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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Waltzing Your Way to an In-Sync Golf Swing

This is just a cool approach to golf rhythm that I found at the site. Dr. Nelson Neal suggests using a waltz count to get your golf swing in sync.

The first three counts of the golf waltz

Looking at this sequence of photos from the article, you might think this is a three-count... but you'd be wrong. This is a SIX-COUNT, with the first and fourth beats accented; these first photos only show half of the count. So let's start with the rhythm first. Printed out, it would look like this:

DA-da-da, DA-da-da

Or, using the count Neal uses:

ONE-two-three, FOUR-five-six

If you don't know what a waltz sounds like, musicians refer to it as 3/4 time (read that as "three-four time") and it's a very common rhythm in lots of songs, not just in traditional classical waltz music. You can hear in in children's songs like "Happy Birthday," religious songs like "Amazing Grace," or in pop songs like Seal's "Kiss from a Rose." Here, take a listen as the song starts:

Hear that "OOM-pah-pah, OOM-pah-pah" beat that the background singers are singing at the very beginning of the song? That's your waltz rhythm! It comes naturally to most people with very little practice -- again, we hear it in children's songs from an early age.

You'll note in those early photos that there is a half-beat between the second and third counts. I think Neal made it harder by not explaining how to count that. Each of your six beats takes the same amount of time because it's a steady rhythm: ONE-two-three, FOUR-five-six. You can add evenly-spaced "ands" in-between each of those counts, like this:

ONE-and-two-and-three-and, FOUR-and-five-and-six-and

If you count that out slowly, you can match the positions in the photos above -- and in the photos below -- to the counts. In fact, I'll print the count again under the next set of photos, but I'll put the counts in LARGE PRINT that coincide with the photos.

The fourth through the sixth beats of the golf waltz

Here's how those photos match up to the counts:


You have a lot of photos in the first few beats, not so many in the last three. That's because the downswing is much faster than the backswing. The "and" after the three beat is at waist high, the "four" beat is at impact, and the "five" beat is the top of your finish. Do it slowly as a drill, if you need to; if you match each photo to a beat, you'll get a feel for the rhythm soon enough.

But I suspect you'll get it quicker if you just focus on the rhythm of three of the main beats:
  • the ONE beat, as you start your takeaway;
  • the three beat, as you reach the top of the backswing; and
  • the FOUR beat, at impact.
After a little practice, you'll be able to just hum that "OOM-pah-pah, OOM-pah-pah" rhythm as you swing and get it right. The two stressed beats both happen right at the ball -- the ONE beat to start the backswing away from the ball, the FOUR beat as you actually hit the ball -- and the three beat at the top feels like the brief change of direction, when you should inhale in order to smack that ball on the FOUR.

In fact, you may feel as if you inhale on the three beat and exhale on the FOUR as you hit the ball.

I agree with Dr. Neal that this six-count waltz rhythm really does make a lot more sense than a two-count or a three-count. Turning your golf swing into more of a graceful dance rhythm can really simplify a lot of those hard-to-explain sequenced moves!

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