Are You Trying to Perfect Your Golf Swing ?
If you have read one of my books or listened to a podcast conversation, you might be aware that in my opinion, the route to playing your best golf lies in going beyond intellectual concepts and stripping away beliefs, rather than adding to them.
I hope at this point, you might be asking the obvious question.
“OK Sam, if the answer is less information, rather than more, how is reading articles like this one going to help” ?
It’s a fair point, and one that I’m happy to address.
All Knowledge is Not Equal
It seems to me that there are different levels of knowledge.
Certain types of knowledge underpins other types, providing a foundation on which our belief structure, our worldview is built.
As you look deeper, you find that understanding one fundamental principle can often mean that a whole raft of information at a shallower level can be questioned and ultimately dismissed.
This is what I hope this article and my books and other work will encourage you to do. By asking different questions and peeling away layers of limiting beliefs, the truth about how you experience golf and life will be revealed.
From this place of clarity, you are much more likely to trust your instincts. Less inclined to be tempted by the latest swing fad or pulled off track by a piece of plausible marketing blurb from the golf instruction industry.
How Important is Perfect Golf Swing Technique?
Let’s try to give you an insight into how the process works. We will explore the belief that the key to playing your best golf is by prioritising your swing technique. This is a trap almost every golfer has fallen into at some stage. (I spent many years caught up in this one.)
The mainstream golf instruction industry actively promotes the belief that achieving technical perfection in your golf swing or putting stroke is the key to success and golfing happiness.
I did a survey of the golfers on my email list a couple of years ago. It won’t surprise you to learn that most believed the key to playing well was to fix, improve or perfect their golf swings.
There were a few who believed that improving their putting or short game was the key to achieving their ambitions in the game. But for most golfers, it’s all about the golf swing.
What Does ‘Good’ Look Like?
In my experience, this belief is one of the most limiting a golfer can hold. Not because attempting to perfect your golf swing isn’t beneficial. It might well be.
Developing a technically sound, repeatable move that delivers consistent impact factors is an important step in becoming the best golfer you can be. But that doesn’t mean your swing needs to match a set of ideals espoused by the golf instruction industry.
Every golfer is different, which means every swing will be slightly different. You only need to look at the practice fairway of a major tournament to validate this observation.
If you set up to the ball correctly and swing with good rhythm and timing, you can get away with parts of the movement that might not fit with what many instructors would teach.
Many golfers I meet have such a swing. It may not look pretty, but it produces a consistent ball flight on the driving range and in practice on the course. Unfortunately, the results are less dependable in competition, or when the golfer starts to feel anxious or insecure. It’s important to know that this isn’t a ‘golf swing’ problem.
Your capacity to deliver your physical skills; how you swing the club on the course depends not just on your understanding of the golf swing, but also on how well you understand yourself.
The origins of a poor golf swing at an important moment often lies deeper, beyond your technical competency. This is where many golfers disappear off into the wilderness looking for the mythical ‘swing that will hold up under pressure. But it’s the golfer that feels pressure, not the golf swing.
Great Swing Technique Does Not Eliminate Bad Shots
Does Adam Scott play poorly from time to time? Justin Rose? Colin Morikawa? Anne Van Dam? How would you describe their golf swing technique?
These examples should make you question the idea that spending years perfecting your golf swing technique will mean you never hit a bad shot. We all know golfers with good golf swings who play nowhere near the level their technical knowledge and ability suggests they should.
The reason for this is simple. Even the most technically sound golf swings are highly dependent on timing.The golf club is swung on an arc. The clubface needs to return square to the intended starting line at the precise moment of impact.
When a swing is mistimed, even by fractions, the clubface can be open or closed to the intended starting line. The angle of attack and the low point may vary. The ball can end up yards from the target even though the swing looks indistinguishable from a ‘good’ one.
The second blow to the belief that the perfect swing is the key to better golf is that you almost certainly hit some very good shots with the swing you have. Take a moment to think back over some recent rounds. I bet you hit a number of shots you were proud of.
And we all know golfers with funky, unconventional golf swings who play consistently good golf and are very hard to beat.
The Most Efficient Way To Play Better Golf
We all know golfers with funky, unconventional golf swings who play consistently good golf and are very hard to beat.
Which prompts the question:
How can the golf swing be ‘the most important factor’ in playing your best golf, when good golf swings can shoot bad scores, and idiosyncratic golf swings can shoot very good ones?
Logically, it just doesn’t stack up.
Please consider this question for a moment.
If your goal is to be more consistent, is spending hours fixing or trying to perfect your golf swing the most efficient use of your time and money?
Logical reasoning based on the evidence would suggest not.
At least not until you have realised and fully understood what causes a golfer to tighten up and lose their timing, or to self sabotage when a good score beckons.
Understanding the way your beliefs give rise to thoughts and behaviour is the master key to unlock everything you are looking for. It will allow your mind to clear, helping you to play your best golf more often. It will change the way you learn, fix or refine your golf swing.
It will allow you to maximise the benefits you get from whatever practice time you have available. It will help you overcome any feelings of frustration, pressure or anxiety.
It will help you discover your inner resilience and mental strength when the going gets tough.
The Real Foundation of Good Golf
Most golfers sense that the mental side of the game is important. Unfortunately, they look to this area as the last resort when they have realised that the perfect golf swing is an unattainable dream, rather than as the foundation which everything else should be built on.
To some extent this is down to the often contradictory teaching and advice which has been offered by the field of golf psychology.
Many golfers want to learn more about how their mind works, about how their thoughts and feelings arise. They just don’t really know how. Or they are confused by the muddled and conflicting information they are receiving.
I wrote my books and online courses to try to cut through this confusion. When I’m working with better golfers we hardly talk about the golf swing.
If you’d like to know how understanding more about how your mind works might help you play better and enjoy the game more, please use the link below to book a discovery call.
1. Make a list of all the things you believe are true about your golf.
Look for examples from your own experience that contradict any of those beliefs. The more you start to question what you believe, the more your blind spots will become apparent. This is where the greatest opportunities for improvement lie.
2. The most efficient way to enjoy the game and play your best golf more often is to learn how your mind works before you spend time and money fixing your golf swing. If you’re sceptical, why not book a discovery call to learn more? There’s no charge, so what have you got to lose?