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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Butch Harmon on Spraying the Ball Everywhere

I found this tip in an old issue of Golf Digest (May 2013) in an article called Last Thought Before Driving. It gives swing thoughts for handling different problems. This is one he gave for when you're hitting the ball everywhere.

Butch HarmonButch's swing thought is "Maintain your arm speed to the finish" and he has this to say about it:
If you're feeling totally lost on the tee, you need a swing key that combats a lot of potential problems. Try keeping your arms swinging at a constant speed through the ball and all the way to the finish. Many golfers swing to the ball and stop; they "throw" the club at the ball. This can lead to misses of all kinds, so picking the proper correction can be confusing. If you keep up your arm speed, you'll create good rhythm and flow through impact. You might be amazed at how things fall into place. Making an aggressive pass through the ball is always better than trying to steer it down the fairway. Remember, you're making a golf swing, so keep those arms swinging.
Let me explain something quickly here, because this swing thought seems counter-intuitive if you don't understand the physics behind it.

If you drop a ball from shoulder height, it doesn't fall to the ground at a constant speed. It actually accelerates toward the ground, at a speed of 32 feet per second per second. (That means each second the ball is falling, it falls 32 feet per second faster than it did the second before. Starting from a dead stop, it falls 32 feet during the first second, 64 feet during the next second, 96 feet during the third second and so on.) The same thing happens when we swing a golf club.

However, because we're used to moving this way, we think we're moving at a constant speed because we don't have to try to speed up. What we think of as a constant rhythm is actually an accelerating swing. So if we think about moving our arms at a constant speed when we swing the club -- not trying to jerk our arms up to speed but just swinging smoothly and quickly -- we'll actually be gaining speed as we swing.

That will give us a smooth swing that repeats. If our swing repeats, we'll make a mechanically consistent swing that creates the same shot shape over and over. And once we're creating the same shot shape over and over, we can figure out how to aim it so we control where it lands.

So try to swing your arms in a constant rhythm all the way from start to finish, and that thought should help you get control of the ball's flight. Butch ought to know, don't you think?

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