Golden Rules: Understanding how a pendulum works can give your swing the rhythm it needs

Check out Dr. Bob Grober on YouTube. I heard the term “harmonic oscillator” a few years ago and was lost until I found out it was simply a pendulum. Understanding how a pendulum works and how we can increase pendulum speed has become very helpful to explain to golfers how to improve their sequencing.

I always thought of rhythm as a way to explain motion when a golfer or coach didn’t understand mechanics. So, unfortunately, I discounted the concept, which was my loss. But now I understand a harmonic oscillator model and Jack Nicklaus’ lower body makes so much sense — moving from lead to trail leg and back to lead in rhythm with a pendulum is a wonderful move.

Jack nicklaus diagram
Jim McQueen Artwork/Nicklaus Companies

Building off the above image, consider that the movement of the club around the body acts as a pendulum too, so we are swinging a pendulum (club) around our body, which we can use as a pendulum too.

Timing those two pendulums will synchronize the swing with the body motion to produce more power and accuracy. When watching a skilled player, these motions make the swing look coordinated and rhythmical.

Try the simple drill of holding a club loosely in your finger tips. Now try to take it back slowly and then increase speed quickly. You’ll find the club will not swing. Now try the same thing when gripping the club normally and swinging with the image of Jack’s feet moving. No need to hit a ball for this one initially, but to make the club swing you need to match more closely your backswing speed with your downswing speed — creating a harmonic oscillator!

Top 100 Teacher Jon Tattersall (@TattersallGolf) is cofounder of Fusion ATL in Atlanta, Ga.

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