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GOLF INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE

ESSENTIAL READING FROM THE BEST IN THE GAME

with Stuart Morgan PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID CANNON/GETTYIMAGES.COM

The astonishing ability 10-yearold Emily Price has to swing a golf club so beautifully used to be explained as natural golfing talent; today, through extensive research and a better understanding about junior coaching methods, we now know that she is able to do this because she is an athlete first and just so happened to take a liking to golf. With Emily’s help, let me show you how an assortment of beach toys is all you need to improve some of the key moves in a sound swing. And if the energy and sheer fun in these images doesn’t inspire you to play better golf, well, nothing will!


INSTRUCTION WITH STUART MORGAN

THROW IT!

HIT IT!

RELEASE IT!

Feel the wind up as you go for max distance

Shift your weight to whack the ball!

Spin the frisbee for consistent flight

with Stuart Morgan PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID CANNON/GETTYIMAGES.COM

The astonishing ability 10-yearold Emily Price has to swing a golf club so beautifully used to be explained as natural golfing talent; today, through extensive research and a better understanding about junior coaching methods, we now know that she is able to do this because she is an athlete first and just so happened to take a liking to golf. With Emily’s help, let me show you how an assortment of beach toys is all you need to improve some of the key moves in a sound swing. And if the energy and sheer fun in these images doesn’t inspire you to play better golf, well, nothing will!

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SEE EMILY PLAY!

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INSTRUCTION WITH STUART MORGAN

Here you can see Emily doing a ground strike with a foam ball and a polo stick – and what’s most impressive is her natural instinct to step in to the ball and strike it

Look at the way she plants her forward foot as she completes her backswing and winds up the upper body – terrific ‘athletic’ movement

Great set-up, arms nicely extended and lovely angle across the shoulders

The skill Emily learns with this exercise – just as you can learn – is the correct ‘dissociate’ change of direction, i.e. the upper body fully turned as the lower body

Arms working together as the shoulders turn – eyes fixed on the back of ball Great extension of the left arm – just as above with bat and ball!

Building on pure athletic motion What you are looking at here are three wonderful sequences of perfectly natural athletic motion – one of which just happens to be a golf swing. Emily has an advanced level at FUNdamental movement skills, like skipping & hopping and is now using FUNdamental Sports skills to hone her golfing technique. My job is simply to fine-tune what she does instinctively to help her apply her natural skills to golf. In consultation with Emily’s father, Kelvin, my role is to make sure that she continues to develop her love for the game. As a coach, I know only too well how easy it is to over-burden a student with complicated swing theory and often irrelevant information that does nothing other than hinder a player’s ability and freedom of expression. In Emily’s case, the jargon of typical ‘golf-speak’ has been kept to a bare minimum – and the results speak for themselves. The sequence at the top of this page, I think, illustrates perfectly how you can get a youngster to begin to develop a good swinging technique. Throwing a Frisbee from a sound golfing posture (either left or right handed) similarly reveals how a natural wind-up and release mirrors the arm and body action we look for in a repeating golf swing. Specifically, you can see that she learns the correct extension and wrist release, promoting a flat left wrist at impact. Nothing complicated here. And you can improve your own golf by following in Emily’s example – all you have to do is raid the toy cupboard and then out and enjoy yourself as you let your instinct improve the shape of your swing.

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Hold your posture and keep your eye on the imaginary ball as you wind up


SEE EMILY PLAY!

begins to work back towards the target. This is not a position Emily has been taught – this is a natural instinct to want to hit the ball

In repeating this exercise and trying to strike the ball as hard as she can, Emily also learns a lot about the timing that is required to maximise speed at impact

No holding back through impact! Look at the extension of the arms!

Body rotates to clear the way for the arms and the club

Unwind your body to accelerate your arm for the throw

Of course, she doesn’t know all this – she simply gets on and has fun doing it. And holds her finish in balance as she lets fly!

Release the left arm to the target and watch it fly!

Picture-book finish

Hold your poise and balance

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INSTRUCTION WITH STUART MORGAN

Poised at the ‘set-up’, the muscles in the hand and arm relaxed – just as you should be at the set-up with a golf club in your hands

Weight flows into the right side as Emily winds up the swing. Great leverage in the left arm/wrists

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The natural throwing action sees Emily shift her weight across and onto the rear foot as she ‘loads up’ the armswing, storing up energy as she prepares to unwind

Balanced and unhurried change of direction

Weight now on to the left side as the club is released


SEE EMILY PLAY!

Body reverses the momentum, the weight shifting toward the target in readiness for take off!

Full release of energy in the direction of the throw – just as we look for that full release in the direction of the target in a good golf swing

Load it up, then release Transferring your weight correctly in the swing is one of the secrets to consistent, repeating ball striking. And the more efficiently you take care of this element of technique the more speed and distance you will create. Throwing the vortex or torpedo, just look at the way Emily ‘loads’ into her right side before springing forward and creating terrific leverage to throw the object as far as possible. In all of the featured exercises I stress that I want her to do it at the maximum speed in order to develop the natural speed required to play great golf. In exactly the same way as she instinctively shifts her weight to ‘load’ and release when throwing the rocket, her golf swing features this wonderful dynamic as she allows her weight to flow back and forth in tune with the swing. For such a young player, she demonstrates a fantastically mature body action, her legs stabilising the motion from start to finish. If I asked you to throw a ball or a rocket as far as you could I doubt you’d stand there and try to swing your arm without involving your body – and yet that’s exactly what so many golfers do with a club in their hands. So the next time you practice, why not spend the first 5 minutes of your session throwing golf balls down the range, rehearsing this body action and encouraging the free transfer of weight back and through? The more efficiently you marry this action with the flailing/throwing of the arm, the further you will throw the ball. Likewise, the better you combine this natural weight shift with your arm-action in the golf swing, the more speed you will create and the better you will hit the ball. This is the future of junior golf development. As we all know, the game takes a long time to truly master, and with juniors starting out so young it is so important that we keep it fun, and that the skills then gradually become more challenging as the golfer gets older. This way we keep motivation high and avoid young golfers burning out as they take the game to seriously to young. There’s a valuable lesson here for you, too.

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Gi - See Emily Play