Tension is the absolute antithesis of a smooth, powerful swing and yet we all get tense on the course, there's no way to avoid it.
There are, however, ways in which you can reduce its crippling effects.
First, consciously relax your grip pressure. Throttling your club tightens your wrists and forearms and makes it almost impossible to release properly through impact. Don't worry about the club slipping out of your hands because the process of swinging it automatically makes your grip tighten anyway.
Second, see in your mind's eye a particularly free-flowing swing, such as that of Colin Montgomerie. As you take the club back, imagine what it would feel like if you swung the way he does.
Third, remember the good. Chances are you will have played the hole before so recall the best shot you have ever hit there. Don't strive hard to reproduce it because that would be counter-productive, but bathe yourself for a second or two in what it felt like when you saw your ball eventually come to rest.
Finally, if you're on a par three, imagine that you've got at least two more clubs than you actually need for the distance and then swing accordingly. You may well find that you consequently swing in a much more relaxed fashion although don't overdo it - you still have to hit the ball.
|| 29 - JANUARY 2003