Friday, July 31, 2015

Tell Your Story

I'm out on the Symetra Tour this week on the bag for one of my students.  I also have the chance to watch, hug, talk to and catch up with a bunch of other great women out here.  As I listen to them, they tell me their stories.

Stories are important for all athletes.  The story you create daily has a lot to do with the outcomes you produce.  The things you talk about, worry about, mull over and to which you give energy are important.  They are your reality, because they become your story.

Stories are a part of life for all athletes.  They are a way of framing the experiences you have as you learn your craft, compete and grow as a player.  They can also be a way to hold yourself back or get into your own way.  This happens for many reasons.  Simply because you are always in the middle of your story, you don't understand the importance of seeing a positive ending.  Another thing that stories do is protect you from pain.  They offer chances to frame failures as elaborate plots in which the main character is a victim.  If your stories seem to "happen to you" instead of having you as the instigator, you see yourself as a victim of circumstances and you're giving away your power to be in control.  Stories are sometimes given to athletes by others.  They might be focused on your past, your weaknesses or your latest failure.  Don't listen to those stories and don't adopt them.  If you listen to Johnny Miller on Sunday at a PGA event, he has a story about every miss a player makes.  It is entertaining for us as listeners and might sometimes hit the mark.  However, the stories he tells may or may not be the same story the player is telling himself.  If Zach Johnson mishits a driver, Johnny might talk about how Zach is pressing since he is shorter off the tee.  Zach, on the other hand, probably knows the reason he missed the driver and it most certainly has nothing to do with the big picture of his length off the tee.  Zach Johnson is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses and tells his story through his ability to focus on his own needs, not by listening to what others say about him.

Let's do a little role playing so you can see the power of your stories.  I will tell a bunch of stories that are common for competitive golfers.  I want you to decide if the story is helpful or hurtful, how it will prepare the golfer for a day on the course and how it could be tweaked if needed.

Story #1:  "I'm really struggling with my putting lately."
Story #2:  "I like the way these greens roll."
Story #3:  This course has a lot of holes that don't fit my eye."
Story #4:  "I like this course, because it forces me to hit shots and I love to hit shots."
Story #5:  "We've been out for four straight weeks and I'm ready for a break."
Story #6:  "I get to play one more week before we take a break."
Story #7:  "I played horrible yesterday."
Story #8:  "I learned a lot yesterday."
Story #9:  "I played great yesterday."
Story #10: "I learned a lot yesterday and did a great job of focusing.
Story #11:  "I'm not long enough to compete at this level."
Story #12:  "I'll use my strengths on and around the greens to win."

All of these are common stories out here on tour and at every level of the game.  The odd numbers are stories that will hold you back and the even numbers are stories that will propel you forward.  Let's look at them for their power.

Story #1 is one told by a player focused on what isn't happening instead of what is happening or at the least, what could be happening.  The longer that thought is in the head or on the lips of a player, the more truth there is in the story.  Simply changing the story is the first step to letting go of the problem.  You can change it by focusing on the scene instead of the actor.  For example, tell a story about the course instead of your performance.  You can change it by putting the problem in the past tense, such as "I was struggling with my putting, but I've changed a few small things that have made a big difference."  Remember, it's your story to tell, so write the ending you want to live, not the ending you fear or are working to avoid.

Story #3 is a story by a player who feels challenged by a scenario that she doesn't feel is to her advantage.  Challenges are what make you great, so figure out why you have trepidation and attack it head on.  There is a reason that "Rise to the Challenge" is a phrase used to describe strong behavior in all fields.  It is based on recognition of a tough situation and the ability to overcome it.  This story can be one of so many for competitive golfers.  It can be based on fast greens, slow greens, tight courses, long rough, deep bunkers, high winds, or simply a higher level of competition.  Identify the challenge that gives you pause and come up with a plan.  Make sure the story you tell has a resolution stated after the challenge.

Story #5 is a story told by all athletes in all sports who get worn down.  Being worn down is common for all professional athletes.  Everyone wants to be at the highest level of their sport, but once there, the energy needed to stay there is immense.  Travel, appearances, physical training and competitions all take their toll and there is very little time for rest.  The key to not focusing on the fatigue or weariness is to remain thankful and gracious for the opportunities you have.  Simply starting your story with "I get to....." instead of "I have to....." is a great key to telling a story that keeps you fresh and positive.  Staying fresh and positive in your mind at the end of a long stretch on the road is worth a shot on the field each day!

