The A Swing: The Alternative Approach to Great Golf

The A Swing: The Alternative Approach to Great Golf

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Overview

The A Swing: The Alternative Approach to Great Golf by David Leadbetter, Ron Kaspriske

A National Bestseller!

David Leadbetter is the most recognized golf instructor in the history of the game. His new book, The A Swing, is his first for a decade and is an evolution of his swing theories that have successfully helped thousands of golfers globally. His tour players, whom he has coached over the years, have amassed 19 major golf championships. David has been prolific during his 30+ year career in producing books, videos, teaching aids that have inspired golfers of every level to reach their potential.

The A Swing - A stands for Alternative - is a simple way to swing the club, which follows biomechanically sound, scientific principles, and only requires minimal practice. The A Swing has been thoroughly tested with a wide range of players, from tour level to beginner, junior to senior, and the results overall have been nothing short of dramatic.

The A Swing is a way to develop a consistent, repetitive motion which will improve accuracy and distance, and is easy on the body. It will fix many of golf's common faults, and the book takes you through an easy, step-by-step approach. With over 200 illustrations, easy drills, and the 7-Minute Practice Plan, golfers now have the opportunity to play the way they've always dreamed of. Golf is a frustrating game, even for the top players, but the A Swing will make it easier and more fun. It could really change the way the game has been taught, which hasn't changed for years - it is not an exact method, and has leeway for individualism.

David is excited that the A Swing will help golfers the world over enjoy the game more. In essence, the A Swing is a shortcut to great golf. Whatever your level of play is now, whatever your goals, however you've been struggling with the game, the A Swing could change your golfing life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250064912
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 277,695
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

DAVID LEADBETTER is regarded as the world's premier golf instructor. His players have won a combined 18 major championships and six of those golfers were ranked No. 1 in the world. He operates dozens of golf academies around the globe and has authored several bestselling instruction books and videos. His books include Leadbetter's Quick Tips and David Leadbetter 100% Golf. David writes monthly articles for the game's leading publication—Golf Digest. He lives in Orlando, Florida.

RON KASPRISKE is a longtime editor at Golf Digest and has written five books on the game.

Read an Excerpt

The A Swing

The Alternative Approach to Great Golf


By David Leadbetter, Ron Kaspriske

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 David Leadbetter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7145-8



CHAPTER 1

WHY THE A SWING WORKS—A SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS

BY J. J. RIVET, BIOMECHANIST

EDITOR'S NOTE: Biomechanics in sports can be described as the quantifiable muscular, joint, and skeletal actions of the body during the execution of a given task, skill, and/or technique. J. J. Rivet is one of the world's leading authorities on how the body moves during athletic activities, particularly during the golf swing. He specializes in detecting inefficient movement and offering solutions on how to improve the required action. He has been lecturing on this topic at various universities since 1985, including at Aix-Marseille University and the University of Montpellier in France. J. J. is also a former consultant to the PGA's European Tour. He now conducts his studies at Biomecaswing in France. Here is his analysis of the A Swing.


Back in 1998, David Leadbetter invited me to his academy headquarters in Florida to help him better understand the motion of the body during the golf swing. His knowledge of swing mechanics and my knowledge of applied biomechanics led to some terrific discussions about the complex actions of the musculoskeletal system in playing golf. Since that first meeting we've gone on to form a research partnership, studying the swings of more than four thousand golfers in the hopes of learning all we can about what the body needs to do to perform an effective and repeatable swing. David concluded from all this data that there had to be an easier way to swing the club than what was traditionally being taught. The prototypical golf swing you see week after week on the professional tours is effective in hitting good shots. But as anyone knows who has ever played this game regularly, it's difficult to master. That's why David developed the A Swing. He took our extensive research and created an alternative way to swing the club that makes it much easier to repeatedly hit good shots without having to practice for years and years.

I can say this because I put the A Swing under the microscope. David asked me to completely evaluate its motion from a scientific standpoint and compare the results to similar testing of the more traditional approach to swinging the club. Think of the powerful, dynamic, yet tough-to-copy swings of tour pros such as Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, or Michelle Wie. For the A Swing to be worthwhile, he insisted it hold up to a high level of scrutiny—and it did. What my tests proved was that while tour pros, as a result of their talent, skill level, and endless hours of practice, do a wonderful job most of the time of repeatedly delivering the club squarely at speed into the ball with the more traditional approach, the A Swing if used by a similar athlete requires far less energy and motion to achieve comparable results. My data is provided at the end of this chapter.

