The 5 Imperative Laws of Automatic Golf

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.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Law #1 – Stop thinking technique[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

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.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Law #2 – Think behind the ball[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

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.

[green_tick_1_list width=”100%”]

  • how far have I got to go?
  • where do I want the ball to go?
  • what is the best club to do the job?
[/green_tick_1_list]

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.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Law #3 – Play the game[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

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.

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Law #4 – Don’t panic[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

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.

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?

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Law #5 – Repeat[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

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.

[divider_bar]Insert Your Text Here[/divider_bar]

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.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Get access to my premium Automatic Golf Lessons

Comment using Facebook

36 Comments

  • Leon

    Reply Reply July 3, 2012

    Agree, one hundred percent.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 3, 2012

      Thanks Leon, how’s your golf going?

  • Henry

    Reply Reply July 3, 2012

    Probably the best golfing advice I have read. There are so many contradicting tips in the golf magazines and websites, and so many really ugly swings on the course (by guys that shoot consistent low scores). Since I have been playing subconscious golf, I have played better shots, and enjoyed the game more.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 3, 2012

      @Henry: Thanks for the kind words and I’m thrilled that Automatic Golf is working for you. The most pleasing thing is you’re enjoying the game more – this is the biggest breakthrough you can have with AG. When this happens the score and results gets taken care of.

      Keep up the good work and thanks for posting,

      Cameron

  • Steady

    Reply Reply July 3, 2012

    The first 3 laws are the how. Pretty simple really.
    Law 4 is the hardest because of the mindset most
    golfers have to go back to the fix it mode.Me included.
    Don’t it’s a trap that that golf industry wants you back
    in their camp.ie Build a good golf swing and you will
    score well BS.
    Law 5 is to repeat through thick and thin. No matter what.
    As Cameron says it Laws 1,2 and 3 give you
    the best posible opportunity to play at your best at all times.
    Ta Steady

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 3, 2012

      Thanks Steady. I reckon #5 is the most important for you. You tend to get distracted (don’t we all) but have all the ability in the world if you can keep your game on track.

      Cheers,

      Cameron

  • iain edwards

    Reply Reply July 3, 2012

    dear cameron – does your philosophy of automatic golf ,with an better than expected outcome of a good shot, apply equally to all levels of golf skill . please give a %rating of where aromatic golf applies for
    eg – beginner – no constancy shots could go any where. handicap 40+
    average player – little skill/ good ball eye co-ordination, level but loves to hit the ball handicap 30
    better than average – practices/ lessons , keeps on fairway /puts well handicap 18
    very good , natural/ lots of lessons and practice handicap 5- 10

    so does it only apply to more than reasonable competent golfers? as any one at any skill level can swing a club whilst singing ” somewhere over the rainbow” with a different expectation
    iain edwards

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 3, 2012

      Iain: Automatic golf works for any golfer who has been playing for any length of time (maybe a year +). It’s hard to give a definitive answer but my experience tells me that most people who drop by here have been playing for 5 years +. This is more than long enough.

      If you’re a beginner you need to go through the uncomfortable stage of learning. This means there’s going to be some slow and awkward times when you’re consciously thinking about your game. There’s no getting away from this.

      But and this is a big BUT. You can move from “thinking” to automatic more quickly than you think. Most golfers spend their entire career in thinking mode – it’s not much fun and doesn’t work overly well. Automatic golf doesn’t mean your learning will stop – playing the game gives you the best scores possible and enhances your ability to improve. You get the best of both worlds.

      It works for every golfer – there’s no discrimination – if you’re human you’ll benefit from playing more instinctively.

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    G’day, just wondering if i’m applying your method?. When I get over the ball, I say to my self “look at the target, look at the ball, 1 – 2”. I only started doing it after you mentioned the counting steps.
    I had read Pelze’s short game bible who proposed the method. I have been applying it to my short game for years especially when i’m being distracted. But for the long game, there has been so much advice about how many positions or check points, I didn’t think to package it into a 1 – 2 swing, 3 at the very least. Or should I scrap that idea and focus on, “My favourite mistake” by Sheryl Crow.
    Also when I walk to the ball, I am more focused on the spot 1 meter in front of my ball, is this ok?.
    I reckon Law 6 should be always remain humbled!.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 4, 2012

      Cam280: There’s gotta be some individual flair here and maybe some experimentation. When you truly let go I reckon you’re not too focused on any target – you’re playing the game and most likely singing Sheryl Crow.