Sean Burke was a goaltender in the NHL for 19 years and played for 9 teams.  

Stories #7 & #9 are similar in that they are a review of what has passed.  The key for both is to focus on the process instead of the result and take something away from the competition that will help you tomorrow.  Sure, it's great to play great and talk about it, but what was it that made it a great day?  If you simply say it was great, it seems like it just happened to you.  What was your role in the greatness and what did you do to shine?  All results are based on skills, process and attitudes.  On a rough day, instead of beating yourself up for a poor performance, look through your story for what you can learn and then move on.  You can tell a story of challenge, fear and adversity, but you can write the ending to be one of triumph, facing fear and overcoming obstacles.  Maybe that ending doesn't happen until the second round, but it's up to you to write the story.

Story #11 is one of a player focused on a story told to her by others.  Everyone is ready to tell you what you lack, what you need or what you can't do.  Don't listen and adopt the story that others tell you.  Instead, write your own based on what you have, what you can learn and what you can do.

Tell your story with the ending you want.  Great athletes don't get that way without a clear idea of their story with an ending of success.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Art of Putting

As I recruit and watch countless rounds of golf each summer, I'm struck by how young players react to their mistakes with the opposite approach of how they should. By that I mean that they don't understand the mistake that led to a dropped shot, but focus on a different skill.  Here is one example that is very common:

A player has a 35 footer for birdie on a par 3.  She runs it 10 feet past the cup in her attempt for birdie.  She misses the 10 footer coming back and settles for bogey.

That is what I see as an observer.  A player had poor speed control and three putted.

Here are the things that might be happening, but it would only be a guess on my part.

Desire or Try:  The player wants the birdie so much that she thinks only of making it, but not of the speed the putt needs to travel. 

Awareness:  The player might or might not have noticed it was downhill or downgrain.  

Fear:  The player might be fearful of the 10 feet coming back and thinking of results and 3 putts instead of making the putt.  

Caution:  The player might be putting the second putt "not to miss" instead of putting to make it.  

Worry:  The player might be worried about what her dad, coach, playing partner, etc. thinks of her poor putting instead of being focused on getting the ball in the hole.  

This is my twentieth year of recruiting and coaching and in that time, I've seen countless players 3 putt.  I've also seen some great putters.  The difference between great young putters and poor putters is generally not the quality of their putting strokes.  Almost all of the young players I watch now have been taught, coached and drilled to have a good putting stroke.   However, in the scenario we started the blog with, most young putters are upset that they can't make a 10 footer and will immediately go to the side of the green and grind on their strokes.   The differences between great young putters and poor putters are generally these three things:  Awareness, Adjustments, Attitude. 

You have to be able to judge whether a putt is uphill or downhill prior to hitting it.  Once judged, you have to take the slope into account as you visualize the speed you will need to roll the ball.  This skill is very poor in junior golf and often in college golf, too.  In addition to judging the speed the ball needs to travel, you have to add to that the break and how that will effect the roll.  This isn't something you learn putting 100 putts from 5 feet.  This is something that is learned with one ball and a lot of movement around the green.  Let go of the idea that real practice means lots of repetition and buy into the idea that awareness is learned through trial and error using one ball and paying attention.

If you want to be a great putter, you need to be able to control the roll of  your ball on fast greens like Augusta or slow greens like St. Andrews.  You can't love one more than another and you have to know that you're in charge of the ball's speed and being in charge is fun.  When you practice putting, find a hole on a slope and putt a few balls from 20 feet up the slope and 20 feet down the slope.  Get all the balls to stop within a foot of the hole.  Now go to the sides and do the same. Young players are constantly short on uphill putts and past on downhill putts.  They allow the slope to control their ball instead of being in control themselves.  

Great putters learn from every single trip to a green.  Each putt is data into their computer for use in a future situation.  In the first scenario, they wouldn't beat themselves up for missing a ten footer, because they know that the problem was in the pre-shot routine and their failure to note the speed the ball needed to travel to end in or next to the hole.  Their attitude of confidence and a learner's mindset extends to each moment on the golf course, not just the general idea of learning the game.

