Speed at the right time
It’s one of golf’s paradoxes that the desire for power brings about virtually every state and movement that makes your action weak. Your clubbing instinct can take you over, tightening your muscles and giving you a fraction of their capacity. But maybe even worse, the desire to bash something hard robs you of any chance of a rhythmic and well- timed movement; any clubhead speed you generate comes at the wrong time. So instead, ditch that clubbing mentality and replace it with the desire to retain a feeling of lightness and relaxation through the ball. Only now can you make the free-wheeling release of the club that allows it to move fastest where it counts: impact.
When you want to pull out a big drive, the temptation is to use your shoulders. Your shoulder muscles are big; using them gives you the feeling of power. But that feeling is an illusion. Throw your right shoulder at the ball and you will merely send your arms out and away from your body. From here they can only attack the ball from a weak, outside- the –line position which promotes a slice.
Instead, leave your shoulders alone and focus on hand speed. Your hands are the only part of you connected to the club. If your club is to move fast, so must they- in sequence of course with your firing right side. Speedy hands come from having the freedom to swing- which you have set up by clearing your left side- and from soft hand and arm muscles. If you want to build speed, you’re going to have to stay chilled!
Listen for the whoosh
On the downswing my club starts to blur as the club reaches around hip height, revealing hand and clubhead speed are building at the right time. At the same moment my ears start picking up the whooshing noise made by the speeding club. The blur and the whoosh disappear as the club reaches the equivalent throughswing position (inset), proving to me that my swing was correctly timed.
Make practice swings, with your eyes closed if you prefer, focusing on the timing of your whoosh. It should start from the point your left hand is parallel with the ground and coming down, and finish at the corresponding position on the way through.
If you are hearing the whoosh either early on the way down (left) or too late on the way through (right), your timing is out; the club cannot reach its optimum speed at impact in either of those scenarios. Check for tension, or simply for trying to hit the ball too hard.
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