Swing With Consistency - Takeaway Wider - Senior Golf Tip 1

The beginning of the golf swing is termed the 'takeaway' as the club is taken or moved away from the golf ball by the golfer.

If a golfer begins the swing well with a good takeaway motion, it is easier to generate power and more importantly, consistency.

In trying to generate more power, many golfers tend to begin the golf swing far too quickly and snatch the golf club away from the golf ball. This tends to occur more in golfers who are less strong or more inflexible than others as they try to hit the ball hard rather than swing smoothly and more efficiently. If the beginning of the golf swing is not smooth or controlled then it is very difficult to produce a smooth and controlled golf swing which cannot be consistent as short jerky movements prove impossible to repeat again and again.

When a snatched or fast takeaway occurs it is because the smaller, faster muscles in the hands and arms are being used rather than the bigger, slower muscles of the hips and shoulders. What should happen is that these big muscles turn and power the takeaway movement which moves the golf club in a straight line backwards away from the golf ball to approximately hip height. During this motion, the wrists and arms should stay very still or the club will begin to move away from this straight line in a quick and uncontrolled manner.

A great takeaway using the bigger muscles will not only control the rhythm of the swing but will also give the golf swing width. As the arms and wrists are being kept still the club is being kept at arm's length, away from the body. This means that the swing sets out correctly on a wide arc. The wider the arc of the golf club around the body, the faster the club will travel around the body and so the more distance that can be gained from the swing.

To practice the takeaway, take a tee peg and put it on the floor approximately two feet behind the ball and on the line connecting the ball with the target. Set up to the ball as normal and move the club head away from the ball in a straight line so that it travels over the tee peg. Make sure you do this slowly and use the turning motion of the hips and shoulders while keeping the arms and wrists as still as possible. Take the club past the tee peg and stop when the golf club shaft is level, or parallel, with the ground. This is a great checkpoint. At this position the club should be parallel with the ground and pointing at the target. The left arm should be straight so that the golf club and left arm create a straight line travelling directly from the left shoulder to the club head. Practice this slowly and deliberately two to three times then hit the golf ball using the same action.

When the takeaway action is controlled, the swing will become more consistent and the width that is created will give the golf swing more power.

What are the Best Methods to Swing with Consistency?

What are the Best Methods to Swing with Consistency?

Consistency is an elusive trait on the golf course. If you asked a group of amateur golfers for one trait they would like to be able to add to their game, many of them would likely respond that they want to be more consistent. After all, even beginning golfers hit good shots from time to time – it is replicating those shots over and over again that is the challenge. By adding consistency to your game, you will bring your scores down and you will have more fun on the course. However, like anything else in golf, becoming more consistent is easier said than done.

In this article, we are going to highlight some of the ways in which you can be more consistent on the golf course. Some of these tips will involve the mechanics of your swing, while others will be focused on the mental side of the game. Playing with consistency means bringing everything together, the physical and mental sides of golf, so it would be wise to pay attention to all of the instruction throughout the article. Don't ignore some tips in favor of others because you think those others are 'more important' - even the small details matter when trying to form a consistent golf game.

Prior to getting into the instruction, it should be pointed out that you need to be a little bit forgiving of yourself on the course when you aren't as consistent as you might like. Sure, it would be great to repeat the same quality swing over and over again – but that just isn't how golf works. Even professional golfers hit bad shots in every round they play. This is a hard game, so perfect performance from the first tee to the last green just isn't going to happen. Working toward improving your consistency is a great goal, but understand that this area of your game is never going to be perfect. Each round you play, and each shot within those rounds, is a new adventure. Sometimes things will work out in your favor, and sometimes they won't. This is just the nature of golf, and quite frankly, the game would be boring if it were any other way.

One of the things you can do to find greater consistency on the golf course is simply to add practice time to your schedule. There is no substitute for quality practice time on the driving range or in the short game area. If you are a serious golfer, look at your personal calendar and see if you can carve out one extra time per week to get out to the range for a few swings. This might not seem like much, but even one more trip to the course per week can go a long way toward improving your consistency.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Beauty of Simplicity

The Beauty of Simplicity

For many players, the golf swing can seem quite complicated. This is especially true if you read a lot of golf instruction, or if you watch golf tips on TV. With so many ideas rolling around in your head as to how you need to swing the club, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Pretty soon, you will have nine different swing thoughts going on at the same time, and the results will be a mess. If you are ever going to swing the club with any kind of consistency, you need to keep things as simple as possible.

