Tension In The Golf Swing, Causes And Cure, Golf Tip

Being tense over and during a golf shot is a common fault with many players and can come from a combination of factors.

The first check point when trying to locate the cause of tension during the swing is grip pressure. The hands are a golfer's only direct connection with the golf club and therefore, must be relaxed. If the grip pressure is too high, the tension will rise from the hands up into the arms and beyond. You should be holding the club as though you were holding a small bird, lightly enough not to hurt it but tight enough not to let it fly away. Other thoughts, such as relaxing the forearms, can work quite well but there are other reasons why tension might begin to infect the grip. If the grips a golfer uses are too thin they will tend to hold on a little tighter for added security, thicker grips can help alleviate this problem. Shiny and smooth grips on the golf club are also a problem because a player swinging a club at upwards of 100mph with a slippy grip will hold on as tight as possible. Shiny or smooth grips should be replaced.

Famed teaching professional Butch Harmon advocates that on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lightest and 10 being the tightest, players should look to grip the club between 5 and 7, never lighter because they risk losing control and never tighter as is causes problems with wrist hinge and release.

Another cause of tension in the golf swing is nervousness over a particular shot or indecision. Both these things can cause tension to rip through a golfer causing a great deal of poor shots to occur. One way to stop this is to improve the mental approach before and during a shot.

Before hitting the shot, a golfer should deploy a sound and workable pre-shot routine. A pre-shot routine is a mental process which players complete before hitting the ball. It's something all the best players do and it allows them to go into any shot with a clear mind and confident manner. Here is a basic pre-shot routine you can practice and work into your game.

1. Begin the pre-shot routine from behind the ball and assess all the different elements which could affect the shot such as lie, wind direction, weather conditions, obstacles to overcome, current position in match, for example.

2. After the different elements have been weighed up, select the club to be used and the type of shot you want to play, it's vital to commit to the shot you want to play.

3. Stand behind the line of the shot and imagine the ball traveling towards your target, really try and see it fly through the air. Imagining a great shot is a way for your brain to tell the body what to do.

4. Take a few practice swings imaging the ball flying towards the target.

5. Set up to the ball after aligning yourself to the target and let the shot go.

Being confident, precise and thorough with a pre-shot routine and the amount of tension felt before a shot will be greatly diminished.

Tension in the Golf Swing Causes and Cures

Tension in the Golf Swing Causes and Cures

Golf should be a relaxing game. This is a leisure activity, after all, and you should enjoy your time on the course from start to finish. If you aren't enjoying your golf, you would be wise to find something else to do with your time. Unfortunately, many golfers are too tense while on the course to actually enjoy what they are doing. Not only does this excess tension rob them of the enjoyment of the game, it also makes it much more difficult to shoot a low score. If you would like to enjoy your game and play well at the same time, leaving your tension in the parking lot is one of the most important steps you can take.

Tension is a problem in the golf swing because it gets in the way of a free release through the hitting area. Ideally, you would like to have the club head tear through the ball with plenty of aggression and confidence. That isn't going to happen when you are tense. Instead, you will wind up guiding the club through the ball carefully, and your shots will lack any kind of authority. Once you manage to drop the tension from your game, the changes in your ball striking will be impressive, to say the least. The ball will come off the club with far more speed than ever before, and they will likely hit the target more frequently as well. As an added bonus, your ball striking should be more consistent, allowing you to play well from the first hole on through to the last. Any way you look at it, leaving your tension behind is going to mean great things for your golf performance.

While the performance gains are probably the main reason you will work on this point, your increased enjoyment of the game should not be ignored. Sure, we all love to shoot low scores, but your time on the course should be about more than just performance. As an amateur golfer, you don't have a paycheck on the line when you put the tee in the ground. Instead, you are taking time out of your schedule for a recreational activity – one which you should enjoy to the greatest extent possible. Too many golfers take themselves too seriously on the course, and they wind up frustrated and tense as a result. Feel free to strive for low scores, but always remember that this is just a game at the end of the day.

In this article, we are going to offer a variety of pieces of advice for how you can overcome tension on the golf course. This won't be your traditional golf instruction article, in that we aren't going to address much in the way of physical technique. The improvement here is going to take place between your ears, as fixing the way you think about your game can lead directly to performance gains. There will be a bit of talk about some mechanical points, but mostly this is going to be all about the mental side of the game.

Any mechanical instruction 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 Causes of Golf Swing Tension

The Causes of Golf Swing Tension

Unfortunately, you don't have to look far to find tension on the golf course. There are potential causes for tension around just about every corner, which is why so many golfers have their problem in their games. If you are going to successfully swing without tension round after round, you need to be able to identify these causes of tension – and have a plan for how to deal with them. No one is perfect in this regard, as every golfer is going to tighten up from time to time. However, if you have a firm grasp on where tension comes from, you will be more likely to avoid it as you play.

