Every time I meet a new student, especially someone who has played golf for more than a year, they always profess how they want to become more consistent. They share on-course experiences where they play well for three or four holes, and then they “fall apart.”

Usually that happens because we tend to try and change some mechanics in the swing but we’re not sure just what is actually going wrong. I would have my student focus on rhythm and tempo more than the mechanics.

For example, you hit a tee shot in the right hand rough, you choose a less lofted club to hit a low shot and stay beneath the branches of trees between your ball and the green. You only have a shot of 140 yards. So, you try to keep it low and get just the right distance to the green so you will have a putt. The tension of the moment creeps in and suddenly you chunk the ball three feet and notice how tightly you are gripping your seven iron. We have all been through this and experience the same frustration. It is sometimes embarrassing and never fun.

The trick is to keep your arm free of tension. Grip the club gently and feel the weight of the club head, gliding through the grass and never once having the sensation of trying to hit the ball. Suddenly, contact is made, and the ball goes screaming over the green and lands 30 yards beyond your target. You turn to your playing partner and explain how effortless it felt.

Your golf swing should always feel effortless, no matter if it’s 30 yards, 130 yards, or 230 yards. Feel the clubhead and let it create the momentum necessary to propel your ball in the right direction.

The next time you journey to a practice range, work on your tempo and rhythm. I remember seeing a video of Jack Nicklaus swinging a Number 2 iron with the same tempo as a pitching wedge. I think most good players try to do the same thing. It is not easy and it does take lots of practice, but I can assure you, your time will be well invested when you work on trying to duplicate your tempo with every swing you take.

I teach junior golfers just a little differently. I want them to tee it high and let it fly. This will help them to develop strength and balance. We will work on rhythm and tempo when the time is right.

Dedicate your life to golf, you will not be sorry.

Rod Sims is the PGA Teaching Professional at the Mount Shasta Resort. He would love to hear from you and can be reached at (209) 329-5634.