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Tension and Testosterone

by Cathy Buell

The Masters and Augusta National! As a player, who wouldn't be nervous and a bit tense?? However, tension is described by many teaching professionals as the nemesis of the golf swing. A secondary source of tension is the desire to "kill the ball", often brought on by hormonal surge upon focusing on that little white orb. Whether you're a tour player, or a novice, tension is usually a result of "fear of failure". The good news is, you have control of your reaction…..

At any level of golf, tension can lead to an unpredictable, and often times, dramatic influence on ball flight and quality of impact. Tense muscles are slow muscles…leading to reduced clubhead speed, and ultimately, poor shot quality. As in other motor skills, like throwing a baseball or softball, tension in the arms becomes very restrictive in terms of distance , velocity and accuracy. Relaxed arms in the golf swing, as in throwing a ball, aid in allowing the clubhead, to travel on the proper swing path,and to release properly after impact. In other words, remaining "loose and free" in the arms and shoulders will help to increase clubhead speed, resulting in greater distance.

As is true of so many aspects of life, it is true in golf that the more we give up "control", the greater the potential for success. Trying to "guide" the clubhead into impact or "muscle" a shot merely slows clubhead speed, and momentarily contradicts the laws of physics governing the golf swing, namely gravity and centrifugal force. In your next practice session, experiment with moving a little closer to, or a little farther from the ball at set-up, rather than guiding the clubhead, and swing away.

Rather than trying to "muscle" a shot, try swinging the club in an even, four-beat tempo. My favorite:"Fred-die Cou-ples". "Fred-die" on the back swing, and "Cou-ples" on the forward swing. Swinging in a balanced stance, to an even tempo, with tension-free arms is a great way to practice, and ultimately play. Remember, the Laws of Physics are much more powerful than hands and arms. Relax enough to feel the forces of gravity and centrifugal force, and go with them….not resist them.

Cathy Buell, Head Teaching Professional
Blue Heron Golf Club
460 Morgan Falls Rd.
Dunwoody, GA 30350
For lessons, please call: 404-510-3408

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