How To Find Your Rhythm
By Michael Hinton
In keeping with our theme, today we will be talking about rhythm. Rhythm is very important to all shots; putting, chipping, pitching, iron play, driving and everything in between can be helped with better rhythm. How do you find it? Let’s look at some ways you can improve your rhythm.
The number one way you can improve your rhythm is to be ready to swing fluidly. It doesn’t really have anything to do with your personality, I’ve seen faster talkers and walkers swing slowly and play well and visa versa. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people go from the car to the driver without ever stretching of using proper warm up training aids. If you properly warm up you have a much better chance of developing proper rhythm and timing for your swing. Take at least 10 minutes before you hit a ball to properly stretch out and prepare your muscles to move. Remember rhythm and timing are very important to consistency!
The second way to improve your rhythm is to start at 20% speed. Yes, 20%! You have to have a baseline in your head when you are working on your rhythm so we should always start very, very slowly. The good thing about this drill is you will learn a lot about spin and controlling the trajectory. I have students start with a 5 iron at times and work on hitting it half the distance they normally do. The result? A low ball that you can work under trees or through trouble when needed. As you work through 10-15 balls at this pace, we gradually climb up until we reach almost 100% speed. As you go through this process, you will eventually find something fast enough and comfortable enough to control, without sacrificing too much distance. Going 100% after an iron shot is unnecessary most of the time, and your ability to control the spin should be helped by having the patience to complete this drill.
After you have completed the previous drill, go to the driver. Start at 50% speed and take notes. Most people are surprised the 100% swing does not out perform let’s say an 80% swing. People are different, swings are different, but work the process of finding your best performing rhythm for your swing. You will! In driving, I like my students to come up with a “fairway finder, or swings at let’s say 60% of your total capable speed. The result is a swing that doesn’t produce as much sidespin and is easier to find a fairway with. I also like to have students work on a full speed “extra gear” swing that they could use if they wanted a little more juice off of the tee. In my 20 years of teaching, 95% of my students have never practiced swinging the driver at slow, or even at different speeds. Try it. You can only get better from it!
Lastly, rhythm is something most people don’t have a lot of when it comes to putting. Just like full swings, rhythm can be lost easily and can lead to poor performance. When was the last time you worked on rhythm while you were putting? Most people would say never. Rhythm is usually lost at the ball because most people are hitting the golf ball, not stroking it or caressing it. Yes, I said caressing. Lighten up your grip pressure and work on trying to hit the ball softer and controlling the speed. The goal is to have the same tempo on a 3 footer as a 30 footer. This will make it easier to hit putts in the middle of the face more consistently. The more you “hit” the ball to control distance, the more inconsistent your putting will be day to day.
In closing, with today’s technology, you can easily find the rhythm and tempo that works best for your swing, or putting stroke. Using technology under the guidance of a PGA Teaching Professional is the best way to work on your rhythm!