GOLF: When less is more

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Carol Ann Campbell

With spring finally upon us it’s a great time to review your goals for the upcoming golf season. One of the first questions I ask my students when they come for a lesson is “What is the number one thing you would like to improve in your golf game?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is consistency.

While nothing beats great instruction and dedicated practice time you can help yourself by keeping things as simple as possible. For many golfers the key to building a repeatable, effective swing comes with less not more. So the next time you are on the range keep in mind that in golf often less is more.

Too fast. A smooth tempo golf swing is a beautiful thing to watch. Unfortunately, too many of my students have not made the distinction between tempo and clubhead speed. One needs to look no further than, one of my all-time favourites – Fred Couples – to appreciate that one does not need to swing “fast” to create an enormous amount of clubhead speed. Rather, we need to focus on getting into good, solid, powerful positions in order that the clubhead can travel as fast as possible through the ball. Often, when a student tries to swing the club too fast, they either over-swing which can lead to a loss of power or balance or both, or they pull themselves out of what was a good position simply because the momentum of the move makes it impossible to maintain that position. For many fast = hard = tension. Tension kills the best of golf swings so instead try to focus on smooth effortless power.

Too big. Plain and simple, most students over-swing the golf club. This is particularly prevalent with the take-away and back swing. Specifically, students tend to over-swing their arms and underutilize their shoulders when during this component of the golf swing.  I frequently tell my students to think of the take-away and backswing as a turn to get you into position, rather than a wind-up. Save all the energy you have for through the ball to the target – don’t waste any in your backswing. I return again to the idea of shoulders and hips. Let your shoulders power the take-away, let your hips turn back to the target and power you through the ball to the target.

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