Being tense ruins more golf shots for more players than any other thing. When a golfer is all tightened up he doesn't have a chance of swinging correctly at the ball. These unrelaxed golfers figure that the faster they swing the more distance they'll get, and you've seen hundreds of them who go back as fast as they come down. They're the boys who have inspired that popular hustler's slogan: "Give me a man with a fast backswing and a fat wallet."
Rhythm and timing are the most important things in a golf swing. You can't get them—you can't even come close to getting them—unless you're relaxed, and I mean relaxed not only in the arms and hands but throughout the body, especially through the legs. Walter Hagen used to say that as long as he could keep his legs relaxed he didn't worry. The rest would take care of itself. I agree with him 100%. When your legs and ankles are nice and supple, only then will your muscles be able to do the work you want them to do. Only then can you pivot right and get that sense of rhythm that helps you to go back in one piece and to start down from the top with everything moving in close harmony.
from SAM SNEAD, Greenbrier G. & C.C., White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Above: the golfer with tensed legs cannot pivot
Below: the tied-up golfer is necessarily off balance through the ball
Relaxation leads to the desired actions
NEXT WEEK: GRAHAM ROSS ON THE LEFT-HAND GRIP