80/20 Golf Learning: How To Improve Your Game (and Swing) Without Technical Instruction

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Video Summary

There is a better way to play and coach golf. For the most part golf has been made too difficult and complicated. The obsession with swing technique can cause you more harm than good. But when you learn to respect and trust your inbuilt learning system you can play better golf and enjoy things a lot more. And yeah, you can still improve your golf swing!

  • There is a better way to play and coach golf
  • Start playing more and thinking less about your technique
  • Golf improvement is counter intuitive
  • Proper coaching makes golf easier and more satisfying
  • Play the GAME!

Leave your thoughts or comments below.

13 Comments

  • Allan Kenny

    Reply Reply August 22, 2014

    very interesting comments as you have said earlier when you first drive a car you are unsteady but as you keep driving after a while it becomes natural .Cannot wait for next talk .thanks Allan

    • Scott Barrow

      Reply Reply August 22, 2014

      Yes indeed Allan.

      And when we’re learning how to drive a car no one ever tells us how to hold our wrists or move our arm while changing gears for example. We learn what works over time, through experience, based on our intention. Admittedly the hitting-the-golf-ball movement is probably more sophisticated that moving the geat stick in a car but the same concept still applies.

      Thanks for your encouragement.

  • Andrew

    Reply Reply August 22, 2014

    Hi Guys.

    A quick bit of background: I played scratch golf in my twenties and wanted to take my game to the next level and sought out the best teaching pros. That is when my game fell apart, going from free swinging to mechanical. Loosing all my feel and love for the game. Sound familiar? Fast forward 20 years…..started playing again and fell into the same trap, went to the best coaches struggled to find my auto game. Insanity comes to mind….doing the same thing and expecting different results. Having stumbled across your website has been a revelation and really helped my game. Now playing of a happy 5, sometimes I blitz it and sometimes I don’t, but who cares.

    My question relates to practice, (I enjoy practicing as much as playing) should my practice session be entirely on auto pilot or is ok to muck around a bit with mechanics? Also, I struggle from about 50m to 100m, will tend to blade a lot of my shots any tips?

    Thanks Andrew

    • Scott Barrow

      Reply Reply August 22, 2014

      Hi Andrew, great story. What learning journey eh?

      Cam is the person to give you golf specific technical suggestions, but recognise that in these words, that’s all they’d ever be. Suggestions. Not solutions. Without working closely with someone on the course first, and on the range second, the real key to unlock those types of shots won’t be found (unless you can find it yourself of course).

      Nevertheless my thoughts go to 1: Strategic decision making 2: practice design and 3: raising bodymind awareness in those types of shots. Brief examples and starting points of each of these areas are:

      1. Do those shots really affect your game or do you just notice them more? I.e If you improved these shots, would you end up actually scoring better or do you just want to be able to master all shots for shot making sake? (either is fine of course) What would be the ROI?

      2. You said you like practice so, as a percentage, how much do you practice these types of shots? And is that % going to be enough to get a change? Are you prepared to do the work? It could be boring. Or on the other hand, are you thinking, practicing, and trying too much?

      3. If you “tend to blade” these shots, what’s it like when you don’t? When you flush them. How does it feel in your body? What’s the key feeling in your body specific to this type of shot that you could see if you can go back to, and feel again? Where does your attention tend to be when you hit them just right or as you walk to address the ball? What are the “success patterns” here?

      Come to the course mate, lets get stuck into it!

  • Anthony

    Reply Reply August 22, 2014

    Hi Guys,

    Good video, look forwards to the next ones.

    Andrew,

    I run a golf improvement website/s, I know Cam, we are of a similar age and have gone through (like we all have) technical paralysis by analysis slumps. Like Cam, at age 38, my ball-striking and short-game shots are at career highs because we are rediscovering our feel and focus on flying the ball to the target using whatever swing and ball-flight the shots “tells us” to hit (as opposed to going into a round with the latest golf magazine “tip of the week”).

    I have a link to a video that may help your half-shots, Andrew; if you can understand the concept of “knowing the swing you are going to make before you make it”, you will be back hitting aggressive pitch-shots at the pin.

