If we use the word golf in a little word game that I’ve come up with, it can be a reminder for proper tempo…Golf: Game Of Little Force.
Recently, I was reminded of this theory when I played in a Pro-Am with a very nice guy. But, it could have been many of you, as well.
Jim hit some nice irons shots to greens and had a good short game, but the longer the shot and longer the club he selected, he became less trusting and didn’t have anything close to the success he had with the shorter clubs. Why? Because his swing was too fast and too hard. Like most of us, Jim tried to hit the longer clubs progressively harder, because they are supposed to go further, right? I hear this so often from students saying they are OK up to the 5-iron, but worse and worse as the clubs get longer.
Here’s my take on this. For the most part, each club should be swung at about the same speed or pace. Look at Ernie Els and Fred Couples for confirmation of this. Here’s the foreign part of the equation to most golfers. The longer the club, the slower the pace, to achieve proper timing. It takes longer for a 46” Driver to complete the circle than a 34 inch Wedge. If you try to swing the Driver too quickly you defy the physics and the timing which will result in inconsistent results. Swing it slow and methodical and you will deliver the length of swing that will create power and control.
Jack Nicklaus once said that to hit it further, he would swing longer, but slower. How often do you see a player at your local course take the huge fast homerun swing and top the ball, or hit it far out of bounds? Smooth and easy down the middle will have you consistently hitting the pay window.
Several years ago I recall watching the late Payne Stewart on TV at the Masters. I looked up from my Cheeseburger to see the end of that beautiful swing. I said to myself that must have been a beautiful 8-iron shot. As it turns out, it was a 3-wood, and he was trying to reach a par-5. I was fooled by his beautiful pace and rhythm.
So, try “this” on the driving range, next time you practice. Warm-up and when you get to the Driver, try it at 50% power. You’ll be surprised at how far it will go. Now bring the power up just a bit, to about 75%. This is the level of power where you should keep your swing. It’s worked well for Davis Love III, Ernie, and Annika Sorenstam, so learn from them, and you’ll improve your game.