Please take a moment to review the list below for a better understanding of the many things which can create tension in your game.

  • An important situation. This might be the most obvious cause of tension in golf. When you face an important shot during your round, you will likely begin to feel nervous before you make the swing. These kinds of important situations will usually come up late in the round, and often when you are in a competition of some kind. You don't have to be playing in a competition, however, as you could face an important spot when trying to set a new personal best score. Whatever the case, you will need to manage your emotions during these important spots if you are going to make powerful, tension-free swings.
  • A shot over a hazard. You may also feel tension when you prepare to play a shot where you need to carry the ball over some kind of hazard. For instance, if there is a large pond between your ball and the target, hitting the shot over that pond is likely to cause plenty of anxiety. This is a situation that can cause tension during any point in the round, but it will be particularly intimidating if it takes place later in the round, in an important spot. Golf course designers often save their dramatic features for late in the layout, so don't be surprised to find these kinds of challenges as the round draws to a close.
  • Playing in front of other golfers. For some players, feeling tension on the golf course has nothing to do with the situation they are in, or the shot that they are facing. Instead, it has to do with who is watching them play. If you are particularly self-conscious about your golf game, you may have trouble making a quality swing when others are watching. This usually relates to strangers, rather than those in your group with whom you play frequently. Since there is no way to completely avoid hitting shots while others are watching – unless you buy your own golf course – you are going to need to find a way to get over this mental hurdle. Just remember, everyone watching you play has their own struggles in this difficult game, and many of them probably shoot higher scores than you. Don't worry about what others might be thinking or saying on the golf course. Have fun, do your best, and enjoy yourself from start to finish.
  • Lack of preparation. You might not think of this point right off the bat, but one of the ways you can wind up feeling anxious on the course is by not having prepared yourself for the day. If you don't know how to start your swing, for example, because you haven't visited the range in some time, it may be difficult to play with confidence. While you probably don't have the time available in your schedule to practice golf every day, just squeezing in the occasional visit to the range can do wonders for how you feel about your game.

Tension can stem from plenty of various places on the golf course. This is a very personal topic, as everyone has different emotions and feelings as they play. So, as a result, you might find that some of the points above don't affect you at all on the course, while other points are a major problem. Be honest with yourself and identify the issues which lead to feeling tension as you make your swing.

Mechanical Problems

Mechanical Problems

When you have tension in your golf swing, the root cause is often an issue which lies between your ears. That is not always the case, however. Sometimes, the problem is mechanical in nature, with a specific technical mistake causing you to feel tight as you swing. If you think you have your mind in a good place and you are still experiencing tension, the next step is to analyze your technique carefully.

The points below highlight some of the common mechanical mistakes which can lead to a tense golf swing.

  • A tight grip. This is likely the most common mechanical cause of tension in the swing. At address, many amateur golfers hold on to the club far too tightly for the job at hand. While you do need to maintain control over the club as you swing, squeezing the handle tightly is not a good idea. A tight grip is going to create tension all throughout your body, especially in your hands, forearms, and shoulders. Work on relaxing your grip to a point where you can keep your hands and arms relaxed and yet still control the club. It will take a bit of time to find this happy medium, but you will be a better player once you figure it out.
  • An off-balance stance. Your stance is an extremely important part of your overall golf swing technique. If you start the swing in a poor stance, you will have trouble getting on track before impact arrives. Specifically, you need to be nicely balanced if you are going to strike solid shots without any extra tension in your swing. Before starting each swing, take just a moment to confirm that you are well-balanced and comfortable over the ball. Feeling comfortable with your stance is going to go a long way toward keeping tension far away from your golf swing.
  • Swinging too hard. Many golfers are obsessed with distance. Trying to hit the ball as far as possible, these players swing extra hard in an effort to launch the ball down the fairway. There is nothing wrong with distance, of course, but it is useless if you can't control your ball at the same time. To make sure you can strike the ball cleanly, you need to be relaxed – which means you need to resist the temptation to swing too hard. Instead of forcing yourself to swing as hard as possible, try to relax while moving smoothly through the ball. You will be more comfortable and consistent this way, and you might be surprised to find that you don't actually lose much – if any – distance off your shots.

You should always be interested in fixing any mechanical problems which may exist in your golf swing. These problems may be affecting your ability to create power, they may be getting in the way of your consistency, or they may be adding tension to your swing. Whatever the case, it is important to clean up your technique in all possible ways. Pay attention to even the small mechanical details in your swing and iron out any problems until you are happy with the results.

