What do Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy all have in common? A smooth golf swing. Each player swings the club at a different rhythm and tempo, yet each swing is smooth and fluid. Their smooth swings belie the power contained within. A smooth golf swing is what you should be striving for when you go to the range to work on your game.
But creating this type of smooth swing isn’t easy. A good visual to keep in mind when practicing is what people who saw Ben Hogan say about his swing: It was like watching a machine stamping out bottle caps — plain and steady. The tempo of your smooth golf swing might be faster or slower than Hogan’s, but it still needs to be plain and steady.
Finding the right tempo and rhythm for your swing not only boosts your ball striking, but also helps chop strokes off your golf handicap. Below are seven rules that can help you develop a smooth golf swing that’s right for you:
1) Swing at your own tempo: Tempo is the rate at which you execute your swing. Tom Watson is a fast thinker and player. He does everything quickly. So the tempo he plays at and swings at is quick. Sam Snead is a slow thinker and player. He did everything slowly. So the tempo he played at and swung at was slow and methodical. Yet, both players were great golfers. Find a tempo that suits your game and stick with it.
2) Strong legs are critical: Every great player has strong legs. Jack Nicklaus had them. Tom Watson had them. And Moe Norman had them. Strong legs provide stability, balance, and drive. They power your swing. When you make a mistake, they can carry you. So if you want a smooth golf swing, work on strengthening your legs. Doing lunges and climbing stairs helps with this.
3) Find your right grip pressure: Poor grip pressure spells disaster. That’s why it’s imperative you find the right grip pressure. A grip pressure that’s too light or too tight feeds into your entire body and makes a smooth golf swing impossible. How tight should your grip pressure be? You should be able to hit five practice shots in a row without re-gripping the club. That’s your grip pressure.
4) Find the rhythm that works for you: Good players find a rhythm that works for them—from how they select and hold the club to how they waggle the club. Find a rhythm to your golf swing that works for you and stick to it. As one swing guru put it: Think of your swing like a solo in the middle of a song. Simply begin the swing when your “part” comes along.
5) Ignore others’ swings: Visuals can threaten your rhythm. And that can disrupt a smooth golf swing. Playing with someone who has a different swing than you can throw your swing off. So try to ignore the rhythm and tempo of other players’ swings. Put another way, see visual dangers for what they are and be objective about them.
6) Work on hand alignment: Many golfers talk about aligning themselves to the target. But the only alignment that counts is your hand alignment. What’s that? It’s the ability to place the hands at the precise spot that aligns the club with the desired ball flight. Mastering the position in time and space helps create a smooth golf swing that’s repeatable. Practice with different hand alignments on the range to figure out which one works best with which type of shot for you.
7) Keep working on your swing : Keep working on your swing until you find your smooth swing. It’s never too late to do that. Loren Roberts, Fred Funk, and Kenny Perry all found the right swing late in their careers. But they found it. And they’re better ball strikers now than they’ve ever been. Never stop looking for that something that makes everything click. It could be advice from a pro or a golf tip from a friend. Don’t stop until you find it.
Following these rules as closely as possible will help you develop a smooth golf swing that’s powerful and repeatable. And that will take your game to a new level—one that would see you break 80 consistently. Don’t you want that?