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The Delusion of Perfection


    Perfection is a predefined, all-or-nothing proposition. Based on my experience with over eleven-thousand students, the majority harbour an (unconscious) belief that perfect swing mechanics will lead to perfect results.

    Visit any practice range in the world, and you will see this belief manifest in full force.

    We need solid fundamentals as a foundation, but the constant search for swing flaws, simply reinforces the belief that you’re not good enough to forget them. It’s a vicious circle.

    Is perfection defined in terms of form or results or both? Can you name one professional golfer who has a perfect swing?

    Some swings are more aesthetically pleasing, but form and function are not always related. How many golfers do you know who have perfect form, but can’t hit the ball out of a wet paper bag?

    How would you define consistency? The most consistent players have obvious swing flaws. Bubba Watson’s feet shift and slide like he was wearing rollerblades. Jordan Spieth’s left elbow has a definite “bend”. Look hard enough and you can find technical glitches in almost every swing.

    Take a moment to visualize your last perfect shot. Can you recall what you were thinking or feeling? I would guess that you find it easier to recall the feeling, rather than the thought process that preceded the shot.

    So what’s the point?

    Consistency is a product of feeling; your ability to recall the feeling of your best shots is the secret to constant improvement. If you can hit quality shots on the practice range, then you have the ability.

    Instead of trying to constantly “fix” your swing, why not develop some techniques for anchoring in the feeling of your best shots?

    Your swing, like your signature, is constantly changing based on how you feel. Let’s try a little experiment. Do you have a pen and paper handy?

    Across the top of the page, write your signature as fast as you can.

    Now move down to the middle of the page and do it again.

    Can you see any differences in the two signatures? At first glance, they may appear identical, but take a closer look. Perhaps you dotted an “I” in a different place or some of the letters are more slanted.

    Despite the differences, you would agree that they are consistent – both signatures are uniquely yours. Which one would you define as perfect?

    Your swing is a by-product of how you feel. How you feel can change in an instant. Develop some techniques for recalling the feeling of success, and your degree of consistency will rise automatically.

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