Welcome to Play Smart, a game improvement column and podcast from editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.
Ask golf fans whose pace they’d most like to have, and you’ll start to hear one name pop up an awful lot: Corey Connors. The 30-year-old Canadian golfer is one of the best ball-strikers on tour and says the key to it all is good rhythm.
“It’s always something I focused on as a kid,” Connors said. “My dad really helped instill that in me: Have good pace and hit the ball in the middle of the club face. If you give yourself a little more time to get things together and then relax, that will give you the best chance of a good shot.”
Connors said he would practice on the putt, literally counting in his head during the backswing and downswing. He would count one full second for his swing and then spin, counting another full second.
“I hit so many shots that way,” Connors said.
As a junior, pace took priority over technique, he says, but he also found that one helped solve the other. The smoother Connor’s pace became, the more his swing improved.
“When I play with amateurs, I think that’s something they notice in my swing, but it’s something I also remind them of,” he says. “Good pace helps the club sit well at the top of the swing. You see a lot of amateurs, when they hit a bad shot, say they’re fast. The club never gets a chance to set itself before it starts.”
Now, thanks to PING’s ENSO system, we can admire Conners’ pace in a whole new light.
I’ve written about ENSO before, but in short: It’s a high-tech program designed by PING that measures advanced elements of players’ golf swings. It helps PING better understand how their technology responds and improves their ability to adapt it to players.
You can listen to the entire 11-minute Play Smart episode below and subscribe to Apple’s Play Smart podcast here or on Spotify here.
Conners Pace Keys
Last week, the company shared some interesting news about Corey Connors’ swing:
His swing is almost exactly one second long. 0.937 to be exact.
His swing ratio is 3.5 to 1, which means his swing is more than three times slower than his swing.
The club almost comes to a complete stop at the top of the swing. A more pronounced pause in the backswing, as biomechanic Sasho McKenzie explains right hereis something that can really help some golfers.
These are all things we can try to emulate in our own move. But Connors, for his part, says the best pace is the one that feels natural to you. So experiment with different speeds, he says, and practice the one you’re comfortable with.
“A good pace doesn’t have to be slow,” he says. “It could be faster, but it has to be smooth.”
Subscribe to Apple’s Play Smart podcast here or on Spotify here.