Sam Snead’s One And Only Swing Thought

Aaron Ungvarsky

Aaron Ungvarsky

PGA of America Professional, SwingU Instructor

Sam Snead had one of the sweetest and rhythmic swings the game has seen. He credited his success to an unrelenting work ethic and determination to have the most repeatable and reliable swing in the game. Apart from the perfect rhythm, Sam had one of the most powerful swings as well, earning the nickname “The Slammer.”

Our goal isn’t to set you on a path to unattainable power or change your swing characteristics in search of ‘perfect’ rhythm. Instead, let’s learn from how Snead started his swing, and more importantly, the one swing thought he used.

The One-Piece Motion

  • In the video above, we see that Snead employs a “trigger,” or a motion that is a key to start the backswing. He references the forward press of his hands as “starting it all.” Once the forward press starts, there are no more independently moving pieces until he reaches the top of the backswing.
  • The act of taking the club back in unison, with the club, hands, arms and shoulders working together, is referred to as a one-piece takeaway.
  • As a drill, take your address position with a very light grip, barely holding the club to ensure the hands play a minimal role, avoiding snatching the club back.
  • Next, initiate the backswing with the lead shoulder. Make sure to not allow the clubhead to start back before the lead shoulder works under your chin.
  • Finally, check your position when the club shaft is parallel to the ground; at this point your arms should be fully extended and form a triangle with the shoulders. This triangle shape is proof that your shoulder, arms, hands and club “all go together” like Snead said.

If this all he thought about, we can bet it is a great place for us to start.

What gave Snead’s swing an overly smooth appearance was the lower body action. Specifically, how he let the lead leg bend and flow. The left knee seemingly helps the club go back and he mentions how he felt the weight and pressure roll to the right. Many of you should work on a quiet lower body for stability, but it does not hurt to know how and why Snead’s body motion worked to produce effortless power.