Tension is inevitable if playing golf competitively and it directly affects hand action through impact. In practice, when relaxed, a golfer releases the hands automatically as a result of centrifugal force, but under pressure tension inhibits a golfer from ‘letting go’ at the right time.
Under pressure even top golfers pull or push shots as a result of their hands not being able to square the face up accurately at impact, and it is common for them to refer to their fingers as ‘feeling like bananas’. Finding a way to release the hands at the right time is the key to straight hitting under pressure and the result is often credited to a ‘well timed swing’.
How to Time a Golf Swing
There are two ways of learning how to hit the ball straight when under pressure. The first way is to improve the golf swing by having lessons. The more efficient the swing the less a player has to rely on timing. But even with a great swing timing is still important. In tandem with improving overall technique it is essential to educate the hands to time the release correctly, even when under severe pressure. By concentrating on the ‘swish’ or release at the right moment, even with a poor swing, straight shots are still possible.
Train the Hands to Release the Club
There are several drills a golfer can use to feel the correct timing of the swing, but first a golfer has to make sure they stay as relaxed as possible on the course. If a golfer becomes tense the hands become unresponsive and lack the feel needed to ‘let go’ or release the club at exactly the right time.
It might seem very basic but before hitting golf shots under pressure make sure you relax your arms and hands by shaking them. Pretend you have just washed your hands and are shaking the excess water off. This can easily be carried out without anyone noticing but it is a great way of keeping the hands relaxed and ready to respond immediately when centrifugal force tells them to ‘let go’.
Drill to Time the Swing Correctly
- Ian Woosnam once described the swing as ‘a turn, a swish, and a turn’. This perfectly describes the swing in its simplest form. Learning to time the swing well concerns the ‘swish’ at the bottom.
- Take a golf club but instead of holding the grip, reverse the club and hold the shaft near the head.
- Now swing the club and hear the ‘whoosh’ of sound as the grip swings through the impact area.
- Relaxed and responsive hands will automatically release the club at the right time to make the most noise.
- Keep the hands relaxed by shaking the muscles loose as part of a pre-shot routine and use the swish of the grip in practice to encourage the hands to release the club at exactly the right time.
You can also help your swing by wearing MG golf gloves which will improve your grip on the club.