If you want to become a great putter, you will need to work on your stroke, but you will also have to work on your awareness, your adjustments and your attitude on the greens.  You will have to be in complete control of these skills at all times if you want to win tournaments.  
Zach Johnson (Golfweek)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Weakest Joint

As golfers specialize at younger ages and spend more time on the driving range instead of the golf course, they are experiencing more injuries.  Many of the injuries are due to overuse, but there can be many reasons, such as tension in the wrong places, being taught a move that doesn't fit the strength level or body of a player, or simply swinging into the rough or a root and having the club decelerate too quickly.

One important thing to understand about the golf swing and injuries is that the weakest joint in the chain will usually be the first sign of problems.  If a player fights balance issues to make solid impact, it will usually show up in the ankle joint in one way or another, then the knee and then the hip.  This isn't always the case, but often the weakest joint can alert you to problems.

If a swing is out of sequence, if the release is poor or if there is a sudden deceleration, often the wrist will show wear and tear first, then the elbow and then the shoulder.  Sometimes, the problem goes smaller than the wrist to the thumb joint.  It is important to understand this vulnerability so you can be aware of learning to protect the smaller joints through proper sequence, providing tension in the proper places and strengthening all of the joints as protection.

Here is an example of a player with a thumb joint problem.  With all due respect to Peter Kostis, who lauds Kim's "triangle" through his finish position, I believe it is the thing that forced him out of the top tier in competitive golf.  With a locked left elbow, the force of the deceleration that every part of the body makes before impact was absorbed by his wrist and thumb and possibly a bit by his shoulder or back also.

Here is a shot of a position that I wouldn't want to see in any of my players.  This was from :44 of the above video.  It seems like a great thing to keep your left arm straight, but understand that deceleration of the club means your body harnesses a lot of stress and strain.
Many might thing that this is a position of strength with the ability Kim has to keep his left arm straight for so long, but the strength shown in his left arm by allowing his elbow to work toward the target instead of folding is being absorbed in his left thumb and wrist and his shoulder.

Here is recent shot of Rickie stopped in the same place as Kim above.  Look at the difference in their left hands and arms.  While I can clearly see Rickie's gloved fingers, Anthony's are no where in sight.  I also like the slight fold that is taking place in Rickie's elbow.  It takes a lot of pressure off of both his wrist and his left shoulder.  

The joints of the left side can work together to harness the deceleration of the golf club after impact and do it with control.  Here is Rickie's swing and it shows this idea clearly.

This is Rickie Fowler at last week's Scottish Open.  Shortly after impact, Rickie's left arm rotates and folds, allowing his bigger muscles to absorb the brunt of the deceleration of the golf club.  It also allows him to be in better control of the handle of the club, because of the softening of the stronger joints.  Their softening through rotation and bend allows the hands and wrists to stay firm and in control.

Anthony Kim is a great player of the game, but his story is a common one these days.  Players work so hard to reach the top of the ladder only to feel let down by injuries.  By understanding the importance of placing tension in the right places as you swing, you can prolong your career by protecting your joints.  If you want control in the weakest joints, you must allow stronger joints to absorb the stress through bend, fold or rotation.  One of the messages of this blog is to simply do what your body allows you to do as a young player.  If you are unable to make a move after a lot of work, it might be that your body simply wasn't put together to do it that way.  There are many ways to swing a club and copying another swing might lead to problems.  Swing the way that your body allows.  Also, understand that anything done well can be overdone.  If Jordan Spieth had listened when people said the left arm needs to be straight at the top of the swing, would he be enjoying his success right now?
Imagine any sport that generates speed with locked joints.  Could you jump if your knees were locked?  Think of the golf swing as an athlete would any sport and you will develop your swing in a way that makes sense for you, creates speed and power and doesn't break down your joints.  Overdoing advice, placing tension in your joints or simply choosing technique over athleticism will lead to problems.  Be unique.  Be athletic.

If you would like to read more about acceleration, deceleration, joint protection, etc. then check out these links:
My favorite article from TPI.  
kinematic sequence
Paige M's story of injury

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What Do You Accept?

So many players speak of their emotions on the course with complete acceptance.  They say things such as, "It was really frustrating, because nothing was dropping."  Or, "I hit a couple left and I was afraid I was going to hook it."

Instead of talking about what you shouldn't give in to on the course, learn what the opposition would be and work to choose it.  Your belief that your emotions are natural reactions to your play might be the very thing holding you back.  

