When I was learning golf, I thought that all I had to do was get my swing to look mechanically like Tiger Woods’ and everything would fall into place.
If I could just hit his positions and ingrain them, I would then start hitting the ball pure every time – and then I could just go out and play golf perfectly without thought.
I think this is the golfing Utopia that everyone dreams of.
Has it happened to you yet? I know the answer to that.
Is it even a possibility – absolutely not.
Every day is a subtly different blend of impact variables.
And you cant stop this – because you are human. Our motor programs differ not only from day to day, but even within the day. I’m sure you’ve all experienced the round where you are playing great and then BAM, the round goes sour without any rhyme or reason.
That’s right, the stuff that actually matters to the ball flight (the small stuff at impact) is quite changeable. Even at my level, when I pick up a club and hit my first shot of the day, I have no idea whether it is going to be flush, or slightly heel/toe biased.
But it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter because, no matter what impact variables my body decides to give me on the day, I can do something special and magical that separates me from you.
I can change those variables until they are as I desire them.
Most amateurs can’t do this, because they haven’t practiced this skill at all. They were so busy practicing ingraining the “perfect swing” that they never learned how to re-calibrate when shit hits the fan.
And trust me, shit will ALWAYS hit the fan.
Some days you will be
- Presenting the Clubface more open/closed than normal
- Hitting it more toe/heel
- Striking the ground farther back/shallower than normal
These are the ones that will make or break your score. These are the impact factors that can produce a horrific result even when they change on a minuscule level.
While the square example might hit the middle of the fairway, the 1.5 degrees open is enough to miss the fairway. Small changes, but big result-effects.
There are less changeable impact factors, such as;
- Loft presentation
- Swing path
- Max clubhead speed
Those variables don’t change much from day to day. But the first three – you have to develop some serious “tinkerability” in those if you want to survive this game long-term.
Time To Change
Let me ask you a question
If a shank popped up in the middle of your round tomorrow, how many swings would it take you to “fix it”?
If your answer was anything other than “the very next swing”, you have a problem that needs addressing.
What about that slice/hook? Does it ruin your round when it pops up, and you have to wait until your round is over, go to sleep and hope that next day it has gone?
That’s no way to play good golf consistently.
If your slice/hook pops up mid-round, you should be able to put things into place to fix it there and then. This is going to turn your nightmare rounds into something highly savable, and your average rounds into pretty decent scores.
A Different Mindset
One of the biggest differences from me as a player now (versus 15 years ago) is that NOW I see myself more as a mechanic.
15 years ago, I used to work on my swing as if I was trying to build a car that would never break down – the Utopian swing. But, ultimately, this will only get you so far (not to mention it’s an impossible and unrealistic dream which will never be realized).
However, viewing the golf swing from a mechanic’s point of view allowed me to develop a toolbox of fixes.
I looked at the common problems that would INEVITABLY occur to any golfer during a round of golf and learned 3-4 fixes for each.
Having the ability to fix any problem that pops up in a round of golf makes you invincible.
Ultimately, what I’ve found, is that by improving your ability to problem solve and becoming the best fault-mechanic you can be allows you to;
- Play much better golf
- Have more consistent scores
- Turn a potentially poor round into a good one
- Be able to self-coach for life
So stop trying to build that perfect car (swing) that never breaks down, and start learning how to become your own best mechanic. Build your box of tools before you need them, and your golf game and scorecard will thank you.
If you want to learn more about training programs to improve your game, check out my game improvement center by clicking the link below