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By Mike Stevens, USGTF Contributing Writer

Watch any YouTube or golf magazine instructor and you’ll hear or see things about shaft lean, spine angle, hip rotation, etc., etc. What I rarely hear is any talk about tension and the ability to relax while swinging the club. Golf is a game that requires you to relax to play well. You don’t play golf to relax. Some of the golfers I learned from were very cognizant of tension. Bill Mehlhorn, Ernest Jones and even Walter Hagen discussed the importance of grip pressure and the ability to have a relaxed golf swing. It seems like today’s instructors are all about power. That’s fine for tour pros or professional athletes, but I find it disastrous for average golfers, especially seniors. I can’t tell you how many older people come to me with back issues because they tried to implement some of what modern instructors propose. When I watch them swing it as if they are chopping down a tree. They are holding on to the club so tight their veins are popping out of their temples.

When I have them lighten up their grip pressure and tell them to swing at about 50 percent of the effort that they have been putting into it, the ball jumps off their club and goes farther than the 10 previous grounders, skulls, or liners. “Wow, that felt like I hardly swung at it,” is the usual response. So, jokingly I say, “Hit 10,000 more just like that and you’ll be ready to go.” Yet, it’s the truth. Golf for the average players is not about hitting home runs. It is about keeping it in play, and a relaxed and balance swing produces the best results. I just wish more instructors paid more attention to it.
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