Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tension and THE Final Swing Thought

How many times have we heard the various descriptions of grip tension? Sam Snead said that one should grip the club "like you're holding a bird" and Bobby Eldridge says that one should hold the club "like you're holding a child's hand." These produce images of extremely relaxed arms. Hank Haney, on the other hand, seems to advocate a slightly firmer grip (but still relaxed), and many pros state that relaxed is better because our unconscious minds will automatically apply the right amount of tension during the swing.

Tension creeps into our swings and setups when we're not paying attention. Nothing good comes from tension. Tension in the hands at address can produce tension in the wrists, arms, and rest of the body, and vice versa. Tension in the arms can happen when one tries to consciously manipulate the arms through the impact zone, such as "rolling the forearms," "turning the knuckles down," pushing the arms "out towards right field," and so on. Grip tension can block the club face from closing and produce slices, pushes, and pulls. Arm tension (from grip tension) can pull the arms in towards the body, leading to chicken wings, tops, and skulled shots. Grip tension can hinder full wrist action, which can lead to fat shots and loss of distance.

A method of relaxing grip tension is the waggle, which seems to be used less and less these days.

Tension even creeps in during the putting setup. A relaxed grip in putting is very important for feeling the putter head.

My final swing thought (before I turn my shoulders, use my back to the target, and lift my arms in front of my chest and then over my right shoulder to the top of my backswing) is to consciously relax my grip and forearm tension. Putting: Same thing--I relax my grip. I do this because grip tension can increase without awareness; one must constantly monitor it. Ironically, relaxing the grip tension relaxes the arms and the rest of the body, leading to a more flowing, smoother swing. If golfers would do this then they could save themselves a few strokes per hole. It's that important.

A light grip pressure, with your arms relaxed at address and throughout the swing, allows you to release the club freely and with full extension. The result will be more distance with less effort. Johnny Bench and I guarantee it.

[From Lighten your grip: Golf Digest]

...practice more relaxation in your grip, stance, and swing. Check the tension level in your grip. The hand pressure on the club should be light. If it is too tight, your takeaway will tend to be jerky and too fast. If your are not sure of the amount of pressure, let your hands feel the difference by squeezing tightly and then releasing to a very light grip.

Notice that when you squeeze tightly, your forearms are tense. This generates tension throughout the body. You want just enough grip pressure so that you won' t lose the club during the swing. No white knuckle! What little pressure you do feel should be in the last three fingers of the let hand, and the third and fourth fingers of the right.

[From Golf Tips - Relaxation During the Swing]

First, try producing less pressure and tension in your grip. Gripping the club too tightly will cause your forearms and shoulders to become restricted, thus resulting in a shorter turn in the backswing. The grip pressure is similar to taking a banana, peeling it, and gripping the banana without putting any fingerprints on it. When done properly, you will feel more relaxed in your arms when gripping the club in your set up.

Secondly, at the top or completion of your backswing, eliminate tension in your arms by making them feel as if they are wet noodles. Staying relaxed at this point of the swing will help you sync your arms with your body efficiently.

[From Golf Tip: Relax The Arms For More Distance | Brad Hauer - Golf Lessons]

I would like you to believe for a moment that to play to your greatest potential, you must understand what your golf club is doing throughout the golf swing. Most of us cannot due to excessive grip pressure. By choking the golf club, you lose all sense of where the clubhead is and what it's doing.

I suggest that to play your best golf next season and reach your potential, you must concentrate on your grip pressure and when it changes. You can get incrementally better by working on mechanical problems with your swing, but you can get exceptionally better by learning to feel your clubhead.

[From Saturday, January 20, 2001 - COLUMN: GOLF: Relax grip and feel the club - Las Vegas View Neighborhood Newspapers]

Hold tight onto the club and the golfer has to use a great deal of effort and the ball often ends up being pulled, pushed, sliced or hooked – going two thirds of the required distance. Relax the grip maintaining directional control and the ball flies straight to the full distance of the club and swing used.

[From Loosen your grip to be in more control | GAINMORE Golf]

Keep your grip pressure light and constant throughout the stroke to avoid snatching or casting the putter, abrupt transitions in the stroke, or tempo fluctuations, as this promotes a smooth stroke, with good accuracy in the stroke path, and consistently solid contact.

[From Get a Grip on Putting: Keep the Pressure Light and Constant]


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