Playing Tension Free Golf

Playing Tension Free Golf

If you feel like tension is a problem in your golf game, what should you do first? How do you go about taking the tension away, so you can enjoy the game and play your best at the same time? In this section, we are going to address those questions. With a solid plan in mind, you should be able to systematically eliminate the tension which is ruining your golf performance.

To get started, you need to take a look at your overall attitude and approach to golf. Why do you play this game, and what do you want to get out of your experience each time you head to the course? Hopefully, the game is about more than just finding a way to shoot a low score. As a recreational golfer, there is nothing on the line except personal pride and feeling of accomplishment when you play well. Those are important, of course, but you don't have to stress about earning a paycheck in the same way that a professional golfer would. So, while you are always going to want to play well, the motivation to get out on the course needs to come from other areas as well.

For one thing, you could use golf as an opportunity to get outside and enjoy fresh air. Many people live indoor lifestyles these days, spending all day at a desk before going home to sit on the couch. If you aren't happy with that kind of life, of if you would just like a change of pace from time to time, playing golf is a great alternative. The game is always played outside, of course, and you will get to spend several hours walking around a nicely manicured property. Even if you shoot a terrible score, you may be able to still enjoy the day thanks to your beautiful surroundings.

Another motivation to get on the course is to spend time with your friends. As an adult, it is often difficult to find time to hang out with friends and family while trying to keep up with work responsibilities. Golf gives you a great excuse to disconnect from other parts of your life while spending time with people you enjoy. If you can establish a regular group of golf buddies, you can make a habit of spending four hours together every once in a while, when you hit the links. This kind of socializing can have a great effect on your overall happiness and mood.

So what do things like enjoying the outdoors and spending time with friends have to do with playing tension free golf? These are important points because they are going to shift the way you look at the game as you play. If you are only thinking about shooting a low score, you are likely to be tense because your enjoyment of the day relies on the outcome of each shot. Should you shift your way of thinking, however, you can release some of that tension. Now that you are playing for more than just a good score, you won't be so worried about the result of every swing you make. Even if those swings go wrong, you can still appreciate other things about the round of golf.

The point of this section is not to tell you that you shouldn't care about how you play. You should care, as striving to play better and better over time is one of the things which keeps people coming back to this game. However, your passion for low scores needs to be kept in perspective, as there are plenty of things to like about golf even when you are playing poorly. That is one of the great advantages of being a golfer. You don't have to always play well to enjoy your recreational time.

Of course, the great irony here is that you will actually play better once you take some of the focus off of how you are performing. By taking an overall view of your golf game, rather than thinking only about score, you will remove some of the pressure from yourself and the tension will melt away. You will suddenly feel more free to perform at your highest level while on the course, and you may find that you soon shoot lower scores than ever before.

Tension and the Short Game

Tension and the Short Game

Perhaps nowhere on the course does tension play a bigger role than in the short game. Whether you are hitting a putt or playing a chip from off the side of the green, you need to be relaxed in order to succeed. Unfortunately, relaxation is hard to come by. Tension is common in the short game because it is obvious just how much is on the line. If you hit a poor drive, you can always hit a great second shot to recover. There are no such options on the putting green. If you miss that three-footer, that stroke is lost forever and you can't get it back.

So how do you take the tension out of this part of the game? While you aren't going to be able to take away all of the tension, there are a few things you can do to help.

  • Always have a specific target. This is a point which is missed by many amateur golfers. When playing short game shots, it is crucial to have a very specific target in mind as you stand over the ball. Most players just aim at the hole and think that is good enough – but rarely will the hole actually be your target. Most short game shots have some amount of side-to-side break, meaning you need to pick a target off to one side or the other in order to succeed. Take a moment before hitting the shot to pick a specific target and you will feel more relaxed and confident as a result.
  • Picture the shot. Another technique which will help to alleviate some tension is to picture your short game shots before you actually hit them. As you stand behind the ball, picture the shot hitting your selected target and then turning into the hole. Visualizing a quality shot before you ever make a swing is a great way to boost your confidence – and higher confidence is almost always going to lead to reduced tension.
  • Accept failure. One of the reasons so many people feel tension while playing short shots is because they feel like they have to succeed. After all, most short putts look pretty easy, so shouldn't you make them every time? No. Golf is a hard game, and you can always miss even from close range. Accept the fact that you are going to miss from time to time and just give your best effort on every shot. Not demanding perfection from yourself is going to take away some of the dreaded tension you are fighting.

There is nothing fun about dealing with tension in your golf swing. You won't play as well when you are tense, and you won't have as much fun, either. Hopefully the advice provided throughout this article will help you to leave tension behind as you strive to take your game to a new level. Lower scores and a good attitude often go hand in hand, so put your mind in the right place and look forward to many great rounds ahead. Good luck!