Swing Easy to Eliminate Swing FaultsTeaching professional Jerry Smith explains how swinging easy with a high-lofted club can improve tempo and timing while eliminating swing faults
The golf swing is an amazingly fast action: a clubhead accelerates from a standstill at the top of the backswing to 100 MPH or more within less than half a second. Feet, knees, hips, chest, shoulder, head, arms, wrists, and hands must synchronize themselves nearly perfectly just to make contact with the golf ball let alone hit a straight, solid shot.
The Easy Swing
When something in your swing goes, I like to see my students take 3/4 swings with a smooth, easy pace. Use a wedge or 8-iron to reduce the tendency to want to kill the ball - a herky-jerky high-speed swing will be thrown out of sync much more easily than a smooth, easy swing.
Here, one of my students practices the 3/4 wedge with a smooth tempo. Note that, though his swing is shorter in both backswing and follow-through, he's not abandoned his fundamentals. His setup is solid with the shaft leaning forward and a higher left shoulder, his shoulder turn away from the ball approaches 90°, and he follows through the shot with his hips and chest facing the target.
Timing of the Hands
Most frequently, when someone's timing is off, the problem can be traced to their hands and wrists. The hands rotate open on the backswing and release, or roll over each other, on the follow through. Timing that release so that the clubhead is delivered to the ball square is one of golf's toughest tasks: the clubhead rotates 180° from waist high on the downswing to waist high on the follow-through - the duration of which can be measured in tenths of a second.
To ingrain a proper feel for the release, don't worry about where the clubhead is at impact. Stand with your palms facing each other and a few inches apart. Swing back and concentrate on keeping the palms of your hands the same distance apart and facing each other, then swing through - your follow-through should mirror the position on the backswing.
Just One Drill
This may feel like two separate drills, but they work together. Swinging smoothly eliminates any herky-jerky moves and swinging your hands back and through allows you to feel the proper positions of the hands throughout the swing.
If you're swinging smoothly and your hands naturally put themselves in the proper position, you can't help but square the clubface more consistently!
Jerry Smith is the head professional at Tam O'Shanter of Pennsylvania, where he conducts dozens of fittings and lessons per week for recreational golfers. Jerry is a Class A Member of the PGA of America and a Titleist Staff Member.
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