Does the swing create the shot or does the shot create the swing?
Are you focusing on form at the expense of function?
We are led to believe that if we make a good swing, we’ll hit a good shot. Sound familiar? The golf coaching industry and the culture it has created has led us all down that path for decades, largely without foundation or success.
Our belief is this concept is fundamentally flawed.
Rather than asking “what is wrong with my golf swing?” would it not make more sense to ask “what is wrong with my shots?”
Trying to figure out what is wrong with your swing will have you questioning 101 different ‘moves’ and there will be no shortage of opinions on what you are doing wrong, most of which will be clichés at best and simply incorrect at worst.
By contrast, if you reflect on what happened with your shot, you will come up with facts, not opinions. If your tee shot finished in the left rough, or your approach shot finished short and right of the green, these are facts and not opinions.
The journeys from the left rough back to the fairway or the front right bunker to the green are a whole lot shorter and easier to correct and improve upon than the eternal, fruitless search for technical perfection. The golf course demands you create shots, not make pretty golf swings.
Our desire is to help you find your way of playing better golf and having more fun, rather than the other way. Think about some of the most exciting and entertaining players over the years. Seve, of course, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and the King, Arnold Palmer, to name but a few. All great to watch. All artists who had us on the edge of our seats at one time or another. All golfers who found their way of playing this great game.
Palmer famously said: “Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing. Not a swing you saw on TV. Not that swing you wish you had. No, swing your swing. Capable of greatness. Prized only by you. Perfect in its imperfection. Swing your swing. I know I did.”
When you think about it logically, it seems unrealistic and almost nonsensical to expect the same swing to produce two very different shots. Yet when you go for a golf lesson or go to the range you will almost always do so in order to work on your swing. Would it not make more sense to work on creating shots rather than trying to create or recreate a consistent swing?
“Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing. Not a swing you saw on TV. Not that swing you wish you had. No, swing your swing.” – Arnold Palmer
If you visit the driving range at any professional Tour event around the world, pay attention to the ball flight of the shots they hit. You will see the players hitting fairly similar shots, whether they be soft fades, gentle draws, or straight bullets.
Now take a look at the swings that create these shots. The shots may be similar but the swings or styles that create them are very, very different. The players’ focused attention is very much on what the ball has to do to reach its intended target.
Think about all other ball sports. Tennis, football, soccer, rugby, squash, cricket – the list goes on. Where would your attention be, playing any of these sports? Correct, the ball. So why would golf be any different?
Neglect the ball, and its importance, at your peril.
Excerpt from The Lost Art of Playing Golf, which is available now at thelostartofgolf.com in hardback and Kindle formats.