Free Bird Basics

Manuel de la Torre

Understanding the Golf Swing


Manuel and his family moved from Spain to the U.S. as a child. His Father Angel worked directly with Ernest Jones, “Swing the Club Head” author and teacher. He grew up learning from Jones and of course his Father…


De la Torre eschewed modern teaching philosophies that focused on body positions and technical minutiae. Though no one knew more about the geometry and physics of the swing, his method was based on the simple but all-important concept of swinging the club toward the target.


“You don’t think about your elbow when you’re brushing your teeth, yet, you’re very successful at brushing your teeth. But this is what happens with golf. People are not concerned enough with what they have to do with the club. My philosophy is based on the knowledge of what to do with the tool that is used to propel the golf ball.”


Over the years, golfers arrived from far and wide at the lesson tee at Milwaukee Country Club: World Golf Hall of Fame member Carol Mann; eight-time LPGA winner Sherri Steinhauer; Tommy Aaron, who credits de la Torre for helping him win the 1973 Masters. Loren Roberts, who saw de la Torre for annual lessons before the PGA Tour’s Greater Milwaukee Open and won the tournament twice.


“I personally think Manuel might be the most knowledgeable person about the golf swing in the world,” -Bobby Brue


In 1986, de la Torre was named the inaugural National Teacher of the Year by the PGA of America. He became just the twelfth member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame in 2005 and the next year was inducted—along with Jack Nicklaus—into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.


Key Principles


– “It is the movement of the golf club as a whole that we should be concerned with.”

– “Swing the clubhead back with the hands and swing the entire golf club forward with the arms from the beginning of the forward swing to the finish of the swing in one uninterrupted motion in the direction of your target. If an increase in distance is desired, increase your arm speed not your clubhead speed. If your arms have it, your clubhead will have it automatically.”


– Important: Swinging the clubhead with the hands in the backswing or swinging the entire club with the arms in the forward swing should not be interpreted as swinging the hands or swinging the arms. This interpretation will not produce a swinging motion with the club, which is what we are trying to accomplish. The hands and the arms are simply the vehicles used to produce the swinging motion of the club.”


– “The golf club is what is used to propel the golf ball, so everything that happens in the golf swing must be responsive to the club’s motion. It is all one.”


– “I will swing the clubhead with my hands in the backswing so my club ends over my shoulder, and I will then swing the entire club with my arms in one uninterrupted motion in the direction of my target to the end of my swing, allowing my body to respond to the swing.”


– “When your arms set the acceleration, everything that will be moving must move in relation to that acceleration. If the acceleration is increased by 5%, every component part of the swing increases by that same percentage.


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