What the Magic Move Is
Developed by teaching pro A.J. Bonar, it lets you do what instinctively feels right — swing with your hands instead of your body (the method that predominates in modern teaching). The Magic Move rotates the clubface through impact — instead of trying to keep it square — and it can boost your clubhead speed by up to 14 mph and your drives by 30 yards. Every Tour pro in the world uses the move, whether they realize it or not.
What it can do for your game
It can transform you from a hit-and-hope player into a ball-striking machine, say Bonar and our testers who adopted the method. The move works with every fullswing club in your bag, from driver to lob wedge. And it’s simpler to repeat than swinging with the big muscles — you’re not paralyzed by swing thoughts (“turn shoulders, head straight, clear hips”).
WHY IT’S CONTROVERSIAL
Bonar makes a bold claim: Teachers have been coaching the wrong swing for decades, and he alone holds the key to lower scores. While our Top 100 Teachers like much in his method, some call the key move tough to time and only suggest it for better players. But Bonar insists it works for all skill levels.
The Magic Move: How you can do it
Learning the Magic Move may sound intimidating, but A.J. Bonar says it’s simpler than you think. He breaks it down into three easy pieces…
1. THE ADDRESS AND BACKSWING
Take your normal grip and open the clubface by about 10 degrees at address. (That figure’s not set in stone-feel free to experiment.) Take the club back and keep your right palm generally facing the target throughout the backswing. This keeps the face open, so you can close it, and kill it, coming down.
2. HIT DOWN ON THE BALL
This is key in the downswing. Never try to scoop it. Instead, deliver a descending blow on the ball, letting the club’s loft do the work. Don’t worry about being too steep-just try to hit the equator of the ball on the way down. Visualize a long nail running gently downhill and through the ball, and hammer that nail into the ground with the clubface. One exception is your driver-you want to drive that nail on a track parellel to the ground, right at the target.
3. MAKE THE MAGIC MOVE
Now the fun part! About two or three feet before your hands reach impact, assertively rotate them toward the target. Imagine you’re gripping a screwdriver and turning it counterclockwise. This closes the clubface, generating big-time power.
It’s important to note that you can turn your hands too early (you’ll hit a hook) or too late (a push), but you can’t turn them too much. So really go after it with an athletic motion. Also, your lower body should stay quiet: excessive hip clearing and swiveling is wasted motion. The legs should support your upper body, not drive the swing.
Take a look at this swing sequence from a first-person angle (go right to left…sorry southpaws). The open clubface (far right) closes through impact; the toe should almost point to the target (far left) a couple of feet after impact.
DRILLS TO MASTER THE MAGIC MOVE
Take Half Swings
This swing will feel strange at first, so start with half-swings with a short iron to get the feel. Practive rolling your hands over on the downswing-if you’re doing it right, the toe will point toward the target at about three feet past impact. When you’ve hit 10 crisp half-swings, move up to three-quarter swings and, after that, to full cuts.
Get a Leg Up
To promote the pronation of your hands in the downswing, address your ball with your driver and place all your weight on your left leg, using your right just to keep from falling. Now Swing! This drill forces you to turn your hands if you want to hit the ball hard. And you can hit it almost as far as normal. It underscores that your hands are king in the swing, and your legs and weight shift are secondary. Get good at this one and you can make extra cash on side bets. (“Fellas, give me 3-to-1 odds and I’ll play this hole on one leg.”).
TIPS FOR TROUBLESHOOTING
You hit the range, you did the drills. Still not feeling the magic? Try A.J.’s troubleshooting tips.
Q. I’m hooking it. Now what should I do?
Don’t panic. That means you’re turning the face over, which is a good thing. But you’re doing it too early. You want to feel that your right palm is facing the target at the moment of impact. Try holding off turning over your hands until they pass the ball. Also, experiment with opening the clubface even more at address. I like about 10 degrees, but more or less may work for you.
Q. What if I start topping the ball?
Topped shots are usually the result of not hitting down on the ball. Remember to drive that nail down, down, down. If this visual isn’t working, instead of playing the ball foward of middle, which I like for most shots, move it more to dead center and hit down on the ball.
Q. How about fat shots?
When you turn over the clubface, it’s easy to slow the speed of your hands, even though you’re increasing the speed of the clubhead-this can cause you to flip your hands at the ball at impact, and hit it fat. You always want your hands ahead of your clubhead and moving aggressively, as a unit, toward the target.
THE PROS KNOW
The best players already make the Magic Move, says Top 100 Teacher Martin Hall
A.J. makes a lot of sense when he debunks the myth that the clubhead stays square through impact. That’s gibberish! Look at Adam Scott. His face is wide open about two feet before contact, and dramatically closed two feet after. That’s a huge rotation of the face through impact.
Here’s a great look at Tiger. He’s about three feet past impact, yet his toe is pointing at the target-tht’s 90 degrees closed!-and his hands have fully rotated.
Scott and Woods aren’t the only ones who swing this way-all the pros get this rotation. Look at how Jim Furyk keeps his face open until the last moment, then turns it over. Good players do this without thinking. Others need to make it happen. A.J. helps them do that.
Martin Hall is director of instruction at Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach, FL.