I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “the pros make it look so simple” or “it looks like the pros are swinging so easy, yet, they hit it a mile”. Here’s a question to all golfers out there. If the pros look like they are making this simple movement, why are you twisting up in circles and swinging out of your shoes on every shot?
It makes sense to me that if the best players in the world have a simple, easy movement, you should be trying to copy what they are doing. Unfortunately, as much as you want this simple, easy swing, you can’t do it. Why? Because simple … is difficult.
Simple is Difficult?
What do I mean by simple is difficult? What I mean, is the less you move your body in golf, the harder it is. Now you’re probably thinking that this just doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows that If you were to move less it would be much easier! Well if this were the case, you would be seeing everyone with nice, compact, easy golf swings out there and I would have no reason to write this tip. Here are the reasons you don’t have a simple, easy, compact swing:
1. Human Nature
A couple of ways human nature affects your swing is that it is telling you that the farther you swing back, the farther you will hit the ball. It’s also saying that the harder you hit the ball, the farther it will go. Both of these thoughts involve your arms and hitting the ball hard. Unfortunately, you are only so strong. If golf was a purely a strength game, every body builder would also be a professional golfer. Also, if golf was a strength game, you would have never heard of Chi Chi Rodriguez, who, in his prime, was only 128 lbs.
Now that you understand that you don’t have to have a long backswing to generate power, how far should you go back? I tell my students that once their shoulder rotation stops, so should the club. You want the shoulder rotation to determine your backswing length instead of your club still going back long after the shoulders have stopped. At first, this shorter backswing will feel like you don’t have a lot of power so it will be more difficult to do, but as you get used to it, you will soon see your shots fly just as far, if not farther, with half the backswing.
The feeling of hitting the ball hard must be eliminated from your swing as well as the long backswing. This is because harder you try to hit the ball, the tighter your wrists will become. If your wrists tighten, the club will actually swing slower and the clubface may be held open at impact causing you to spin the ball to the right. In order to understand the proper feeling you should have in your wrists, think of them like a hinge on a door. The hinge on a door is loose and free flowing. There is no resistance. If you keep your wrists as loose as a hinge on a door, you will allow the club to whip faster and square up through impact. This whipping action is what gives a pro tremendous clubhead speed with what looks like an effortless swing.
2. Distance Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Effort
Throughout your golfing life, you have equated “X” amount of power, with “X” amount of distance. As an example, if you were to swing really hard, your mind is saying that this should produce a really long shot. Unfortunately, the harder you swing, the shorter the shot ends up going. As I explained above, the harder you swing, the tighter you get, the more the clubface will hit the ball in an open position. So when I tell you that you should swing easier and looser, you have to convince you mind that this is going to produce shots that will go farther than ever before. If you don’t believe me, think back to the time you hit that one drive 30 – 50 yards farther than any other shot in your life. What did you feel when you hit this shot? I bet you said that you felt “nothing” and that it was “effortless.” This means that you could not have swung really hard yet you produced a shot that went farther than ever before.
The hardest part about swinging effortlessly is that it goes against what your brain is thinking. Your brain is thinking that swinging hard equals more power and swinging easy equals less power. If you think about the pros, they look like they are barely swinging and yet they can hit the ball a long way. So forget about trying to smash it as hard as you can. Swing in control and you will be amazed at how far you will hit it even though it doesn’t feel like you are putting any effort into it at all.
3. Less Movement is More Strenuous
Now I know you’re shaking your head at this topic because you know for a fact that if you move less it can’t possibly more strenuous right? Wrong! Moving less in the golf swing is more strenuous because moving less creates a tighter, more coiled up swing. To understand what I mean, think about your backswing. Imagine turning your shoulders back while resisting the lower body rotation. If you did, you would feel very tightly coiled because your hips would move approximately half that of the shoulders. This tight, coiling in the backswing will allow your body to uncoil quickly in the downswing. Think of it like a spring. If you coil up a spring, it will snap back very quickly. Now imagine if you were to turn your shoulders back but this time you lifted your left heel and turned your hips excessively. If you did, you would move more than if you resisted with your hips and you would not develop this tight, wound up, feeling. If you are not tightly coiled, you will not uncoil properly thus causing you to use your arms to hit the ball. So turning back more is actually less strenuous because by turning more, you don’t get the same tight wound up feeling you get when you resist your hip rotation in the backswing.
Here’s a re-cap of 4 things you can do to make your swing look like that of a pro:
1. Shorten up your backswing. When your shoulders stop, so should your club.
2. Keep your wrists looser to allow the club to whip faster.
3. Convince yourself that swinging easier will hit the ball farther than swinging harder.
4. Resist the lower body rotation to create a simple backswing and tighter coil.
If you can work on these 4 things, you will start to look like the pros you idolize. The more you look like them when you swing, the more you will start hit it like them when you play.
All the best,