Golf Academy at West Haven
Virgil Herring, 2002, 2003, 2005 & 2006 Middle-TN PGA Teacher of the Year and 2003 TN PGA Section Teacher of the Year.

Golf Tip of the Month - PGA Professional Virgil Herring stresses the importance of getting your students to understand muscle motion in the golf swing.

Written by: Virgil Herring --------------------Editor: Scott Kramer --------------------Drawing By: Paul Lipp

PGA Professional Virgil Herring, PGA director of instruction at The Golf Academy at Springhouse Links in Nashville, Tenn., is one of golf's most respected instructors. In fact, Herring was named the Tennessee PGA Section Teacher of the Year in 2003. He also captured the section's Middle Tennessee Chapter Teacher of the Year recognition in 2003 and '02. Herring has made teaching the proper golf swing very simple, as he explains below.

Says Herring: "One of the conditions that makes golf difficult is our body moving in separate directions simultaneously, during the swing. Parts of our body provide rotational motion, while others provide vertical upward and downward motion.

"To help students understand muscle motion in the swing, I color-code their swing. For starters, I color the torso, hips, and legs black. These parts rotate and never provide any lifting properties to the swing. Then I paint the arms white. The wrist and elbow provide the leverage or cocking of the golf club. Next I put the colors in order, using a three-step drill to accentuate proper muscle motion and swing plane. It's called Black…White…Gray.

"From a set-up position, with the spine and shaft angles at 90 degrees, black occurs: The torso begins to rotate the address position perpendicular to the spine until the hands pass the back thigh. At this point the arms are still extended as they were at address and the clubhead is outside the hands, when looking down the plane line.

"The second step is white: The wrists set the club so that the shaft points at the ball when the lead arm completes the backswing, as it comes to rest under the jaw and above the back shoulder.

"The final step is gray: The downswing is the simultaneous dropping of the arms and the counter-rotation of the torso, hips, and legs, until the swing culminates into a finish position that has the belt buckle facing the target and nearly all of the weight on the forward leg and black toe. Learning how to time the gray helps build the proper rhythm and sequencing in the proper swing."

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