The most commonly used negative emotion I hear as a coach is frustration.  Players seem to accept that frustration is a natural experience on the golf course.  Instead of choosing to feel frustration after a missed putt or the feeling of no control, you can instead choose emotions such as patience, acceptance or trust.  Many players feel disgust with their inability to execute a shot or control their focus.  Disgust or showing contempt for yourself pits you against yourself.  On the course, you need to be your own coach and you would never choose a coach who was disgusted by your behavior.  Instead, you would choose a ccoach who was optimistic and interested in your play.  Perhaps the toughest emotion to handle as a competitor is sadness.  It is debilitating and causes players to give up on themselves.  Learning to find joy on any given day is truly a gift to a competitive golfer.  The joy must be found in the playing, the camaraderie, the nature or the anticipation.  It cannot be reliant upon only results. The final emotion I see often is fear.  While the opposite of fear seems to be brave, in golf I believe it is closer to what we all seek, which is confidence.  The understanding that your confidence is a choice, as is fear is an important lesson that competitive golfers need to learn.  

Here is a great article on fear vs. confidence by climber Whitney Boland.  It works perfectly for golf, too. 

Remember, your emotions lead your thoughts and actions, so don't give in to negative emotions.  Instead, keep a positive mental attitude throughout your day. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Journey That Has No Destination

The game of golf provides you with a lifelong journey, but this journey has no destination.  There will never be a time when you arrive, because you can never completely capture this game.  As with any epic journey, you will have ups and downs.  You will experience joy and deal with problems.  At times you will feel on top of the world and at other times you will feel like the world is on top of you.

Lexi Thompson, her caddy and family all jump into Poppy's Pond after winning the 2014 ANA Dinah Shore.  Golf is a tough game and that makes the celebrations of great shots and great wins all the more special!

With that in mind, when I hear recruits tell me that they're "behind", I wonder how they can be behind in a journey that has no destination.  The only way they can judge that they are behind is if they compare themselves to others.  Your golf game is your journey and your's only.  For you to be behind, there would have to be a finish line.  Jack Nicklaus won the Masters at age 46 and there was a span of 23 years between his first and last Masters wins.  In 1998 he finished 6th at Augusta.  Do you think Jack ever placed a finish line in front of himself and declared that he had arrived as a golfer?  Probably not.  

There is no way to accelerate your journey, since there isn't a finish line, but some players seem to learn more quickly than others.  There are two prominent examples playing today; Jordan Spieth and Lydia Ko.  There are some similarities between the two players.  They both are confident in their abilities and play to win.  Neither compares him or herself to others.  They both have high golf IQs and rarely throw away shots. Neither's game is flashy, yet both are consistently at the top of the leader board.  How did these two players seem to skip developmental stages?  Probably because they never bought into the fact that there was a schedule for achievement or that they needed to wait their turn to win.  Instead, they focused only on their journey, their skills, their goals and their own learning processes.  

Lydia Ko was ranked no. 1 in February of this year at age 17 making her the youngest player to be no. 1 in history.

The key to improvement in golf is learning from mistakes instead of repeating them.  That means that mistakes are welcome indicators of where your game is, what you need and what has to be done.  If mistakes cause negative emotions, blame, excuses or justification, they will be repeated and nothing will be learned.  Spieth and Ko learned at an early age to separate their golf score from who they are as people.  They understand that golf is what they do, but not who they are.  This allows them to see their mistakes as opportunities to learn, not as indicators of weakness or fatal flaws.  

Jordan Spieth has won two majors at the age of 21.

Colin Montgomerie just won his first major at age 52 when he won the Senior PGA.  He said that he learned that he needed to focus on himself and not his fellow competitors and that was key.  He is still learning and growing as a player.  If you're 16 years old, that means you have 36 years or more of learning ahead of you.  If you learn to not compare yourself to others, not place a finish line in front of you and to see your weaknesses as new areas of learning, you might just enjoy this journey that is golf.  

Colin Montgomerie

Friday, July 3, 2015

Do You Want to Play Great Golf? Fall in Love!

What?  Yes, fall in love...with the process of playing the game and let go of your fixation on results.  How?

Simple, keep a different score.  Keep your own personal focus score (FS) and base it on what you need to play great.

What can your FS goal be?  That is completely up to you.  Figure out what you do when you play your best and put that "right stuff" into your routine.  Or, you can take the opposite approach and figure out what doesn't happen or what is bad when you run into trouble on the course and create a goal that offsets the problem.  Written below are a bunch of examples.  Perhaps one of them fits your game, but everyone has unique needs and your goal is completely up to you.  By the way, don't be an overachiever and come up with two or three.  One goal is all you can have out there!  Don't confuse yourself with doing too much or water down the importance of your FS by doing more than one.

