Get Greater Distance On Your Drives Using Less Force and More Finesse

We instinctively try to get more distance from our golf swing by putting more effort and force into it. It would make sense that swinging with greater force results in farther drives, right? I believed that too, until I had a read of Percy Boomer’s book, “On Learning Golf”.

In, “On Learning Golf” Percy explains how farther drives can be achieved by focusing less on swing force and more on swing rhythm and timing.

Read the Percy Boomer’s piece below to learn more about rhythm’s role in improving golf swing performance;

“Rhythm we know in ordinary circumstances as a flowing motion, and in golf this resolves itself into timed movements. Let us start with an exceedingly practical example of what this means. The most accepted theory is that as the club head approaches the ball your wrists will flick or become taut. When?, you ask. That has really never been defined, and the best definition I know of it is, “coordination of mind and muscle which enables the player to do exactly the right thing at the proper moment” … so you must find your own rhythm.

So we can start from the familiar word “timing,” which is an advantage. But though every golfer knows the word, fewer appreciate the significance of the sense which it represents. Because until timing does become a sense with us, a sense of something rhythmic, our attempts at corelating movements can only be on a very crude mechanical basis. It is stretching the phrase to talk of the “rhythm” by which a self-change gear box shifts gears, but a soaring seagull is charged with rhythm at its highest. The trouble with golf is that we are gear boxes trying to become seagulls. We have to develop rhythm on a mechanical base.

We want rhythm, flowing movement, in our swing. But as we have already discovered we have to dissect our swing before we can play it—just as a musician has to dissect a composition before he can even play the notes. And please note that he may learn to play the notes and nothing more; that is he may never get as far as the rhythm and tone in which all the delicate beauty and meaning of music are hidden. So also with our swings: we may have memorized the mechanics faultlessly and be able to perform them time after time, but, unless they can be blended by rhythm into a perfectly timed flowing whole, it will be a poor sort of soulless mechanical golf which we play. For, to repeat, rhythm is the soul of golf.

When we watch a really good golfer, we are impressed, of course, by the beauty of their swing, but perhaps even more by the sensation of prolonged effortless flight which their shots produce on us. They seem unaffected by the force of gravity, whereas our own poor efforts make for the earth at the earliest possible moment, which—as one of my pupils brightly suggested— may be why bad golfers are dubbed rabbits!

The good golfer can make the ball do two things which the bad or merely indifferent golfer cannot make it do.

(1) The good golfer can make the ball remain in the air a long time in the drive, or run a long way in the putt.
(2) The good golfer can make the ball fly, or run, dead straight.

Now these two attributes of a good shot are due to a profound knowledge of the golf mechanics plus good timing.

Perfect mechanics alone are not sufficient in golf. Let us try and examine the effect of accurate timing and see why it makes such a difference—the difference which we can all recognize between the almost perfectly timed shot and the perfectly timed one.

It hinges upon the fact that golf is a dead ball game. We have to set the ball in motion from a state of rest and this largely accounts for the extraordinary complexity and subtlety of the game. Good shots are easier to play in live ball games than they are in golf because the velocity at which the ball comes to us sets up a rebound, which together with the speed of the head of the implement we wield increases the speed of our return blow. The relationship of ball velocity, club velocity, and rebound are simplified.

Now we can trace the two elements of rebound and club head speed in the drive, the longest of golf shots. But now because the ball is “dead” their relationship is no longer simple. It is necessary to get the correct proportion of each of these elements into the stroke or the resultant shot will not be perfect. A slight overemphasis on either one or other of them completely changes the flight of the shot and such slight overemphasis in either direction is not a matter of golf mechanics but is due to a delicate inflection of timing.

Let us see how this arises. It is generally assumed that the faster we swing the club head through the ball, the longer the ball will be. This is true if, but only if, the maximum club head speed is attained just after we come into contact with the ball. Hence the fact that we often get exceptionally long shots when we are trying to hit easy ones. With the slower swing, the club head has still been accelerating when it made contact with the ball and so has been able to “stay longer with the ball” and so make use of the rebound.

We have timed a shot well only when we feel we have remained a long time in contact with the ball, “gathering it up and slinging it off the face of the club head” as I have called it. If we are to do this, the club head must have sufficient power to take up the shock of impact and still keep accelerating. If at the moment of impact we stop the forward pull of the left side (which is what we will do if we aim at the ball), this power is not available and the club head cannot, as it should, continue accelerating in contact with the ball until the ball rebounds from it.

We have timed a shot well only when we feel we have remained a long time in contact with the ball. If we stop the forward pull of the left side at the moment of impact with the ball, we do not set up the resistance necessary to take up the shock of impact and at the same time to keep the club head accelerating until the ball rebounds from it. In fact if we let up on the forward pull when we strike the ball, we “stop the club head at the ball, an absolutely cardinal fault in swinging.”

What do you think?

Summating our swing components into a perfectly sequenced swing pattern is sure to result in better swing expressions and drives. More synchronized golf swings means driving greater distances using less energy. Less energy expended during the golf game leaves us with more energy to use on the last holes of our round. Use this energy reserve to sink these final holes with greater and more accurate swings to win the game!

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