By Victor de Sola
PGA Senior Instructor, The Sea Island Golf Performance Center
When you think about what the average golfer shoots, it’s somewhere between 95 and 110. There are several swing thoughts out there that claim to be the best avenue to improve one’s game. There are theories that want you moving off the ball quite a bit, others that want you to stay centered and even others that want you pivoting on your front side all the way to the top.
Not one of these is the best for everyone but all of these will help someone. There is one thing though, in my opinion, that has hurt the average golfer through the years. This is the incorrect way to think about how you move when you swing, especially in transition.
Anytime you turn the Golf Channel on, or you pick up a golf publication, you are being told what the Tour Player is working on and what he is trying to do to get better. The tour player’s job is to achieve a level of consistency that will give him or her the best chance to contend for a title or at the very least make the cut so they can make a check. It’s the name of the game.
Because they are the best players in the world, what they do is highly scrutinized, highly analyzed and publicized. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to swing like Tiger Woods circa 2000 or Jack Nicklaus in his prime. Yes it would. The reality of it is that the average golfer will never be able to swing like they do. Ability and time to practice has something to do with it, but also flexibility.
So what should average golfers think about? Should they think about their core and big muscles like the shoulders and hips to be the leaders in the movement like the tour players do? In my opinion, quite the opposite. They should think about the arms and hands. The arms and hands should be relaxed and they should try to involve them in their motion as much as they can.
Why you ask. The answer is because most average players swing slow. The more they think about their core, the slower the motion becomes. Tour players don’t have that problem. Their arms and hands are already trained to let go and they are trying to slow their swing down just enough to find complete club face control through the hitting area.
If you buy into this, here are some drills to help you increase club head speed and free up your swing.
- Hold a driver about 8 inches off the ground and swish it thru swinging as fast as possible without losing balance. The arms have to be about a 1 on a scale from 1 to 10.
- Hit shots with your feet together with no more than a 7 iron off a par 3 tee. See how fast you can swing your arms without losing balance.
- Swing with a heavy club.
Remember, you have to blend your arm swing with what your body is doing. But if you think like a tour player and forget about your arms, you will slow the club down to the point that the game won’t be fun.