World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Florida Photo by danperry.comWORDS OF WISDOM By Geoff Bryant USGTF and WGTF President, Port St. Lucie, Florida PART 1 Major championship winners comment on TEMPO, TIMING, and RHYTHM Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that the golf world – teachers and amateurs alike – have gotten caught up in talking about Tiger Woods’ technique. Hopefully however, we have not forgotten about the impact of Jack Nicklaus, still the major championship record holder, and other major winners; as well as the tremendous contributions other talented teachers have had on the great game of golf. In light of what I’ve just said, I’ve decided to present this two-part series on golf’s legends, in the hope that you will share their somewhat lost or forgotten words of wisdom with your students. These thoughts reveal tempo, timing, and rhythm secrets of legendary major championship winners, excerpted from books written by them. Part two of this article contains tips on the same subject from some well-known teachers. Jack Nicklaus (From Golf My Way) “If by nature you do things quickly or slowly, you’re going to swing the club the same way. Forcing yourself to an opposite extreme is rarely going to work because it’s too contrary to your basic instincts – especially when you are under competitive pressure.” Gary Player (Gary Player’s Golf Class) “My advice to any fast swinger is to address the ball with the sole of the club elevated slightly off the ground. This tip will encourage you to take the club back slowly and smoothly.” Sam Snead (Sam Snead on Golf) “It is a general fault among poorer players that not enough time is taken on the backswing. The tendency is to rush the clubhead back and fire away all in the same motion. You can’t do this and hit the ball well. To overcome this rushing habit, go out on the practice tee and make yourself conscious of a perceptible pause at the top of the backswing. This will get you into an automatically slower pattern.” Ben Hogan (Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf) “The rhythm of the waggle varies with each shot you play. The club is swung at the same speed the waggle has regulated. “In playing a soft feathery kind of shot with a seven iron, waggle somewhat slowly. “On the other hand, when needing to bang a drive low into the wind, move the club back and forth with much more briskness. And you’ll swing that way. The waggle, in other words, fits the shot.” Fred Couples (Total Shot-making) “If you realize you’ve lost your best swing rhythm, this simple practice routine will help you get your tempo back on track. “First, hit a dozen seven iron shots with your normal swing. “Second, hit a dozen drives the same distance as your seven iron shots. “Third, repeat the same two previous steps, using a five iron than a three iron. “Fourth, finish the session by hitting some really smooth shots with your driver. By this time you should be swinging with a beautiful rhythm and tempo.” John Daly (Grip It And Rip It!) “When the subjects of swing tempo and power come up, I don’t believe that centrifugal force carries the hands and arms through the shot with no further effort from the player. “I believe that given the proper sequence of motion and the buildup of power through the sequence, you will build more clubhead speed by actively utilizing each link in that chain, rather than by assuming that the link will work fully without making it happen. “If that last sentence sounds as though I mean you should consciously rip the clubhead through impact with your forearms and hands, yes, that’s exactly what I mean.” Johnny Miller (Pure Golf) “If a golfer has too fast a backswing and wants to slow it down to the right pace, then it’s no good simply telling him to take the club back slowly – he can’t do that. The only way to correct a fast backswing is to tell him to take the club out of the bag slowly, spread his feet slowly, forward press slowly. Then, and only then, will he take the club back slowly.” PART 2 Now, as a follow-up, this time, rather then present advice from major championship winners, I present here what legendary teachers say in their classic books about these vital subjects governing golf instruction and the way we should teach. Since so many amateur golfers are confused about the elusive subjects of swing tempo, timing, and rhythm, I suggest you share what you are about to read with your students in order to better help them improve the efficiency of their actions so that they are able to swing clubs, especially the driver, at maximum controlled speed. John Jacobs (Practical Golf) “The good golf swing is neither primarily body action nor primarily clubhead action. It is a perfect blend or balance of both, and the word for that is timing. “A timed golf swing is one in which the coiling and uncoiling actions of the body mate perfectly with the swinging action of the arms, wrists, and hands – to deliver the clubface squarely to the ball with maximum speed at the moment of impact.” Percy Boomer (On Learning Golf) “We have timed a shot well only when we feel we have remained a long time in contact with the ball.” David Leadbetter (The Golf Swing) “A smooth blending of its pieces (rhythm), in sequence (timing), and at a good speed (tempo) is what typifies an athletic golf swing. To achieve all three your whole action has to be totally instinctive. This is done through creating images (pictures) and feelings (sensations) in your mind. I call these images and feelings athletic keys. You could say they form the link between physical know-how and mental application.” Phil Ritson (Golf Your Way) “Physics tells us that any pulling action is more efficient than a pushing action. This simple law explains why a right-sided controlled backswing (right hip turning clockwise) and left-sided controlled downswing (left knee moves toward target) – both pulling actions – provide by far the most efficient and rhythmic overall golf swing.” Jim McLean (The X-Factor Swing) “A good swing is a controlled swing, and in order to accomplish this goal, you must rhythmically control the movement of the body with the club. The secret: Learning the law of the athletic throw. “Once you load your back leg pivot point on the backswing and complete your coil, the forward move should be initiated as follows: “First, shift weight to the front foot, which basically re-centers your body weight in order to create powerful leverage and open up a path for the swinging club. “Second, rotate your left hip counterclockwise. “Third, extend the right arm so you “throw” the club into the back of the ball. “To simplify the rhythmic athletic throw, it should be as simple as: 1. Shift; 2. Rotate; 3. Throw.
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