Joe Plecker Breaks Down the Drive, Can Find Greater Efficiency for Every Age and Type
I’ve seen an awful lot of golf instruction from an awful lot of people through the years. They told me how to get around being young, middle-aged and old, short and tall, etc. It’s very difficult to fit something like the human golf swing into a few words or a small handful of manageable principals. Complex golf instruction reminds me of the tailor who asked his client to contort himself every which way so that the new suit would fit perfectly. Walking down the street all bent and lurching, an onlooker commented on the condition of “the poor man.” Her friend added, “Yes, but doesn’t his suit fit well?” Difficult as it is to create a fluent, elegant body for driving, Joe Plecker, a highly regarded teacher-coach out of Baltimore seems to have done the trick. It only requires that handful of principles subsumed under one or two big ones. That’s enough to be daunting when one only reads it, but with a club in one’s hand taking it thoughtfully one step at a time, I can see it producing good results in short order.
Plecker, in one explanation, pays special attention to those suffering from limited flexibility. “Loading,” building up all the potency of the and accuracy of the swing on the way back, and the “coiling” of the body are two important features. But, can we “load” and “coil” the way we used to? Perhaps not, but that’s not the right question. We are where we are, and want to get better. For us, it might help if we take a narrower stance, and flare the front foot, allowing more rotation with less discomfort. On the downswing, Plecker would have us twist into the right hip. We’ve heard this before, but his slightly different method of explaining it might unlock some good mental connections. That coiling and uncoiling should feel like a squat, and that goes to the heart of a common dysfunction. Maybe it’s because we feel resigned to not hitting it very far, or fear not getting ‘under’ it, but we react by lifting the torso, and the hands, as if we’re going to use the last of our strength to chop wood or kill snakes. The body is knocked off its track, and will probably end the swing with an even higher jerk, Even someone who has played all his life can get into whiff territory doing that. Stay in the squat, and get the left knee over the left toes. Take back the squat, not the lift. Maybe it was fun in our teens to wrap the backswing around our necks, but now only the chiropractor will get anything out of it. On the way down, twist to your right pocket to make sure the hips go through, all through, no lift. Contrary to what some of us were taught, the left leg can bend for the backswing rotation, causing us to tilt slightly toward the target, with the right foot firmly down. From there, even the most rigid among us can spring through the ball with increased velocity, Nothing within that velocity needs to be abusively abrupt or jolting. Those days can be blessedly behind us, A great shot will impress bystanders more than yesteryear’s fire and fury any day.
This session featuring Plecker wasn’t excavated from some ancient text found in Harry Vardon’s attic. In fact, it was published yesterday in one of the major golf publications. The article is replete with pictures of Plecker, but don’t just read it. Move through the segments to feel the squat, avoid the lift, flare the foot, and send the ball farther, to a place in the short grass where it can be found.