STAYING IN RHYTHM
By Rob Akins
Full name: David Toms
Born: January 4, 1967
Birthplace: Monroe, LA
Height, weight: 5-ft-10, 160 lbs.
Turned professional: 1989
Check out what's in his bag!
You hear a lot of good players these days talk about keeping the club "in front" of them. What that means is that the player is trying to make a nice, smooth turn in the backswing that allows the arms to remain in front of the chest as long as possible.
In other words, the body, arms and hands work in unison.
David's swing is a great example of this. When he does it correctly, all he has to do on the downswing to produce an accurate shot is rotate his hips back toward the target until they are perpendicular to it. When his hips turn, the arms, hands and club simply come along for the ride. He no longer has to worry about manipulating the clubhead just before impact to make sure it's square to the target.
Some people call his swing a "body swing," since it's his shoulders in the backswing and hips in the follow-through that seem to be doing all the work. I prefer to call it a rhythmic swing. His hands and arms stay in rhythm with his body. His tempo has become so good, he can work the ball left or right by making simple adjustments to his alignment and grip. David also has great distance control. If he has to hit it 170 yards with a 165-yard club, he will simply hit a draw.
A curious byproduct of David's improved accuracy is the difficulty he has in getting up-and-down from the sand. The reason? Since he has no fear of attacking the flag, he often ignores the deep-faced bunkers that guard the pin. If his distance control is off by just a yard or two, his ball can end up buried in the face of the bunker. But I would rather David be too aggressive than have no confidence in his swing.
Rob Akins, David Toms' coach, teaches at Ridgeway Country Club, in Memphis.