Trigger Happy Golf

I was watching the Scottish Open this weekend and the announcers were talking about Peter Uihlein, winner of the 2010 US Amateur, who recently secured his European Tour card.

The Euro Tour is not a road often traveled by most North American players. Why? I think it’s because playing on the European Tour involves too much travel, too much bad weather and too little money.

When asked how he’s handling the experience, Uihlein said, “It’s about being comfortable, being uncomfortable“.

When I heard that, I immediately thought to myself, “That describes golf to a tee!

Image courtesy of © Srsallay |

Remember the first time you picked up a golf club and tried to swing it? Remember how awkward it felt?

People kept telling you to keep your left arm straight, keep your right arm tucked in, stick out your butt, don’t lift your head, swing through the ball not at it, start the downswing with the lower body…the list of “do this and don’t do that” seemed endless.

No wonder we ended up with so much tension in our bodies. The golf swing is the most unnatural movement of any sport where a club, bat, stick or racket is involved.

So why do the best golf swings look so easy and fire the ball so far? I think it’s because of what happens before those great players start their back swing. It’s about doing something that removes tension and lets them swing with total freedom. It’s more than a waggle… it’s a trigger.

Recently I was at a women’s golf getaway where our swing doctor, Ginny, was giving us a lesson on achieving the perfect impact position. We all know what that looks like.

She talked about how the legends of the game like Jones, Snead and Hogan had a little “trigger” that started their swings — a slight movement (press) of their right knee that put them in line with their impact position for a half a second and initiated their swing without hesitation. Check them out in this video (their trigger is subtle, but it’s there).

Ginny always told me I had more distance in me if I could just swing more freely. I believed her, but was never able get the tension out of my body and arms.

So we practiced the right knee press drill over and over. The results were amazing. I don’t ever remember feeling so free or hitting my 7 iron so far.   The next day I played the 9-hole Pinnacle Course in the Okanagan and shot a 37 (my lowest score ever).

I’ve taken that little trigger to my game at home and have been hitting my irons at least 10 yards farther and achieving a draw with my driver that is sending the ball another 20+ yards down the fairway.

I was playing in a best ball tournament at Furry Creek last Monday and was able, for the first time, to carry a 170 yard gorge to an elevated green on a very difficult par 3.

FC isn’t the most women-friendly course in the world, but it’s great fun if you bring about 20 shag balls with you and leave your score card behind.

Just to give you a sense of what’s waiting for you there, here’s a view of the first hole.  My 3 golfguy buddies sprayed their tee shots left and right, but my drive landed right in the middle of the fairway with my new swing (another first for me).

Golf has suddenly become a lot more fun for me with this tiny little tip.  I encourage you to give it a try if you are struggling with tension in your swing.  Good things come in small packages, but this little gem could be the biggest thing that’s ever impacted your game. 


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