Myth Busters

Many popular swing tips and equipment theories are just plain wrong

Myth 2Myth #2: As The Swing Gets Longer, The Swing Gets Faster
When I watch a golfer hit 7-iron, then driver, he or she invariably amps up the swing speed with the longer club. Surely, the clubhead of the driver does move faster because it’s longer, but it’s due to the principles of physics, not because the golfer is swinging the club with a faster tempo.

Tempo is the total amount of time it takes to create your golf swing from beginning to end. Some players have a relatively fast tempo, like Nick Price, while others have a slower tempo, like Fred Couples. Either way is fine, as long as you keep the same tempo for each club in the bag. Golfers get into trouble when they either slow down or speed up their natural tempo. Most often, the tendency is to speed up with the longer clubs—especially the driver—to gain extra yards.

When your tempo starts varying from club to club, the timing required to hit consistent golf shots is destroyed. That’s one reason why you feel you can hit your irons well one day, but not the woods, and vice versa. Poor timing produces a variety of poor results, like topped shots, fat shots and directional misses. For every club in the bag, the tempo should be the same. For example, it should take the same amount of time to make a swing with your pitching wedge as it does for the 7-iron. Furthermore, it should take the same time to hit the ball with your driver. The only thing that differs is clubhead speed. Because the driver is longer than the pitching wedge, the clubhead automatically moves faster throughout the swing. It’s not something you control. If it takes two seconds to swing a pitching wedge, it should take the same two seconds to swing the driver.

Practice Consistent Tempo
Discover your own best tempo by making three continuous practice swings, without a ball, using a
5-iron. Make the swings in a pendulum fashion, back and through, while maintaining good balance. Then hit a teed golf ball focusing on repeating the same tempo with a balanced finish. Finally, try this with short irons, long irons and woods as well to see if your tempo—and timing—will remain constant with each club.

Myth #3: Play The Ball Back With Shorter Clubs
While it’s true that the ball position for your driver is more forward in your stance (closer to your left foot) than for a wedge, the ball should never be positioned back of center for any normal shot from a level lie, regardless of what club you’re using.

For normal shots on level lies, there are three basic ball positions:
1) Short irons: One inch to the left of the center of your stance.
2) Mid-irons: Two inches left of center (opposite your shirt logo).
3) Long irons & woods: Three inches left of center (opposite your left armpit).

Always relate the position of the ball to your upper body. Most golfers use their toes to judge ball position and they can give you the illusion that the ball position is correct when, in fact, it isn’t. For example, if you position the ball one inch left of center for a short-iron shot, then flare your left foot open, the ball appears to be back in your stance. If you draw your right foot back to close your stance, the ball appears to move forward.

With the ball placed too far forward, your shoulders tend to align left of the target. Since your club swings where your shoulders point, you’re plagued with a slicer’s swing path—steep and out-to-in. If you locate the ball too far toward your right foot, your shoulders tend to close, creating a flat path that encourages pushes and hooks.


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