Simplicity should be one of your top priorities when working on your game. Put another way, you should strive to have as few moving parts as possible within your swing as a whole. By taking out movements that serve no purpose toward the goal of hitting a good shot, you can make your action more repeatable – and your results on the course more consistent. As you work toward the goal of simplifying your swing and your game, keep the following points in mind.

  • Keep your head still. One of the best ways to simplify your swing is to limit how much your head moves. If your head is moving significantly up and down, or from side to side, the rest of your body is naturally going to follow. You don't need to hold your head perfectly still during the swing – doing so would limit your turn and your power – but there shouldn't be any major movements, either. It is important to note that this is a different tip entirely from 'keep your head down'. It is bad advice to tell someone to keep their head down, because forcing your head into a low position will interfere with your shoulder turn. It is okay to have your head relatively high during the swing, as long as it is not moving all around.
  • Quiet feet. You probably don't spend much time thinking about your footwork in the golf swing. Footwork is important, however, as allowing your feet to become too active will make it hard to achieve a clean strike at the bottom. As you swing, try to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Only in the follow through should you allow your right heel to come off the turf so you can finish your rotation toward the target. If you notice that your feet are moving during the swing, or if you are pushing up onto your toes at any point, work on correcting the mistake right away to simplify your footwork.
  • Stay within yourself. Trying to do 'too much' with the golf ball is an easy way to wind up with a complicated, uncomfortable swing. For instance, if you usually hit your driver around 225 yards, but you decide to swing hard in an effort to hit it 250 yards on a particular hole, you are going to make a mess of your swing. It can be difficult to have enough discipline to stay within yourself at all times on the course, but that is exactly what a consistent golfer will do. Never stray outside of your comfort zone when making shot selections, and always stick to your basic technique when swinging the club. Bad habits are quick to form when you try to hit shots which are not easy for you to produce. You might be surprised to see just how much more consistent you can be when you eliminate the mistake of trying to pull off shots that aren't within your typical capabilities.
  • Stick with one ball flight. Golf is a hard enough game when only trying to build one swing. If you are trying to create more than one swing, in order to produce a variety of ball flights, the game gets downright impossible. Leave the idea of 'working' the ball to the professionals and stick to one ball flight with which you are comfortable. It might seem like an advantage to be able to draw and fade the ball on command, but that skill actually comes into play less than you might think on the course. Plus, very few golfers are able to do it with enough consistency to make it pay off. Many professional golfers use the same ball flight pattern for the majority of their shots, and you should do the same thing. Your game and your swing will be dramatically simplified if you are happy with just using the same shot shape over and over again.

As human beings, and as golfers, we tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. If you can go the other direction, and keep things as simple as possible within your swing, you will be rewarded with greater consistency. You still aren't going to hit a perfect shot each time, of course, but you will be able to move closer to the goal of reliable and repeatable ball flights. During your next trip to the range, think carefully about how you can 'strip down' your swing to its most basic elements. You might be surprised to see just how many moving parts in your swing are serving no real purpose.

Build a Smart Practice Routine

Build a Smart Practice Routine

The way you practice is going to be reflected in the way you perform on the course. If you only work on one or two parts of your game during practice, you will likely struggle with all other areas of the game as a result. A well-rounded practice routine is an important piece of the puzzle for any aspiring golfer. You can't expect to improve at things you never practice, so think carefully about your routine in order to build a more consistent game.

For the purposes of this section, we are going to assume that your average practice session lasts for one hour. You may have more or less time than that available in your own schedule, so you can adjust the routine below as necessary to suit your needs. However, if you can stick roughly to this outline, you will wind up with a practice session that touches on all important areas of the game.

  • It is always best to start your practice session on the putting green. Not only is it incredibly important to practice your putting as often as possible, this is also a good way to get into the right frame of mind for a golf practice session. For the first 10 minutes of your hour, you are going to practice putting using three golf balls. During the first five minutes, you should roll long putts back and forth across the green. This will help you to develop your ability to control the speed on your lag putts. When five minutes have passed, set your three balls near a hole and use the next five minutes to build confidence from short range. You should be able to make dozens of short putts in five minutes, which will help you feel good over these nerve-wracking putts on the course.
  • From the putting green, you are next going to head over to the chipping green for some additional short game work. This part of the practice session will also take 10 minutes. Start out by hitting basic bump-and-run shots, but also add in some more difficult chips and pitches from poor lies around the green. Remember, you should always be trying to replicate the situations you will face on the course, and you aren't always going to draw a good lie out there. Challenge yourself with some tough shots and stay focused all the way through this 10-minute segment.
  • It is now time to head over to the driving range. For the next 25 minutes, you are going to work on your full swing. However, you are not going to make the same mistake that so many amateur golfers make in taking the driver out of the bag right away. It is okay to hit a few drivers, of course, but you need to use the rest of your clubs as well. Start with your wedges and work your way up into longer and longer clubs, until you are hitting the driver. Then, for the last few minutes of the segment, go back and forth between long clubs and short clubs. On the course, you will usually hit a long club followed immediately by a short club, so you should practice this way as well.
  • As you might have guessed, you are now going to head back to the putting green for the final 15 minutes of the practice session. This time, use only one golf ball to replicate the circumstances you will find on the course. For each putt, go through your pre-putt routine, get a good read, and then roll the ball. Repeat this process for the entire 15 minutes, challenging yourself with putts of various lengths. Your focus here should be on quality rather than quantity. Taking your time to ensure good reads and good technique is far more important than firing off as many putts as possible.

