Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staffGolf with Scott Bergdahl - for Golf Columm-- lateral motion in the back swing Lakewood Golf pro Scott Bergdahl explains lateral motion in the back swing and why it is not a good idea.

Helping you keep mosquitoes away and reducing sway

Spray or sway? If I had my way it would be neither. Both will cause aggravation, irritation, loss of direction, an increase in your score and most certainly cause you to have a game of golf that is less than desirable.

Spray or sway?

If I had my way it would be neither. Both will cause aggravation, irritation, loss of direction, an increase in your score and most certainly cause you to have a game of golf that is less than desirable.

I’m sure that all of you are reading this article thinking what in the world is he referring to. Mosquitoes of course.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. This phrase is one that I have used for many years and one that says it all. There’s not a chance that you or I as golfers would have any success on the golf course if we were not prepared for those little beasts!

If you happened to start your game without having applied your entire body with spray and then re-applied throughout your round then you may as well have gone straight into the clubhouse, mark a high score on the card and enjoy the time with your playing partners. It seemed that there was no avoiding the swarms on the course and therefore difficult to play well.

Having said this, we have had some very comical discussions this past week on some old wives tales and home made remedies to assist in warding off those pesky beasts. It seems that some people have interesting ways to eliminate the bother of mosquitoes while allowing them to get their daily game in.

I walked into the pro shop and met one of our members earlier this week. Now I have to tell you that I was a little surprised when I first saw him. He had something sticking out of the back of his hat. It was unmistakable when I noticed it and therefore had to say something for fear that one of his playing partners may notice it and make fun of him.

I quickly got his attention and said, did you know you have a fleecy sheet hanging out the back of your hat? Now you may think this is funny but if you search your memory banks I am sure that this has happened to all of us at one time or another.

I, being the nice guy, thought that he would kindly say thank you, remove the sheet and it would just be his and my little inside joke. Surprisingly enough, that started a ten minute conversation about how the fleecy sheet would help keep the mosquitoes away.

Well, you could well imagine my response and quite frankly the motivation for this intro. After playing the course I quickly asked him how it worked. His response was that they left the back of his neck alone but still swarmed his face. My friend may not have kept the mosquitoes away that day but most certainly made a fashion statement as he looked like he was a member of the legionnaire’s battalion in Africa.

Another interesting remedy was tree sap. Using tree sap apparently also keeps the mosquitoes away. I suggest the next time you go out and play take a little tree sap (I now sell that in the pro shop) and spread it under your eyes as if you were a football player.

It may or may not work, but you would start a new trend and make a fashion statement for golfers. If nothing else I am sure it would scare the heck out of those pesky insects. What’s next, bat pee applied just below your ear lobes?

Whatever remedy floats your boat, the bottom line is if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Understanding the proper swing motion when you take the club into your backswing and properly applying it to your golf swing will most certainly assist you in hitting the ball more consistent, ultimately lowering your scores.

One of the more common swing flaws in the backswing is called the sway. The sway is a lateral motion of your right hip (for right handed golfers) as you take the club to the top of your backswing.

Players tend to make this mistake primarily due to the fact that they are attempting to place their weight on their back foot in the backswing.

This motion creates one of the most common mistakes golfers make which is a form of a reverse pivot. This causes you to become extremely inconsistent in your ball contact but generally will cause you to contact the ground before you hit the ball.

The golf swing is more of a rotational motion rather than a lateral motion. Our attempt during the backswing is to start the golf club moving back by turning our shoulders. Once the shoulders start rotating, your torso will follow, then your hips and finally the left knee (for right handed golfers) will rotate towards your back leg and in some cases your left heel will lift off of the ground slightly.

In your address position, your weight starts even on both feet. As you swing to the top of your backswing you need to have approximately 70% of your weight on your back foot. It’s how we get our weight to our back foot that is in question and will determine if you sway or not.

As indicated earlier, the golf swing or swing motion is more of a rotational motion rather than a lateral motion. Understanding how the weight gets to your back foot will assist you in avoiding a swaying motion. First of all, the function of the hips is simple to rotate. There is no lateral motion with the hips at all in the backswing. Therefore it is not the hips that take your weight to your back foot.

The function of the upper body or shoulders is also to rotate. There is however a lateral motion to the right (for right handed golfers) with the shoulders as you turn to the top of your backswing. Allowing your upper body to not only turn but to move laterally will place your weight on your back foot at the top of the backswing.

Most golfers have an issue with this because they’re trying to keep their head still. In my view, one of the worst phrases in golf is to keep your head still! The head has to move slightly (approximately an inch) to allow your weight to transfer to your back foot therefore creating a proper coiling swing motion. This coiling motion is referred to as loading and if done properly will allow you to unload through the ball to your finish position. In other words, if done properly, you will use your big muscles (butt and tummy) rather than your small muscles (arms) to hit the ball.

Eliminating the sway by creating a better coiling motion in the backswing will most certainly assist in creating consistent contact with the ball, increasing your distance and direction therefore lowering your scores and increasing your overall enjoyment of the game.

Play well and have a great week on the course.

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