When golfers are asked which skill they would love to have, consistency ranks the highest. Well above more distance, a better short game and solid putting. Why? Because a consistent swing is reliable and repeatable; this creates the confidence and trust in your swing to take your game to the next level. A confident swinging golfer will beat an unsure one any day. Use these suggestions below and really turn your game around guys.
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. Your golf swing should consist of 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. A hunched over or flatter spine angle at address will tend to lift up during the swing, then, in order to make contact must try to regain it's address position by dipping or lifting into impact. The results are rarely pretty (simply look at the address/impact overlay picture to your right). Keep it simple and give your swing the best chance for success with a solid setup.
A solid setup position starts with your weight evenly distributed between your feet which are set shoulder width apart. You should be bent over at your hips, leaving your spine angle straight and your head up. From this position your arms should be able to hang comfortably from your shoulders with plenty of room to swing your club. This position has also been called the “ready” position in other sports.
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 pushes and pulls respectively… whereas the ideal in to in produces straight shots. A great way to check your backswing path is at the top of your backswing, the club should be pointing parallel to your target line. If you are laid off or across the line (either pointing left or right of your target respectively), your initial 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.
Keep in mind though we are talking about swing path only here, there are hundreds of other faults that will cause you to slice, hook, shank, chunk or skull your shots – each of which has to do with the clubface angle at impact. Remember – path affects initial direction, whereas clubface angle affects ball trajectory and spin (backspin & sidespin).
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.
A very effective drill to help get a better feel for your weight distribution and balance throughout your swing is the Two-Step Rhythm Drill (you may need to scroll down to see the post) – I highly suggest you check this one out.
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 their 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 you're 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 a weighted club, or a more complicated sliding grip swing aid (Kalasey’s Swing Magic), this particular aid can be made rather easily at home.
A really simply way to create better tempo is to practice with your wedges more often, unlike your driver where you’re focused on distance, a wedge shot is more focused on control and accuracy – this fact will get you swinging more in control, and should even help you improve your short game. Remember to retain your wedge tempo for the rest of your clubs, and you’ll be laughing.
Give these suggestions a try the next time you’re out on the range and start taking the steps to developing a consistent swing.