There are several phrases or myths I hear a lot when I’m playing with my members or from the amateurs I play with in Pro-Ams. Some of these swing thoughts may have some merit, but others do a lot more damage than good.
For instance, “Keep your head down”. The only benefit I can see in thinking about keeping your head down is you might keep your head somewhat still during the swing. The problem is, by trying to keep your head down, or still, the rest of your body becomes very still.
The golf swing is like a dance. There has to be motion to hit a ball, a lot of motion. A lot of proper motion. Take away the motion from your dance and all you have is standing still with an occasional twitch or jerk. Neither are good for dancing or golf!
How about, “Keep your eye on the ball”? The effect of this thought is about the same as keep your head down. You are attempting to play a game of motion by restricting your movement. Very difficult!
If you need to keep your head or upper body quiet, try thinking about keeping the base of your neck still or quiet. The base of the neck is the center of the swing. Your shoulders are like the spokes on a wheel. The axel, or center of the wheel, stays still while the spokes and wheel turn around it. Same with golf.
This works very well, but only think about keeping the axel quiet on the back swing and then forget about it. If you bring the golf club down properly your head and neck will do what they are supposed to do. Don’t worry about them.
“I need to finish my swing”. When people are trying to “finish their swing” it seems they are either trying to make the club move towards the target for an extended distance, or, they are trying to finish with the club and/or hands high in the air over their head or shoulder or some other part of their body. Both of these moves are terribly unnatural and they don’t work.
In a perfect swing, whatever that is, the club head is moving at the target for only a milli-second – maybe an inch. The swing moves the club on an arc from inside the target line, to the target line where it momentarily is moving towards the target, and then back inside and away from the target line.
This is the natural path of the circle or arc of the golf swing. To attempt to make the club do anything else is interfering with Mother Nature, who by the way happens to be a golfer. Don’t mess with Mother Nature – She will always win!
“I’m swinging too fast - I need to slow down”. Swinging fast is power and distance. This is good in golf. Everyone should work on swinging faster. More club head speed will make the course play shorter.
Now, if you mean you are swinging too hard and need to swing smoother, with less effort, then I agree. But please don’t confuse swinging fast with swinging hard. Swinging fast produces long shots. Swinging hard produces long divots.
If you need to work on any of these swing challenges check with your PGA Professionals. They can give you some new swing thoughts that really work and are a lot easier to do!
Kim Anders is a PGA Professional residing in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.