Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rhythm and Timing -The Forgotten Golf Swing Fundamentals.

One of the most overlooked criteria for swinging a golf club is simply how much time it takes to swing a club. Consistent golf swings happen in a consistent amount of time. If your swing is inconsistent it is a sure bet the timing is inconsistent as well.

To start, don’t confuse timing with sequence. How your body moves and the sequence of the motion are very important but there is more to it than that. The sequence must be performed in a specific amount of time. For example, we know from our putting study, that a putting stroke takes an average of one second, from start to impact and a small fraction over one second to finish. This is the timing or your stroke. The rhythm of the swing is determined by how the player uses the time. We qualify strokes as two beat and three beat strokes. Two beat strokes have a similar amount of time on the back swing and the follow through. Back-Through, is a good description. Three beat strokes have a little pause at the end of the back swing. Back and…Through is a better description of a three beat rhythm. Regardless of rhythm, the time is the same for longer putts as well as shorter putts. The length of the stroke changes and with that change the speed the putter moves changes, but always within the same time frame and rhythm.

The same is true for full swings. Short or long successful swings are performed in the same amount of time. For example a good player will swing a 9 iron in the same amount of time as he does a driver. The difference of the two is the speed at which he moves and the distance traveled. A total full swing takes about 2 seconds to finish with impact less at around 1.5 seconds. You see the same rhythms in full swings as you see in putting. Some swings like Ben Hogan’s were always in motion. Club goes back and the club comes through. This was created by the sequence of his swing motion. The other rhythm using a pause at the top can be found in a swing from one of Hogan’s contemporaries, Byron Nelson. Byron had a pause at the top of his swing as the swing changed direction.

The moral of the story is that for any player, thinking of your golf swing in terms of time and rhythm can help you consistently control the golf club and make you a better player. Some players and teachers use an aid like a metronome. I like to just count. Count one thousand one from start to impact for a putt, as I am less concerned about my follow through when putting. Try a count of one thousand one, one thousand two, to the end of my follow through on a full swing and see if it makes a difference.

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