I’ve known Chris for more than 25 years. He’s an accomplished athlete who has been in the Olympics and competed on a national level in one other sport. This is one of the easiest going, light hearted people you could ever meet. He is spontaneous, fast paced, and quite the practical joker. He’s always on the go, to the point that some people have described him as the poster child for Adult Attention Deficit Syndrome.
But, when Chris gets on the golf course he turns into some kind of robot. He stops talking, takes forever to decide what club he’s going to hit, and then stands over the ball so long I want to tap him on the shoulder to wake him up or bring him out of his trance. Then, when he finally does pull the trigger, there is nothing fluid or smooth about his swing. He looks more like some piece of malfunctioning machinery than an accomplished athlete.
So, what is it that makes a person divert so drastically from their normal temperament and personality just because they are about to attack a golf ball? Is it because they watch the Tour players who always appear so serious, therefore they think they must be very serious in order to play well? Or, because we’re not accustomed to concentrating and we really don’t know how to go about doing it?
I’m sorry to say I don’t have the answer for this. What I do know is that about 80% of the golfers I know seem to change personalities when they step on the first tee. And, their golf games all fall considerably short of their potential. The best players I know have the same behavior on the course as off. The quiet people are quiet on the course and the talkative ones can hit a shot without disrupting their conversation.
So, what is your personal tempo? Pay attention to your everyday movements. Do you take short, quick steps or long, gliding strides? Do you speak rapidly or are you more deliberate with your speech? This will tell you a lot about what tempo your golf swing should be.
I’m 6 feet 4 and have a 36 inch inseam. If I moved my legs as fast as my 5 foot 8 assistant does, it wouldn’t be long before I was a couple of holes ahead of him. I walk slow, I talk slow, and because of my 38 inch sleeve length, I appear to swing slow.
Don’t stray from your normal body rhythm and tempo to try to swing like someone else. It’s OK to emulate a good player’s swing. But, you must continue to use your own tempo – don’t waste your time looking for a new one. You already have YOUR tempo and it’s the best one for you – use it.
If you’re having trouble taking your personal tempo to the golf course, see your golf coach to get your body and tempo working together again.
Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at Kanders@estrelladelmar.com or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting www.estrelladelmar.com.