There are many keys to repeatedly hitting good shots, including a player's natural athletic ability and mental focus, the equipment used, and any physical limitations he or she might have to overcome. But from a biomechanics standpoint, hitting good shots is all about controlling the kinetic energy of the club through the movement of the body. The body needs to be stable, in balance, and its motions need to be fluid and coordinated. My tests concluded that the A Swing allows golfers to achieve these requirements more easily than the traditional method.

The big thing I noticed when studying the A Swing was that it aided golfers blend, or as David terms it, synchronize, the pivot of their bodies with the swinging of the arms and club. In swinging the club, this is far and away the area where most amateurs go wrong. For example, the best golfers start the sequence of movement on the downswing with the lower body. Their feet leverage the turf, and then their hips rotate toward the target. Then they uncoil their torso, and their arms drag the clubhead through the impact zone, imparting tremendous energy into the ball. When amateurs swing, often a reverse sequence of movement occurs. The arms and club start the downswing, followed by the trunk and so on. This leads to poor contact. When I studied amateurs using the A Swing, I was so impressed with the improvement in their sequencing and synchronization. It was as if they had been doing it right for years.

Perhaps the best attribute of the A Swing is its efficiency. It helps golfers get to the top of the backswing—and poised for a good downswing—with the least wasted motion. It does this without losing the potential to build energy and create a powerful hit. My testing proved it requires less energy and movement to produce a shot of similar distance to one hit using a conventional swing. Think of how consistency will improve simply because the rotation of the body and the swinging of the arms and club are simpler and require less effort.

When you consider all of this, you can see why David and I are so excited about the potential the A Swing has for improving golfers of all skill levels. If you practice it with the seven-minute plan David outlines in this book, your swing will be more mechanically sound and easier to repeat. You'll have better footwork and balance. You'll be able to coil better in the backswing and to rotate more powerfully toward the target during the downswing. All of this will result in the club's moving on the correct path from inside the target line as you swing down, giving you your best chance of consistently hitting good shots.

I realize many of you only want the broad strokes and don't necessarily need to know the details of my A Swing testing. But for those of you who are curious, here is my explanation of how and why it works.


SYNOPSIS

To repeat any movement accurately, the goal is to simplify what is required. Think of a helicopter blade. It has to repeat the same movement up to five hundred times a minute flawlessly or the helicopter might crash. Knowing this, engineers designed the propeller to rotate around a fixed axis—the hub. This fixed point keeps the propeller rotation steady and on a constant path. In other words, it provides incredible consistency to its effective performance. Although the actions of the body and the arms and the club in the golf swing aren't identical to the action of a helicopter propeller, there are many similarities. I want you to visualize the body as that fixed axis (the hub), and the arms and the club as a propeller blade. Just as in the efficient movement of the blade, the A Swing reduces wasted motion and simplifies what is required of the body to let the arms swing the club around it and produce a solid shot time after time.

My testing of the A Swing in comparison to a collection of traditional swings showed:

* Thirty percent less energy was needed to properly coil the upper body against a stable lower body—creating more powerful ground forces.

* Rotation around the lower body (fixed axis) was improved, with stronger activity in the core muscles.

* The club movement around the body was more constant, so the golfer had less need to make last-second compensations before impact to hit solid shots.

* The coordination of footwork improved. The transfer of weight through the feet during the backswing and through-swing was more symmetrical. The weight of the body was supported in the right heel 45 percent more during the backswing and 45 percent more into the left heel just after impact. This indicates a better rotation of the hips during the downswing, which allows the club to swing on the proper path without being blocked by the body.

* To produce a quality backswing, the hands traveled 20 percent less in distance than they did in a traditional swing. (This is one of the hallmarks of the A Swing and speaks to Steven Yellin's principle of least effort mentioned in the introduction.) Despite that the hands and the butt end of the club moved a shorter distance (creating a short arm swing), interestingly enough in some test cases the clubhead traveled up to 15 percent farther than in a traditional swing due to the loading of the wrists. This more compact, efficient backswing is easier to repeat and certainly offers potential for longer shots.

