Golf Swing Instruction
Knowing Versus Feeling
Is it possible to develop a consistent golf swing by rehearsing your mistakes?
Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?
Most “average” golfers seek professional advice out of desperation.
They try every tip in the book to overcome a particular problem – they know the symptoms but fail to understand the cause.
Every golfer knows that a chronic slice is caused by an outside-in swing path. The clubhead comes over the top in the downswing and contacts the ball with an open clubface, thereby producing left to right spin.
Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?
Does understanding the mistake(s) automatically lead to a solution?
This method of teaching is analogous to the patient who goes to a doctor to alleviate a pain in his arm when the patient reaches above shoulder height. The doctor considers a moment and then responds “… well, don’t do it then.”
During my teaching career, I’ve seen hundreds of dedicated students who invest hours on the practice range trying to correct a specific problem by consciously trying to fix it. This method works well in practice, but under game conditions, the result is often discouraging.
The single biggest misconception for the “average” golfer is the belief that he/she can consciously control their golf swing.
Once you have a solid grip and stance, how you feel before the golf swing starts are the key to consistency. After the first year, any golfer can effectively predict results by how they feel as they stand over the ball.
What’s the point of this article?
Perhaps more students would seek professional instruction on a regular basis if we helped them develop their unique sense of feel.
Instead of trying to make the golfer conform to an ideal of technical perfection. Let the results dictate the form.
Our role (as professional instructors) is to help a student develop their own unique style; the style that feels right. Traditional instruction is based on the supposition that proper technique is a prerequisite for consistency.
This begs the question: what is the proper technique? It’s the style that produces the most consistent results for the student.
The golf pundits may be taking exception to the idea of practicing one’s mistakes for fear of developing poor muscle memory. The concept of muscle memory is simply a term of convenience: muscles have no memory.
Memories are tied to emotions. If you repeat a motion often enough and lose the fear associated with it, then it becomes a matter of re-creating the ideal (pre-swing) feel to quickly eliminate the problem.