As a teacher, one of my goals has always been to help my students learn how to focus on targets more as they play, other than become too wrapped-up with thinking internally on ‘ how to’ instead of ‘where to’. When I saw this quote from Phil in Golf Week, his philosophy of playing is exactly how I want my students to think. It seems Rory McIlroy has realized this missing ingredient too and will be part of his mental preparation during this weeks PGA Championship.
“One of the things I like to do is make golf more of a reactionary sport, where I look at the shot, try to see the shot and just react to it without over – thinking it or thinking about mechanics”. Phil Michelson
McIlroy can relate to that. He wants to get back to that. At the same time, he wants to know the fundamental elements that create inconsistency.
“When I’m on and I can sync my upper body and lower body, everything’s great,” McIlroy said. “When those two just get a little bit out of sync is when I start to struggle.”
Learning your own unique swing speed, developing good timing and being able to sync up lower & upper body is my single most frequent mantra on the lesson tee. I really don’t think a lesson goes without a discussion somewhere on developing good timing. And yes, it’s developed, with experimentation. Don’t overlook the need to have frequent practice sessions just focusing on the speed of your body swing.
Questions to ask yourself as you practice, “how fast do my arms go in relation to my body, do my arms lead my body or does my body swing my arms”? Ultimately you are trying to generate club head speed, under control of your hands to have the awareness of squaring the clubface at impact. I believe there is a decision in teaching philosophy’s insomuch as: Do the arms control body speed or does the body control arm speed?
Neither is wrong, just a way of thinking & feeling the golf swing, but which one are you.