* More elastic potential energy was created at the top of the backswing. The shoulder rotation increased by 10 percent as a result of better muscle synchronization, and the separation between the hips and shoulders increased by 25 percent from address to impact.

* The center of gravity shifted 15 percent less, allowing the golfer to easily transition from backswing to downswing without losing balance.

* Thirty percent less energy was used to generate the same amount of power. Even though the club was swung at approximately the same speed, the A Swing had better synchronization between the body rotation and the movement of the arms and club, creating better impact conditions and higher ball speeds.

* The "smash factor" (the ratio between ball speed and clubhead speed) increased by 8 percent. In other words, golfers gained distance simply by striking the ball closer to the center of the clubface (the sweet spot) more consistently.


The club travels on a shorter, more direct route to reach the top of the backswing when using the A Swing.

On average, our test students' hands measured at the butt end of the club travelled 20% less distance than the traditional swing. The clubhead meantime, through better loading of the wrists, travelled 15% farther.


THE BENEFITS OF THE A SWING

The A Swing created more elastic potential energy with less effort for average players, producing improved synchronization, better balance and improved smash factor (the ratio between ball speed and clubhead speed). Golfers gained distance by striking the ball closer to the center of the clubface as a result.


CONCLUSIONS

* During the initial move, less energy is needed to engage all the muscles around a stable axis. Using the deep core muscles of the abdomen creates more potential energy for the swing.

* It's a simpler, shorter, and more efficient motion for the hands and the club to reach the top of the swing in a good position.

* The club is in a better position at the top to be swung on plane during the downswing.

* There is more time to synchronize the downswing, which means more time to create energy to strike the ball solidly.

* The swing's similarity to a propeller's motion makes it easier to repeat.

* There is a potential to swing the club faster without losing balance, thereby resulting in longer shots.


So in summary, the A Swing is more efficient than the standard swing, easier on the body, and simpler to learn—and it works!

Bonne chance!

CHAPTER 2

SYNCHRONIZATION—THE KEY INGREDIENT FOR GREAT GOLF

When golfers are playing well—striking the ball solidly and controlling their shots—they feel their rhythm, tempo, and timing are good. Their swings feel effortless and their minds are quiet. It just feels easy, they say. But what is "it"? And why does "it" seem to come and go? Sometimes "it" can stay with you for a period. Other times, "it" appears and vanishes within the round. Excuse the play on words, but "it" is a bit of a mystery, isn't it? One thing's for sure, in a complex sequence of motion such as the golf swing, most players struggle to maintain that good feeling consistently. Even tour players at times talk about losing the feel (the "it") and swinging out of rhythm. And when "it" leaves, what was an effortless swing now feels difficult, mechanical, and requires too much thought.


I am convinced the "it" people are referring to is synchronization. When a golfer is in sync, the rotation of the body (component 1) and the swinging of the arms and club (component 2) are coordinated and moving in harmony, resulting in good timing and rhythm. These two basic components must blend solidly or the golfer will not efficiently deliver good energy into the ball. Synchronization doesn't mean that the rotation of the body and the swinging of the arms and club move all together at the same speeds in the golf swing—as say synchronized swimmers would do. This would create a weak, powerless motion. What I mean by synchronization is that the two, prime components move in a coordinated sequence to produce energy, power, and, importantly, repetition. The following is somewhat of an oversimplification, but consider the swing as consisting of two circles. A portion of the smaller inner circle is the track on which your torso rotates—that's the pivot motion. Along the larger, outer circle is where the arms, hands, and club move—that's the swing movement.

It's paramount to coordinate and match the pivot motion with that of the swing movement—in other words, to synchronize the two circles. It's the secret to consistently hitting good shots.

The coiling and uncoiling of the body along the smaller inner circle has to be the leader in this partnership—it's the lifeblood of the golf swing, creating energy that flows through the arms and hands, and finally into the clubhead. Picture the pivot as being a small cog that drives a larger cog—the movement of the arms and club. Or as I often say, the dog (the body) has to wag the tail (the arms and club). Within these two circles, the various parts of the swing move at different speeds depending on the distance they have to travel—the longer the distance, the greater the speed. The clubhead travels on the longest route and therefore has to move faster than the hands. In turn, the hands move faster than the arms, the arms quicker than the shoulders, and the shoulders faster than the hips. This all has to happen in a coordinated sequence to produce a rhythmical swing and consistent shots. Understanding the two circles is a key step in developing good sync and plays a major part in the A Swing.

