My Thoughts on Golf
I firmly believe Improvement starts with acquiring a better understanding of the game and how it is best played. Here are a few of the simple ideas about golf that I commonly pass along to my studentsand clients:
Golf clubs are not getting better.
To produce a legal golf club, manufacturers have to stay within the design guidelines set forth by the two ruling bodies of golf (U.S.G.A. and R&A). As a result, everything that can be legally done to significantly improve the performance of a golf club has already been done. The newest golf club designs look great, but they’re not going to lower your handicap.
Play with a set of golf clubs that are easy for you to use.
You want to play with golf clubs that make the game easier. So forget about brand names and marketing hype. Instead, focus on head design, club specifications, and set composition.
You should play with the head designs and club specifications that help you make square and centered contact and launch the ball on a playable trajectory. And you should play with the set composition (the combination of wedges, irons, hybrids, and fairway woods) that provides maximum distance control.
To learn more about club design and fitting, read my simple book Rethinking Golf Clubs: an inside perspective on the confusing and very misunderstood world of golf clubs.
Trying to swing like someone else is pointless.
The fact that every year the top 100 players in the world all swing differently should tell you something. It should tell you that how you swing is not nearly as important as you’ve been led to believe. Instead of trying to swing like someone else, just learn to better understand and manage the swing you already have.
You’ll never swing exactly the same way two times in a row.
You’re not a mechanical swing machine; you’re a human swing machine. As a result, you’ll never swing the golf club exactly the same way two times in a row. You won’t, I won’t, and neither will Tiger Woods. You can, however, learn to consistently create acceptable golf shots. That should be your goal – consistently acceptable, not consistently perfect.
Through making only average golf shots, you could shoot the lowest rkound of you life.
The value of hitting the ball farther is over-rated.
While most golfers remain fixated on trying to hit the ball farther, the essence of good golf is not raw distance, its distance control – the ability to hit the ball specific distances. Without improved distance control, hitting every club in your bag 10 or even 20 yards farther provides no meaningful advantage.
The path to lower scores is the same as it was 100 years ago.
The easiest way to significantly lower your average score is to become more accurate off the tee and improve your short game. Golfers fail to improve because they continuously look elsewhere.
When playing golf, over 60% of your shots will be either on or around the green.
While most golfers are aware of the importance of developing their short game, very few take the time to do it. If golfers practiced ONLY their short game and nothing else, their average score would drop – probably significantly.
Understanding and becoming better at what you can effectively control is easy, and it’ll make you a much better golfer.
When playing golf, there are five aspects of every shot that are within your complete conscious control. In my book, Understanding Golf: Learn to significantly lower your average score without hitting the ball farther, changing your swing, or buying expensive golf clubs, I refer to them as the Five Essential Playing Skills. As you develop these skills you become a better golfer. They are:
Shot Selection – you can learn to identify and choose to always play the highest percentage shot.
Club Selection – you can learn how to determine and choose to always select the club that provides the greatest margin of error.
Creating Intention – you can choose a single positive intention and allow that single intention alone to guide you through the process of shot creation.
Setup Position – you can setup to the ball in the way that allows you to most easily create the desired impact conditions.
Swing Focus – you can choose to trust in your ability and swing freely – without thought.
You don’t need to hit more good golf shots to significantly lower your average score.
In truth, you can score the lowest round in your life through hitting nothing more than average golf shots. Its poor shot selection and severe miss-hits that ruin your scores.
To start replacing below-average golf shots with average golf shots, all you have to do is better manage your game and learn to play every shot with a higher degree of purpose. You can start doing that immediately – just become better at the Five Essential Playing Skills I listed above.
The golf swing is not golf
When playing golf, you cannot effectively create shots through focusing on your golf swing. The goal is to create a specific shot, not a specific golf swing. With regards to the golf swing, remember this quote from Tiger Woods, “I do not MAKE it happen, I LET it happen”.
Few golfers are 100% focused on the shot they’re playing.
Most golfers struggle because they allow their thoughts to drift into areas that are both beyond their control and irrelevant to the shot at hand. While trying to create a golf shot, they might also be thinking about:
How other golfers are playing.
What other golfers might be thinking.
The various places the ball might go after it leaves the clubface.
What their swing is going to look like.
What their score on the hole might be if they hit a good or poor shot.
The results of the last time they attempted a similar shot.
What they did right or wrong on their last shot.
And those are only thoughts related to golf. When your focus is divided, creating a specific golf shot becomes very difficult.
If you want to improve your ball-striking, you’ll have to stop thinking when you’re swinging.
Your swing moves too fast to be consciously controlled. When you try to manipulate your swing motion, you’ll only succeed in moving yourself off-balance.
When it comes to hitting a golf shot, your body is far smarter than you are. You need to accept that. So relax, create a single positive intention, get properly setup to the ball, and swing with confidence – not thought. Allow your intention to guide your swing motion.
Continually taking golf lessons is like continually buying new golf clubs, it’s expensive and there is no reason for it.
Once you acquire a better understanding the game and learn how to manage your golf swing, you’ll gain the ability to self-coach and never need another lesson. Once you acquire a set of golf clubs that are easy for you to use, it’ll become the only set of golf clubs that you’ll ever need.
Learning to better understand the game will save you a lot of money!