In this game of inches, it's impossible to strike the ball crisply every time you play. With that in mind, in the video and article below, Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Andrew Reynolds runs through four drills that will help you rediscover your timing.
It happens to us all. A few poorly struck shots and suddenly your timing is gone and you feel incapable to getting the club properly on the back of the ball. However, there are some great drills that will quickly get you back on track. Here are four of my favourites...
Whether you’re in the middle of a round or at the range trying to work through your timing issues, making half-length, half-paced swings is a great place to start. If on the course, make some practice swings like this before each shot and if you're at the range, begin your session by hitting some half-swing shots before upping the ante.
Remember, it needs to be quite a slow movement back and through. It's one of the things tour players do that you don't and it works so well because it helps you feel the clubhead better during the swing and will naturally slow you down.
2. Find your feel
Poor ball-striking often stems from excess tension in your hands and arms. When you are nervous or trying to hit the ball too hard, your grip pressure can become too tight and you lose the mobility in your wrists and your feel of the club. Take a look at any of the best players in the world - there is barely an ounce of tension in their bodies firing on all cylinders.
To rediscover your feel, try holding your fingers very lightly on the grip. As you set your hands on the club feel as if the forefinger and thumb of both hands are in control of the club – the rest are there purely for support. This will soften your grip and get the club moving with much more flow, releasing as it should through the ball.
3. Acceleration drill
Another reason your timing can be off stems from trying to hit the ball too hard. Golfers often wonder how long their backswing should be and in my experience, the desire for extra distance causes it to get too long. The knock-on effect is an early wrist extension in the downswing, which restricts your power and often disrupts your timing.
The simple way to stop yourself casting in the golf swing (releasing the club too early) is to make a slightly shorter backswing (two-thirds the normal length) and then swing through to a full finish. This will help you accelerate the club through impact and find that crisp contact you are looking for. If you are catching your shots a little thin or fat, this is a great drill to use.
4. Synchronisation check
There are occasions when, try as you might, you aren’t able to rectify the problem while out on the course. That’s fine – even the world’s best players have days when their timing is off. However, if you are serious about rectifying the issue, head to the range and hit a series of 50-yard wedge shots.
The aim here is to keep the club shaft out in front of you at all times. At the address, top of backswing, impact and in the finish, the clubhead should be pointing directly away from your chest. Try to get this image in your mind as you swing and the synchronisation between your body and arms will improve.
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Location: Royal Cinque Ports
Andrew was appointed Head Professional at Royal Cinque Ports in 1978, aged just 23. He is only the sixth professional in the club's 125-year history. From 2010 to 2013, he was lead coach for the Mens England “A” squad and helped work with many established European Tour players. Andrew also enjoyed success on the European Senior Tour, most notably his top-20 finish in the Senior Open Championship at Turnberry.
Different golfers have different aims, so players' hopes must be discovered before a ball is struck. The player is buying our experience to take them on a journey which will, hopefully, exceed their expectations. I try to keep the learning experience fairly light to keep the player relaxed and make the time together enjoyable for us both. We generally need to ‘de-clutter’ players' golfing brains and put a filter system in place to help people understand the important factors.
Most significant influences:
Ernest Jones’s book, ‘Swing the Clubhead’, who stressed that if your set up was neutral, balanced and correct, all body actions were responsive to the club swinging. Peter Thomson, too. He chatted to Henry Longhurst, whom he allowed to explain his simple thinking - set up squarely, point the club at the target, take it away from the ball on the same path that the club attacks the ball on, then from the top of the backswing just bring it back to the ball. Both Jones and Thomson understood the difference between cause and effect. Modern technology allows us to analyse the golf swing in a very technical manner, which has now proved that both were ahead of their time in making a golf swing a simple exercise. We must remember that it’s the clubhead that we are swinging.
Advice for practice:
A structured and disciplined practice session is the only way to develop your golfing skills to the maximum. Always make sure that your setup is perfect before any swing begins - it’s pointless to work on a swing change with an inconsistent and changeable setup. A different setup means a different swing.
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