The information below first appeared as a blog post and was one of my most popular ever golf instruction articles. Feel free to add your comments below.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll hopefully be playing golf with more freedom and enthusiasm. I hope this is the case.

If not, or if you’re new here, the following post will give you the 5 most essential steps to mastering automatic golf. At the very least, let’s hope you’ll get a jolt of inspiration and some motivation to get outside and whack that ball.

Law #1 – Stop thinking technique

Yep, I’ve been banging on about this for ages now but it’s still the biggest thing that stops you from playing your best golf. For some reason (I wish I could figure it out exactly) golfers still revert back to “technique thinking” every time they hit a poor shot or find themselves in a mini slump. I should add that this thinking mindset happens when you’re playing well and is the reason those good rounds come crashing to a halt.

If you’ve been playing golf long enough to have experienced good shots, find yourself playing well every now and then and can hit ripper shots that get you excited, then your golf swing is more than good enough to get the job done. I don’t care what your handicap is or even what you think of your own golf game – you have all the skill necessary to play better. Way better.

Thoughts of grip, stance, swing and god knows what else are just getting in the way. If you’ve tried everything to play better golf but still can’t find any consistency then STOP tweaking with your technique. Leave it alone. Please.

If all this sounds too hard (and it will be for many), then see if you can go a game or two without so much thought. Report back here with your findings.

Law #2 – Think behind the ball

Many give me the rough end of the stick and say things like, “Gee Cameron, all this sounds great but surely I’ve got to think at some point”.

And you do. I’m definitely not saying you’ve got to turn the analytical side of your brain off. You need to make decisions and be able to think. Without thought we’d all be playing a form of Zombie hockey (now wouldn’t that be interesting?).

The key is to know when to think and when to let go. And the best time to think is when you’re behind the ball. When you’re behind the ball this is the time to work out what it is you want to do. Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself. Avoid these questions at your own peril.

  • how far have I got to go?
  • where do I want the ball to go?
  • what is the best club to do the job?

There’s always a few other considerations like the wind and the lie of the ball but the three questions above are most important. It amazes me how many golfers do not have a clear intention of what it is they are trying to do. For many, the time behind the ball is spent worrying about the shot instead of planning properly. I can assure you if you take the time to ask those three questions before each shot you’ll find a clarity that may have been missing.

While you can think about your swing behind the ball I advise against it. It’s a bad habit and not something that has been shown to work for too many golfers. If you have experienced otherwise I’d like to hear from you. By the way: one good round in a row doesn’t count – you need more than that for me to believe you’ve been successful.

Law #3 – Play the game

This is the best part. Playing the game could have a million different definitions and I’ve written many blog posts about it. Once you’ve chosen a club (and are clear on your target and goal) you are now free to hit the ball. This part of the process is performed by your subconscious (read: without conscious thought).

This means that you’re not trying to hit the ball correctly or thinking about the lesson you had last week. You are swinging the club (or hitting the ball) in a natural and instinctive way. What works really well is tying up your conscious mind for the duration of the shot (so your subconscious is free to perform)

  • you can sing a song
  • you can count numbers
  • you can feel your swing
  • you can smell the grass
  • you can think about what you had for dinner last night

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re not consciously trying to control your swing. Manual control gives you a contrived and unnatural swing. You get a mixed bag of results – like a perfect shot one minute and then an ugly duck hook the next (sound familiar?). But subconscious play almost always guarantees YOUR real swing will shine through. Your “real” swing is that amazing golf swing that hits all those incredible shots every now and then. Interference (what happens when you try and control the motion) makes golf way harder than it needs to be.

I also should add this kind of “distraction thinking” is very normal to us all. How do you drive a car?

– are you thinking about every motion and action intently? Like worrying about how hard to hold the wheel, how to turn and how to hit the break? Probably not. (unless you’re a rank beginner but this is another story all together)
or are you,

– are you listening to the radio and yelling at the DJ for being suck a jerk?
– singing your favourite song?
– or looking out for pretty girls walking down the street?

Most of us are somewhere around the last three. You may even find yourself able to drive across town and really have no memory of exactly HOW you did it. But you’re able to drive very successfully time after time. It might even be fair to say you’re an expert at it.

Further point: Some people have brought up the fact that a lot of people have car crashes. I would argue that accidents are caused not by over thinking and analysis (add fear and self-doubt too) but by a level of over confidence. Many get behind the wheel of the car and talk on their phone, are listening to the radio, type SMS and try and eat lunch at the same time. Add to this an almost obsessive compulsion to drive like Fangio and there’s no wonder people crash.

Law #4 – Don’t panic

Automatic golf is not some miracle cure. While I’ll go down swinging to tell you that it will definitely help you play better golf (perhaps the golf of your dreams), it’s not foolproof.

Golf is hard. The ball is sits on the ground, the clubface is small and the club long. Add to this a high clubhead speed and it’s actually amazing that we can hit the ball at all. And this is the reason that YOU must allow your subconscious to take over. It’s brilliant at performing fine motor skills. Your conscious mind is not.

But you can’t let the odd poor shot or two get in the way. No matter how much you practice or how “automatic” you go, there’s always going to be wayward golf. There might even be some terrible, horrible and downright embarrassing shots (I’ve had my fair share). But a real automatic golfer won’t panic. They understand the limitations of the human system and the unfairness of the game (you can make a perfect swing and still go Out Of Bounds). So don’t hit the panic button after a poor shot or two.

Extended poor play is usually a sign that you’re trying too hard and thinking too much. The odd bad shot is part of the game. It’s what makes it challenging and so much fun. A real golfer will understand the difference.

So don’t panic and rebuild your game if the occasional miscue comes your way – there’s no getting away from it. I would like to know how many (millions?) of golfer’s games have been ruined by trying to avoid bad shots. When you accept them as part of the game it’s like a huge weight removed from your shoulders.

Do you feel better yet?

Law #5 – Repeat

Over the years I’ve received thousands of emails from excited golfers. Here’s just a few quotes,

“this is amazing”
“you’re a legend”
“you’re the best coach in the world”
“had my best score ever”
“dropped my handicap”
“golf is easy”

Usually the happy camper wants to know what to do next. This is a really simple answer.

Nothing.

Well, it’s not exactly nothing. When you start to experience the magic of automatic golf you’ve got to keep going. Do the same thing over and over.

I know it’s not as exciting as a new swing theory but at least this works. The temptation for many adults is to over think the situation – but this is when the really bad stuff happens (like a year long golf slump). But hang tough please, leave well enough alone. Golf is not an exact science – in nature near enough is almost always good enough. Perfection is a waste of time and effort. If you can keep out of your own way long enough then some really good stuff will start to happen.

  • You’ll make a significant breakthrough with your game (like realising that the game isn’t so hard after all)
  • Increase awareness of your swing (this is when learning and improvement will go to the next level)
  • Find greater meaning with golf (this is a little deep and meaningful but it can put golf into proper perspective)
  • Find true enjoyment (when you stop messing around with your golf swing golf really does become fun (insert your own definition of fun here) )

So resist the urge to analyse the good (and bad) and keep playing. You won’t be disappointed and you just might surprise yourself at how good you really can become.

So there you have it. A road map into the wonderful world of automatic golf. All that’s left to do now is get outside and put the concepts into action – you can’t read about golf and expect to improve – you’ve got to do it.

In the next lesson I want to show you an automatic golf superstar. This guy is so impressive and the video is a must watch.

If you’d like to get the full story on Automatic Golf and proper learning, then head over to my Simple Golf Learning system.

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