There are some interesting golf swings on the courses of America, as any golfer can attest. Some send vibrations through the earth, and some have other golfers scrambling to get out of the way; some are mechanical and stiff, while some are winding n’ bending all over the place. I’ve seen the club go flying out of golfer’s hands, and the ground bringing an abrupt halt to other swings.
There are many different ways to swing a golf club, and also different ways to swing it well and hit good shots, as seen with the variety of moves the pros employ on TV. However, all good swings have certain things in common, either mechanically, timing-wise, or in level of tension. I am going to focus on the body tension level of good golf swings here.
For many people, tension has a negative connotation associated with it. We think of relieving it with a massage, hot bath, or glass of wine. However, in the golf swing, some tension is good. When you’re swinging a driver approximately 90 mph through impact, there needs to be some pressure on that club and in your body.
Some incorrectly think they need to be lax over the ball, with a light, wispy hold on the club creating a loose swinging motion. However, the key is to not be stiff or loosey goosey, but rather to be free. I liken this to a boxer in the ring with the lithe movement of a ‘butterfly’, while at the same time his muscles are engaged so as to be ready to punch or evade.
We want just the right amount of tension on the backswing, so that on the through swing we allow the club to whip through the ball on its own, like a chain reaction to a series of events. Of course one needs to make a good, controlled backswing first, one with a tight body coil so as to gather all the parts properly. To create this correct tension level, one needs differential between the turn of the upper and lower body. Your legs should have minimal movement on that backswing, as your hips turn in place 45 degrees. Your legs should feel strong like statuesque pillars, while you twist your hips and turn your back to face the target. In this way, your shoulders will be making a 90 degree turn, which when contrasted with the 45 degrees of your hips, creates the cork screw affect that unwinds onto the ball.
It’s a great feeling when one gets to a place of free-wheeling it with their golf swing, able to release the stored up power of this methodical, powerful, taut backswing. It’s like a wind-up toy car, where you pull back slowly and evenly on the wheels to tighten them with a torqued load force upon them, and then let it go.
Don’t try to steer the golf ball, many have tried and failed, because it isn’t a free-swinging motion. You can guide your backswing, but cannot control and guide the golf ball. So wind up slowly and then let ‘er rip, you’ve got only to gain!