Improving Your Game with Guided Instruction…Exploring Some Myths

One of the reasons many golfers avoid lessons is that they think the search for the simple, repeatable swing, means they will have to undo their whole golf swing instincts and go backwards. They are expecting an instructor to ridicule the swing they come armed with, and to make them go back to golf’s equivalent of kindergarten.

That’s just not true. If you were to visit the driving range at a PGA or LPGA tour event, you will see all sorts of swings – some slow, liquid and elegant (like Ernie’s), but the majority will be much less elegant. Many could be referred to at times as “choppers”, some with little cuts and others with low draws, but what they will all be able to do is get the ball to where they want it to go, more often than not.

When a player comes for a lesson, our first objective is to make sure that as quickly as possible we are increasing the enjoyment they get from the game, and that usually means making it easier for them to get the ball to where they want it to go, more often.

For each of you, there will certainly be things in your fundamental setup, takeaway, downswing, impact and finish, we must evolve, rather than completely undo, that will improve your golf swing and your consistency.

However…“The sole purpose of a golf swing is to produce solid contact and a shot shape/ball flight you can count on. The method employed is not significant, as long as it is repetitive.” John Jacobs.

A lot of golfers want to (or are told to) change their swings because there are certain shots or clubs they struggle with. When they try to change, they often get worse, because they try to learn a swing that doesn’t fit their style, athletic ability, or learning process. Instead of trying to master the swing they have, their obsession with adopting another swing leads to frustration and failure. I say, why a major change?

Instruction should be tailored to an individual’s needs rather than to try to force a golfer to learn a rigid swing theory. A good teacher possesses the ability to fix whatever swing (pretty or ugly, text book or unusual) a golfer has developed, and make it work. They will work to fix or refinenot rebuild – the player’s swing, based on their own style of play.

Technically speaking, forget the “pretty looking swing” notion and let’s work with your swing’s own DNA. No two people are going to swing the club exactly alike. Each of us has our own physical limitations, strength, and flexibility. We have our own tempos, rhythms, and balance. We don’t stand or aim the same, or have identical swing planes and paths. There is a balance for, a plus or minus to, any swing fault. Your ball flight and impact condition (what the ground looks like where your ball used to be resting) tell the story of what to do to help you achieve your goals. Look at what the ball is doing… and then ask why.