In 2011 I uploaded a video to my YouTube Channel showing the footwork of a lot of famous golfers from throughout the years. That video attracted a lot of attention as I zoomed into the feet of these players (including myself) and showed a very different activity in the footwork than what most people noticed or modern instruction had distinguished should occur in the golf swing.
The close up of the feet allowed the viewer to see a very distinct rear foot drag in all the swings. This grip and grind in the feet whilst not a goal in the golf swing is definitely a vapour trail of wonderful ground pressures into the feet as a balance and support system to help move the club void of stalling the body or over using the hands.
Every person will have different attributes of build and strengths in their hands or legs or core and range of motion limitations in certain areas.... This is the exact reason we will never look like someone else when we swing a golf club.
No-one will ever say that my golf swing looked like Ben Hogan's when compared on video or when comparing still static pictures. However the dynamics of the motion are much closer when viewed below than most people would see or believe.
The answer to the title is - we CAN DO BOTH...
Take a look at the adjacent pictures.
Camilio Villegas shows a classic bent right arm into impact. His shoulders and hips are quite comparable in their rotation ratio. His right leg is flexed and driving with the club with his balance working around his left heel and right toe. The shaft of the club if extended would run right into his belly button region just above his belt.
Chad Campbell shows a more thrusting right arm into impact. His hips have opened up and his shoulders have stayed squarer in an unmatched hip/shoulder alignment. His right leg is straighter and stopped in relation to the club into a more flat footed toeward balance point. The shaft of his club if extended would run up higher into an area closer to the sternum.
So in moving the golf club through the motion Villegas is returning the clubhead and shaft to a much closer position to his address position than Campbell is.....
Ever wondered why golf is seemingly easy one day and you can do little wrong and then the next day you feel like you have never held a club in your hands before!!
FEEL........ It is the lifeblood of a consistent player.
So how do we create feel?.... Well we need to start off by thinking...What do we feel with?.... The HANDS.
Our hands provide us all the sensation of feel, so the more we can feel the club in our hands the more feel we are going to have...right....This is a huge reason I am all for heavier and not lighter equipment.
Now I am not advocating using the hands to swing the club. That amounts to having minimal control of the club and it's orientation and not enough body activity to move the club. I am talking about working the pressures of our entire body ALL the way into our hands throughout the swing. Pressures in the right direction throughout the swing are the glue that allows motions to function and stick and repeat with more control.
How can we gain the most benefit from our practice sessions?
Whenever possible do your practice in a controlled environment. By this I mean if your course allows you to hit your OWN balls at practice ....DO IT. The experience of hitting your own golf balls out into the distance can really help fine tune your learning experience. Growing up I had 100 balls in my shag bag. I would hit this entire bag of 100 balls with my wedges and then the same amount with my short irons and then onto mid irons and then long irons and ultimately the woods, which adds up to a lot of balls in a day. After each 'repetition' of 100 balls I would have to go pick them up. Knowing I had to retrieve my own balls zoned me in to taking more time between shots. It made me zone into my target. It made me be much more precise in my practice because I didn't want to have to walk too far off the beaten track to retrieve the balls. And God help me if I lost one and came back to start the next batch with only 99 or 98 balls in my shag bag.
I know many golf clubs supply range balls for revenue and for ease and people regard this as the easiest method, but hitting unsentimental range balls provides a different environment in the mind. From my experience I become less attached to the shot knowing I didn't have to retrieve the ball I was about to strike. However if you can get out to a field or hit balls on an unused hole (as Hogan did at Shady Oaks) and know each ball means something when the time comes for 'pick up' then you will be amazed at how much more in tune we become with our swing and mental capacity.