June 1, 2008

Swing easy - Hit hard / Sorenstam retiresÖ

If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "Proís make it look so easy" then I be rich enough to buy real estate in Hanoi, which we all know is now more expensive than the moon, but easier to get to.

I always reply that "it IS that easy, and why do amateurs make it look so hard?"

In a nutshell, golf professionals understand the most important concept - "swing easy, hit hard". Unfortunately when we try to explain this to students they end up looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

You know that look...sort of "D-uh, Errrr..."

Look, itís very simple...donít grip too tight and from the elbows down, you should feel like wet spaghetti . Keep everything soft and loose. No unnecessary tension in your forearms and wrists. Keep your grip so loose that you are close to losing the club on the downswing.

Staying as relaxed as possible is one of the main reasons why "professionals make it look so easy," as people constantly comment. The fact of the matter is that most amateurs swing like someone trying out for a role in the next "Nightmare on Elm Street" movie or another re-make of "Psycho."

As you can imagine, there is little need for axe-murderers on the golf course.

When your grip is too tight, everything else tightens up as well. If you start tight, you will be even tighter at impact. That is an automatic reflex action, so the more relaxed you are in the beginning, the better.

Imagine trying to drive your car with the parking brake engaged. You will use a lot of energy to go very slowly. Well, that is the same thing that happens when you grip the club too tightly. Youíre restricting your natural speed.

A good way to learn this would be to swing 2-3 clubs at the same time. Close your eyes and just swing. The weight of the clubs will help to pull themselves through the impact zone without your help. This is the feeling you want to have with just ONE club.

Once you develop this feeling, you will actually be letting the club do all the work, as it is supposed to do. Far too many people waste energy trying to hit with more power.

When you swing with physics instead of only muscular force, you gain tremendous speed.

People who have seen me perform a loop swing where the club head comes through the impact zone TWICE during one swing can understand what I am talking about (I will try to figure out how to put the loop swing on my website and let you know when itís up).

When I swing, I imagine my golf club is a pair of Nunchaku (the two sticks with a chain that Bruce Lee made famous) instead of a battle axe. One stick is my arm, my wrist is the chain and the club is the other stick. Think of the amazing speed nunchucks develop. Itís 10 times more than a battle axe and less effort is used to produce that speed.

In short, if you learn to stop killing yourself out there, you will hit the ball further without swinging harder and that makes the game much more fun.

Lorena Ochoa withdrew from the Annika Sorenstamís LPGA event, the Ginn Classic, which makes her the second highest profile WD in the event, but unlike Michelle Wie, Ochoa didnít have a questionable wrist injury.

Sorenstam said that Ochoaís uncle was very ill and family comes first. It was also obvious that Annika was ok with the way it was handled, as opposed to what Wie pulled last year when she walked off the course after facing a potentially fatal score of 88, claiming injury, and was seen practicing at the next venue a day later..

It seems like Sorenstamís back might still be bothering her a bit, but champions cannot throttle back. With them, the urge to compete and win is almost impossible to overcome so even a victory lap becomes difficult.

Besides, the fans still want to see Sorenstam and Ochoa go head to head one more time and you know Annika will dig deep for her "A game" and we wouldnít expect anything less.

Thatís why sheís a champ.

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