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Welcome to Play Smart, a game improvement column and podcast from editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.
You can subscribe to the Play Smart podcast on Apple here, or on Spotify right here.
It’s move that you can spot in some of the greatest golf swings of all time. Swings like Sam Snead, 1997 Tiger Woods, and Ernie Els.
That move is a pronounced pause at the top of the backswing. A fraction of a second where your club and body come to a near-stop on the backswing, before starting on the downswing. Hideki Matsuyama and Cameron Young are two of the best current examples. And onn Tuesday’s edition of the Play Smart podcast, my co-host Reed Howard and I consider the question: Would adding a bigger pause at the top of your backswing help your game?
Biomechanist Dr. Sasho Mackenzie has studied the effects on the pause on the backswing and says that while it may cost you some distance, it also can have some benefits when it comes to your overall technique — especially for golfers who may not have enough strength to reverse the club quickly in transition.
“Momentum can sometimes mess you up,” Howard says. “When you’re moving the club back quickly, that’s literal weight that is pulling you back, and a lot of the time that can create issues with your technique…a little pause at the top can help you manage the weight and momentum of the club more easily.”
Like everything in golf, there’s a tradeoff. It’s about finding which one suits you the most.
Listen to the full 11-minute episode below, and subscribe on Apple here.
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Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.
An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.
GOLF.com and GOLF Magazine are published by EB GOLF MEDIA LLC, a division of 8AM GOLF