YouTube and in fact, golf in general can be a confusing place to be, not least because there are a number of different swing patterns and combinations of patterns that coaches promote. Often there is no recognition of which pattern is being covered and the viewer is left with a collection of separate parts that don't necessarily fit together.
In this 2- part video series below I use a 'lesson with Pete Cowen'recenlty published on Danny Maude's YouTube channel, as a talking point to highlight the difference between the most basic of release pattern that everyone is taught from beginner (L - L) and that of a more advanced player model from the master, Pete Cowen himself.
I am using the term 'swing pattern' but we define the methods more easily by highlighting the main difference which is how the club is delivered into the ball (release pattern).
The most common release pattern that is taught is the L-to-L shape concept. (02:02 L-L Swing Model). Typically, in this pattern, we would encourage the golfer to move their legs first and then swoosh the trail arm over the lead arm through impact. It gets its name due to the L shape made by the lead arm and club halfway into the backswing and the L shape made by the trail arm and club halfway into the follow-through.
While this is the easiest pattern to learn it may not deliver the the control required at the advanced end of the game.
Easiest to learn for most people
The easiest method to square the club if you are a slicer
There is a clearer sense of energy release as you swoosh the club through with an unhinging of the wrists and turning over of the arms
Very easy to unhinge too early and get a 'casting' movement
Typically golfers would be a bit 'flippy' through the ball and in doing so add loft and find it difficult to control the clubface and the low point of the swing.
Players often become quite steep in the downswing
It is harder to get the hands ahead of the ball at impact and create compression with the irons
Pete Cowen's 'Spinning the Arm Down' Release Pattern
Pete Cowen's model is built around delivering pressure to the shaft and ball at impact. The whole model coordinates around a very strong 'spinning down' of the trail arm (00:55Overview and Spinning the Right Arm Down)
Key Features of the Method
The face is squared up via the rotating down of the trail arm while keeping the wrist extended (cupped backwards)
The right arm does not then aggressively turn over the left (right-handers) but the arms block the face through impact and lift up into the follow-through
The body does not consciously rotate first in a way that we talk about movement sequencing. The body reacts to the intention to drive the trail arm down and deliver pressure. For me, this is a massively defining element of the model.
If you can make this work for you then there will be an incredible sense of compression through the ball
Potentially a more stable clubface through impact
Less chance of the body working too hard with the arms being out of sync and left behind. (seemingly, Pete Cowen's bugbear)
You need to be able to generate enough speed. This is not the pattern for a beginner or slower-swing speed golfer
If you already hit the ball low then this will further hinder your chance of getting height on the ball
This is a more complicated pattern that may be harder to learn.
In my opinion, both methods work well and I would typically coach all beginners and high handicap players down the route of the L-L swing pattern. That said, I have had relative beginners who don't seem to relate all that well to crossing the arms over so we go with an alternative release concept.
Once a player gets to a low single figure hcp then I would move them in the direction of the alternative release patterns of which, Cowen's 'spinning of the right arm' is a good option.
The big question is, which one is best for you? (08:42)
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