Tour Report: On the Mark: Smooth operators

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Halleran/Getty Images Much can be learned from the sweet swings of Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen (pictured).

ON THE MARK ARCHIVE: Tips from Mark Immelman

By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM

The TOUR’s elite continued their Oriental foray this week at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong, China. As was the case last week, scoring by the leaders was frenetic. In fact, 12 under through four rounds was what it took to get inside the Top 20 – incredible stuff!

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Ian Poulter was sensational over the weekend and came through with a final round of 65 (7 under) for a total of 21 under to eclipse the star-studded leaderboard for the title. My take from the week however highlights two different golfers who finished T2 and T6 — countrymen of mine and major champions who possess two of the sweetest swings in the game.

Good timing and tempo are intrinsic to any good golf swing and Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen are beautiful models of these elements – elements I term: “The glue that holds the swing together.”

I hold strongly the belief that no matter how technically sound a golf swing is, its ability to deliver consistently powerful and accurate shots depends largely on its timing and its pace. To me a golf swing is tantamount to an orchestra as it has various parts which have individual functions that perform at varying cadences and times in order to produce a beautiful harmony or shot. Just like an orchestra whose sections are playing too loudly or out of time would sound like a cacophonous noise, a golf swing whose elements are performing too hard or out of time would look ungainly and produce horrendous shots.

So remember that good timing is as important a fundamental as any. Further, just as you would periodically check on those fundamentals, so you should check whether the parts of your swing are operating in a well-timed and coordinated fashion.

Two important points to remember:

• Just as you would probably find it easier to dance well and in time with a slower beat compared to a very up-tempo, fast beat, so you are more likely to make a better swings with a tempo that is a smidgen slower. So in order to sequence and time your swing properly, remember a little slower is probably better.

• To time your swing properly it is important to correctly understand the proportions of movement of each element of the swing. Certainly the swing is governed by the body pivot but you must ensure that the swing of the arms and the club stay timed and “in-front” of the pivot. To that end, ideally you would like each element of the swing to finish its job and its movement around the same time. A great image to understand the sequencing of this mechanism is one of the Solar System with your spine being the Sun, your lead shoulder being Mercury, your lead hand being Jupiter and the clubhead being Pluto. Try to have the entire system of planets complete one orbit of the Sun at the same time. In other words, Mercury (the shoulders) would have to move slower than Jupiter (the hands) and Jupiter would need to move a lot slower than Pluto (the clubhead). If you are able to time the events as described you will hit the ball a long way without much physical exertion at all – just like Ernie and Louis.

Good luck

Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.