Years ago I learned a swing drill from a friend of mine that was just getting started on the PGA Tour. I was hanging out with him down in Sea Island getting in a few good practice sessions.
One afternoon on the range I noticed that we had been hitting balls for hours and I hadn’t seen him make a single normal full swing. It looked as though he was hitting shots in slow motion, only 30-40%. I knew he was making some tough swing changes so I inquired as to what he was up to. His explanation was simple; the body can feel the swing changes a lot easier if you swing in slow motion. He explained that most golfers try to make drastic changes by swinging 85-100% and the body simply can’t feel those big changes at that pace.
A short time later I started working with Greg Labelle in Las Vegas at the Butch Harmon School of Golf. We wanted to make some significant changes in just a few weeks time while I was playing a full tournament schedule. Greg knew the value of slow motion drills and he hammered that home to me every session we had. I wanted instant results and was so focused on the new positions in my swing that I forgot about my tempo. After each shot he would say, “Sloooow it down!” Eventually I was hitting 7 irons at about 30-40% and I could feel every aspect of the swing and know exactly what the club was doing and more importantly feel the difference between a correct movement and my old swing faults. I would continue to do this for the following days or even weeks slowly increasing the speed until I was ripping it 80-100%.
Lately I have been helping some friends improve their games. They all need to make some routine swing changes to be more consistent players. Showing them the proper swing patterns and explaining why they will help them is the easy part. It is teaching them HOW to make the swing changes that I find difficult. They all want to grab a club and swing 100% and see what happens. Making a change is difficult and requires time and patience. If you are going to invest your time and energy in this you might as well do it correctly. Slooooow it down, let your body feel the changes and slowly speed it back up to your normal tempo.
Have you used slow tempo drills to improve your game?
photo credit: cooper.gary