David Leadbetter has been the golf instructor to some of the world’s greatest players including Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Greg Norman, Darren Clarke, Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko and too many more to name. Leadbetter described his time with Sir Nick, “Back when Nick Faldo was the No. 1 player in the world and we were working together, I used to read and hear all the time that he was a ‘very mechanical’ player, meaning he was consumed by the technical aspects and geometry of the golf swing. I used to get a good chuckle out of that, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though Nick had great mechanics, he was a feel player. He had great rhythm and natural flow and had the uncanny ability to work feelings into his swing mechanics, frequently changing from one feel to another to get the club into the position we were working on.
As Leadbetter remembered, “It was my job to help him find a feel from week to week that struck a chord. What we developed were word couplings that seemed to bring a rhythmical dynamic to his swing. If he concentrated on a two-word phrase, his body would stay relaxed, and he’d make a great swing. Two words work great, because having too many swing keys while you’re trying to play can make you tentative and tense. I call these two-word couplings I used with Nick ‘swing mantras.’ A mantra is something that is capable of creating transformation.”
Even the world’s best players can’t have too many thoughts coursing through their brains when they’re trying to swing a golf club. That should be reassuring to those of us who don’t possess tour-caliber talents. One of Leadbetter’s ‘swing mantras’ for Faldo was specifically for his follow-through. Leadbetter thinks it’s a mantra that can help every golfer.
According to Leadbetter, “Amateurs often end their swings prematurely, usually right after they make contact with the ball. And they seldom swing to a full finish. Remember, you should accelerate through the ball and not hit at it, which means don’t quit just after impact. Finish the swing. A good mantra for this is to think ‘extend and pose’.”
Leadbetter explains, “Allow your right arm to ‘extend’ well past your body as you release the club through impact to maintain the swing width you’ve created. This enables you to make solid contact. Then to fully complete your swing, think ‘pose”, with your weight fully balanced on your left leg, your right foot pointing down and your hips facing the target. It’s as if you’re posing for the camera.”
The full extension helps you achieve maximum power and posing ensures that you’ve maintained optimum balance throughout for more consistent shots with every swing.