Cut the tension with a song

Short takes

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 4:31pm
  • Sports

Many things have been written about how tension ruins the golf swing. I would suggest it isn’t tension, per se, but a sudden change in tension in the swing.

I firmly believe it is anxiety when that darn little round white thing on the ground is introduced. We all find it easier to swing with consistence and fluidity in our practice swings. We can clip dandelions of the ground with ease, stay in balance during the swing, etc., when there no ball and no fear of it going in places we dread.

So how do we overcome this malaise? By swinging looser and easier? No, not unless you want to lose distance.

Every PGA player has a different degree in tension in his swing. Compare Fred Couples and Nick Price for example. One seems slow and languid and the other quick and tight. Which then is correct? I submit the way they swing is more about who they are and not any taught thing.

What they both do, however, is maintain the same consistency in tempo and degree of tension throughout their swings.

The biggest cause of the dreaded "over the top" move to start the downswing is anxiety or change in tension. Now how do we recognize this and correct the problem? I suggest humming.

Try taking practice swings while humming. Then hit some balls while humming. You will notice quite a difference in the pitch and tension in your hum. You will sense where the tension suddenly increases. You will sense the change in tension in different parts of your body (grip, shoulders, etc.).

So try humming during a practice swing and then try to emulate the same constant tone when introducing the ball. No instructor can teach you this; you have to teach yourself. If you find this difficult at first, and you will, start trying to do it while chipping, then slowly progress to full swings.

I submit that if you work at this, you will hit more consistent golf shots and with more power and, not least, have more fun.

Rules Teaser:

A player’s ball was hanging on the lip of the hole. The player casts his shadow over the ball thinking that would cause the grass to wilt and cause the ball to fall in the hole. Ruling?

Answer to last

column’s teaser:

A player played a provisional ball on a hole and holed it in a match play tourney. He opted not to search for the original ball. Ruling? Provided the original ball was not found in the five-minute time limit is allowed. However if his opponent found his original ball, he could require him to play it.

John Lucas is the professional at SkyRidge Golf Course and can be reached at

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