“But the golf swing isn’t a natural move”

Yes, but learning is natural.

And being told to hold the club exactly like this, swinging on this plane, cocking your wrists and rotating like that goes against our instincts. We hardly ever make other skills this complicated.

Sometimes, the best solution is to walk up to the ball and hit the guts out of it. Then repeat.

This is hard to do not because you’re not talented enough to strike the ball but because your adult brain likes to get in the way and analyse. It’s also hard because this “natural” way of playing challenges the norm and you don’t like to upset the status quo. Now we’re getting closer to why you find golf so difficult…

… it has very little to do with your golf swing.

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  • Adam

    Reply Reply October 31, 2014

    If you think consistently, youll get consistent golf. If you think about a million things while golfing, youll get a million results. Think about one thing, and youll get one result. Think success, not failure. Think up, not down.

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply November 1, 2014

    “It’s also hard because this natural way of playing challenges the norm and you don’t like to upset the status quo”

    The modern golfer has been exposed to so much instruction its extremely difficult to extricate yourself from it. As soon as you pick up a club all those things you’ve read/heard/seen activate and you’re bound up in sticky tape before you even start the backswing.

    The way to escape it is to say “if I had never heard anything at all about how your supposed to swing a club, what would I do in order to get this ball from here to there”. The result will be something that will surprise you – perhaps a little crude, but it will be the beginnings of your natural golf swing.

    It actually takes a lot of concentration to do this however because the programmed stuff will keep trying to intrude into your mental space. Its worth the effort though because once you break through you will never look back and golf becomes easy.

    Note: “Easy” doesn’t mean shooting 68 each week – it means stress free. Thats BETTER than shooting 68 each week. If you don’t believe me, ask the guy who actually shoots 68 each week but nearly has a coronary doing it.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply November 21, 2014

      GP: I replied to this a while back but I don’t think I hit the button to publish.

      I agree completely with this. As someone who has been able to shoot 68 regularly I can say that the stress levels were over the top. I much prefer a simpler and more fun way of playing the game. Score alone is such a small-mind attitude. There’s a big bad world out there and so much more enjoyment to be had than worrying about the bloody score…

      • Grayden Provis

        Reply Reply November 21, 2014

        Yes, and I’m guessing when you walk off with 68 you don’t say “everything’s wonderful with the world, my life is complete, now I get golf” – more likely its “hmm, that was a pretty ordinary putt back on sixteen and that loose opening drive cost me a couple too…that could easily have been 65!”.

        The more you think about this sort of stuff you realise it just keeps coming back to one question: why do I play? Its a deceptively simple question and one I think we struggle to answer because it throws up some uncomfortable realisations. If you’re really honest with yourself you will probably discover that ego is a part of virtually every reason you come up with. So, now try and imagine “ego-less” golf. What would it look like? What would it feel like? How much FUN would it be : )

        Some might say “who cares?” and are not interested in even thinking about this side of it. If you’re happy with the way things are then of course, why would you? But from what I see, such people are the exception. Most golfers have a love/hate relationship with it. The “love” bit is easy to understand – its a great activity. The “hate” bit however has its roots in fear – fear of what others will think of you mostly. In other words: ego. Get rid of that and the game takes on a whole new beauty. It becomes a meditation, an opportunity for absolute “present minded-ness” in which the cares of the world disappear for four hours. Thats when it really becomes valuable.

        None of this can happen however until you discover your natural golf swing, the one that you do without thinking – like walking, and breathing**. Its already in you – albeit in pretty crude form and in need of tweaking and polishing over time (golf is a ceaseless journey towards perfection) but most golfers are tweaking and polishing something that is not “them” to start with so they’re actually fighting against themselves – and they’ll do this their whole career and never know any different. They’ll just always think of golf as hard and associate it with pressure, that thats the nature of it and always will be. It actually isn’t. Golf can literally be a walk in the park – a pleasurable, stress-free pastime that enriches you rather than diminishes you. Over all the years I’ve watched golfers walk off eighteenth greens I can safely say the latter is what happens to the vast majority of them. It doesn’t have to be that way.

        ** If you’re walking around thinking about your swing, you’re not playing golf, you’re walking around thinking about your swing. It would be like going for a walk and thinking about your walking technique. You’re not going to get the real benefit of going for the walk.

        • Cameron

          Reply Reply November 22, 2014

          GP: so much good stuff in your words and I can relate to much of what you say.

          I have realised that I like to play. Hit the bloody ball and try lots of new shots. I pretty much realised that I was done with competition and trying to shoot scores. Golf for me is more about playing how I want – not trying to live up to a handicap or shooting a specific score.

          A few weeks back I played with a guy who lives nearby. He’s a bit like me, writes about golf and has his own website. I was surprised to see how “precisely” he tried to play. There was no flair or anything special to talk about. Yep, he’s a very good player but I think he is leaving a lot on the table.

          On the last hole I grabbed his club (a right handed one) and swung. He was surprised that I was able to hit the ball quite well the opposite hand.

          Me: Haven’t you ever swung left handed?
          Him: Nope. Never!

          I couldn’t believe it. In all the years he has played golf, not once had he tried a left handed shot. Boring!

          I was also bored at the Aussie Masters the other day. All of the pros look like robots. Walk the same, talk the same and dress the same. They all hit the same type of shots. Boring. Little flair. The best players probably have found out what works for them – the guys who are a rung or two below try too hard to be like the better players instead of being themselves.

          Guys like Bubba stand out because they do it their way. It’s fun to watch.

          This might be the best thing I’ve read about golf for a long while:

          If you’re walking around thinking about your swing, you’re not playing golf, you’re walking around thinking about your swing. It would be like going for a walk and thinking about your walking technique. You’re not going to get the real benefit of going for the walk.

          Such a simple message but so true. Sadly, you’d be unlikely to find any golf coach who thinks the same.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply November 2, 2014

    Golf isnt easy. Its difficult, but it becomes easier the more you do it and the better you get. If you ask me, most people dont know anything about the game. They get caught up in instruction instead of going out and playing. And playing doesnt mean just to smack the ball around. Its shooting the lowest score you can. No one needs instruction to do that now, do they? Its a simple thing. Simple I said, but not easy. 400 yards is a long way to hit four shots, no matter how strong you are. And you have trees on both sides water on the left and sand surrounding the green, so golf isnt exactly easy no matter how automatic you are. And just being auto isnt going to improve your score by much, maybe about 5 shots. You have to shoot low scores. Winning tourneys is measured by the lowest score, not how automatic you are. You have to be a solid ball striker, great short game artist, and a long driver of the ball if you expect to shoot anywhere near par. I still shoot in the high 90s because, first off, ive only played about 50 rounds in my life, second, because my driver only goes 190, my sand wedge 50 yards. And im a flipping strong guy. And third, mainly for my lack of finesse around the greens. Practice makes you better.

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