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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 stripping away intellectual knowledge and unnecessary beliefs, rather than adding to them.

I hope at this point, you might be asking the obvious question.

“OK Sam, if the answer is in 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 answer.

All Knowledge is Not Equal

It seems to me that there are different levels of knowledge.

Certain types of knowledge underpin other types, providing a foundation on which our worldview, our belief structure is built.

As you look deeper, you find that understanding one fundamental principle can often mean that a whole category of information at a shallower level can be dismissed.

This is where we are going.

By peeling away layers of limiting belief, the truth about how we experience life and golf will be revealed.

From this clarity, you are much more likely to trust your instincts. You will be less inclined to be pulled off track by the latest swing fad or piece of plausible marketing blurb from the golf instruction industry. 

How Important is Perfect Golf Swing Technique?

Let’s explore a common belief. This will give you an insight into how the process works. This is a trap almost every golfer has fallen into at some stage. (I spent many years caught up in this one.)

The golf instruction industry 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 all the golfers on my email list a couple of years ago.

It won’t surprise you to learn that most of them believed that the key to playing well was to fix, improve or perfect their golf swing.

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. 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.

What Does ‘Good’ Look Like?

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 has to match a set of ideals set down by the golf instruction industry.

Every golfer is different, which means every swing will vary. You only need to look at the practice fairway at 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 (especially in the backswing) that might not fit with what many golf 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.

Your capacity to deliver your physical skills, how you swing the club on the course relies not just on your understanding of the golf swing, but also on how well you understand yourself.

The reasons for a poor golf swing at an important moment lie deeper, beyond your technical proficiency. This is where many golfers disappear off into the wilderness looking for the mythical ‘swing that will hold up under pressure.’

But it’s a golfer that feels pressure, not a golf swing.

Great Golf Swings Still Hit Bad Shots

This might sound like a contradictory statement, so please allow me to explain.

There are a number of flaws in the argument that perfecting your golf swing technique will guarantee you play your best golf every time you tee it up.

The first and most obvious example which disproves this theory is that even technically sound golf swings hit poor golf shots sometimes. Again, watch a tournament on TV this week to confirm this.

You probably know golfers with good golf swings who play nowhere near the level their technical 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 moment of impact.

When a swing is mistimed, even by fractions, the clubface can be open or closed to the intended starting line. The ball can end up yards from the target even though the swing looked like a good one.

The second blow to the theory of the perfect swing being 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.

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 begs 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.

In terms of value for time and money 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?

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 underlying 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 learn more 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 a great extent, this is down to the often contradictory teaching and advice which has been offered by the field of golf psychology, up until now.

Many golfers want to learn more about the subject. They just don’t really know how. Or they are confused by the muddled and conflicting information they are receiving.

Overcoming this confusion is why I wrote my second book, and is what we spend most time on when I’m working with better golfers,or those who don’t want to spend a lot of time rebuilding their golf swing.

If you’d like to know how it might help you enjoy the game more, please use the link below to book a discovery call..

In summary:

To make any sort of change requires a change in your beliefs. This article describes how your beliefs about the golf swing might be getting in the way of you enjoying your golf and playing your best golf more often.

A good golf swing is no guarantee you’ll play great golf all the time. Even the best players in the world lose their rhythm and timing for weeks at a time (often when they are ‘working’ on their swing technique.).

Understanding how your mind works will help you play better with what you have. Doing so will help you learn and improve in the mid to long term.

Therefore, would it not make sense to learn about why you feel the way you feel before you spend loads of money on lessons, or valuable hours down the driving range?

Action Steps

1. Make a list of all the things you believe are true about your golf. Look for examples from your own experience that contradict that belief. 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?

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