The small circle, component 1—the pivot—is, with a little understanding, relatively simple to execute. Where most golfers struggle is blending it with all the various elements of the arms-and-club aspect of the swing, i.e., the big circle, component 2—things such as the cocking and the uncocking of the wrists, the folding and the straightening of the arms, the lagging and then the squaring of the clubhead at impact, and the releasing of the club to the finish. There are a lot of moving parts. This is one of the main reasons I developed the A Swing—to make this bigger circle much simpler to do and to be more repeatable. I would say that synchronization in the golf swing has been the essence of my teaching philosophy through the years, and all my instruction has been geared around achieving that goal. With Michelle Wie, whom I have coached since she was thirteen, the whole approach has over the years been to get her swing in sync. With her long limbs, synchronization has always been a challenge. The more she has understood it, and the physically stronger she has become, the more in sync she has gotten. She has developed great harmony between the body and the arms, and as a result, when on, she is a superb ball-striker who has immense power and control over her shots. I believe that for the vast majority of golfers, the A Swing is the easiest way for you to get in sync.

When I teach amateurs, I'm always fascinated by how much better their pivot looks when they make the general motion without hitting a ball. I'll video them doing a drill where they mimic the body rotation during the swing with their arms folded across their chest. With just a little bit of coaching, in a short time most golfers can easily learn the pivot motion without a club. They wind their upper body against a stable lower body and load their weight onto their right side correctly as if they were making a proper backswing. Then they shift their weight onto their left side as the lower body leads a smooth-and-balanced motion toward the target as if they were making a powerful downswing. Their head remains still and they complete the movement by rotating through to a picture-perfect finish up on the right toe. The whole motion flows and looks perfectly natural. If you saw them do it, you'd think, Wow, if they look like this when they swing a club, they'll hit good shots.

But, alas, when I put a club in those same golfers' hands and they hit a ball, everything tends to change. The flowing practice motion disappears, and unrecognizable motion shows up in its place. Suddenly there is less coil and poor weight transfer, balance is off, the spine angle changes, the head moves all over the place, and the finish is far from graceful. The motion looks awkward. What was the cause of such a dramatic change? Well, simply, their body pivot had to react to the inefficient, complicated manner in which they swing the club. The body was no longer the leader of the motion, it was the follower—the tail is wagging the dog! Most of the faults you see with the pivot motion during the actual swing are the effect, not the cause, of a poor swing motion from the arms, hands, and club. A golfer's instinctive goal is to generate power and somehow square the clubface in time to hit the ball. Most amateurs mistakenly try to make this happen solely with their arms and hands. As a result, the natural body motion disappears and their swings often look herky-jerky and off-balance. If these same golfers could somehow improve and simplify their swing-motion component, they would have a chance to harmonize the two circles. The pivot motion would then take on the lead role and have a similar, natural look to the arms-folded-across-the-chest drill—that's the goal. I constantly remind my students that when the pivot in their actual swing looks and feels like the pivot drill without the club, then they've got it—that's when they'll play their best golf.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The A Swing by David Leadbetter, Ron Kaspriske. Copyright © 2015 David Leadbetter. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

TITLE PAGE,
COPYRIGHT NOTICE,
DEDICATION,
FOREWORD BY MICHELLE WIE,
INTRODUCTION,
1 WHY THE A SWING WORKS—A SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS BY J. J. RIVET, BIOMECHANIST,
2 SYNCHRONIZATION—THE KEY INGREDIENT FOR GREAT GOLF,
3 THE A SWING FOUNDATION,
4 THE A SWING PIVOT MOTION,
5 THE A SWING ARMS-AND-CLUB MOVEMENT,
6 UTILIZING THE A SWING,
7 THE A SWING SEVEN-MINUTE PRACTICE PLAN,
FINAL THOUGHTS,
APPENDIX: FULL SEQUENCE OF THE A SWING,
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS,
CONTACTS,
THE A SWING APPROVED TRAINING AIDS,
ALSO BY DAVID LEADBETTER,
COPYRIGHT,

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