Timing is everything
By T.J. TOMASI
Brian, one of the tour players I work with, is a very long hitter. The Trackman system measured his swing speed at 126 mph, and he hits his tee ball well over 300 yards. We worked on his swing for about two years and then it was time for him to compete.
He has done well traveling the world, but it is very difficult to play your best golf in a different country every week. What gives tour players fits is not the motor memory of the swing — the “what” — it’s the “when,” the spot-on timing that arranges the what in a powerful sequence that just keeps repeating.
The danger is that problems with the when often cause tinkering. Brian reported he was not compressing the ball and wanted to know if he should make a change in his shoulder action. He sent a video of his swing, and here’s my email reply:
“No, it’s not the tilt of your shoulders — don’t mess with that. Your shoulders are perfect in that they angle at the ground to allow you to swing upright, which is key. If you swing more horizontal (flatter), it would trap the club behind you as when we first met, with big hooks and pushes the result.
“Have you been doing flex exercises? They shore up the key move where your upper body turns while the lower body stays quiet. This allows your weight to shift naturally, and it’s only near the top that the spine tilts a bit toward the target and down, as a natural response to coil. If you’re not doing stretching, you should resume.
“And it’s not keeping your head still, either. The concept is to stay tall until the top.
“It may be as simple as just thinking about keeping the spine angle/pelvis angle (about 20 degrees) until you arrive at the top, where the angle decreases slightly, then it drops again in a power dive back to 20 then to 0 at impact. Your drop is beautiful, but it must unfold correctly; too much drop too early means a mis-sequence. Work on staying tall, i.e., keeping posture, then your downswing just unfolds.
“Drill: Place a normal drinking straw in your mouth — or something you can see while you swing to monitor your lever. Don’t let the straw drop downward during the backswing. Hit a bunch of easy shots, keeping the straw level, then film yourself with the straw and send it to me.