Updated: Jul 13
Recently we've sent out a customer survey to ask about your golf game. The response back was very much appreciated and showed some interesting trends which we will now use to create our content and increase the readership and interest in our blog.
The overwhelming Response from Survey Participants was that they were looking for consistency. I also hear the "C-Word" so often in my business, and it correlates to the lesson structure that I follow almost religiously. I focus on some main key components to be able to create consistency and repeatability in my teaching plans. I go through these steps in the very first lesson and always end the lesson with the other. They are so important, I consider them key fundamentals of the game, that should be done on each and every shot.
Interestingly enough, we should start the consistency improvement plan with our putting. When I purchased the Capto Putting Sensor, I was curious about the tempo training module which was in the software and device component. Originally and often wrongly, you will hear people say that Tempo is an individual characteristic of the golfer, but that isn't exactly correct. I think what people mean to say is that some swings look faster than others, but a study on the subject both from a scientific and a practical (PGA Tour study) shows that professional golfers all have a similar tempo ratio of approximately 3:1. Meaning the back swing is 3 portions and the downswing is 1 portion. The ideal ratio in putting is approximately 2:1.
The other key to consistency is the set up and aim procedure. Again, I can't stress this enough, but if you can't aim properly then you will inadvertently create a swing fault as your brain always tries to get the ball on the target. This is oddly enough how many swing faults are created.
Below I will outline the steps to drastically improving your Tempo and Your Set Up Procedure. If you ever decide to take a lesson from me, what you will find is that I always stress the set up, the aim and then finish the lesson with about 10-15 minutes of tempo training. These two aspects of the game will significantly improve your consistency in play and allow you the confidence and repeatability that everyone so desires.
Set up, Aim and Set- Up Process:
Step 1: Step behind the ball and draw an Imaginary line between your ball and the target. The clubface and where it meets the ball will determine the starting line of the ball, you need to adjust it accordingly if you plan to change your shot shape (draw or fade).
Step 2: Pick a spot which is no more than 4 inches (10 cm) in front of the ball and along that imaginary line.
Step 3: Check that the Clubface is no Misaligned by using the tick marks/chevrons or other markings on the grip of the club. Often times I see people align the club face shut, and this will influence your ability to set your body to the club face.
Step 4: Set the Inside of the Back Foot Parallel with the bottom line of the club face. This allows you to set your body 90 degrees to the club face.
Step 5: Put your Feet together with the Club and Ball in the Middle of your Feet, with your Feet close together
Step 6: Take a small Step sideways toward the target (Forward) and a Big Step Back. This will set the ball position slightly forward of the middle of your stance, thereby allowing your eyes and body to weight shift effectively and create a proper 3:1 tempo. The ball position is so important, do not under any circumstances overlook this component. If you are a scooper, then you will hit it fat for a good 3 or 4 rounds until your eyes and body adjust to the forward ball position.
Step 7: Stand Up Straight and Bend forward only at the Hips with your Knees Locked. You should feel a stretch on your hamstrings and calves at the start. Keep bending until the middle finger of your right hand is touching the TOP of your Kneecap. This will allow you to set the hand height properly.
Step 8: Let your Arms Hang Loose and Straight Down, Do not have your Arms out on an Angle, this will create a poor take away. It is again so important that you have your Arms straight down and relaxed from your shoulders. They should not sit atop your chest or your tummy. This is a common error and one that impacts compression on the ball and the path of the club.
Step 9: Where ever the hands hang, that is where they should take the club. Many people at this stage try to set the club flat on the ground, and that is again a mistake. The toe needs to be slightly off the ground (more on this in later golf club fitting blogs - Google Toe Droop if you can't wait).
Step 10: Back your Feet Away from the Ball without Moving Your Upper Body. Aka, shuffle only your feet back. You should keep moving back until the weight is on the balls of your feet.
Step 11: Break the knees, but do not sink down. Sinking is again a major issue and cause of misunderstanding of set up.
Step 12: Final Check that the Club Face is pointing at the Intermediary Target and then put a good tempo'd swing on the ball with a balanced finish.
If you don't follow the above set up procedure for every single shot, including the putts, the chips and even the recovery shots, you stand little chance in creating consistency in the golf game. You may use the same methodology for all shots, and it is very important that you do so. You will not see a professional or any high level player hit a shot arbitrarily or without a set up procedure. The glue that holds all the swing changes together is a proper tempo. A proper tempo allows golfers to implement golf changes in their swing acquired via lessons to be effective.
To create a good tempo, we need to visualize and understand the "Swing" component literally. We are trying our best to create a swing motion that we all know from being a child. That of a kids swing. We want all of the speed to be at the bottom sections of the swing, the reversal and transition of the swing to slow and gradual and without jerks. We also want the finish to bring us into a slowed motion with a hold at the end. The key to doing so, is to think in two ways:
1) Put all of the Backswing power only in the takeaway section of the swing. It should be the first foot of the swing, or the first 25 cm of the swing. If done properly and with a weight transfer then there will be enough momentum in the golf club to take you all the way to the top of the back swing without any additional power or pull in the swing.
We should start the golf swing with a movement forward. Yes Forward. Message me if you want to have a more illustrative description. That forward momentum will allow us to pull back with enough speed in that first foot to take the club to the top of the backswing.
2) The transition and swing down to the ball, should have no power at the top and then a gradual increase in acceleration with full power being delivered "after" the golf ball. I always say that I put the power at the golf ball, but for some it helps to try to deliver the power after the ball. This will ensure that the proper sequence and steps can develop properly and a balanced finish is easily achievable via the proper use of momentum. The follow through is powerful yet smooth, and in no way jerky or otherwise. This is something very difficult to describe but is the single most important factor when piecing the swing together. It should be worked on as much as possible and should be a consistent component to your golf warm up sessions. Each range session before the round should be singularly focused on tempo and the ability to repeat the tempo throughout the round both in the full swings, the chips as well as the putts.
Give those two elements a try and feel free to message me if something is not entirely clear. Words can often be poor tools for describing a move. I would be happy to send you out a video of me in my simulator describing the tempo moves and showing that move in a full shot.