Would you say you have a fast looking swing or a slow swing? (If you don't have a fast swing show this article to a playing partner who does). You would think that a recreational golfer's fast swing would hit a golf ball a long way wouldn't you? After all, it looks fast! Yet the ball doesn't go as far as a slow swinging pro's ball. I wonder why...
If you think about your body for a minute, you know that it moves much slower than your arms in real life. So if your body can't turn all that fast, how do you get a fast looking golf swing? You get a fast looking golf swing when you try to hit the ball as hard as you can with just your arms. This means that your arms are moving independently from your body.
This fast looking swing can be understood by imagining a clock. If you look at a clock, you will see that the little post in the middle tells the minute hand how fast to swing. If the little post moves slowly, the minute hand moves slowly. If the little post moves faster, the arms move faster. The center post and the minute hand are relative to one another. If you compare your golf swing to the movement of a clock you will see your body as the center post on the clock and your arms as the minute hand. Having a fast looking swing would be like the little center post of the clock turning slowly yet the minute hand is moving very fast. This, of course, would never happen because they are connected to one another.
What happens to your shots when your arms outpace your body?
First, won't make solid contact with the sweet spot on the clubface because swinging with your arms alone will cause you to manipulate the clubface as it swings through impact.
Secondly, the harder you swing, the tighter your wrists and arms will be through impact. Tighter wrists release slower than looser wrists and looser arms extend more than tighter arms (which increase the width of your swing arc).
To slow down a fast looking golf swing, we first have to think logically about it. Pros have a slow looking swing and they hit the ball a long way and you have a fast swing that hits the ball shorter. So why do you insist on hitting the ball harder than the pros do? Unfortunately, human nature usually takes control of us when we go to hit a golf ball. It says that the harder you swing the further the ball will go. This does not allow us to see the logic behind swinging slower. Swinging slower feels like you have less power so you cannot see how you can actually hit the ball better and farther by not using your arms. You must convince yourself that you must swing slower to hit the ball better. Once you slow down, you will make better contact in the middle of the clubface, widen your arc and release the club faster. All of these things add up to more distance with less effort.
I like my students to try this drill in order to take the arms out of their swing. All you have to do is hold the club at about waist high and feel your body swing the clubhead. Remember the clock. If the post turns faster the arms swing faster. As you swing, listen to the swishing sound the clubhead is making as it swings through impact. Now, try to make the club swing faster by shifting your body weight from the right leg to the left leg allowing your body to turn at the same time. If you let your arms swing freely you will hear the club swish faster as you increase the speed of your body.
As you go to hit the actual golf ball, you must relate the same new feeling of using your body to hit your shot. This means that you cannot think of hitting the ball. If you think about hitting the ball, it will speed up your arms up again. You have to now think about turning and shifting your body weight. This will turn your body and allow your arms to swing down because they are connected to one another. If you feel your swing getting fast again just step back, hold the club off the ground and do some more practice swings feeling your body making the club swing. It takes some practice and concentration but once you slow your swing down you will not only gain a feeling of effortless power but you will start to look like a pro when you swing.
All the best,