You know you are swinging at the wrong speed and you know how to correct it-or so you thought. Yet after many frustrating hours on the course and at the practice range, you find that correcting the timing or rhythm of your golf swing, that magic formula that allows you to make proper contact with the tiny golf ball, is much harder than you imagined.
You might be wondering if there is a rule of thumb to getting the speed right. The answer is a resounding 'no'. Swing speed is probably the most illusive aspect of the game and finding the right one is very difficult. Generally, each golfer has a different swing according to their physique and ability. When players are performing well, subconsciously they begin to swing at a very consistent pace and start to believe that it is easy. But when their game falls apart, they realise that swinging well is much tougher than they believed.
A well-timed shot can produce a great result and a great deal of satisfaction. This success leads to better and more consistent ball striking and soon you're keeping your drives on more fairways and hitting more greens, ultimately reducing your score.
During my teaching career, I have found that most weekend golfers are aware that they need good pace and timing on their swing to produce a decent shot, yet they seem to put in very little effort to get into a groove. Most club golfers spend hours at the practice range, lunging and lurching with the club aiming to shoot big numbers. They focus on hitting hard and long and almost never work at getting a consistent swing speed. But without it, the result will be wayward drives and overall inaccuracy.
What can you do to get better?
Next time you visit the practice range, work towards swinging at a consistent speed. When you hit a good shot, memorise that feeling. To make solid contact with the ball, ensure that your body rotates at the same speed as your swing. Try to stay relaxed so that you can get the most out of your big muscles. Being 20 yards short of the tee is far better than going into the rough so accept that you might have to sacrifice distance for accuracy.
These techniques apply not only to your drives but also for approach shots, chipping and pitching. Remember: swing at a consistent speed and you will finally start to improve your game.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]