How many times have you heard about a successful professional golfer failing to come back from major surgery to their golf swing technique?
You know the guy or gal who, not satisfied with their performances from tee to green decides to spend some time with a golf swing guru and come back an even better golfer than before.
You read in the golf media about the successful ones who changed something about the way they swing a golf club and came back better than before, and it is the stuff golf legends are made of in this game.
The great Ben Hogan came back from a horrific car accident in 1949 to a shorter and more compact version of his golf swing and almost won every tournament he looked at through the 1950’s. Jack Nicklaus after his worst season in history in 1979 came back with a flatter version of his golf swing technique in 1980.
Nick Faldo drove his golf swing into David Leadbetter’s golf swing garage and drove out with a suped up version, and then went on to win major championships and golfing glory.
And then there’s Tiger Woods. He went into the Butch Harmon golf swing garage and drove out with a different version of his golf swing.
Then he drove into Hank Haney’s golf swing garage and did the same thing; and if that wasn’t enough, he then drove into Sean Foley’s garage and once again drove out with yet another version of his golf swing.
It reads like a script from The Young and Restless, and yet this is what golf culture seems to be focused on, the perfection of the golf swing. But golf is not about golf swing, it is a game built around score. It has always been a game of score and not a game of swing.
Now more than ever with faster computing speeds, sophisticated software programs and huge hard drives, many young golf instructors seem to be more like lab technicians than golf instructors who can improve your golf score.
More advanced and elite golfers are spending more of their time developing their perfect swing at the expense of developing their scoring ability on the golf course.
Let me say it again, golf is a game of score NOT a game of swing. You don’t win tournaments with your golf swing; you win golf tournaments because of the way you use all the different swings from short to long.
Worse than this are the golfers who could already play at a very high standard that make a change in instructor and are encouraged to change their golf swing, and sadly, never come back from it.
We have seen this scenario play out many times over the years, and many of these golfers soon give up playing because they can’t go back to their old ways, and also haven’t got close to reaching the new destination.
They really are in golf swing purgatory.
A case in point is a young man we heard about who at the time was scoring many times in the low 70’s and high 60’s on challenging layouts in junior tournaments and winning with low 3 and 4 round totals.
About a year ago it was decided that he should take lessons from a young certified golf swing coach from a famous golf academy and change his stroke pattern to their preferred golf swing model.
Recently I heard from a very reliable source that this young man is so frustrated and disappointed with his performances that he was seriously weighing up whether he would keep playing golf or pursue something else.
He cannot drive the ball straight from the tee anymore and most of the time hits shocking golf shots that are so far away from his old reliable shot-making skills that those that know him are in dis-belief. His golf score average has risen by 6 strokes which begs the question why?
Keep the swing change drill simple for better results
This story is very common, but you won’t read about all these golfers who fail to make the changes to their technique when they seek out golf swing gurus for the perfect swing - just the successful ones.
You can’t buy a golf swing that will make you a champion golfer. You have to master many different short and long swing skills to produce lower golf scores and you have to stay focused on what’s important if you want to succeed at golf.
Avoid any golf instructor who tells you that you can speed up the process of developing a better version of your golf swing technique. No one and I mean no one can fast-track the habituation process when changing golf swing techniques.
Golf swings are grown slowly with the right conditions and environment. Your golf instructor should be someone who is extremely consistent with their message to you. Avoid golf instructors who keep changing their message and changing what you do.
Look for experienced golf instructors with a proven track record in helping advanced and elite golfer to shoot lower golf scores and become more competitive. A good golf instructor will spend as much time teaching short-game skills and golf course skills as they do golf swing skills.
If they spend most of their time in a swing studio giving full swing lessons via their technology then you really have to ask yourself whether this individual is the right golf instructor for you.
When you become an advanced to elite golfer you have already reached a very high level of competence in many different areas of your game and even a simple change to your golf swing can radically affect your performances.
You cannot take golf swing change lightly- BE VERY CAREFUL.
Make minor adjustments to your golf swing, and avoid major changes at all costs. Remember there are only three things your golf swing needs to do to play this game at a very high level;
1. Hit the ball out of the centre of the clubface at least 70 percent of the time.
2. Start your golf shots on line 70 percent or more of the time.
3. Hit your golf shots with minimal curvature at least 70 percent of the time.
A pretty golf swing doesn’t guarantee anything. The golf tours are full of golfers whose golf swings are like poetry in motion. Most miss the cut or produce high golf score averages.
Your golf swing goal is to produce the three objectives I described above, that is it. By all means make very minor adjustments, but only to improve the three objectives.
With a rapid rise in diagnostic equipment that can measure golf swing motion to a micro level you have to ask yourself whether an adjustment to your golf swing plane of three degrees, or an adjustment to your hip rotation of six degrees will guarantee that you can hole the last putt on the last green to win your first golf tournament.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
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