Less is more. We all know the truth in this – when it comes to the golf swing. It doesn’t take strength as much as speed and soft hands to allow the club head to effectively compress the ball – whether we’re putting, chipping or driving the ball. Once we get out onto the golf course, the ego generally likes to take over and hit – hard and far. Often the result is not pretty and it takes a toll on the body.
Muscular tension – stiff arms, tight grip, even jaw tension negatively impacts the fluidity and power of the swing. So how can we induce ourselves to soften, relax and swing more easily? I recommend starting at the driving range, with a mid-iron – between an 8 and a 5 iron. Start with a putting stroke in slow motion – really slow, focusing on keeping your hands and arms soft. Feeling the ease of movement – the effortless flow of back and forward.
Ultimately, there is no “hit.” There is only a swing that sends the ball into flight. I recommend my clients to remove the word “hit” from their golf vocabulary. Instead of saying, “Nice hit,” or “Great strike,” try saying, “Nice swing,” or “Good shot.”
Back to the driving range practice – gradually increase the size of the arc at slow speeds and see how it feels in your body and how the ball flies. Then start again with a putting stroke and keep the same softness and ease in your movement. Then pick up the pace of the forward swing, while keeping the back swing slow and easy. Say, “Easy back, power forward.” The power is not from muscular effort or tension. The power comes more from club head speed.
If you detect any tension returning, restart the process with slow smaller swings and gradually build up to larger arc swings. Next, evolve to smaller swings with a little more speed, until you are able to move through a full swing at your full speed. It should feel like you are using about 10% of your strength.
It’s a challenge for athletes to feel weak – but that’s what generates the best outcome in the golf swing. Feel strong and grounded in your legs and feet – pressing your inner heels into the ground as you transfer your weight from back foot to front foot. The ground is another source of your power – so use it and let your arms and hands stay soft and supple.
Once you become aware of how little effort is required to send the ball soaring, you will more likely repeat this on the course. Work in a reminder in your pre-shot routine by taking a few practice swings, small and slow, with super-soft arms and hands, slower motion than your real swing.
Use this as your swing mantra: “Less is more. Soften.”Share