Three Focal Points to ID Your ‘Golf Swing DNA’ 0

T.J. McMullan says balance, like these stacked stones, is key.

Las Cruces Instructor T.J. McMullan’s Three Golf Swing Basics

Finding your swing is crucial to becoming a consistent golfer. Every golfer has what might be called individual “golf DNA,” very much like every person has their own biological DNA, says Las Cruces golf instructor T.J. McMullan..

Thomas T.J. McMullan, golf instructor
Las Cruces golf instructor T.J. McMullan

Here’s what he means by that:

What I mean when I say “swing DNA” or “golf DNA” is that no single body type is exactly the same as another. It would be near impossible to teach every golfer a one- size-fits-all approach to achieve a “perfect” swing.

The best way to describe finding your swing – instead of trying to conform to an ideal swing – is my very own story of attempted swing changes through the years. My story is rather common. I was working on my swing because like most golfers, my desire to improve was so strong that I would do nearly anything.  I was advised to to do.

T.J. McMullan demonstrating steady head during the takeaway
T.J. McMullan says a steady head is a universal constant.

In the process, I would start working towards a swing that made little to no sense to me.

I wanted to improve so badly that I continued on with the process. Trial and error seemed the only sure way I could find out if the methods would truly work or not, so I committed myself 100 percent.

Chasing Perfection

After about six months I realized that I had compromised my swing by trying to manipulate the club into doing something that I am not comfortable doing. The only person to blame was myself. I knew how I wanted to swing and what result I wanted to accomplish. The particular methods I had committed to were not going to get me where I desired to be.

T.J. McMullan demonstrating swing
Maintaining balance through the swing is key.

At that point in time, my confidence in my swing had hit at an all-time low. I found myself terrified to hit any golf shot at all.

Golf is a very demanding sport, both mentally and physically. Chasing perfection can really drive a person out of their mind – and I was nearly there.

The point I’m making is to use imperfection to chase perfection.

The simplest way to achieve this is by creating a few focal points for your golf game. What a focal point does is allows a player to free swing all day as long as he follows his own focal points or rules.

Three golf swing focal points

With his students, T.J. McMullan lays out the focal points as follows; balance, pivot not sway, and hands-free swinging.

He continues:

Each one of these seems like a pretty simple task to achieve. Together, they work cohesively to create leverage while maintaining a shallow hitting area.

“Balance for me is the key to everything – both in golf and in life. It can have a variety of meanings ranging from not falling flat on our faces as well as trying to accomplish things that have meaning or bring happiness to our lives,” T.J. McMullan says.

When I begin a lesson, I tell each student that they are allowed to swing as fast as they would like, so long as they can maintain their balance throughout the swing and have a consistent contact point. The pivot point is a philosophy that the weight of our golf swing stays between our feet until the end of the swing when we reach the follow-through position.

T.J. McMullan’s main concern with players, he says, is that far too often the head moves side to side to generate power instead of the player simply turning the torso back and through while maintaining a consistent head position.

“The final focal point is one that is very crucial to me, however, it may require a much more in-depth explanation to be fully understood,” he says.

In short though, I will sum it up: Hands-free swinging is the idea of using the dynamic force of your shoulders and hips to hit the ball rather than the idea of pulling down the club to hit the ball. Shoulders and hips. Not Hands. Hands-free!

Thomas “T.J. McMullan is a golf instructor in Las Cruces, N.M. He is an alumnus of New Mexico State University’s Professional Golf Management program amd the owner-operator of Cruces Total Golf. Reach him at

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Dan Vukelich, former editor of ABQ Free Press and Sun Country Golf magazine, is editor of He's a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and the Golf Travel Writers of America. Reach him at

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