The one-hour practice routine listed above is relatively simple, yet it will be highly effective in helping you to become a better, more consistent player. You will hit on all areas of your game within that hour of work, and your short game will finally get the attention it deserves. Good practice habits are important when trying to develop consistency, so try this routine (or something similar) during your next trip to the course.

Consistency Between the Ears

Consistency Between the Ears

You can teach your body to perform consistently through practice and attention to detail. However, your body – from the neck down – is only half the equation. You also need to have your mind working properly in order to play consistent golf day after day. This is where many amateur golfers fall short. Most amateurs think professional golfers are so good because of the way they swing the club, but it is actually the mental game where they have the biggest advantage. Learn to think like a pro and you will take a big step forward without making any changes to your swing.

Following is a list of mental game mistakes commonly made by amateur golfers. Clean up these mistakes and your scores are sure to drop.

  • Failing to let go. You are going to hit bad shots during each and every round of golf you ever play – it is going to happen. There is nothing you can do about that fact, but there is something you can do about the way you react to your bad shots. It is common for amateur golfers to carry one bad shot over into the next, creating a landslide effect that ends in a lousy score at the end of the day. One of the best skills you can develop on the golf course is to treat each shot as its own challenge. Rather than thinking about your previous shot while making the next swing, leave those frustrations behind and move on with a positive attitude. This won't always be easy, but it is the only option for those who want to play well.
  • Getting ahead of yourself. This is basically the opposite of the problem listed above, but it can be just as damaging. With this mistake, you are going to find yourself thinking about future holes before even finishing the hole you are playing. Commonly, this will happen when you have a good round going and you start thinking about the score you could shoot at the end of the day. Do your best to stay in the moment, focusing on the execution of each shot, one at a time, until the round is over.
  • Making aggressive decisions. Generally speaking, the conservative play is going to be the smart play in golf. If you get too aggressive with the choices you make on the course, you are going to be burned sooner rather than later. While it might seem fun to go for the green instead of laying up to a smart spot, those adventurous choices usually come back to bite you in the end. Keep your mind focused on executing simple, safe shots to move your ball from tee to green. This might not be the most exciting way to play the game, but it is almost always the right way to go – and it certainly will make you a more consistent golfer.

Poor decisions can rob you of consistency in this game, even if you have a solid swing in place. If you can avoid the mistakes above, you should be able to keep yourself on track throughout every round.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

There are a few remaining points which need to be made regarding consistency in your golf game. Those points are listed below.

  • Equipment issues. The gear you carry on the course can even contribute to your consistency, so don't take it for granted when stepping onto the first tee. For instance, you should always make sure your grips are clean so you can maintain control of each club during your swing. Slippery grips will make it nearly impossible to hit consistent shots, and you might create a dangerous situation if the club happens to go flying out of your hands.
  • Prepare yourself to play. When at all possible, get to the golf course a little bit early for your tee time in order to prepare for the day. You can use this time to learn the speed of the greens, warm up your muscles, and even have a snack before you tee off. This will help your consistency because you will have a chance to get settled in and comfortable rather than having to just hop out of the car and onto the tee box. You don't have to hit hundreds of warm up shots on the range, but it will also be helpful to hit a few balls to develop some rhythm in your swing.
  • Take care of your body. It will be hard to play consistent golf if your body is failing you by the end of the round. If you are walking the course, make it a point to sit down at least a couple times during the day in order to rest your legs and feet. Also, drink plenty of water to avoid feeling dehydrated on the later holes. Even if the weather isn't particularly hot, your body will benefit from a steady supply of water.

Consistency is always going to be elusive in golf, but you can work toward this important goal by using the advice contained in this article. There are both physical and mental components to consistency, so don't get too caught up in one over the other. Pay attention to both sides of the equation and your game should advance as a whole. As your consistency improves, so will your scores – good luck and play well!