Golf Swing Triggers

by Rick Hart

Golf swing triggers

If you're like most beginners when you watch the pros play you marvel at their smooth rhythmic swings. You may say to yourself, why doesn't my swing look like that? One of the reasons is they have a "swing trigger" and you don't.

The Swing Trigger is not something that is talked about very much yet in my opinion it is one of the more crucial aspects of good swing rhythm and an often overlooked swing fundamental. Poor golfers often start their swings from a very static position with a jerky, tense motion. This leads to inconsistency with one shot hit solidly and the next off the toe and the next...who knows.

Apply your own swing trigger along with advanced mental game processes to dramatically improve performance and add consistency to your golf game.

The sad part is you don't have to be a beginner to suffer from this herky-jerky tension. Many long time golfers have "grooved" a static, stiff, tense swing from years of practicing the wrong move. But how do they break this ingrained lack of movement from their swings? It's actually not that hard. Combined with a good waggle and relaxed muscles, a swing trigger will help reduce tension and create a smooth, consistent rhythm...for anyone.

As you watch many professional golfers you’ll see many variations on the swing trigger. So what is it? The swing trigger is the movement that starts the swing. One example is Jack Nicklaus’ stationary press. He describes it like this...

“By firming up my hands as the final preparatory movement, I get a strong sense of affirmation of the coming swing throughout my body. This simple little device seems to alert all my muscles to the job at hand without tensing them in any way. Thus it has become a critical part of my game, a preface to every shot I play. You should work to build a similarly strong “starter” into your game.”

Other golfers have different triggers. Gary player has that familiar kick of the right knee as does Vijay Singh to a lesser extent. Others have a subtle and sometimes not so subtle forward press where there is a sense of the body moving forward and then backward with a smooth clubhead take away into the back swing.

So how do you find a good golf swing trigger?

A golf swing trigger should relate to the motion you want to create in the swing. In fact, as they prepare to hit the ball, you'll notice that good players are always in motion. Their feet, hands and eyes are moving and rehearsing the feel of the swing in their minds. This keeps the body and mind loose. Target and ideal ball flight images are moving through their minds. At the right point the back swing begins and the swing motion has started.

Harvey Penick, teacher to Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite in his Little Red Book had a great visual cue to give people a sense of that motion. Imagine a full pail of water.

In order to swing it back smoothly and not spill the water, you must first swing it forward a couple of inches and then when you swing it back it moves more smoothly. If you tried to swing it straight back, you’re bound to do it in a jerky movement and more than likely the water will overflow.

Learn other excellent visualization techniques and mental game strategies by checking out the mental game program.

So let your body be like that bucket of water. Feel your body move very subtly towards the target and then smoothly move your arms and clubhead back in a relaxed, tension free movement. Practice this on the range as a normal part of your pre-shot routine.

It's not hard to learn and you'll see better consistency right away. What you won't see anymore are those ugly shots that can ruin a good round.

A swing trigger is one of those many things that some beginners aren’t aware of. It’s very seldom taught but all beginners and any golfer who suffers with inconsistency should realize it is critical technique for creating rhythm and more consistent shots. Try it and see.

Rick is a long time golfer and owner of Golf Club Revue where he puts the spotlight on golf clubs.

Check out his website at

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