After every shot, you get a yes or no.  If you get a yes, give yourself a tally mark.  If you fail to do it, you don't get a tally.  Here's the key; no stories.  It's a simple yes or no question to yourself without explanations, excuses or stories.  Stories are emotional and the goal is to get the emotion out of your assessment of your play.  Excuses block learning by substituting the failure with rationalization.  Explanations get involved in circumstances and while they might be the case, it takes away the focus on the simple question of "did you do what you wanted on the shot?"

Examples of FS Goals:
  • I will completely commit to the shot I want.
  • I will be decisive about what I want on each shot.
  • I will see the shot before I hit it.
  • I will breathe deep and let go of tension before I step into the shot.
  • I will play aggressively to conservative targets today.
  • I will keep it simple.  Fairways and greens.
  • I will feel my rhythm and take it into my shots with me.
  • I will paint a picture of what my shot will look like.
  • I will choose small targets and stay focused on them in my routine.
  • I will trust myself completely today.
  • I will play the game with freedom today.
  • I will accept each shot I hit today within 10 steps after hitting it.
  • I will watch my ball fly and let it go completely without emotional attachment.
  • I will show myself patience and kindness.
  • I will smile today in between shots.

Staying in the Moment:  (You could start each of these with "When my mind wanders ahead or behind..."
  • I will recognize that I'm wandering and snap my fingers to snap back to NOW.
  • I will count the birds I can see or hear (airplanes, shades of green, clouds, etc)
  • I will say, shot at hand until I'm back and completely present before I start my routine.
  • I will be creative and imaginative as I walk to the shot.
Over the years, I've asked my players the same question on the first tee to get them to commit to a FS goal.  I've heard countless goals and I know when the goal is successful, because I hear it again and again.  Here are some that I've heard:
  • Complete acceptance
  • Roll the rock
  • Fairways and greens
  • Commit completely
  • Have fun and smile
  • Show off my skills
  • See and play shots
  • Let it go
  • Look for airplane trails between shots
  • Listen for birds
As you can see, anything and everything can work, if it works for you.  As a coach, it is very important that I accept whatever goal the player gives me and then cue the player throughout the round to remember it's importance.  Often, a player new to the process will talk through with me what FS goal would help her the most and a bit of trial and error goes into it.  Other players need to constantly tweak their goals to keep it fresh and not get bored with it.  Everyone is different, so figure out what you need.  My other role as a coach is keeping the goal positive.  Your goal can't be a negative such as, I don't want to quit today or I don't want to worry about trouble.  Keep it positive!

Now that you have your ONE FS goal, keep score.  If you make a five on the first hole, how many shots did you achieve your goal?  Write down the number below your score and do this after each hole.  It is very important to remember that you can be successful with your FS goal and still have a bad result.  Only you know if you were successful with your goal.  No one else can judge it for you.  You can also fail to achieve your goal on every shot and still make par.  We've all hit and hoped and had it work out, haven't we? 

After you're done, count your Focus Score and divide it by your actual golf score.  If you decided prior to playing that you would see every shot before you hit it, that is what you score.  At the end of the day, you shot a 75 and you saw the shot 65 times.  Divide 65 by 75 and you will come up with 87%.  That is a very strong focus score.  Players generally score well when they've chosen the right goal for them and achieve 90% or over.  When you are new to the process, you might find that you are closer to a 60% success rate.  The reason you track your percentages is to track your improvement.  Don't get involved with the score as you're playing, simply record it and let it go. I once had a player score 100% and it matched her lowest golf score in competition.  She had no idea what she was scoring in either area as she was playing. 

This tool is like any other skill in golf.  It takes practice!  Players who've employed this skill for years know it's power and also fail to use it effectively at all times. You need to decide and commit to a FS goal on each and every round for it to be powerful.  Simply doing what you've always done isn't good enough.

When you get good at using a focus goal, you can start to recognize times when you aren't focused on what you need and figure out how to approach those situations in the future.  For example, you have a tough time seeing the shot on tight holes or you forgot to breathe deeply and let go of tension on birdie putts.  That sort of knowledge will empower you to notice those situations and sharpen your focus and place it on what you need.