    WARNING: this page has a “sale pitch below the video”; this is for my subscribers that want more. I’m not selling anything here, just thought that the video and the pre-video content will “gel” with how to hit those half shots better.

    The page is here: http://www.thetruthaboutputting.com/knowing-where-the-club-is-in-your-swing-leads-to-excellent-ball-striking/

    Hope it helps,

    Anthony

  • iain

    Reply Reply August 22, 2014

    dear cameron –
    best video yet –
    lucky i am a member to see it . there is more value in this discussion on the philosophy of how to play the game than in 10 hours of golf lessons directed at the swing to hit the ball l straight.

    will have to replay several times to take it all in .

    What you seem to be explaining is that playing golf is about playing the game with what ever swing you have , not practicing the game trying to develop some mythic perfect swing that is imposed on you through a lesson that tries to copy some one else’s swing mechanics.

    the object of the game is to get the ball to the hole which is difficult under any circumstance with the equipment available .but to make it more difficult the course is designed to make that objective specifically even harder – so the game is not about the swing or the score but how you overcome the challenges presented by the course . Focus on that and on going forward removes the swing thought because you are more focused on how to go forward to the hole than the swing mechanics.

    Other ball games do the same thing where you have to hit the ball over a net within specific guide lines , or they even put opponents around you who block your way to the goal. . So the obsession with the swing mechanics and its relation to the score has destroyed the basic concept and fun of the game .

    looking forward to more –
    cheers iain

    • Scott Barrow

      Reply Reply August 22, 2014

      Hi Iain,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Reading your post reminded me of the pyramid model that athlete development has used in the past (It think it might have come from Tudor Bompa). Here’s a picture of it http://strengthperformance.com/profiles/blogs/understanding-the-training-factors-pyramid

      It has physical on the base, technical on the next level, tactical in the middle, and mental on the top. In golf, the physical could be the ability to walk the course on back to back days without getting fatigued, the ability to rotate effectively, or stay away from injury. Technical is obvious – the swing and various ball hitting actions. Tactical could be course management and hole strategy. And the metal could be attitude, philosophy and approach to the game and using effective thinking/non thinking during play.

      When Cam and I talk about “playing the game”, one way of understanding this is to integrate these factors above in a way that learning, fun, and potential are all occurring in a deeply satisfying way.

      Enjoy the next video.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply August 22, 2014

    Hi Cam
    with 80/20 principle do we need to find out what the 20% is for us individually or is it universal for all golfers?
    Ta Steady

    • Scott Barrow

      Reply Reply August 22, 2014

      Hey Steady I reckon you know the answer to your question.

      Cam might have a different view but personally I think there will be common factors to golfers based on their goals, but ultimately what makes each player tick to move toward their goals will be unique to them. How could it not? In fact, the technical swing instruction coaching model is actually based on the opposite to this. It tries to overlay a pre-conceived idea of how someone should swing a club, onto someone’s unique body and mind.

      And when it’s said like that, it sounds quite insane actually!

  • James

    Reply Reply August 22, 2014

    Good video guys, thanks for taking the time to do it. Looking forward to more.

    I’ve been playing a year now, first book I bought was Cam’s BioSwing, and never had a lesson despite everyone trying to push me toward lessons (even though I’m 15hcp after just a year). I still go back to the BioSwing book and really enjoy the game, swinging freely, and have hit some decent scores. So good to hear an alternative to the constant nagging to ‘go get some lessons’.

    • Scott Barrow

      Reply Reply August 22, 2014

      Hi James,

      Have faith in your own path.

      Even if you did go to a coach (ideally for “coaching”, not “lessons” – the distinction is critical), you’d still need to assess the effectiveness and direction of that relationship anyway. Expecting a childlike guarantee from lessons is the road to heartache.

  • Cameron

    Reply Reply August 23, 2014

    Some great comments: You should check out some of the reply from Scott to see how a master coach goes about it. So many good lessons there….

    Keep your eyes peeled for the next video, it’s a beauty!!!

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