Clickbait, right? Nope – you’re about to learn what I do to hit laser beams onto the flag.
I had my group coaching class yesterday, and I was demonstrating to them. After 10 shots, which all finished no more than 20 foot away from the target (at 160 yards, which is pretty darn straight), I turned to the group and asked what they saw? Their answer collectively was something along the lines of
You hit them all so straight, almost like a robot. Every shot was pretty much the same, it was very consistent”
What They Didn’t See
I then explained to them that, while the results were consistent and straight, they are just looking at it from a superficial perspective.
Let’s have a look at my thought processes/internal dialogue during those ten shots.
Shot 1 – Ok, I have no idea what this shot is going to be like as it is my first one of the day. However, I know that I tend to hit about a 10 yard draw, so I will try and hit a little fade onto the target which should neutralize it.
Shot 2 – That last one was a slight push shot. I need to feel like I swing a bit more left through impact which should neutralize the swing path and also drag the clubface left with it.
Shot 3 – The last one faded onto the target slightly. I overcooked the path change a little and left the face slightly open to it. This shot I will try and go somewhere in-between for the path, and hope the face figures itself out.
Shot 4 – That last shot started out a tiny bit left and drew a touch more. It’s not far from a straight shot, I just need to feel the face a touch more open for this next one.
Shot 5 – That last one was close to perfect. Clubface was just a bit too open – I need to feel something in between.
And so forth.
So, while (on the outside), it may have looked robotic, what you didn’t see was that I was going through a constant calibration process. I was tweaking the path and the face through feels.
During the 10 shots, there was only one (I think the 7th ball) which I thought was perfect enough. While all the results were “good enough”, I was constantly calibrating the result based on the previous shot/overall pattern of shots.
A Tale Of Two Swings
You see, I have two swings– a fade and a draw swing.
Technically, my fade swing has an out to in (left) path, with a face which is open to it. My draw swing has an in to out (right) path with a clubface which is closed to it.
My draw swing sees the clubhead move along the white line through impact, and the clubface looks somewhere in the shaded area, and vice versa.
In order to produce the straightest shot I can, I am essentially trying to feel either a fade or a draw swing in certain amounts. The rule I follow is simple;
Take whatever the previous shot was and feel the opposite to some extent”
I use this rule for calibrating almost anything required to hit a good golf shot – whether it’s improving the quality of ground strike, or improving face strike.
Of course, you could take a more complicated viewpoint – and there was a point in my life where this would have been the case for me. However, I feel that most people really overcomplicate the shit out of simple things.
By the way, doing all of the above (see pic) won’t guarantee a straight shot.
If you have an issue, feel some of the opposite until the issue neutralizes itself.”
I am only able to do this type of calibration because I can call upon certain feelings I have developed. For example,
- I know the feeling of moving my path more to the left/right in certain amounts
- I know the feeling of opening/closing the face to the path in varying amounts
Oh, you don’t have these feelings? Great – let’s work on developing your skills/awareness/malleability in order to gain a heightened sense for these things. I explain how to do that in depth in The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers.
You see, you are under the misguided assumption that you will find one swing key/secret one day which allows you to hit consistently straight shots to your target. How do I know – you clicked on this article because it had “secret” in the title.
And before you run off crying about how I duped you, understand that I DID give you the secrets to hitting straight shots, but it isn’t “one thing”. While I am sure you have stumbled across a swing thought in the past which allowed you to hit a series of straight shots, it didn’t last (that’s why you are here).
The secret to a long-lasting ability to hit straight shots is not one mechanical swing-secret, but an ability to call upon FEELS which can re-calibrate an undesirable shot pattern. These feels are things which you can draw upon no matter what your swing mechanics look like, or no matter what shot patterns you are naturally producing on the day”.
Read that again – absorb it, chew it, tattoo it to your bicep
Most golfers train solely to develop one stock shot. This is why, when shit (inevitably) hits the fan on the golf course and they lose this feeling, the player cannot recover, and the round becomes a complete loss.
As part of my training with my players, we actually work on the ability to vary parameters related to quality golf shots. This gives a player the ability to re-calibrate these parameters when they start to go out of desirable ranges – ultimately allowing the player to turn a bad day into a good one and gain more consistency.
That’s right – by practicing inconsistency, we can become more consistent.
This is why variability and differential practice training methodologies are so important (I describe these in-depth in The Practice Manual) – they not only develop the feel(s) required, but they improve your skill, awareness and ability to manage how much of the “opposing” feeling to implement in order to create your desired shot.
Although this is not available to everyone, I also have done a massive amount of training on Trackman, so I have the ability to feel my swing path to the nearest degree or so. Through using Trackman in conjunction with variability and differential practice, I have been able to build incredible feel and control over my shots.
This is quite funny to me, as devices like Trackman get a bad rap for being too technical. I couldn’t disagree more – it has greatly improved my feel and bridged the gap between feel and real.
Trackman is a teaching/club fitting device which gives incredible feedback on club delivery and ball flight
Feel Is Not Real
I naturally hit a draw. If I swing without thought, it can be anywhere from a 5-15 yard draw shot, depending on the day.
So, what this means is that, in order for me to hit a straight shot, I have to ‘feel’ as if I hit a small fade.
As I said earlier, by calling upon the opposing feeling to your patterns, you will tend to neutralize them. This means that my normal 3-4 degree inside-out swing path gets much closer to 0 when I am trying to hit a small fade.
I may have to feel a -4 path (left/fade swing path) in order to get to neutral.
I am in no way saying that a 0 swing path (perfectly neutral) is optimal for playing your best golf.
- To hit a laser-straight shot, you need the club to be moving through impact on a square path, with a face which is square to it.
- In order to achieve this, you will have to take your path/face patterns and implement a feeling which neutralizes it. For example, if your path is too much to the right, you will have to feel something which brings the path more to the left.
- Working on your ability to produce these feels (as well as in the right amounts) is where differential practice, variability practice and feedback come in.
- The ability to add good variability (corrections) is what will give you consistency, not beating balls mindlessly to develop “muscle memory”.
Sick of slicing/hooking and want to hit lasers?
Want to lower your scores through understanding your shot patterns?
Want to lose fewer balls on the course, and hit more fairways and greens?
Want to be able to shape the ball at will?
The Accuracy Plan is your guide to doing this. Click the image link below to learn more.
Like To Read?
Why not pick up a copy of the amazon.com best-seller, The Practice Manual – The Ultimate Guide for Golfers.
It has reached number one in the USA, UK, Canada, Germany and France, as well as hitting the top 10 in Italy and Spain. It has also been featured on The Golf Channel as one of the “must-have” books. CLICK HERE to find out more.