Critical Golf Swing Component That Almost Always Gets Overlooked

What’s the most important part of any golf swing?

Grip? Stance? Backswing?

Nope. At least not if you ask me.

I believe the critical aspect of any golf shot you play is the walk to the ball. Sound a bit strange? Let me explain myself.

The walk to the ball is critical because it is the time you need to get your head in the right place and automate your swing. If you’re walking to the ball thinking about your swing, the target or your score then you’re in big trouble. This has to be done behind the ball.

You need to have a clear head space by the time you reach the ball. You mind needs to be in the present – allowing you to feel relaxed and confident.

I’m aware that walking to the ball is not all that sexy – that most golfers would rather work on swing mechanics or hitting the ball a long way. It’s for this reason that it gets ignored by most golf instruction outlets. If you want to ensure your golf swing becomes automatic and more importantly stays automatic for the duration of the stroke, then you need to pay attention to the few steps you take before getting to the ball. Here’s some key points for your consideration;

  • Do all your thinking behind the golf ball. This includes picking a target and choosing a club.
  • Focus your gaze on the golf ball, not the target when you’re ready to go. This helps keep your mind in the correct place.
  • Play quickly. Although it’s not necessary to play quickly, I have found that golfers can benefit from speeding up their play. You can take your time behind the ball, but once you’ve decided on the shot get on with it. The less you fluff about the better you’ll play.
  • If you find your mind getting too distracted you should stop and start over.
  • By the time you get to the ball your focus and concentration should be pointed. You should feel relaxed and in your own little bubble. This is the perfect mindset to play remarkable golf.

I can’t expect golfers to get too excited about working on this part of their game but it’s well worth the effort. When you can walk up to the ball with a consistent thought pattern and step into the ball automatically the game almost magically becomes easier. Something worth exploring.

I’ll talk to you soon.

Good golfing,


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  • Jon

    Reply Reply July 15, 2008

    I love this. Just because working on walking to the ball is boring doesn’t mean it’s not effective. I have to choose to put effectiveness over my personal preference.

    Can you please elaborate on?…”Focus your gaze on the golf ball, not the target when you’re ready to go. What are you recommending in contrast to Rotella’s big emphasis on the “connection to the target”? – Jon

  • Cameron Strachan

    Reply Reply July 15, 2008

    Hi Jon,

    Simply, you want to look at the ball when you walk towards the ball. I have found this helps tremendously to block out other distractions. Too many look in different directions and are too inconsistent.

    I’m writing about connection to the target in the next post. You will definitely get some good stuff out it.


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