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Monday, 12 December 2016

Bobby Jones on Timing

All fine golfers have good timing. But for the novice player, or the average golfer looking to improve, how do you develop good timing? As usual, Bobby Jones had something to say about timing. In his book Bobby Jones on Golf, Bobby wrote:

    "The dub is told he spoils his shot because his stroke is not properly timed, but no one can tell him how he can time it properly.
     One common error causing bad timing can be pointed out with sufficient exactness to give the enterprising average golfer something to work on. I mean the error of beginning to hit too early in the downward stroke. I have said that it is a common error. It is an error common to all golfers, a chronic lapse in the case of an expert, but an unfailing habit in the case of the dub. I think it will be found that of the players who turn in scores of ninety and over, ninety-nine out of every hundred hit too soon on ninety-nine out of every hundred strokes. Many who play even better golf and have really acceptable form fail to play better than they do for this very reason.
     Hitting too soon is a fault of timing in itself. It causes the player to reach the ball with a large part of the power of the stroke already spent. Instead of being able to apply it all behind the ball, he has expended a vast amount upon the air where it could do no good. Apparently, everyone fears that he will not be able to strike out in time when, as a matter of fact, There has not been one single player come under my observation who has been habitually guilty of late hitting. Sometimes he will fail to close the face of the club by the time the club by the time the club reaches the ball, but this is always due to something entirely apart from tardy delivery.
     The primary cause of early hitting is to be found in the action of the right hand and wrist. If the left hand has a firm grip on the club, so long as it remains in control there can be no premature hitting. The left side is striking backhanded, and it will prefer to pull from the left shoulder, with the left elbow straight, rather than to deliver a blow involving an uncocking of the wrists.
     But the right hand throughout the stroke is in the more powerful position. Its part in the stroke is on what in tennis would be called the forehand. It is moving forward in the direction easiest for it to follow. Because the player is intent upon effort, and upon hitting hard, the right hand tends to get into the fight long before it has any right to enter. The right hand must be restrained if it is not to hit before its time arrives."

So, there you have it. That top hand is the key to good timing in the golf swing. If it remains in control, with the right hand restrained until it is needed, you will not be losing power by an early release. It may sound strange, but for a right-handed golfer the right hand can really mess things up. Just another way in which golf is often a game of opposites. Bobby goes into more detail about the need to restrain the right hand in the next chapter, entitled Delaying the Hit.