Golf is one of many games where the goal is to have a stick strike an object. Tennis, baseball and hockey are others just to name a few. These “ball and stick” sports share some commonalities when it comes to execution of the action that is required to strike the ball or object. For example, the power in all of these sports is generated with the body and the arms serve as the carrier of speed, not the creator of it. This includes the golf swing. Another example is that when the player strikes the tennis ball, the hockey puck or the baseball; to deliver the most power the player’s body is behind the object. This also is true in the golf swing.
There are a few things in golf however that make them unique compared to other sports. First in all other sports, the object that is being struck is in motion. Therefore the player can use the object’s velocity to his or her advantage. The faster object will recoil faster, because the collision is partially elastic. The object compresses at contact with the stick, and the outgoing velocity is faster than the stick velocity by the effect of the compression, which is always increasing with the incoming speed. So all else being equal, the faster object recoils faster. The point is that the player swinging the stick is not the sole source of power in the collision. Golf however is different. The ball is stationary so the collision of the ball and club are different than other sports. The player is the sole creator of power in the collision of the golf club and ball. Therefore it becomes instinctive for the player to swing as hard as they can thinking this will create the most power and energy in the golf club.
All other sports have one other element in common that golf does not have. They are in constant motion, even baseball. In all of the other sports mentioned, the player does not have time to think about how they swing the tennis racket, the baseball bat or the hockey stick as they do it. All they have time to do is react to their surroundings and respond. In golf however, all we have time to do is think over the ball and that is where a lot of amateurs struggle.
Most students in their development will struggle with either swinging too hard, or thinking too much. This will occur even after changes have been made and results have improved. This is because this is instinctive. We have always been taught that max input will equal max output. I have come up with a blueprint that helps students break through this wall. It’s called the Three Swing Solution. This is initially done during practice and can be taken to the course as well.
Three Swing Solution:
Swing One – A rehearsal swing executed in slow motion.
By executing in slow motion, the player is much more aware of their body movements during the swing. They can feel what muscle groups are working and in what order.
Swing Two – A rehearsal swing executed at full speed.
The key in swing two is to feel the same motion and sequence as swing one, but doing so with speed and aggression. This will add momentum and acceleration that will occur naturally.
Swing Three – Hit the Ball
You’ve planned your work, now its time to work your plan. The important element is not the swing but what you do in between swing 2 and swing 3. It’s crucial that you get set and execute your swing without any delay or pause. This way you will not have time to think about what you are doing. You will be reacting like athletes do in other sports. Once you are able to execute without thought, your results will improve dramatically.
The next time you practice, try this method. You will have a more focused practice without hitting as many shots. This is ideal for skill development. Best of luck.