An automatic golf swing

Grayden has been reading my stuff for years. We’ve done a lot of back and forwards via email (don’t think we’ve actually spoken yet) and he has been a regular contributor on many of the blog posts. Grayden’s progress has been real – there’s been ups and downs but I’m sure now he is playing the kind of golf that he is truly happy with. He has now got an automatic golf swing. He’s not worried about his swing, score or others. He is playing the game.

Check out the video he posted. There are some great lessons and insight here and I’ve included more comments below.


I love his forward press. He does this before he takes the club away and I’m not even sure he knows this is happening. The forward press allows you to dance – it makes it easier to flow and acts like a trigger for the rest of your swing. Jack Nicklaus spoke about his forward press but not many others do. It’s an integral part of the swing and definitely needs more discussion.

Here’s a warning: The forward press is not a technical thing. It finds you when you swing the club instinctively – it is not something that you figure out by thinking about or doing mirror work. You move your body one way, and this sets a chain reaction the other. It can’t be contrived or you’re defeating the purpose. Let it find you. You can only get here when you surrender and truly swing the golf club in a way that satisfies you.

His swing is 100% natural. If you removed the club and the grass and replaced it with a stick and sand, he could be smashing rocks on the beach. Can you see that? Many have a poor excuse for a swing because they’re trying to swing correctly. They end up with a tight and overly manipulated version. Can you see his flow?

And because Grayden’s golf swing flows (because it’s an automatic swing), it’s consistent. He strikes the grass in the same spot each time and each swing looks the same. Consistency is what we’re all after and the only way to get this level of reliability is to give up on the dream of building the perfect golf swing. You need to “swing the sticks” and let your own automatic swing come to the surface. Nobody can replicate the ideal swing by studying pictures, reading books and looking at video. Your perfect swing turns up when you get out of your way. You’ve gotta play the game.

Really important point: Maybe should have mentioned this before because it’s vitally important. Grayden’s swing/game is all coming together for him because he can start to “feel” his swing. His awareness has gone up a notch or two and he is getting a beautiful side-affect – remarkable golf. But how can you “feel” your swing and have more awareness? You need to swing in rhythm. And how do you get rhythm? By following the advice above – by trusting your automatic golf swing.

Rhythm (I like the word flow) is our (almost) default position. But we hinder it by getting in the way and trying too hard. So at the risk of repeating myself in such a short article, you’ve got to trust that your learning system is smart enough (it is) to find your own version of a beautiful golf swing (it will).

Watch Grayden’s swing. Watch it a few times and do exactly as he does. Grab a club and head for the backyard – it’s some of the best golf practice you’ll do. The backyard offers a quiet place to get lost in your own thoughts and feelings and away from prying eyes. There’s less ego and more attention to learning.

Afterthought: I need to add that I wrote this without consultation with GP. He may have a different opinion/thoughts/ideas why things are working for him.

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  • Michael

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    Stumbled upon your teachings via your podcast (which I hope you do more of). As a relative beginner (1.5 years) I am have searched numerous sources for advice (big mistake). Your philosophy is on tract with how I feel about the swing/game and look forward to reading your material. Thus far, much of it reminds me Shawn Clements work and also Chris Riddoch author of a new book “The Golf Swing”. Keep on tweeting-it’s a nice reminder every few days to see this great material. best, Michael in Texas.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 5, 2013

      Michael, thanks for dropping by. I will be restarting the podcast soon and also starting an iPad magazine. Not far now.

      Glad you like what you’ve seen so far – there’s lots of info and plenty more to come.

      All posts get tweeted @cameronstrachan

      Chat soon and good golfing.


  • Steady

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    Hi Cam,
    Very eiree about your swing. I swing very similar with presetting a fwd press
    before I swing.
    Great work.
    Ta Steady
    PS I hope Cam doesn’t mind I sent his
    number to you and vice versa.

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    Regarding Cam’s comments on the forward press:

    The purpose of the 123 swing is to FORCE you to swing with a rhythmic, even tempo if you’re not already. So although Cam’s right that ultimately the forward press becomes instinctive (the whole swing does), in order to do this exercise you will need to ARTIFICIALLY press forward – and quite far. You say “1” at the forward most point of the press, “2” at the back most point of the back swing and “3” at impact – and its MOST important that you keep the spacing between the 1,2 and 3 EVEN – thats what “rhythm” is!

