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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Golf - Del Starks

Debunking the myth of the delayed hit
Rating: 2.95 / 5 (194 votes)  
Posted: 2007 Jan 12 - 02:56

This week's topic centers around another popular theory called the "late hit."

The only results the late hit will produce are low, thin shots to the right with little or no power.

As I reported in previous articles, these misguided ideas come from looking at high-speed still photos. What these photos leave out is "real time" where the club is traveling very fast in a very short period of time.

In an average swing, the overall elapsed time is around two seconds. Of that small window of time, the downswing takes about 1/5 of a second. Where's the time to delay anything? With shutter speeds in today's cameras, it gives the false sense that we have all day to get the club back to the ball. What is wrong with this picture? Let's take a look and find out.

We all would like to hit the ball as far as possible, right? Well, here is the situation involved: to make that ball fly far and true, we need club head-speed squarely applied. Having about 1/5 of a second from the top of the swing until impact, how or why would you delay the club's arrival back to the ball? The answer is pretty simple: you never try to delay the club or anything else.

Every good swing has a "swing ratio" or tempo. This ratio is the time it takes for the club to go from address to the top, compared to the time from the top back to impact. The magic formula is 3 to 1. Using computer-generated equipment, taking pictures of the great ball strikers, time and time again, those numbers reappeared.

From the great Ben Hogan to the "oh so young" Michelle Wie, the same ratio was verified. In fact, the numbers were identical, 27 frames going back and nine frames coming down. I'd have to say that Ms. Wie's in pretty good company.

What this all boils down to is that a true swing has acceleration built into the overall motion. Go back to something as simple as tossing a ball or skimming a stone over a pond's surface. Toss the ball 10 feet, 30 feet or 90 feet, doing this without any theories to gum up the action and you'll find this to be fairly simple to do. However, we could video you doing this simple action: slow it down and you might conclude that there was a delay in the toss. All the camera revealed was a natural sequence of motion where the arm was catching up to the rest of the body.

A good drill to learn this very important element of an effective golf swing is what I call the "short route" exercise.

Take a No. 7 iron and position the ball way back in your stance, off your back foot. With the ball this far back, you'd better not delay anything. Sensing that you'll strike the ball sooner than normal, you'll feel obliged to get the club head to the ball sooner as well. Done correctly, you'll be amazed how much more solid your shots will feel. After a while, move the ball back to your normal position and feel the same pace of delivery.

By taking the "short route," you'll be in the same league as the greats; the 3 to 1 club. Enjoy.

Yours for better golf.

Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail pbnews@hometownnewsol.com or visit www.delstarks.com.

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