How To Get Rid Of Tension In Your Golf Swing

By: Sean Cochran

I think we have all been there. You are staring down a long par4 from the tee box. The fairway is lined with trees on bothsides. The landing area is "tight" and hitting 3 wood or iron isnot an option, the hole is too long.

You pull out driver and tee up the ball, knowing to win the skinwith your buddy you have to land this tee shot in the fairway.You take a few practice swings, address the ball, look down thefairway (it looks a little tighter than before), begin yourbackswing, and bang!

Your body tightens up. You hold onto the club and hook it intothe tress. You think to yourself that bogey will now be a goodscore. You are upset at yourself and watch as your playingpartner swings a smooth driver that lands the ball on the leftside of the fairway.

You begin to grudgingly walk towards your ball, hoping you willfind it, saying a few things under your breath, and questioningyour swing mechanics.

What just happened? A situation that most of us have encounteredat some time in our golfing career. We take some smooth practiceswings, but when the ball is before us and we have to executethe shot we "tighten up" and hit a chunky, thin, or fat shot. Wehave allowed tension to seep into our golf swing. We all knowthat the swing is a free-flowing movement that requires yourbody to be loose.

Dean Reinmuth, one of Golf Digest's top instructors, speaksextensively about this term in his book. He discusses how aswing needs to be free and flowing. This allows for the club totravel on the correct swing path and develop club head speed.Muscle tension will impede and ruin your swing.

If your muscles are tight, how will you be able to swing a clubin a free-flowing manner? You will not be able to do so. If youare gripping the club with a Hulk Hogan "sleeper hold," how areyou going to swing the club freely? You can't. If you are unableto "feel" the club head, how are you going to swing the clubfreely? Again, the answer is you will be unable to do so.

If you have your doubts, give it a try. Head out to the range,purchase a bucket of balls and go at it! Warm up with a fewwedges and then grab your 7-iron. Hit a few half shots and let'sbegin the experiment. First off, take the club and grip it ashard as you can. Now, attempt to hit the ball. What happened? Iam guessing not a good outcome. One more time with ourexperiment, grab the 7-iron and address the ball. Now, whenhitting the ball your thought should be: "I am going to hit thisball as hard as I possibly can." Go ahead, try to hit the ball.What happened? Again, I am guessing the outcome was not good.What happened in both of these situations? You developed"tension" in your swing, and it impeded your hitting the ballsolidly.

Next question: how do you develop a smooth, free-flowing swingthat is tension-free? Quite a few aspects are part of thisequation. Developing proper swing mechanics is part of theanswer. The swing is an intricate movement that is the"blending" of a series of movements into one free-flowingmovement. In order to develop a "tension-free swing" you mustdevelop your swing. This is a process that takes time, properinstruction, and practice.

Additionally, you must develop the proper mental confidence inyour game. The example in the beginning of this article is aprime example. If you are not mentally confident in your swing,what do you think is going to happen on the tee box? Your bodyreacts to your mind and "tightens up," resulting in a poor swing.

How do you develop the mental side of the game? This is againdone through the development of your swing, practice, andplaying. As your game develops, confidence in your swing willdevelop. It is a give and take, so to speak. As your golf swingimproves, so will the mental aspect of your game.

Finally, we must discuss the body. Yes, the body has an effecton a "tension-free" swing as well. Follow the logic, for musclesto be loose and free-flowing, they must be flexible. Being"tight" and not flexible puts you in a state of tension evenbefore you get to the first tee! If you do not believe me, go tothe gym and do 10 sets of heavy bench presses and then go to therange. See how well or poorly you hit that bucket of balls!

If your body is not flexible, you will not be able to performthe free-flowing movements of the swing. The body needs to beflexible for a tension-free swing. If you are inflexible, theability to even develop your swing mechanics to a point wherethey are free-flowing will be impossible.

Bottom line is you need to develop your flexibility around yourswing.

How do you go about doing this? The implementation ofgolf-specific flexibility exercises into a training program willdo the trick.

The swing and the mind work together to develop a tension-freeswing. You cannot develop one without the other. A comprehensiveapproach is required when developing a tension-free swing.Working only on your swing mechanics will not work if your bodyis inflexible. Doing only flexibility exercises will not do thetrick if your swing mechanics are incorrect. And focusing onlyon the mental side of the game will not work if your swing is amess, and your body is as well.

A tension-free swing allows for great shots from all over thecourse. Developing this type of swing takes time and effort. Youmust train the body, the swing, and the mind. This is the ticketto your "tension-free swing"

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