October 24, 2011

Calm, Cool And Collected

A vital part of our preparation for a golf shot has to do with alleviating tension from our body. Excessive muscle tension is an obstacle to making a fluid, powerful golf swing. There needs to be just enough tension to maintain our position and hold onto the club as we swing, but any more than necessary interferes with the flow of the swing.

There’s a simple demonstration of the effect of tension on your golf game that you can do anywhere. Take your putter and set up in your putting stance. As much as you can, let the tension in your body dissolve, including arms and hands, shoulders, and belly. Then make a full pendulum-type putting stroke, as you would for a long lag putt.

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Repeat the stroke, back and forth, a few times. Notice how freely the putter head moves. Now tense up your shoulders, hands, and stomach. Swing again, intending to make the same stroke. Did you notice how abbreviated the stroke became, especially on the follow through? The interference from tension in that putting stroke will have a similar effect on every swing you make. As the saying goes, “You don’t play to relax, you relax to play”.

Contributed by Dr. Joseph Parent, author of Zen Golf and mental coach to Vijay Singh. For more information, please visit his site at www.zengolf.com.

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