While speaking to a corporate group recently I used the word philanthropist as a description of my mentor, Mr. Arnold Palmer. This word, instead of rolling eloquently off my tongue, clumsily tumbled out due to mispronunciation twists. I paused before starting again and slowed down, breaking apart the word into individual syllables.
The process of learning any kind of complex motor skill, (especially the golf swing), is best achieved through feeling it out, like syllables of a word in slow motion rehearsal before pouring on the speed. In my recently released book Mentored by the King, I reference The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. In this book Coyle shares the common denominator found in every training hotbed: super slow motion practice. He recommends viewing a YouTube video clip featuring legendary golfer Ben Hogan practicing in “Super-Slow-Motion”. If you have not yet seen this, you will swear the film is running in slow motion. Rest assured, the waves rolling onto the shore in the background provide assurance the video clip is indeed authentic. Hogan’s daily practice routine consisted of this form of deliberate “chunking” as he programmed his mind and body to move precisely and purposefully. Conditioned in his new habit, he then was confident to pour on the speed while remaining in complete control.
Tour Professionals understand the great value of doing isolated drills for skill development. However, most amateurs are more interested in hitting golf balls in full swing speed and with more conscious thoughts than anyone could ever imagine. Thus, thoughts change as frequently as attempts at hitting the ball solidly. To use the great wisdom taught to me by Mr. Palmer, “Perfect your swing slow and short before attempting to go fast and long.”
Case in scenario
Jenn Hong is an LPGA Player whom I began working with this season. She has been trying to improve her impact position. Her fault is that she has the tendency to release the club head early and add loft at impact. This fault can cause great difficulty in striking solid irons and driving into the wind. I suggested a need to improve her leg action to create ground reactive force that will in turn establish more lag into the delivery position.
I gave Jenn an isolated slow motion drill to establish the feelings. She diligently went to work drilling with the intent of rewiring her paradigm.
Super slow training for Jenn Hong
Slow Motion Drill for Leg Action and Delivery The photos shared are comparing Jenn’s before and after just thirty short minutes into doing the drills. Her ability to make this quick improvement is because she slowed down so that she could feel the difference between her new and old ways. Once she conducted the drill a couple times she then tried the new feel as seen below. What the drills have begun to change is seen in the longer lag of the club and the improved spine angle relationship to hip rotation.
Jenn Hong Super Slow 2
Before Swing (left) and After Swing (right)
Before the drills, Jenn was what we call a high right side drifter. This causes several impact inconsistencies. Notice in the after comparison (photos) how her shoulders and arms are in better alignment to her foot-line at impact due greatly to improved footwork, leg action and lower center of gravity through impact. Jenn’s left knee remaining flexed and outside of her left hip allows the right hip to lower into a perpendicular position with the spine angle improving rotation and consistency at impact, as seen on the right.
Jenn Hong Super Slow 3
Before Swing (left) and After Swing (right)
The intended take away from this blog: When you slow down you also calm down. And when you calm down you will find that things you want to happen come much faster and easier than ever before. The goal should be to use The Pro’s Secret; work slow and short before attempting to go fast and far.
Until next time,
A Top 100 Teacher by Golf Magazine and PGA class-A Professional, Brad successfully competed on the Austral-Asian PGA Tour and Hogan/Nike Tours, developed the training curriculum for high-performance juniors at Saddlebrooke Preparatory and applies these experiences to his teaching and coaching at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. Brad was awarded the North Florida PGA Teacher of the Year and Junior Golf Leader of the Year, Edwin Watts Golf Top Instructor Award, along with the honor of Top 50 Instructor in Florida by Golf Digest.