Report #1: The Path To Consistent Golf
[Part 1] The Path To Consistent Golf
I recently surveyed over 3000 golfers. And the one thing, above all others, the majority wanted was consistency. This far outweighed things like fixing a slice or hitting the ball further. But the million dollar question is,
How does one play more consistently?
In the rest of this document, I want to show you a simpler and more effective way of approaching golf. I’m going to did deep into the world of coaching, science and if you’re ready, highlight some principles that come from the business world.
But don’t worry. This is not going to be complicated or confusing. And I promise you’ll get some insight that will help you on a path to consistent golf.
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I want to answer one more important question.
Why should you listen to me?
I have been studying golf, learning and researching human performance for 25 years. I’m sort of obsessed by it because traditional teaching never worked for me. When I was 16 my game was destroyed, by a well meaning, but ultimately hopeless golf coach who only knew one way to teach...
... bombard my little brain with every bit of technical advice he could think of.
At first, I thought this was great. I had plenty of things to think about and all sorts of drills to do.
And I was his best student. I worked hard. Really hard. I don’t think I’ve ever hit as many balls as I did that summer.
But things didn’t work out too well. Before long (it only took a few months) my once natural and artistic game was in ruins.
I couldn’t take the club from the ball because I was too worried about my swing path.
I was too scared to hit the ball because I was fearful of all the bad things that could go wrong.
I forgot to play. I was too busy thinking about my swing and spent all my spare time analysing and trying to hone my technique. I stopped doing all the things that made golf fun. I destroyed my game, simple as that!
I was far from a consistent player and I cringe thinking back on all that wasted effort.
But I did turn things around. I stumbled onto natural learning (I now call this Automatic Golf) and reignited my instinctive flair for the game. Eventually, I was good enough to turn professional and embark on a career of golf and coaching. I was certainly, by this time, able to play consistently.
But then I found another problem. The mainstream golfing body weren’t ready for me. My boss, an absolute stickler for traditional golf concepts, wouldn’t have any of my ideas and forced me to adopt regular teaching ideals - even though he knew they didn’t work for me.
I was frustrated, confused and angry. And I just couldn’t force myself to coach others in a way that I knew didn’t work that well.
My solution? I walked away and started my own golf coaching business the next day.
This is still the bravest (and possibly craziest) thing I’ve done. But it’s also the best. Because along the way I’ve done some pretty cool things. Here’s just a brief list,
- Commissioned a major biomechanical study into the golf swing and wrote a book on those findings (BioSwing)
- Started a popular golf learning blog, www.GolfGooroo.com and have written over 700 articles that have been viewed by over 75,000 golfers.
- Have been credited with teaching Aaron Baddeley his amazing “look and shoot” putting technique. (have written a book on that too)
- All up, I’ve written a dozen books on golf
- Have helped 1000’s of golfers all over the world, from tour players to weekend warriors play with less complication and more enjoyment
- Built (actually still building) my private golf coaching facility on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
And perhaps, most pleasing of all, I’ve proven my concept. I’ve been able to play to a below scratch handicap for nearly 20 years. There have been some hiccups along the way, but nothing has kept me down for long. And I’ve done this by breaking most of the so called fundamentals of golf. I’ve challenged the status quo and came out on top. I feel I’ve mastered golf for my talent and dedication.
Why consistent golf?
“Why” is an important question. If I can ask you to do anything from this point on it would be to ask more questions.
Traditional coaching (actually, I call it teaching) is outdated. The theory is the teacher stands out front and tells you what to do. And for the most part, it’s not questioned. We blindly follow. We do as we’re told, even if sometimes we’re not sure or things don’t feel right.
Science says this is the worse way to learn (I’m going to cover better ways later on). There’s no flexibility and individuality is beaten out the door. It’s all about conforming and dates back to the start of the industrial age where the factory owners needed large numbers of workers to obey. To work mindlessly without question.
And this mindset has stuck. It’s prevalent during our school years and continues into adulthood. We are not encouraged to question “why”. We have all become sheep, too scared to do our own thing.
But your golf game is YOUR game. You must play how you want. You have every right to do things in a way that suit you. So ask questions and don’t be afraid to walk your own path. I’d go as far as saying that learning to play in a way that satisfies you is the most important thing you’ll do with respects to your golf game.
Ok, let’s get into it.
So why is golf so hard?
