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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Charlie King on Relaxing into Your Drives

If you follow this blog, you know I'm a big believer in staying relaxed when you swing. Here's another way to approach it, this one courtesy of Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach Charlie King:

Any martial artist worth his black belt will tell you that relaxed muscles can move oh so much faster than stiff ones. (Good martial arts instructors teach their students not to tense their muscles until an instant before impact, in order to properly convert that speed into a powerful strike.) Charlie's image of a rag doll swinging a club is a good one to help you reach that ideal.

And like a good martial artist, you'll want to tighten your grip a bit at impact. Most people do that instinctively.

Let me answer a question that I suspect many of you -- especially Hogan devotees, but anyone who tries to maintain connection during their swing (and yes, I am in that second group) -- are probably wondering about. How do you maintain connection during your swing if you're trying to stay relaxed?

Simply put, it's just a matter of practice. Martial artists practice tightening some muscles while loosening others; it just takes a little time. You can do the same thing with simple exercises like holding your club and keeping your grip tight while trying to consciously trying to relax your shoulders and arms. That's a drill you can do while sitting in a chair and watching TV. It won't take as long as you think.

Then just try swinging the club with your grip, arms and shoulders relaxed while maintaining connection between your upper arms and chest. Start with half swings and gradually stretch them out to three-quarter swings. (The arms and chest always separate slightly at the top, then reconnect onthe way down. That's just basic Hogan.) Don't worry about hitting balls; you're just trying to get used to controlling the tension during your swing.

Again, it's just a matter of practice and it will come more quickly than you expect.

Before long, you'll be able to take it out to the course and hit drivers; you'll probably gain some distance in the process. And if you practice that hand tightening - shoulder relaxing drill enough, you'll get where you can do it with irons and wedges as well. When you do, your touch around the greens will improve tremendously.

And that's when golf gets to be a lot of fun.

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