the ability to control the clubface relative to the sweetspot path to produce a shot that both starts and curves as desired. In other words, if you play a pull-cut, you can’t deliver the clubface pointing right at impact. Clubface control begins with understanding the ball flight laws and concludes with applying the principles to your golf swing by learning to control the clubface.
We’re very excited about this system and thus far everyone we’ve talked to has been very excited as well. Golfers are enthused because golf has never been broken down into something this simple before. They’re excited because they know what they’ll be working on. Golf instructors are enthused because this system will allow them to prioritize their lessons with their students. Both groups are excited because each of these 5 Simple Keys® is both measurable and achievable. Mastering these 5 Simple Keys® will lead to great golf.
The keys themselves? Here’s a cool piece. Golfers will be able to earn the keys to hang from their golf bags from a certified 5 Simple Keys® Instructor when they can explain and demonstrate their competence at one of the five keys. For many, they’ll go in order, earning the first key, the second key, the third key, and so on. These keys are designed to hang from the golf bag and will serve as bragging points among golfers. The more keys you’ve earned, the better the golfer you’re guaranteed to be.
Keep watching for more updates about 5 Simple Keys® and how you can finally improve your game!