“There are no absolutes in golf. Golf is such an individual game and no two people swing alike.” – Kathy Whitworth
By Ian Hardie
In the article Why do some golf pros swings look so ‘slow and easy’ – part two? I started to take a look at just why it is that these golfers who most people think have such ‘slow and easy’ swings by firstly pointing out that when you look at it statistically
We are only really dealing with a handful of people out of all of the golfers in the world
In others parts of life, so few people out of such a large sample would be described as freaks of nature, abnormal or outliers – yet when it comes to golf, millions of golfers are currently trying to copy what they think they see those golfers doing as ‘the right thing to do’
Just think about that for a minute!
The second thing that I talked about was the reality that this handful of golfers have done nothing else for the majority of their life – they don’t work nine to five and fit in a round of golf when they can like most ‘real golfers’ – so it stands to reason that their action should look effortless
As they have done a massive amount of preparation to get this point
The final thing I started to take a look at was an interesting point that emerged when I was going over the numbers I covered in the first article which you may remember was that both the male and female pro golfers that are currently considered to have ‘slow and easy’ looking golf swings are moving their golf clubs into the golf ball at around 9% slower than the fastest male and females on their respective tours but even at this pedestrian rate
They still move their golf club around 15% faster than the average golfer swings it
To help illustrate that I have found a few videos that should show this difference nicely – starting with the golfer whose action is probably as far away from receiving the tag ‘slow and easy’ as you could get – Bubba Watson
Make sure that you watch the slow motion bit at the end – it’s fascinating!
The next one is of the golfer who has been held up as the best example of ‘slow and easy’ for a very long time – Ernie Els otherwise known as The Big Easy
Note: that the description of the video says ‘crushes driver’ – what do you think?
Next up is the golfer who has just set the record (at time of writing) for being the youngest winner of a Golf Major ever – with her win in the 2015 Evian Championship – Lydia Ko
Although it’s from a couple of years back – it’s still easy to see her amazing talent!
At this point you should have a fairly good understanding of the fact that even though both Ernie Els and Lydia Ko are considered to have ‘slow and easy’ golf swings – they aren’t really that slow – I will suggest that they do look a lot smoother than Bubba Watson’s but hey,
How fun is it to watch Bubba Watson play golf?
Now, back to the point of today’s article – if like many other golfers around the world, you have been trying to ‘slow your swing down’ to swing as smoothly as you think that they do
The end result of that will probably be that your swing speed will drop around 15 – 20% from what it would usually be – which means a loss of around 20 – 40 yards in distance off the tee for an average golfer
Something that makes the game very difficult indeed
As the well-known golf teacher Hank Haney once said “If you take a fast, lousy swing and slow it down, all you’ve got left is a slow, lousy swing. Most people swing too slow, not too fast.”
If you want some proof of that – take a look at this video I found of a guy who seems to me to be fairly close in skill level to an average golfer
(By the way, if you know of a better video or think that your own swing qualifies more closely as ‘the average golfer’ let me know about it here)
Now you have done that – just try to imagine what would happen if the guy in the video above then slowed his action down by 15 – 20% – so that he was swinging ‘slow and easy’
I’m sure that you will agree nothing good would come of it!
So what’s the answer as to why Ernie Els and Lydia Ko make it look so easy?
The main thing is that they have spent a tremendous amount of time working on getting the basics of the game right with their golf teachers – which means that they do one thing in their golf action almost better than anyone else – something that most golfers would describe as timing or tempo
I prefer to call it ‘sequencing’ or in other words
All of their body is working in perfect sequence when they perform the golf action
The result being a very smooth looking golf action – contrast that with Bubba Watson who proudly proclaims that he hasn’t ever had a golf lesson and we see a golfer who clearly does hit further but has very little smoothness to his action – are you starting to understand what’s going on?
If you didn’t pay much attention to his slow motion bit – watch it now
You can clearly see Bubba take his backswing, start his massive move towards the golf ball, hit the golf ball with tremendous force, then recoil in shock afterwards
The smooth swings of Ernie Els and Lydia Ko though, have none of that as they have every part of their body trained to perform the movements and actions they require at the precise moment they need it and in the precise amount required
You might want to read that bit again!
Please note: that I am not advocating that any of these golfers are right or wrong – they are simply different and each has their own strengths and weaknesses as a result
As you may be aware, Bubba Watson while he may thrill the spectators quite often – isn’t the most consistent golfer – whereas our ‘slow and easy’ swingers do tend to be very consistent golfers
Something that Ernie Els has proven over the years with his 68 wins worldwide (including 4 Majors) and the LPGA tour is finding out right now with Lydia Ko as she heads towards greatness
The message from all this?
Instead of deciding that you should ‘slow your swing down’ like you think these ‘slow and easy’ swingers do
Find yourself a decent golf teacher – like this one who has just appeared on Facebook or this one who has just updated his teaching website then book some golf lessons with the aim of getting your sequencing, balance and other skills sorted out properly
Once you do that – you will be able to hit the golf ball as hard as you want to, with more consistency and who knows, after a bit of practice you might even end up
With an action that other golfers will describe as ‘slow and easy’
How good would that be?