Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are you Swinging the Club?

With all the modern technology at our hands, sometimes I think golfers (including me) get too technical with our swings.  We try to be perfect in our swing positions and we forget it is a golf "swing", not a "put the club in the correct position" move.  Have you heard the term "paralysis by analysis"?  You have to exhibit some tempo and rhythm when you swing and I have found by improving these two areas, golfers tend to improve their swing shape as well.

Tempo is the pace of your swing and rhythm is the proper sequence of motion in your swing.  You have to find the correct tempo for you that allows all the body parts to move in the correct sequence. If you watch the pros on TV, you will notice their swings look effortless.  They swing so smooth yet hit the ball a very long way.  They accomplish this through proper sequencing.  As an instructor, I see many students that swing so fast they do not get to the top of the back swing before racing down.  I would say for every golfer that swings too slow, there are a thousand (or more) that swing too fast! 

Using these two Champions TOUR players as examples...Fred Couples appears to swing at a much slower tempo than Nick Price. Yet they both have tremendous club head speed because they move their body in the correct sequence for them.  We are all different and live life at varying speeds.  The bottom line is you just have to have a speed that allows your swing to work efficiently.

The importance of sequencing in your swing can be confirmed by tossing a ball underhanded.  Let's say you are right handed and want to toss the ball about 30 yards.  If you just used your right arm with no footwork, it doesn't feel very coordinated.  Now face the target, take a small forward step with your right foot and as you take a step with the left foot let the right arm swing back.  What you will find is the left foot will hit the ground prior to the right hand releasing the ball.  You will then finish with all your weight on the left foot and on your right tip toe...sounds like a great golf finish to me. If you tossed the ball first, then the left foot hit the ground, you would definitely be out of sequence and not make a very pretty toss.

I am a firm believer being in the correct position is very important, but sometimes you just have to let go of a thought process and swing the club.

The first part of the drill is starting your swing with the club about two feet to the left of the ball.  I call this the "SWING-SWING" drill.  By starting the club in this position, you will feel more of a "swing" to the top and a "swing" to the finish.  Try hitting ten balls with a 7 iron (on a tee) from this position.  I think you will find your back swing will be smoother and you won't start down before you get to the top.  The second part of the drill is to start with the club hovering just above the ball.  Again, tee up a 7 iron for this drill.  I call this drill the "FORWARD-BACK-FORWARD" drill.  To start your swing just swing the club forward about two feet, then swing to the top and then through to the finish. You want the swing to feel very rhythmic and at an even cadence.  You will feel your knees working with the club and this is good.

Give these two drills a try and then hit balls from a normal set up.  Focus on swinging the club and not trying to put the club or your body in any certain position in the backswing.  But, do try to finish your swing in balance and imitate the finish position I am demonstrating.

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