The Minimalist Golf Swing - Get Better Distance, Direction & Trajectory

By: Kiran Kanwar

Weekend golfers of the world unite! You play once a week if you're lucky, prefer the 19th to all the other holes, and haven't exercised in ages. Yet all the magazines and instruction gurus are telling you to "turn and return" like they think you're the engine of a clockwork toy, or repeat the mantra "swing plane, swing plane, swing plane" until you feel like you're emulating David's slingshot take-down of Goliath with your golf swing.

Try this simple, scientifically proven (see for details) swing method to instantly get better distance, direction and trajectory. Just be sure to practice it before test driving it on the first tee of your season-opening, socially-important pro-am!

It must first be clearly understood that the golf ball does not understand the English language. The ball will respond only if the club is prepared to arrive at it from an inside path, at a shallow angle, and at as much possible speed.

So, golfer-with-a-yen-for-distance-with-no-loss-of-direction, what must YOU do to facilitate better club-ball relations? Do unto the club as you'd have it do unto the ball. So, for an in-to-out approach, make sure you take a backswing along that inside path. For a shallow angle of approach, make a shallower backswing. And, to generate as much club speed as possible, make a stationary version of Happy Gilmore's power-producing trick - get behind and then past the ball!

The moves are so basic and few that my theory is called the "Minimalist Golf Swing." Forget about an injury-inducing coil, forget about the precise backswing plane, and forget about wrist-cock. Just make these three magical moves to find success.

(Dear southpaws: Before proceeding, please replace the words left for right and right for left, as you've no doubt spent your whole life doing!)

Magic Move 1

Keep both arms as straight and as close to one another throughout the backswing as possible. Straightness of the right arm forces the left arm - also hanging onto the club - to pull the entire left side of the body around the spine, thus creating weight shift (hence a stationary version of Happy Gilmore) and a 90-degree shoulder turn. Weight shift is the magic move for more club-head speed and power.

Magic Move 2

Instead of a curved swing plane, think of a straight-line path - back and past the club. The direction of the path on the backswing is one that allows both the arms (kept straight!) and the shaft to swing towards the right heel, while and on the downswing towards right field. The length of the backswing is approximately shoulder-high - slightly higher for your metal woods.

An inside backswing path is the magic move most likely to produce the desired in-to-out downswing movement; after all, no one wishing to travel East goes West first! The in-to-out downswing, in turn, allows the club to present itself to the ball in the most appropriate manner, given the club's design.

Magic Move 3

At the top of the backswing, think that both your thumbs are pointing away from the target, and make sure that the back of the right wrist has no backward (dorsal) bend in it. This position is the magic move that provides a shallow angle of approach of club to the ball and to achieve a better trajectory.

Two More Important Things

1. At address, your right shoulder must be behind and below your left shoulder and your elbows level with each another, with the arms on top of your chest or stomach.

2. In the downswing, simply think of slapping the clubhead past the ball - let the club do all the work, once you've set up and swung back correctly.

So, if you'd like to be the head cheese in your weekend four-ball, or to get more detailed explanations for how and why this swing method works while learning a scientific research that validates such a swing method, visit Incidentally, feedback - good, bad or ugly - is welcome!

Kiran Kanwar has 20 years experience as a golf instructor. She currently teaches golf in St. Louis, Mo., and in Bombay, India. At the 2008 PGA Merchandise Show Kiran exhibited a research-based golf swing that quickly gave players of any skill level better distance, direction and trajectory. She also has expertise in dramatically and rapidly increasing a golfer's swing-efficiency to preclude swing-related injury. She's a Class A teaching professional with credentials from the LPGA, the PGA (UK), the PGA of India, and the National Golf Academy of India. Among other titles, Kanwar won the Ladies All-India Open Amateur Golf Championship in 1983. A columnist for Golf Digest India, Kiran is the author of an instructional e-book - sold on her website - titled "DIY (Do-It-Yourself) GOLF." For more information visit or email her at