Golf instruction is unique – every teacher has their own perspective. While this idiosyncratic quality makes learning the game a never-ending endeavour, it often creates confusion for the mid to high handicap golfer who is searching for a consistent guide to improvement.
This series of articles, designed to help the once a week golfer break ninety, is a distillation of notes compiled from over ten-thousand golf lessons I have conducted over the past thirty years.
My instruction program is based on the belief that three swing thoughts is the maximum number any golfer can entertain simultaneously. When you try to introduce a fourth concept, one of the original ideas disappears.
The first step on the road to continuous improvement, is to reduce the golf swing to three essential concepts. Once you master these concepts, the ultimate goal is to eliminate conscious thought.
Every golfer with a handicap of twenty or higher is an unwitting victim of the three concepts we are going to discuss. A conscious awareness of these beliefs will unlock the door to breaking ninety consistently.
Misconception Number One: The belief that perfect technique will lead to perfect results.
Perfection in golf is impossible. Even the best players in the world, who play and practice three-hundred and sixty days per year, have no guarantee of results. Every round is an adventure. A brilliant practice session may be followed by a dismal game and a miserable training routine may produce outstanding results on the golf course.
The second misconception is a corollary of the first. Golf is a game of “misses”. If you regard your shots as either perfect or terrible, you are overlooking the fact that your technique is gradually improving. Breaking ninety is not a matter of hitting more perfect shots, but rather, improving the quality of your imperfect shots.
The third misconception is your expectations for improvement. Most of us resist change. We pay good money for quality instruction, yet often resist wholesale change.
Many students have an all or nothing approach to improvement. Either the swing improves immediately or they dismiss the new technique and go back to their original form. During the learning process, even the slightest improvement is significant. You have to ease your mind and body into new habits gradually.
Focus on small changes, one at a time. If you are attempting to improve your swing arc, reduce the motion into bite-size segments. This method will allow you to monitor your progress.
The ultimate goal is to connect the pieces into one clear image that triggers your best swing automatically.
Review these concepts. Your willingness to replace, or at least, suspend belief in these three concepts is the first key to consistency.
You may recall the story of the baby elephant tied to a small stake. After several attempts, the elephant gives up trying to pull the stake out of the ground. When it is fully grown, the elephant still believes that the stake is immovable, so it remains bound to a piece of wood that could be shattered in an instant.
Does this metaphor have any relevance to your golf game?
In the next article, you will learn the key to developing effective muscle memory.