When golfers are asked which skill they would love to have, apart from hitting it 350 yards every time – consistency usually ranks the highest. Why? Because a consistent swing is reliable and repeatable and this creates confidence, dependability and trust. A confident swinging golfer is a menacing opponent on the course. There are thousands of tips out there that talk about improving your consistency – in my experience however – the real problems have only a few roots. Once these problem areas are taken care of, and they are ingrained through practice… scores start dropping.
Posture and Setup
I cannot stress enough, how important a proper setup and posture is to creating a consistent golf swing. If your posture is changing from shot to shot… how could you ever really become consistent enough to rely on your golf swing? A simple and effective posture is based around a straight back and spine. Put simply, a golf swing is your arms and shoulders simply rotating around your spine. That’s it, as long as your spine angle doesn’t change throughout your swing, you will return to impact in position. From a hunched over or too flat spine angle you will be forced to lift up during your backswing, then, in order to make contact, you must regain your spine angle by dipping on your way into impact. The results are rarely pretty – simply look at the address/impact overlay picture to your right – you can see how his impact position differs greatly to his address position. This problem all stemmed from poor posture.
Your backswing path can travel on three different paths: in to out, out to in, and the ideal in to in. Both the in to out and out to in paths tend to produce either pushes or pulls… whereas the ideal in to in produces straight shots. A great way to check your backswing path is at the top of your backswing, have a friend check your clubs position – is it pointing parallel to your target line? If you are laid off or across the line, your backswing path is probably the culprit. A consistent path will produce consistent and predictable results. Groove a better path by placing a tee just inside your target line about two feet back from your ball, when you swing back, try and nick this tee.
A properly balanced swing involves more than you may think… you have to consider your balance at address, throughout the swing and on the finish. Stance wise, your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart (slightly longer for long irons and woods), your weight should be balanced evenly between your feet at address and also evenly within your feet (heel to toe). You don’t want to start your swing with your weight either on your heels or toes. As you swing back to the top of your backswing, your weight should shift to your rear leg on an 80/20 split; try to keep your lead heel on the ground in this position. As you swing down into impact you should feel your weight transitioning to your lead foot. At impact you will likely be either flat footed or with your weight on your toes. As you swing through to finish, your weight should fully transition to your lead leg to about a 90/10 split, with only your trailing foot’s toes touching the ground. If it sounds pretty daunting, I can understand, but truth be told, most of this happens without even thinking about it. The crucial parts to remember are those at address.
The ball is staying put, it’s just waiting there to be hit, so don’t rush it, hit it when you’re ready. Tempo is one of the hardest things to teach a player, but it’s crucial to developing a repetitive and consistent swing. If you love the swings of Fred Couples and Ernie Els; and are just baffled by there effortless power, I have a few suggestions to try and mimic their wonderfully smooth tempo’s. Consider swinging a thick rope or swing a ladies/seniors shafted club (assuming your not using them already) to gain a better feel of a smoother swing. You will have to time your swing to allow for its whippiness. Some of the better rhythm developing drills involve either using a weighted club, or simply counting “1” on the backswing, “2” at the top, and “3” at impact. Give these suggestions a try the next time you’re out on the range and start taking the steps to developing a consistent swing.