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Syncronizing (timing) Movement

Timing is perceived as such an elusive thing in golf. The word is used in a poor context nearly all the time when single digit handicap players score poorly. I just couldn’t seem to get my timing under control nearly all day out there, quip player after player. Being this elusive makes players very streaky to say the least but my opinion is that many portions of the golf swing are still misunderstood and that is after years and years of material created and available on swing fundamentals. One of the major sources of this timing frustration is that most do not know what a full swing really is and therefore how on earth to create it. Not knowing this foundational basic makes every sense of timing more then elusive, and causes so many decelerated moves that it is no wonder even with new equipment and lightening fast golf balls most still can’t hit the ball much farther. Most would assume a full swing to them is one in which the golf club reaches parallel and for those flexible enough beyond. This fallacy and well intentioned thought is incorrect and I want to help you understand what is full and how to deliver that full swing to impact in right “”synchronized”” order. “ These “synchronized techniques” are what I spend the majority of the long game swing time on with all students that I have taught long enough to have the basic swing foundation….. Synchronizing the body’s turn and the arm swing to the top makes the swing a lot easier to maintain and time. Learning how to swing your arms in front of you to the top directed by your upper body’s turn makes things a whole lot easier to manage. Your full shoulder turn should find at its completion the arms and hands near the 11:00 position of a clock. Based on your body structure and size this could also be only at 10:00 or between the two. The wrists cocking can be easily accomplished without thought provided your grip pressure and tension levels are reasonable. This top fully loaded position needs to be synchronized by your turn and arrive nearly at the same time. Most find this full swing to be much shorter then they previously thought it needed to be but the big ticket here is the synchronization of the arms, hands, shaft, and the shoulder turn. KEY: To achieve this meshing of the turn, arms, hands and club, your practice should start in simpler terms and then finally graduate to your “new full swing.” So start out by making ½ golf swings in your practice session where the arms and hands stay in direct correlation to the turn. This should find the cocking nearly already complete with the shaft standing straight up in the air and arms at 9:00. The shaft should have no drop, flip, or collapse in it but remains fully cocked and solid without tension. This all, synchronized by the turn and arrival times precise. Once achieved continue to turn closer to your full turn until finally your comfortable with a simple 90 degrees in your turn, (based on your flexibility) and your arms/hands arriving at your full backswing position. KEY: Establishing proper path travel of your arms, hands, and shaft in the backswing in relation to your turning upper body obviously is important. Most still do not understand this simple concept and when they get the correct feel of how the arms. hands stay in front of the turn it feels “extremely outside” to them. Remember it still holds true in this game and many others as well that feel and truth are more often then not quite different. Nearly every lesson I revideo several times the correct positions so student and teacher develop more of a trust as to really what is right. This revideo of correct arms in front of the turn accelerates the learning process dramatically and I would advise each of you reading this to also do the same for yourself or with your instructor. So arms, elbows, and hands move in synchronized fashion, traveling on their inclined plane yet in front of that turn arriving to the top in front of the chest turn. Drills: Quick turn and stops at the top in perfect arrival synchronized fashion until the top of the swing is complete, then translate this to swinging the same without pause feeling that synchronization. The forward swing: Our goal in this entire swing really is arrival to impact in a fashion that uses every part of the body in its most powerful delivery positions. This includes the lower body in all aspects, the upper body, and hands, arms and shaft. This synchronized impact position does not have to be broken down in tons of instruction but can be achieved with what I call “dry drills.” That is at home and office without even a club. Start this by finding the correct impact power position. This is weight into tall left leg and hip well turned toward the target holding original lower body posture. To find this position place your butt lightly against a wall to start with turning into impact feeling the left hip still touching the wall and the right knee and foot internally rotated toward the left. T his may feel uncomfortable but the more you practice this feel the simpler it will become as you learn the necessary stretch. The chest and shoulders in this prescribed impact near the same position as the start save some spring lift in the left shoulder. The arms and hands moving to their new forward position in a straight line down the left leg. This straight line includes a flattening of the left wrist as well and again everything lining up in front of that left leg in a straight line. Start out with a simple short almost chipping length of swing moving the entire body in a synchronized back swing and thru swing to impact position. Stop dead at impact. Repeat constantly until you can feel these arrival times and then increase the size until you can do this all the way to the top. Capture your new feelings and then add a club to this practice again stopping at impact. Using an impact bag of some sort is also a great idea to feel the strength of the impact position. An interesting side bar is that even the beginner and average player swing much differently when using an impact bag then they do in real time with a golf ball. Another side bar here is videoing students throwing a golf club verses hitting a golf ball. For 20 years we have been taping students doing both and for every single player the differences are dramatic. The reason of course is the movements against a bag and tossing a club need to be instinctive and reactionary as we perform the tasks. Automatically we move right into nearly a flawless position, (exactly what we are looking for in the swing), with automatic power angles and path. Showing folks this has been a huge acceleration game improvement tool for our schools. Next, start small and progress hitting a few graduating shots focusing on timing to impact and lining up the arms, hands, shaft, and entire body in that strong left side power position. Use mirrors to assist you with your visual understanding as well.

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About Joe

Joe Thiel has spent 40 years helping others learn and enjoy the game of golf.He is one of only a few golf professionals in the U.S. who has earned the prestigious PGA Master Professional designation. The local PGA region has honored him as the PGA Teacher of the Year three times - in 1993, 1995, and 1997. He was also inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the 'Millennium Who's Who in America.' Golf Magazine has also honored Joe with the title of Top 100 Teachers in America for many years and Golf Driving Range Magazine has also honored him as one of the top 50 Teachers in America. More About Joe.