After all, golf is a challenging game and to build consistency into it just reduces the uncertainty factor a little. But is it possible to be a consistent golfer? Well, to answer this question we must understand that we are talking about mainly two things, consistency of behavior and consistency of results.
So let’s discuss these factors and see whether it is possible to obtain consistency in our behavior and results.
To do this, let’s look at the four incontrovertible effects that are the main factors influencing your results on the golf course;
- The stroke type
- The collision with the golf ball
- The resultant ball flight
- The environment
Can you be consistent at producing different types of golf strokes? The short answer is no, as no two stroke types you produce are ever the same, but they can be similar, and this is important to understand and remember.
You cannot produce one stroke exactly like the next one as there is always a slight difference between them, however, you can practice a particular stroke type many times so that there is less difference between them.
This is why you have to practice repeating strokes as accurately as you can many times over to improve your golf swing. You practice strokes accurately to automate your stroke which releases you of much of your conscious thought so you can play more by feel and instinct.
At this level your golf stroke will be about as consistent as it’s likely to be.
Remember Persistent Practice Influences Permanence
Can the impact or collision with the golf ball be consistent? Sorry, again the answer is no. No two impacts with the golf ball are ever the same, but they can be similar. Because every golf stroke is different so too must the impact with the golf ball be different.
When the club-face collides with a golf ball the total contact time where the ball is squashed against the face of the club is just under 0.5 of a Millisecond, or about 400 Microseconds. So during this impact interval, there’s absolutely nothing that you can do to influence the golf ball and what it will do.
When the golf ball releases itself from the club-face, it is responding blindly to the information that the golf club transferred to it. The first time that you recognize the feeling of impact, the ball is already more than 15 yards away from you.
Can you develop a consistent ball flight? I think you know the answer to this already, no you can’t. No two ball flights are ever going to be exactly the same because the spinning rate of the ball will be slightly different in every stroke you produce, but they can be similar.
When the golf ball travels through the air it is subject to a whole host of factors that affect what it does.
Air density, drag and gravity are just three variables that will affect the balls flight making it virtually impossible for you to hit two shots the same.
A Consistent Environment
Can the environment you play golf in be consistent? No, it also can never be consistent, the best you can hope for is similar conditions from day to day, but this is mostly dependent on the season and where you live. The most consistent thing about the environment is that it is always changing.
So when you weigh it up, you cannot have a golf stroke that is consistent, therefore you cannot have an impact with the golf ball that is consistent and the resultant ball flight that you produce will also not be consistent. And if that wasn’t enough, the conditions you play in from day to day won’t be consistent either.
A Consistent Score
So the conclusion is that you cannot develop consistency of stroke, impact and ball flight, and as a consequence you also cannot have consistent scoring from day to day. Even if you played 4 rounds in a tournament and had the same score everyday (which is unlikely), how you achieved the same score result would be very different from shot to shot.
So consistency in golf is a myth, the best you can hope for is to practice to the extent that the difference between these elements is so similar that it looks like you are the most consistent golfer in your group.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
The Professional Golf Tour Training College