One of the difficulties in developing a fluid, consistent golf swing is that you’re trying to hit a stationary ball. In other ball-and-stick sports, you’re trying to hit a moving object, and the body intuitively reacts to perform the required motion. The action in these sports usually happens too fast for the conscious mind to get involved. Instincts tend to rule the day. That’s not the case in golf. Starting the swing from a standstill, you have to perform a fairly complex series of movements in about a second. You have so much time prior to the swing to overthink the situation and let the conscious mind interfere with your body’s natural athletic ability.
So how can you overcome this hurdle and make your swing fluid and reactive from the start? We recommend using a simple routine in preparation to getting the golf club started back smoothly and in sequence – it’s all part of what is called a pre-shot routine . It is a way to add motion and eliminate the tension that builds if you simply stared down at the ball and freeze at address, as many golfers do. Tension is a real killer in a golf swing.
Good player’s routine vary but the key is they do them consistently on each swing. The best routines are generally brief, because the longer it takes to get the swing started, the greater the chance for cumbersome swing thoughts to manifest. These ruin its fluidity. You may have heard the expression “paralysis by analysis”. That refers to overthinking, particularly at address. Any golfer who stands over the ball for several seconds before swinging, you can bet there’s a lot of brain activity. It’s so hard to get any rhythm or flow when that happens.
If you already have a pre-shot routine that you’re comfortable with, and you do it consistently, then stick with it. But if, like most golfers, you don’t have one, here is a plan that works well with the A Swing. Once you have looked at your target from behind the ball and visualised the shot, follow these steps:
- Walk up to the ball and get into your setup position
- Focus your eyes slowly on the target, then back to the ball. You can shuffle your feet a little to help alleviate tension
- Keeping your arms relaxed, rehearse the start of the A Swing. Use your core muscles/belly to get the hands and the club moving a short distance, to where the grip of the club travels to or a little past your right thigh. Your left arm should feel linked to your chest, and your hands should be in close to your body – this movement is a form of waggle, but with no opening of the club or rolling of the forearms.
- Return to the starting position. Slowly look back to the target and then return your eyes to the ball.
- After a slight hesitation, start the swing in the manner you just rehearsed.
You can practice this system by initially counting off each step in your head. It won’t take long to develop, and the process should soon become automatic. When this happens, you can go on the course and have no conscious thought of how or when you start the club back. You’ll simply react and go. This gives you the best chance of having a free-flowing golf swing.