Jack’s monthly tip in Golf Digest:
Keep Your Chin Back
Jack Nicklaus is a long-time contributor to Golf Digest, the world’s top golf publication. Each month, the Golden Bear and Top-10 teacher Jim Flick offer golfers of all skill levels valuable tips and insight that the Golden Bear used to fashion his record-setting legacy.
Jack Nicklaus: Throughout my career, I’ve always initiated my backswing by turning
my chin to the right, so it points at a spot a couple of feet behind the ball. This distinctive
move served as a trigger to help get my swing started, and it also allowed me to turn more easily. It’s a principle that Alex Morrison advocated, and he was a big influence on Jack Grout, my first instructor. But Mr. Grout didn’t teach me to do that. Turning the head was something I saw Sam Snead do when I played an exhibition with him
at age 16 between the second and third rounds of the Ohio State Open. I figured if it was
good enough for Sam, it was good enough for me. After playing with Sam, I used that move and imitated his fluid rhythm. I shot 64 in the third round and went on to win.
• • •
Jim Flick: I once asked Snead why he tilted his chin, and he told me it relaxed his left shoulder and made it easier to turn. I believe Jack’s chin tilt also helped him identify the line for his backswing so it didn’t get too far inside. It previewed the straighter-back path that was suited to his basic fade. Alex Morrison, who Jack mentions, recommended holding the chin back through the strike to keep the right shoulder from becoming too active and causing the club to swing down from the outside. This action prevents an over-the-top move. Jack has told me he thinks some modern players get too mechanical over the ball. They stop moving and take too much time before they draw the club back, which creates tension. That’s why you need a swing trigger. Gary Player kicked in his right knee; Lee Trevino did a little dance step; and Jack turned his chin. Find a trigger that gets
your swing in motion.
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