Honestly, things have gotten out of hand. While the internet is an amazing technology, it has created an absolute bombardment of ideas, theories and God knows what else.
But is any of this really helping you?
I call it the golf instruction merry-go-round. You are going around and around but are you getting any closer to where you want to be? And now might be a good time to revisit that “WHY” question again.
Why are you doing the same things if they don’t work?
Look. The typical golf learning model is wrong.
For a start. There’s way too much bias on golf technique. We think that the answer to better golf is to fix our swing. We believe that we’re just one tip from a better shot/round/handicap.
So we’re always searching. Looking for the magic bullet that gets us from point A to Point B.
But it’s madness. And it’s mad because you’re always on the lookout. You’re never really playing the game. You’re always fixing something or wondering why you hit the shot into the trees, missed that putt or duffed the chip.
And the problem is this:
The worse you play (and you will play worse) the more things you’re forced to think about. Let me explain it this way.
Say you’re working on keeping your head still (an oldie but a goodie) and you hit three bad drives in a row. Only a madman would continue with that tip.
So, on your fourth drive you remind yourself to “swing slowly”. If that works great. If it fails (and it will eventually), you’ll need another.
This constant tweaking and thinking is a battle. It’s really hard and tiring. You can walk off the course feeling like you’ve run a marathon.
And let me tell you, I know how this feels. I spent years working my swing and trying to figure out how to swing properly. I had an arsenal of swing tips at my disposal and I was a master of saying,
“Yep. I know what I did wrong on that one! I was off plane and got trapped on the downswing, that’s why I blocked it!”
But this is bullshit. I was playing with fear and I was way too dumb to realise (took me a few years to see the error of my ways). I was too scared to own up that what I was doing wasn’t working and I was wasting my time.
It’s like this. You tell the stories (like getting trapped or swinging off plane or playing too quickly) because it’s an excuse. It makes you feel better in the short-term, but it’s ultimately letting you down. It’s not a very good way to play golf.
Here’s the story.
We perform so many day to day tasks that are every bit as complicated as golf but we don’t worry about them. We perform them perfectly and we don’t give them a second thought.
Typing on a computer
For some reason, we like to complicate golf to the point of craziness. This has a lot to do with the adult brain and in particular the adult male brain, but it can be changed for the better.
If you’re the analytical, professional and hard working type you’ll have a hard time to let go. You probably get off on telling your workmates (or wife) why you slice and how you can fix it. But I can tell you, none of it is helping you.
I thought I could left-brain my way to better golf. I believed if I thought long and hard and studied swing technique enough it would help me become a better player. But it didn’t. I persevered foolishly until I made another very interesting discovery.
The real reason all this swing stuff fails
I’m just going to come out and say it.
The part of your brain responsible for understanding language (read golf theory) has no input into the part of the brain that performs the motion.
Bang! When I learned this I nearly fell off my chair.
Blindly trying to tell ourselves that we must swing back smoothly, cock our wrists, swing on plane, shift our weight, transition, release our forearms and then follow-through is meaningless chatter.
It just doesn’t work. And when you think for a second, it makes sense. It doesn’t work because if it did you wouldn’t be reading this. You’d be playing much better and consistently. There wouldn’t be any frustrated and confused golfers. We’d all be playing well.
Let’s go deeper for a second.
Think back to a time when you were playing well. Maybe your best round or some sort of purple patch you were on.
Were you thinking lots, trying hard and throwing lots of technical instruction into your brain?
Were you having one of those magical moments where time stands still (or slows down), you saw things more clearly and for whatever reason, your mind was calm?
If you’re not being one of those difficult people who never like to be wrong, the answer is obvious.
You’re not fucking thinking so much. You’re playing the game. You’re free. And if I can be so bold, you’re playing golf YOUR way.
Great. Now we’re getting somewhere.
One more thing.
Human evolution continues because of one key thing.
We learned to walk before we could talk. Think about this for a second...
What would the human race be like if we learned to walk in the same way we tried to play golf?
“Not like that Johnny! You have to shift your weight like this”
“Stop falling down! You’re moving your head. You need to practice these drills”
“You need more lessons. You just can’t get this walking thing. I’m calling in coach Smith”
It’s quite funny really. But this is HOW we learn golf. We are trying to break the confines of our human learning system by forcing it to learn in a way that it’s not designed.
Add in negative self-talk, “I’m hopeless”, “I always duff the shot”, “I can’t play” then there really is little wonder that so many golfers struggle to hit the ball and why any sort of consistency is miles off.
