Readers of this blog know that this past week I had the privilege of spending time with Bob Toski and Jim Flick. They gave a clinic for TaylorMade at the PGA Show in Orlando. (See photo below.)
*This reunion of the two Hall of Fame teachers reminded me of the landmark book they wrote back in 1984, How to Become a Complete Golfer, with Larry Dennis. Even though that was 27 years ago, the principles they espoused then still hold
true today. Here are passages from that book that will help your game this weekend:
1. Control the speed
We've heard it said that if you swing the club back too slowly, you will snatch it down from the top. Maybe. But for every player we've seen take the club back too slowly we've seen 10,000 who go back too fast. What is too fast? If you take the club back so slowly that you have no sense of rhythm and flow, no sense of motion, that's too slow. That can happen, but it's a rare problem. You can swing the club with control only as fast as the strength of your hands and forearms can bear. In swinging the club back and during the change of direction at the top, you should have a feeling of ease. You should never feel you are swinging the club hard. If you lose that feeling of ease, you have swung the club too fast and are going out of control.
2. Feel the swing force
At the same time, you must have motion in your swing. There must be a smooth, rhythmic flow to your swing that allows you to generate clubhead speed as effortlessly as possible. A stilted, contrived swing that lacks motion, no matter
how much control you have, will cause a tightening of the muscles that will cost you the distance and accuracy you need. *Most of our students have little feel for the golf swing because their grip pressure is too tight.* This tightens the arm muscles and denies a good, free arm swing and a full turn.
3. Swing with less effort
Golfers, almost all of whom are too power-oriented, usually don't know how to apply the power they have. So they waste most of it. They don't realize that the amount of effort that goes into a swing is not nearly as important as how that effort is applied. There are three factors that create the power that gives us longer shots--strength, speed and flexibility. Why can little guys like Chi Chi Rodriguez, Gardner Dickinson and Bob Toski drive the ball farther on a yards-per-pound basis than Jack Nicklaus or Tom Weiskopf? That means strength is not nearly as important as the other two factors. Bobby Jones said that on the first two or three holes of a round, he just tried to meet the ball and keep it in play. Then, as his mind and muscles became keener and more attuned to the act, he could begin hitting the ball harder. Nicklaus says that on the first tee, when his tension level is usually high, he makes sure he hits a good drive by trying to reduce that tension level and just meeting the ball solidly by swinging slowly with good tempo.