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Cheat sheet: Two moves for a smoother start to your swing

February 6, 2020
Using a "trigger" call help you initiate a smooth swing.

There are many Nicklaus “signature” moves you can borrow. My favorite was his indelible head turn away from the ball, a subtle rotation that triggered one of the most winning swings of all time. The reason for it was simple — to initiate a fuller, more powerful shoulder turn. What you may not realize is that this trigger was just part of Jack’s pre-shot routine.

To fully understand Jack’s trigger, we have to look at something Jack did before he addressed the ball. When lining up, Jack would pick an intermediate spot somewhere between the target and the ball. He’d then draw an imaginary line through all three and set up his feet parallel to that imaginary line. This is when he’d make his first move, by turning his head and checking to see if that spot he’d picked before is still in line with the target and that his stance was parallel to that line.

Next, he’d take “one last look for comfort,” as he’s called it, turning his head to glance at the target before coming back to gaze directly at the ball. All this movement happened before initiating the famous, steely-eyed head turn we all have burned in our collective memories.

For Jack, his swing trigger was really just another move to keep the body and mind in motion before starting his swing. Whether it be a head turn, knee flex or even a slight forward press of the hands, having both a pre-shot routine and a swing trigger improves your cadence and rhythm. It can also calm your nerves and make it easier to execute your swing under pressure. The more you can rely on a routine, the less time you’ll have to worry about negative swing thoughts.

Hallett teaches at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.

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