My last thought before I start the swing? It has to do with rhythm rather than mechanics. Usually I remind myself to swing to a count of “one . . . two” with a pause in between. 

I want the club to swing like a pendulum. A pendulum goes back smoothly, changes direction smoothly, goes forward smoothly. I also want to swing every club at the same, easy pace. The long clubs take a little more time to swing, but the tempo should not get faster. 

Another good overall rhythm image is to picture in your mind a player whose tempo you admire. It might be a tour player like Ernie Els or a good player at your course. 

My natural rhythm is fast, but it still needs to be controlled and consistent. Most weekend golfers speed up their swings with the longer clubs and have trouble making solid contact. When your rhythm is too fast, you must recognize it to be able to slow it down. 

The first foot of your takeaway pretty much sets your swing rhythm. All the more reason to make your last thought about rhythm. 

Thoughts from Tom: 

When to go to work: The best time to make changes in your game can be after a round, when mistakes are fresh in your mind. If you half-shanked a 6-iron on the 17th hole, hit that shot on the range until you get it right. 

HIT your putts FIRM: Stroking short putts with the left arm only can be a good practice approach (indoors if the weather’s poor). I might slip a tennis wrist band over my left wrist and over the putter grip to firm up my stroke. 

Look out for Furyk: Jim Furyk’s swing has been the subject of a lot of conjecture over the years, but he has refined that loop and is a very pure ball-striker.