Jim Dent & Rick Bradshaw Appear on The Golf Channel’s Academy Live, hosted by Kelly Tilghman
February 4, 2003
Jim Dent and Rick Bradshaw take their expertise to millions of viewers on The Golf Channel’s Academy Live. Jim Dent has been a PGA Tour Professional for over 33 years, 12-time winner on the Champions Tour, and is a perennial long drive king who is often compared with John Daly and Tiger Woods. Jim’s Longest drive on tour measured 425 yards in Atlanta 2 years ago at age 61. Jim has been a partner in the Dent/Bradshaw School of Golf for the past 11 years. Rick Bradshaw is a PGA teaching professional and Director of Instruction for the Dent/Bradshaw School of Golf. Rick has taught golf for over 25 years averaging over 80 golf lessons weekly. Rick has written and appeared in 9 golf instructional videos, including one with Jim Dent and another with Gary Koch. Additionally Rick has appeared in a nationally syndicated golf instructional series and has taught many pros and celebrities over his career. He has also developed a reputation for the ability to drive the golf ball over 300 yards with only one hand on the club to demonstrate effortless power. We like to spell out power so that there is no misunderstanding in its meaning. It’s a fun and informative process that all of his students enjoy! P.O.W.E.R.
I could have started with posture or pre-shot routine but Pivot is the engine of the golf swing: the center controls a hurricane or a tornado and it is the same in the golf swing. Pivot by definition is turning around a fixed point. The only fixed points in the golf swing are the right and left feet, which are anchored to the ground. As the upper body rotates the feet and legs, assisted by the spikes gripping the ground, create torque in the body and legs. This rotation is essential in generating power from legs verses arm and shoulder swing movement.
There are 3 essential reasons that you want to keep you arms in front of your body as you pivot.
- Leg resistance is greater
- Club remains on path throughout the swing
- Suggests a unified and one piece feeling
In the immortal words of the great teacher Percy Boomer “all of golf is opposition”. “We are in a state of opposing in every phase of the swing even the waggle. The very feel of the club head is only sensed when we are in a state of opposition to it!” Percy was talking about physics and the principals involving a centrifugal golf swing.
When an object like a ball bag or a golf club rotates in a circle, a force must be directed to the center of the circle to maintain the motion otherwise the object, ball bag or club head will take off tangent to the path! This constraining force is called centripetal force meaning center seeking.
When the rope goes slack the ball bag slows down, does not stay on a constant arc and I can no longer sense or feel where the ball bag is. This is directly relevant to swinging the golf club.
The hands and fingers are your connection to the club and the feet are your only other connection to the ground. Extreme opposition would be your feet opposing the outward pull of the club head throughout the swing. This opposition could be called Balance. The other would be your fingers opposing the force of the club being thrown against them. The index finger and thumb then oppose on the on the back swing with a steady firmer stability of the left hand.
There was only one choice for a W in power and that is width. When I swing a ball bag around in a circle with a piece of tape attached half way out to the end of the bag the bag travels a greater velocity than the tape nearer the center.
Another analogy would be two racehorses running around the track one on the inside and the other on the outside. In a photo finish the horse on the outside should be given the victory. The outside horse ran much faster throughout the race.
Tiger’s quote from 2 years ago when Gary McCord interviewed him before winning one of his 4 majors that year was “I’m wide, I’m tight and I’m ripping it!”
To make this statement politically correct I’m wide, I’m taut and I’m ripping it.
You must feel at the top of your back swing that your left arm is in a straight line with your club shaft and waist high- Please note this is a description of the proper FEEL! The purpose of the straight left arm is to maintain width and a constant arc throughout the swing.
I thought a lot about what E should stand for in the word power. My choice could have been elasticity, which is instrumental in a person’s ability to rotate their torso during the swing. The rotation back however is the building of potential or stored energy. The recoil of the body that triggers the downswing is the release of stored energy into kinetic energy of the club head accelerating into and through the ball. This should happen in an easy or effortless motion however the E in power has to be the building of stored energy in the pivot back and kinetic energy on the way through.
The body is not alone in building, storing, and releasing energy in the golf swing. The club shaft gathers up energy in the back swing and releases on the downswing. A great analogy of how the club shaft works in the golf swing would be the pole used in a pole vault, propelling the pole-vaulter over the bar.
Again several choices for the letter R in power: release of energy or relax could have been chosen. However, I chose resistance. The right foot and leg resist upper body rotation on the carry back propelling the club head around and up on the backswing. The ability to release the energy stored in the shaft and club head on the downswing through the ball is primarily the result of lower body resistance of the left leg and left side.
The analogy for this would be a fast pitch softball pitcher using the left leg for resistance to help whip the arm through for tremendous velocity at the bottom of the throwing arc. That’s why many feel the golf swing resembles a throwing motion rather than a hitting motion because you never hit at the ball but accelerate past it.