How does this happen? Lets start with how it does NOT happen. As the golfer becomes older, he becomes more conservative, more cautious, more unsure, less confident. The result is, the swing becomes shorter, jerkier, choppier, lacks rhythm and tempo, and appears mechanical and thought driven. Flexibility goes in one direction . . . less and less flexible. The swing, inch by inch, becomes shorter both in the backswing and follow-through positions. Power is lost, distance is lost, any prettiness is lost, and economy of motion deteriorates.
On the other hand, the buttered swing is a big swing, a gorgeous swing, a swing that has all the time in the world to develop maximum clubhead speed and appears effortless.
Early swings of both Hogan and Snead were huge . . . way past level on the backswing and to a full, full, finish. Beautiful, effective swings especially among the ladies are full . . . they have to be to make up for their lack of strength compared to the male muscle power.
Take a look at Freddie Couples swing. Freddie is one of the longest hitters on the tour, yet his swing looks like he is “fixin” to fall asleep. Mr. Couples develops incredible clubhead speed because his backswing is “fully loaded,” the gun is cocked, the spring is totally “wound up.” Freddie swings past horizontal allowing his shoulders to follow his hands as he gathers power to “gradually” have the time to develop a down swing that is super fast . . . NOT hard. Take a tip from Freddie and make sure you really “wind up” so much so that your left shoulder actually points behind the ball on your backswing.
You never hear me talk about body parts, unless it is where the hands go . . . BUT, if the swing is relaxed and the shoulders are not inhibited they will turn a great deal. This “torque” contributes a great deal to Freddie’s power and tempo and will do wonders for yours as well.
When you practice, “without a ball,” strive to swing way past level and way through to a full, full finish. The feeling will be that you have lost control of your swing and that you could never hit a ball with that big of a swing. Just the opposite will occur. The still head controls the swing and now that your fully “wound up”swing has time to develop all the speed it needs, your swing too, will look like it has just been freshly buttered. Pass the popcorn, please!
The AntiPro/The Maverick
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Funny you mention that, as I just had the priviledge of following Fred Couples around for 9 holes on Sunday in the Canadian Open. He shot a 5 under 30 and was out-driving his much younger playing partner by a good 30 yards every hole. Needless to say, it was an impressive display of power and accuracy from a guy who really just seems to let his swing happen.
Steven S. from Canada
Thanks, Steven, for your timely comment!
I hear alot of golf instructors talking about how Couples does alot of things “wrong.” So the next they do is break his swing down into parts and then golfers try to copy those “parts.” I would bet my house that this isn’t how he learned how to swing a golf club.
David! I’ll bet on your side. Anyone can go to (Youtube Fred Couples) and watch not only his fantastic tempo, but his still head. Does anyone what to disagree that a still head is key!?