Your golf score is important to you and that number that is posted next to your name signifies how well you played on that day.  It doesn't take into account how you felt, how hard you prepared, how tough the course played, good breaks, bad breaks, weather delays, annoying competitors, bumpy greens or perfect conditions.  It is simply a number in the box.  If you can learn to let go of the power of that number in a box and shift your attention to the number that you generate with your focus score, you will help yourself play your best golf every time out.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015


As a college coach, I have the opportunity to be around a lot of excellent coaches from many sports. There is a synergy of information and positive energy in this environment. This week, I had the chance to listen in as a track coach was instructing a young runner on how to explode out of the starting position. What he had to say seemed odd, yet made complete sense.  He wanted the runner to push off with both feet at once to start, not just the back foot.  He told him that in order to explode off the starting line, power came from that push and drove the hips.  He also asked him to keep his head steady.

I stopped and asked him whether or not this was a new way to teach the start.  I was curious if they used to teach runners to push off with the back leg only.  He said they had, but now they understood that great sprinters pushed with both feet.  As I exercised, I imagined Bubba and Lexi, both powering their swings using the power from pushing off with both feet.  They drive off the ground and create power with the push, while simultaneously rotating their hips.  The only difference between how the track coach was teaching explosiveness and how many golfers get it is the hip rotation.

The point of the comparison is that golfers who are self-taught are innovative in the most natural ways. They learn by experimenting and their goals are individual. If Bubba's goal was power as a kid, he probably figured out how to get the most speed out of his skinny body and what he came up with was exploding off of both feet while turning.

Bubba Watson's hips face his target while powering his swing.

The advent of new equipment with bigger surfaces and sweet spots than we had in the 80’s and 90’s means that the swing can be less precise, especially in the early years of playing.  Self-taught players are figuring out how to create maximum power and they are doing it differently than many of the players who have lessons and direction as to how to swing.  Young players are pushing off of both feet and exploding through the ball with a dynamic move that involves both hip rotation and extension.  

Lexi Thompson's hips don't clear quite as well as Bubba's which makes it harder control the shaft of the club, but the athleticism and explosiveness of her swing is undeniable and fun to watch. 

If you are learning the game or taking instruction to improve your game, be wary of the teacher who wants you to slow your hips to sync your swing.  Your hips are your engine and your goal should be to get yourself balanced and on plane so you can keep up with the rev of the engine.  Slowing your hips down will take away your speed and power. Great athletes are playing the game of golf much as they would any sport and using the same movements to produce power.

If you have a young golfer at home, make sure you find an instructor who allows motion and athleticism. Many instructors work to reduce and control motion, but power is created with speed and explosiveness. As a player matures, he or she can learn to harness the power and hit fairways. It is really tough to teach speed and explosiveness to a player who has been taught a slower, controlled swing.

Also, simply getting on your toes at impact isn’t a good thing.  If you are on your toes because your hips haven’t cleared, you are there because you’ve run out of room to release the club.  This will cause you to flip the club and tip the shaft back at impact and lose both power and control.  Golf is a target game and in all target games, your hips face the target prior to or duing the motion of going to your target.  Remember, they are the engine and if they don’t face your target, they will be propelling you a different direction.  

Here are some more shots of players who've figured out how to get the most power possible out of their engine; their hips:

I love this shot of Stacy Lewis.  You can see the explosiveness and rotation of her hips right at the moment of impact.
Dustin Johnson, one of the longest hitter's on the PGA Tour is explosive with his hips, but uses rotation coupled with lateral motion instead of vertical motion.  Either way, your hips are your engine and create your speed.  
Charlie Beljan is one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour today.  Complete explosion off his feet.  If you are athletic, you can produce power with this move.  Control might suffer in the beginning, but as proven in Every Shot Counts, it is easier to be online with faster swing speeds.  If that seems like a funny idea to you, picture the need for a straight line across a blackboard.  Would you do it fast or slowly?
Rory McIlroy is very extended at impact and has used both the ground and rotation to create speed.

Finally, here is a nice video that backs up the idea of using athleticism and crossover motions to produce power. In this clip, Joseph Mayo teaches sequence of downswing, but his message is exactly the same. Use your legs and hips to explode and rotate to the target. I'm not sure why he says not to use your feet at the beginning, but his message otherwise is spot on. He has a clear understanding of power and speed, which are both reliant upon sequence and explosiveness.


Where do you place your awareness?  This is a gigantic question, because there are so many things, thoughts, people and conditions to be awa...