Gunby: Don’t let winter weather deter you from a day at the golf course
Originally published Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 12:00p.m.
We will continue our discussion with winter practice suggestions to get the most out of your golf game during inclement weather days.
Balance, rhythm, tempo and timing are crucial to any golf swing. You cannot be taught these fundamentals, but you can learn them.
Let’s take balance for example. Here are a few examples on how to improve your balance. Stand erect with your arms at your side. Focus on something in the distance and lift one leg, bending that leg at the knee and stay in balance for as long as possible. Alternate legs as you attempt to increase your time standing on one leg.
Now do the same except after you have focused on something in the distance and close your eyes. See how long you can keep your balance. You will find this will be more difficult with your eyes closed but with daily practice, you can improve.
Start these exercises with your shoes on and after your balance improves, do them bare-footed. Then do some with your arms extended outward from your shoulders, to the side. Then extend your arms forward, shoulder-high again.
Now let’s go with the golf swing, again focusing on your balance. Start by swinging very slow without a golf club (use your lead hand thumb as a golf shaft). By slow, I mean really slow. Do your best to achieve a one-minute full swing (you will probably start with a ten second swing thinking that this is real slow). I call this a “Thai Chai” swing.
Then, when you can, do this “Thai Chai” golf swing with a golf club (no ball). Focus on your balance, your weight distribution, and your exact perfect fundamental swing positions. Now do it with your eyes closed. You will now be able to feel so much more with your feet as this is the only connection you have with the ground. Hold your finish position for three seconds, which will improve your balance.
Timing, tempo and rhythm are very individualistic. And they can change from day-to-day as our emotions, our physical well-being and our sub-conscious changes. A good example of this is when you don’t feel too good and your tempo slows down but your timing and rhythm improves, and you end up hitting your shots pretty solid.
Here is what I suggest to improve your rhythm, tempo and timing. Take a golf club and make your golf swing with your eyes closed (again, no ball). Swing at any speed you want. Feel your swing. Don’t focus on any mechanics. Just focus on your balance. Hold your finish position for three seconds.
Repeat many times and vary your speed and tempo until you can stay in balance throughout the swing and hold your finish position for three seconds. Now do it with your eyes open, clipping a tee or weed or leaf in what would be the position of the golf ball (no ball). You will find what speed and tempo you can handle and still stay in balance. As a result, your rhythm and timing will improve. This allows you to learn what works for you.
More winter practice suggestions in a couple of weeks. Stay warm and healthy.
John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.