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Today's issue is a short one, but an important one.
It's about something that every PGA Tour (and great golfer) does and is often overlooked in both in-person and online golf instruction.
Take a look at the GIF below of me taking a golf swing. Watch it a few times and see if you can figure out what I'm doing right before I start my backswing.
I know the gif above is a bit dark, but you might notice a little move that I'm doing right before I start my swing. I subtly pick up the club, place it back down behind the ball, then come to a complete stop for a split-second prior to starting my backswing.
In golf, we call this the "trigger" and it's a super important part of the golf swing. My trigger is very subtle, almost like a baseball pitcher "coming set" prior to winding up and making the pitch.
That said, many golfers have very pronounced triggers. For example, Jason Dufner:
There's a lot more movement going on here than mine, but the concept is the same—each golfer should have a repeatable motion that they do before every shot to "get comfortable" over the ball.
In the video above, Dufner is using a waggle movement, which is one common version of a trigger.
Many pros like Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner, Brian Harman and so many more use the "waggle" as a way to get loose over the golf ball prior to hitting it.
But what you'll notice is that the waggle can be replaced with any other type of movement. Here are a couple of common things you'll see from the pros:
- Hovering the club in the air (Bryson, JT, Bubba Watson, etc.)
- Partial swing rehearsals (Rickie Fowler made 1/4 rehearsal swings just prior to hitting for a while)
- "Lift and drop" (what I use and what is shown in the gif above, Justin Rose uses this, etc.)
- "Dancing feet" (where the golfer shuffles their feet a lot before the shot)
It doesn't matter what you do. If it gets you comfortable and feeling athletic over the golf ball, it works.
I talk a lot about the importance of routine because it's one of the very few factors we can control in golf.
We can't control the wind.
We can't control the quality of the course.
We can't control whether we land in a divot in the middle of the fairway.
We can't control making a bad swing (it happens).
But we can approach each shot with the same exact routine, master our fundamentals, and eliminate a ton of variables in the process.
And the "trigger" is the movement in our routine that gets everything started. It's our "all systems go" move and every great golfer has a signature movement.
Next time you play golf, pay attention to this. Pay attention to how often you vary your "trigger" before your golf shots.
If you find yourself doing something a bit different before each shot, try making it your round focus. Rather than worrying about your golf swing, your score, or any of the other 100 factors floating through your head, keep things simple and focus solely on repeating the same trigger before each swing.
If you mess up, step away from the ball!
This is a lot like pitching in baseball. To avoid a "balk", the pitcher must come set before throwing. If the pitcher doesn't feel comfortable, they may lift their back foot behind the pitcher's plate and reset the entire pitch.
We can do the same thing in golf. Nobody is forcing you to hit that shot if you don't feel comfortable or you've gotten out of rhythm.
Give it a try next round. I think you'll be surprised by the results.
I'll see you in the next issue.
Hit 'em straight!