Is there a better way to golf your ball?
You bet there is. And it doesn’t require any God-given talent (because you already have it) and you don’t need to retire from work and go full-time golfer (because long practice hours are unnecessary).
I’m 100% certain that if you can grasp what I’m about to tell you, then you will improve your golf. It’s a bit like the overweight person who starts eating well and exercising, they will lose weight.
There are no other options.
If you resist the message - and try and add all the other crap into your system, good results can’t happen. You’ll be stuck.
Consistent golf is dependent on simplicity. You need to make things cleaner.
I know I know. You know about KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and you’ve been told a thousand times by 100’s of instructors that you must simplify.
But. And this is huge. You haven’t been shown HOW to do it. You can’t keep adding in swing tips and new theories and expect to get anywhere. This isn’t going to work.You need a better plan.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, not simpler.
If you can stop what you’ve been doing all this time and adopt a slightly different strategy, you’ll do just fine.
You’ll get better results without all the heartache. You’ll get an improved performance with far less effort. It’s a kind of mechanical advantage, but this time it’s sort of mental too. You’ll walk off the course with more energy. Golf won’t be so much a grind.
The graph below is mighty powerful. Take a few moments to study it.
Most of us crazy golfers are stuck somewhere in the grey oval. If you haven’t experienced anything better, you won’t know any different and your golf game will appear normal.
But what really happens is you tend to go around in circles. You get lots of poor golf and when you do play well it’s hard work. So it’s not sustainable and you end up dropping back.
And because you don’t have the right mental software (nobody has ever told you so it’s not really your fault) when you try and play simply you get awful results. So, and this is very common, you’re forced to add things. But as we’ve discussed, adding things rarely works. Can you see how this is a nasty merry-go-round?
So you rarely, expect for the odd moments (a fluke?), experience easy and great golf.
Automatic Golf is different. The nuts of my system is to help you learn to play with a “simple mind”. To not get bogged down with the nitty gritty. To coach you on moving away from all the normal type instructions, and play more on HOW you’re designed.
And because my system is based on sound scientific coaching principles, you’re hardwired correctly. This means your have a way of simplifying AND still being able to perform to a high level.
And this my friend, is how you play golf consistently. You need to transform your approach from complex to something more simple. When you take away all the unnecessary, you give yourself a fighting chance to play your best golf.
The really good stuff
Automatic Golf is awesome because it’s easier. There’s less fluffing about and you don’t need to remember 277 things each time you play.
You’ll certainly play more consistently because your system is working optimally. You are less likely to get mutant swings and much more likely to get your best efforts.
So it’s more fun. You’re free to play how you want and you can enjoy the walk, the surrounds and your playing partners instead of stressing about your swing (or whatever else you normally do).
It’s more rewarding. Not only does it lead to better play (lower handicap, improved shot making, less putts etc) it’s ultimately more satisfying. And this deeper satisfaction is where real learning takes place.
Golf should be about learning. Where normally we’re obsessed with our wrist cock or backswing plane, learning trumps all else. With a learning mindset (and I promise to cover this in more detail) the game of golf becomes the vehicle for true enjoyment.
I appreciate this can sound creepy and all weird. But it’s not. It’s completely normal and it’s how we do most other things. It’s just the golf industry has gotten way too technical and too focused on swing stuff. And it’s only getting worse.
The next step
I’ve written this little report to see if you’re even remotely interested in thinking about golf differently and maybe brave enough to buck the status quo. And just maybe, you’re ready for a change - to start playing the kind of golf you know you can without all the interference and mental clutter.
You are? Great.
I could go on and on about all this. But I think I’ve given you enough to consume for today. If it’s ok with you, I’ll leave it here and let today’s ideas settle.
Keep your eyes peeled because in my next report (it’s only a day or so from arriving in your inbox) I’m going to not only expand on these ideas, I’m going to share with you the single greatest concept that I’ve learned in relation to golf performance and learning. It ties in nicely with what I’ve discussed today and it makes it even easier to play consistently.
I’ll also give you a real-world example how all this works in a golfing sense. Plus, I’ll answer all the usual questions I get about this way of playing golf (like, does it really work?).
It’s powerful stuff and blended with what I’ve shown you today, it will help make playing consistent golf all the more easier.
And that’s gotta be a goal, doesn’t it? Simpler and easier... at least I hope so.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ask any questions over here.