As long as I have been playing golf, I’ve heard and read that tension in the golf swing is a “shot killer.” I never understood how there could not be tension when we are told to keep a certain grip pressure, to keep our left arm straight in the backswing, to turn our hips back and then forward, to rotate our wrists one way then another, etc. All golf swing movements require some form of muscle strength (contraction). Muscle contraction translates to tension plain and simple.
Muscle Tension versus Static and Dynamic Tension
Here is an example of muscle tension. Holding on to a golf club requires that you have the strength in your hands to put pressure on the grip. Consequently, grip pressure creates tension in the hands and wrists. The more pressure, the more tension. Fortunately, this is a situation where you have the opportunity to reduce muscle tension by using less pressure. Ideally, we would like to reduce or eliminate as much muscle tension as possible throughout the entire golf swing.
If we can convert a certain amount of muscle tension into static or dynamic tension, we can start to understand what a relaxed swing feels like. Static and dynamic tension differs from muscle tension in that neither is related to muscle contraction. By taking advantage of muscle elasticity, a certain amount of muscle tension can be converted to static or dynamic tension. In part 2 of this subject I will give you some exercises that will let you feel the difference between muscle tension and static or dynamic tension.