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Loose is Fast, Tight is Slow

In any sport, athletes derive power and speed through tension free motion. Just look at sprinters or swimmers shaking and loosening their body right before the start of competition. The same holds true in golf. Tight muscles are slow muscles whereas loose muscles can react quicker and move faster. Power in golf comes from fast arm speed which creates fast club head speed and ball compression. When we intuitively use effort to add power to a golf shot we tend to tighten, or contract, our muscles. Unfortunately, golf is counter intuitive to other sports and the amount of effort we add to a shot isn’t directly proportional to the club head speed and initial ball velocity created. Proper technique using tension free motion will always deliver more efficient power than a lot of effort combined with poor technique. This is how good players achieve the feeling of effortless power vs. the feeling of powerless effort that most amateurs have.

During practice sessions on the range, try this drill to help you become aware of how much tension you have during your swing. At address- prior to initiating your backswing- take a deep breath. As you exhale, relax and drop your shoulders. A large percentage of golfers hold too much tension in their arms and shoulders. Next, make a backswing to waist height and hold your club there. Take a breath, and while exhaling, drop your shoulders again and lose the tension in the arms. Repeat this same inhale, exhale, and relaxing of the shoulders and arms at the top of your swing, half way down, at impact and at waist high post impact. This should give you the feeling of softness in your arms, shoulders, back, and chest that you should strive for during the normal golf swinging motion.

Tension free motion, especially of your arms and shoulders, has several benefits to your overall swing. First, being tension free helps you attain a greater range of motion throughout your swing. Second, because tension free arms and shoulders move faster, you will use less body effort in the down swing to feel powerful. When you use less body effort it is easier to maintain proper body angles and posture throughout the swing which helps you to stay down through the shot in order to compress the ball with maximum efficiency. And finally, tension free shoulders and arms allow you to create the speed necessary to increase your distance. Remember this phrase to keep you aware... Loose is fast, tight is slow.

Jon Manack is the Director of Instruction for Leap Golf at SilverRock Resort in La Quinta, CA and Shadow Hills Golf Club in Indio, CA. This article contains excerpts from Jon’s forthcoming book The Anatomy of an Efficient Golf Swing. For more information please contact Jon Manack at 281-415-6613 to set up an appointment.

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About the Author

Jon Manack, Jon Manack Golf Instruction
Indio, CA 92203

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