RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Be Smooth, Not Slow

April 22, 2012

It has been said many times that amateurs take the club back too quickly in a rush to hit the ball. But in my estimation, more golfers have a backswing that is too slow instead of too quick.

When you take the club back too slowly, the tendency is to start down too quickly from the top, which causes you to slow down at impact when you should be accelerating. Don't get me wrong: I'm not advocating a fast backswing. Rather, take the club back at a nice, comfortable pace. It should be gradually accelerating as you transition from backswing to downswing (see video below).

Here you can see that I've started my backswing with a smooth turn of my upper body away from the target--the clubhead is outside my hands. I then cock my wrists and work the clubhead toward the sky. The movement is steady and unhurried. If I started "low and slow," as you often hear, I'd be tempted to jerk the club down from the top, destroying my rhythm.

*David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional based at ChampionsGate, near Orlando. He operates 26 golf academies worldwide. *


Nancy synced her swing at the top

In an era that has brought us Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and now Yani Tseng, it's easy to forget just how great Nancy Lopez was. Her record (48 LPGA Tour wins and three majors) puts her in that elite company, and it was her brilliant play that brought the LPGA into the modern era. Nancy had a very slow takeaway, but she was never in a rush to swing down from the top. She would pause the club for a split second before starting down. Because of this, her consistency was amazing. She got the club into the slot at the top every time.