Speed Kills - Your Short Game At Least
Today’s post is kind of a follow-up to last week’s article about the transition. In that, I explained that one of the most common errors I see golfers make is that they start the downswing too quickly, trying to gain clubhead speed too soon. I suggested that most golfers would improve their ball-striking consistency immediately by making a smoother transition from the top of the backswing and letting the club accelerate all the way to and through impact.
So today I’m staying “on topic” a bit and want to address the overall swing speed when you are hitting chips and pitches, even putts.
IMHO, one of the most overused and abused pieces of golf advice is that which tells us to “accelerate through the ball”. Not that this is a bad thing . . . all teachers agree that the club should be on a constant acceleration from the start of the downswing to and through impact. But from my observation, the vast majority of golfers are taking the whole bottle of that advice, instead of just one or two pills.
Think of it like this. You pull up to a stop light next to a little old lady in her 1978 Cadillac. You, being a young guy in your hot car, punch it when the light turns green and leave her in your dust. But she, who gradually pushes the accelerator and takes a full block to get back up to the 30 mph speed limit also accelerated the entire way. That’s how I see the proper acceleration of the clubhead when you are chipping and pitching.
The short game is precision work, and when you do anything else in your life which requires precision . . . . you work S- -L- -O - -W. The short game should be no different. If you throttle your entire swing speed way back . . . slower backswing, slower transition, slower downswing . . . you will find that you can be much more precise in your contact and distance control.
Just a short practice session, even in your backyard, will show you what I mean. Take a few balls and see how slowly you can hit some short chips and pitches. Try to create a tempo that feels like a turtle or snail. Slow motion even. Practice swinging the club slower and slower and watch what happens. Then take that to the practice area at your course.
If you work on slowing down your entire tempo around the greens, you will be much more precise in your technique and results. And then, the bonus comes from the fact that this new slower tempo will find its way into the rest of your game and all shots will begin to get better.
I promise you.
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I have already implemented this into my game, and it has made a difference. I am still working on accuracy and distance control but, I don't have as many mis-hits around the greens, and my shots are more crisp. I love hearing that crack of a solid well struck hit. It sure beats the muffled sound of chunking it, or the sound of the ball skidding over the grass because of a scull.
I am trying a new pre-shot routine. I hold the club with 2 fingers, let the club swing like a pendulum for a few time, hold the club and swing to the same tempo a few times, then step up to the ball, whether a putt, chip or pitch, one look at the target and go.
I read a few months ago about letting your club "fall" from the top of the swing on short shots, which helps create a slow, smooth swing. I kid of got that feel for a few rounds this summer and had a good short game, but I struggled to find the happy medium between too fast and too slow. I try not to make too many changes mid-season, so hopefully this is something I can really work on this off season.
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