During a recent golf telecast, I overheard someone make a comment about how effortless the pros look while swinging the club. I found this odd because I think for these players to hit the ball as far as they do, there definitely has to be some effort put in to the swing. We see the silky smooth swings of players like Ernie Els and Fred Couples and think that they are barely swinging the club.
Well, rest assured, the players with a more languid tempo are swinging with just as much effort as those with quicker swings.
What you should expect to learn from watching the pros on TV, or any good player for that matter, is the quality of balance and absence of tension during their swing. I’m not talking about weight transfer during the swing. That is unique to each person. What I am talking about is their ability to stay balanced on their feet as they swing the club and, most importantly, after impact. All good players can hold their balance in their finish long after the ball has left the clubface, many until the ball lands, even with a driver! They are able to do this because they have practiced being able to swing with effort and balance.
The other key to the effortless swing is the absence of tension. You will not find a good player with locked and rigid muscles before or during their swing. The golf swing is an athletic move that requires the coordinated effort of nearly every muscle in your body. For this to happen, the muscles in your legs, torso, shoulders, arms, and hands need to be relaxed and ready to go. This does not mean that your swing should resemble a freshly boiled piece of spaghetti either! All of these muscles will tense up during the swing as they are stretched, but should also release after they’ve done their part. The body starts with relaxed muscles at address. During the backswing, the rear leg will tense some to provide leverage for the downswing. At the same time, the muscles in the upper body will stretch as the torso turns back. As the downswing begins, the muscles of the upper body and torso begin to tense as they contract and the clubhead is swung through the ball. After impact, these muscles will release and soften naturally all the way into the finish, thus making it easier for the player to hold their finish in a balanced position and appear to have made an effortless swing.
Luckily for you, balance and muscle contraction are both things that your body does instinctively. So with a little attention to your balance and staying tension-free, you too can have an effortless swing!