Q&A: Golf Swing Trigger

Question: Golf Swing Trigger

What is it? I was watching The Players Championship and the commentators were talking about David Toms...what do they mean by that?

D.P. - USA


It is typically part of a pre-shot routine or a specific part of the swing to get the rest of the proper swing sequence.

Let's walk through a pre-shot routine so that we can better understand the importance of a swing trigger. The pre-shot routine is what prepares a player to hit their shot. Golf is different from almost every other sport in that the ball is not moving. It just lies there and stares up at you. In tennis players practice so that they can unconsciously react to the situation and hit the appropriate shot. The pre-shot routine in golf is designed to help create a reactionary situation in a non-reactionary sport. It is also designed to help a player deal with any nerves they may be feeling about the shot at hand. It can be a real source of comfort on the first tee, on a putt to score a personal best or in tournament play.

A typical pre-shot routine can be found at the link below...

Example of Pre-Shot Routine

The golf swing trigger is usually used in one of two ways. It either starts the pre-shot routine or it is the last thing the player does before they start setting up to the shot.

If a player is using it to start their routine then it can be anything from setting their clubs on the ground, to putting on their golf glove or even taking a clear breath.

If a player uses the trigger as the last thing before he sets up for the shot it could any number of different things. For example, Aaron Baddely closes his eyes to visualize the shot and I believe he uses the opening of his eyes as his trigger. The example you saw from David Toms was putting his little finger to his mouth like Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. Some players use a deep breath with a slow exhale, some tug on their shirt or pants. It really is anything you want it to be, so long as it gets your focus and attention on your routine or shot.

A typical round of golf takes about four hours, yet each swing only takes about two seconds. That means if you take 100 shots you only swing the club for 200 seconds. That is only 3.5 minutes of actually swinging a golf club! Compare that to 240 minutes of being on the golf course and there is a lot of time between shots. It is very hard to stay focused on only golf shots for 240 minutes. It is far better for almost every player to focus on a shot, then let their mind wander until it is time to make the next shot. That is why Tour players have a golf swing trigger. It allows them to talk about anything under the sun between shots and then refocus on the shot they face without any distraction. It is as if they step into a bubble when they use their trigger.

Here are examples of Tour Player pre-shot routines and triggers.

John Senden - watch how his left hand tugs at his left pant pocket before he sets up for the shot.

Aaron Baddeley - long pause behind the ball as he closes his eyes and visualizes his shot. He then and moves opens his eyes and moves forward into his shot.

Micheal Campbell - nothing we can see, maybe he needs one given his struggles since his 2005 US Open win.

If you can use a consistent routine with a golf swing trigger you will give yourself the best opportunity to hit your best shots and lower your scores.

The other version of a golf swing trigger is in the players golf swing. Jack Nicklaus lifts his heel on the backswing and then his golf swing trigger is to replant his left heel to start his downswing.

There are some players who do the rebound. They actually make a small move toward the target to just before they start their backswing.

Thank you for your great question. I hope you found this answer helpful regarding the golf swing trigger. If you have anymore questions please send them in by clicking below.

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Kris at free-golf-lessons.com

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