Making a Tension-Free Swing

    Now that your mind is (hopefully) in a good place for your scary shots, it is time to turn our attention to the physical act of making a golf swing. Specifically, we want to know how you can make a tension-free swing, even when facing a difficult shot. As anyone who has played the game of golf can tell you, the technique swinging without tension is not an easy task, even under the best of circumstances.

    The following tips should help reduce the tension you feel both before and during your swing.

  • Relax your hands. At address, be sure to relax your fingers, hands, and wrists as you hold onto the club. It is extremely common for amateur golfers to hold the club too tightly, and such a tight grip is going to automatically add tension to your swing. You do need to hold on firmly enough to keep control of the club, of course, but don’t go much beyond that point. If you feel like you are squeezing tightly onto the grip, practice using less grip pressure and check the results. To lighten your grip pressure, work on hitting chip and pitch shots and gradually work your way up to full swings. With some practice, you can make great swings with light grip pressure, while always being sure to keep the club safely in your hands from start to finish.
  • Take a deep breath. There is nothing quite like a deep breath – or two – to help you relax before hitting a golf shot. In fact, some golfers build this act into their standard pre-shot routine, no matter what kind of shot they are facing. The timing of your deep breath is up to you, but many golfers like to complete this step while standing behind the ball. With a deep breath or two taken, you can then walk up to the ball, take your stance, and hit the shot. If you so choose, you may even add visualization to the process, giving you a positive mental picture before sending the ball on its way.
  • Let the backswing develop. Unfortunately, things can always go wrong in the swing, even if you do everything right leading up to your takeaway. One common way for the swing to go wrong when feeling pressure is to rush the backswing. If you are worried about the result of the shot that you are playing, you may cut the backswing short in an effort to ‘get it over with’. Needless to say, cutting down your backswing is going to throw off the rhythm and timing of your shot, and the results likely won’t be pretty. Commit yourself to a full backswing and do your best to stick with your usual tempo.
  • It is hard to practice making a tension-free swing on the driving range, since you shouldn’t be feeling any pressure during practice. You really do need to get out on the course for some actual rounds of golf in order to test yourself. As you gain experience, you will learn more and more about what works for you under pressure, and what doesn’t. When you do hit a good shot in a scary situation, take note of what you did on that shot that allowed you to be successful. As those good shots add up, your confidence will grow and you’ll be that much more likely to succeed moving forward.