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Rescue Kit
By kickntrue on 7/22/10
By Matt Snyder, ClubSG Contributor

Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

Everyone starts his or her rounds the same way. We all stand there on the first tee with high hopes of a round full of great swings, perfect putts, and lots of birdies. However, at least for me, it doesn't always seem to pan out quite the way that I pictured it before my round began. So, what do you do when you are out there on the 5th hole and you realize that this is going to be a long day? Well, I'm going to give you a few suggestions that I think just may rescue you from a round that is on its way out of control.

First, you need to begin by slowing down your back swing. A nice smooth takeaway should lead to a better transition to your downswing.

In most cases, tempo is the guilty party that is ruining your day. Without a proper warm up, it is very easy to begin your round with a changing tempo that usually results in a lot of quick swings. So, when you feel like the first few holes have become nothing but a fight to keep the ball in play, start thinking about smoothing out the tempo of your swing. To do that, focus on making your swing a progression of acceleration. First, you need to begin by slowing down your back swing. A nice smooth takeaway should lead to a better transition to your downswing. Now, a slower back swing does not mean that you should continue with a slow downswing. Remember, your swing should be consistent acceleration. So, after a nice smooth back swing and a good transition, you want to accelerate through the shot to a balanced follow through. You shouldn’t feel like you are swinging your guts out and trying to crush the ball, but you should feel as though you are gaining speed as your swing progresses all the way to your finish. Be sure to focus on that slower start and acceleration through the shot in your practice swings. And, it might not be a bad idea to add a practice swing or two to help feel that tempo. Remember, slower is better. The idea is to slow the entire swing down to regain control and feel. Don’t worry about sacrificing distance. First of all, you’ll probably hit it farther. Secondly, even if you don’t hit it as far, at least you’ll be able to find it!

My next suggestion will not only help get your swing back under control, but it will also aide in your efforts to regain your tempo. Item number two in the rescue kit is a shorter back swing. In my experience, it is the fastest way to better golf. It is amazing to me how often so many problems just go away when a player shortens their back swing. Most players have no idea how far they take the club back, and usually, it’s too far. Regardless, when your round is heading towards hours and hours of frustration, you are probably taking a longer swing than you normally do. So, whether you have a naturally long or short back swing, you should try to cut it down a little. Shortening and slowing down your back swing is going to allow you to swing with a great tempo and make much more solid contact.

Instead of aiming at the fairway from the tee, aim at a stripe of the fairway or a tree in the distance.

Lastly, focus on small targets. It’s the classic aim small, miss small approach. A cliché, yes, but it works. Instead of aiming at the fairway from the tee, aim at a stripe of the fairway or a tree in the distance. When you are approaching the green, pick a target in the middle of the green. FORGET ABOUT THE PIN! We’re not trying to go low here, we are trying to rescue our round and keep it to a manageable and respectable number. So, don’t just aim in the direction of the green and pray that your ball finds the short grass, be sure to pick something in the distance that lines you up with the center of the dance floor and put a nice smooth swing on it. Next thing you know, you’ll be putting for birdies instead of bogies and your round will be saved in no time.

I know how frustrating it can be when you realize that your swing is just not where it needs to be and you’re not even halfway through your round. Your playing partners are killing your pride and lightening your wallet. Well, now you need not worry. Thanks to your rescue kit, you’ll be able to stop the bleeding and avoid an entire round of frustrations and struggles. Just focus on a smoother tempo, a shorter back swing, and choosing the proper targets and you’ll be able to save yourself from certain golfing death.


* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.


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[ comments ]
IWClassic8 says:
My teacher said to back to the basics when you get into trouble. I check my grip, posture and alignment. Swing thoughts: "low and slow, accelerate through the shot, finish high".
7/22/10
 
shaggy2 says:
Good advise. Thank you. I used some of these thoughts today. Everything went down hill yesterday and came back today using the thoughts above and it worked.
7/22/10
 
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