Today we take a look at the swing of a true legend of the game, Lee Trevino. Lee is going to show us how to release your clubhead down the line.
Trevino’s Homemade Swing
Trevino, winner of six major championships, had a home-made swing that looks a bit odd and awkward at first. Don’t let this deceive you. Lee was, and is, regarded as one of the games all-time great ball strikers. So obviously he did a lot of things right, and could do them right under extreme pressure. Most importantly, he had a golf swing that the Occasional Golfer can emulate successfully. Let’s have a look at Lee hit a few balls:
Some notable things about Lee’s motion are that he has a pronounced starter move (for example, 0:05, 0:24, 1:05), a fairly short backswing, and a huge down-the line clubhead release. Indeed, it looks as if he is literally hurling himself down the target line, chasing after the ball. This is the key to his consistent ball striking — he is able to keep the clubface square to the target line for an incredibly long time with this unique release motion. Hence, he can hit the ball with a very shallow descending blow.
Lee Knows How to Release
To study his release a bit further, study the swing sequence from (0:38) to (0:42). I’ve stopped the action at a few key points, and drawn horizontal and vertical reference lines below:
Note how much Lee drops his head on the downswing and release (nearly a foot!, more even than another great ball striker, Tom Lehman) as he chases his clubhead down the line. Despite this “bear down” move on the downswing, his head does not move laterally. It remains lined up with the green dashed line, and he remains focused on the golf ball. So, strictly speaking, Lee does not keep his head still at all during the swing. But he does not move it laterally either, and keeps his eyes focused on where the ball was well through impact, so he can still deliver a consistent, downward strike to the ball. This is the essence of what it means to keep your head still. And it is what enables him to chase down the line so well, and that is what makes him the great ball striker that he is.
Release Like Trevino
Now, I’m not suggesting you drop your head on the downswing as much as Lee Trevino. But, if your back can handle it (be sure to warm up first), try hitting some easy shots like Lee. Keep your head centered over the ball, clear your hips, fire through the ball, extend the clubface down the line after impact — do it like Lee. You will find that you are striking down on the ball, releasing the clubhead down the line, and enjoying a new consistency to your ball striking that you’ve not seen before.
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