    The other crucial thing with the exercise is to forward press ONLY WITH THE HANDS – don’t let the body, knees etc go forward for this one. It will feel kind of strange at first but it WILL force you to experience a compact, rhythmic swing if you don’t have one. You will really feel it in your core actually. Thats where all the power comes from. But get out there and actually try it – including the counting out loud. It just might give you the “aha” moment it gave me 🙂

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 5, 2013

      GP: Good things here mate. I think sometimes people misunderstand some of my coaching. When you say, “to do this exercise you will need to ARTIFICIALLY press forward”, I agree fully. This doesn’t mean you are swinging in a bad or artificial way, but perhaps you are going where you should have gone all along. We need to break habits, and a nice forward press is an awesome place to start. It really does help you dance.

      A huge part of automatic golf is taking the time to swing in a way that feels great to you. So this takes some courage and a willingness to get outside and really explore what “feels” good to you.

      GP, you really have led the charge here. Scotty B was very impressed with your swing (and video skills).

      Keep up the great work.

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    It seems Grayden’s rhythm swinging a club matches the rhythm of his movements while changing clubs. Cam, you told me early on that tempo needed to find me in the swing, and not to consciously try to swing slow. In doing that, I have found a connection with the rhythm of my breathing and the rhythm of my swing. I play best when the two match.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 5, 2013

      James: Yes. Yes. Yes. You’re on your way. You’ve awaken your system and from here only good things can happen. When you can be aware of things like your breath and feelings, you are way ahead of the curve…

  • Scott Barrow

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    Hi all,

    I love reading Cam’s articles and everyone’s comments as I’m sure you all do, but I’ve gotta say, James I reckon you are dropping little nuggets of gold consistently in your comments. They are really resonating with me. Thanks. (Not do denigrate anyone else’s contributions of course) Yes breathing and movement are one, and it just so happens that paying attention to the breath is one of the most fundamental avenues to draw us back to the present moment – the place where our most satisfying experiences and best performances occur. On a side note, Cam do you realise this IS your golfing community forum?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 5, 2013

      Scotland: Starting to see it. Possibly been trying too hard, but since last year when I had a change of direction (many thanks to you), the blog has been going in the right direction.

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply February 5, 2013

    Rhythmic breathing seems to unify all the elements of the game into one collective effort. It’s what Michael Murphy refered to as “unitive awareness”; Shivas Irons’ sense of “one field before ye e’er swung.”

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply February 6, 2013

    I just watched it with the sound off – interestingly the sense of consistency of rhythm and tempo across the different clubs comes out even more. And I see what James is saying too: the rhythm of the steps back and forward to get clubs is even similar. Interesting when you start tuning in to the “rhythms of life” like that. Jack Nicklaus said he used to get up on the morning of a big tournament and pay particular attention to the rhythm and tempo of how he ate his breakfast, brushed his teeth and generally moved about the place so that he took that same tempo to the golf course. I was talking about all this with a colleague after work yesterday and he was saying how when he plays he likes to stick to a tempo in EVERYTHING he does on the course – even down to pulling clubs out of the bag, placing ball on tee, writing on his score card etc. (The reason we were talking about this btw was because I took him over to the park to “guinea pig” him on my 123 swing. I wanted to see if it was just me or it had benefits for others too. He struggled initially with the forward press – kept trying to press his whole body forward instead of just his hands – but once he started to “re-program his brain” as he put it, you could definitely see more power and control in his swing. He said the big thing he noticed immediately was better balance)

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply February 6, 2013

    “He said the big thing he noticed immediately was better balance.”

    This, I think, is key. Balance is instrumental in the golf swing. You can have good balance with no rhythm, but it’s impossible to have good rhythm without balance. This makes balance, along with the rest of the elements of the swing, subordinate to rhythm. If you allow your rhythm to find you, rhythm in turn will produce good balance as well as good “mechanics”. It’s in its nature. Approaching the swing by pursuing mechanics first is like trying to build a house by starting with the roof. No chance.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 9, 2013

      Balance is instinctive to us all – when we stop trying for conscious control we let our subconscious take over – when this happens balance is a beautiful side affect. Conscious control just gets in the way.

      BTW – you have an eloquent way of expressing yourself James – are you a writer?

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply February 11, 2013

    No, not a writer, but I like words. They just come to me. 🙂

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 12, 2013

      James – interesting. You must have done a lot of reading/writing. I used to be terrible, but had a good mentor. You might like this.

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply February 17, 2013

    I like that post. With me, I write the way I think, not talk. My speech has lagged way behind (childhood trauma) but it’s coming along. And I did used to devour books when I was young. They were my escape. 🙂

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