The Proper Mindset for Constructing or Reconstructing Your Swing

In Articles on July 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

I’ve been enjoying reading some other people’s accounts of trying to become great at golf, such as The Dan Plan (a serious effort) and the novel Paper Tiger (a less serious effort). It seems a lot of the amateur golf world is interested in the idea of going from normal golfer to PGA Tour Pro. I admit I would be quite happy becoming a big fish on the Mid-Ams, but I wouldn’t mind winning a Masters either.

Anyway, with all the concern over what it takes to become a really good golfer, I thought I’d share what I think is the most important tip to starting the journey: Understand what a golf swing really is. The only thing I knew about swinging a golf club when I started was that it was a specific, very non-intuitive action. That knowledge was invaluable.

When you step up to hit a golf ball, you’re not stepping up to hit a golf ball. I think most people go wrong by trying to do it intuitively, and just hitting the golf ball with their best approximation of proper form. That’s wrong. When you step up to the ball think of yourself performing a golf swing, the ball is merely in the path and will ultimately be your club’s concern.

A golf swing is a specific physical act, like a dance move in ballet. Actually that’s my favorite way to think about it, a golf swing is like a precise ballet move. When a dancer performs a move they don’t just do it their own way, they use total body control to perform it in the very, very, very specific manner their instructors have taught them. It’s not about vaguely understanding your supposed to spin around three times and jump in the air, instead every limb has a specific place and way to move and the net result is you will spin round three times and jump in the air by performing those movements.

So too with a golf swing. The golf swing is a specific, precise act. Perform it like a ballet dancer dances, like a surgeon making absolutely precise cuts, like a guitar player creating the chord he wants with one hand and strumming just the way he wants with the other, no room for anything but precisely the correct movement.

That’s the correct way to begin. I personally swing train without a golf ball the majority of the time, I think most people would benefit from that. The golf ball gets in the way of learning how to swing because you’re focused on what the golf ball does. You can’t become a great golfer by focusing on anything but yourself, the feedback of a golf ball is helpful, but absolutely unnecessary for anything but a small percentage of your practice. Don’t forget the golf ball entirely of course, and some days as you progress you’ll want to work on nothing but ball striking, but most of the time focus solely on your swing, and always remember that you affect only the club, the way you control the club is what sends the golf ball off the way you want. Don’t put your focus into a golf ball with you never even physically touch.


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