TempoSeptember 20, 2010

Don't Be In Such A Hurry

Start it slowly: Practice rolling a second ball with your club to feel a smooth takeaway.

Start it slowly: Practice rolling a second ball with your club to feel a smooth takeaway.

When I'm feeling tense, like on the Sunday of a major, I tend to snatch the club back too quickly. You can imagine what this does to my tempo during the rest of the swing. I've also seen many amateurs jerk it back way too quickly, either because they're anxious to get the swing over with or because they think a faster swing will help them hit the ball farther. Remember, a faster downswing is a good thing, but a faster backswing usually results in poor tempo.

When I feel tension creeping into my swing, I think of a drill my teacher, Peter Kostis, gave me for helping set my ideal tempo. On the range, he'd put a second ball right behind my club at address, and I'd make backswings where I'd roll that ball away from the target with the back of the clubhead. This helped me take the club back wider and smoother, which set up a powerful downswing. Try this drill on the range, then mimic it on the course.

PAUL CASEY* won the 2009 Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour and has 10 other victories worldwide.*