      If the short game is working for you then you MUST take the same approach with your long-game. Forget about the positions – “position golf” makes the game hard. They get in the way and kill any chance of playing the game the way you really want.

      Thanks for posting.

      Cameron

  • Andrew

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    Thanks for the summary/recap having an enginneering background I find I want to slip back in to thinking, working things out, technically minded area of golf. These recaps keep me on the right path.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 4, 2012

      Andrew: I could probably write a book about “engineering/accountant” types. It seems like the correct thing to do (think/analyse/worry,etc) but it usually ends in disaster. When you can let go and simply play the game all the good stuff starts to happen. I’m glad the little reminder got you going in the right direction.

      BTW – we definitely need the accountant types. I’m sitting here with my accountant and thank god she’s analytical with my books. There’s a time and a place for thinking, but the golf course usually isn’t one of them.

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    Cam
    I have come to realize that my short game is not that flash and could probably do with a bit of extra work or am I falling into the trap of over analysing.Generally speaking I am happy with my overall approach to the game all be it not scoring that well.Just interested in your thoughts.
    Cheers Lukey

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 4, 2012

      Lukey: If you think your short game needs work then I’m willing to bet that it needs a LOT of work 🙂 I can guarantee you that if you spend a little time each week on chipping, pitching and putting your scores will improve. You probably won’t notice too much, except for the fact that your scores are lower. So many of us worry about the long game – while this is the sexy part of the game, the short game is the scoring part. Avoid it at your own peril.

      I can stress this point enough: You should get some Almost Golf Balls. They are the best training ball ever. They are better than good, they are excellent. They make practise fun and easy and damn effective. I don’t care where you buy them from, but you should get some. You won’t be disappointed with the purchase.

  • Timbo

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    Strachs,

    Love this post as it reiterates everything we have discussed recently and everything that automatic golf stands for. I had a rough day today. Played 36 holes and played very poorly in the morning. I have been thinking and working on my putting (away from the golf course) and have put some new ideas into play. Whilst my putting had been ok over recent weeks, I felt as though it needed to be better moving forward. Well my putting was terrible today and I found myself trying to make sure my technique was correct instead of just playing golf!! I must say I am a little disappointed in myself for going back to tinkering and thinking as i know it does not work for me! The second 18 holes were better when I committed to freeing my game up a little, but i still found myself playing with a little fear, anxiety and poor clarity. It was almost as though I was trying too hard to play well. I put too much pressure on myself the last few holes and finished horribly, turning what would have been a solid under par round, into another over par round. This is my biggest struggle at the moment, I am not finishing off good rounds! I beleive it is because when I am playing well early that i start to think coming in and that just makes me tighter and more conservative. I also worry more about hitting bad shots, instead of just picking a target and going auto!

    Just a little side note also: if your equipment is working then resist the urge to change because it may cause more harm than good!! Stick with what works, its what the pros do!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 4, 2012

      Timbo: The best thing about your comments is that you’re aware of what happened. Many people go through life without too much awareness is going on. They’re sheep, playing follow the leader and too dumb to know what it is they’re actually doing. So the fact that you’re aware of what is happening is a huge step in the right direction. It means you’re learning.

      Note for all: Don’t think awareness is analysing. It’s not. They’re on a different wavelength.

      So now you can take this info and not make the same mistake again. When you start to feel yourself getting tight/nervous/analytical etc you’ll be able to take a deep breath and say,

      “C’mon Timbo, let’s get our S@*t together and not make this any harder than it needs to be. Where’s the target? How far have I got? Let’s hit the ball.”

      In time, the very second you notice tension it’ll be an instant reminder to RELAX and play the game. Where most will go the opposite direction, you’ll go the right way. If you watch/study all great athletes they seem to have some special power when the pressure is on. They rarely choke and seem to go to another gear.

      Federer
      Nicklaus
      Woods

      Their secret? They play their game. Another way of saying this is they keep doing what they always do. The heightened awareness of the moment allows their subconscious to perform even better. They don’t analyse and get in the way. It appears like magic but it’s not.

      We all have this ability – while most of us will never feel what it’s like to perform in front of millions – we have to trust in ourself and keep playing the game.

      Keep up the good work.

      Cameron

      PS technology in golf is out of control. Something needs to be done. A post for another day perhaps.

  • allan kenny

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    the other day playing with my golf club guildford leagues wombats i was linning up a put when my turn came i walked up to the ball & putted it went straight in the middle of the hole did not touch the sides it was only when one of the other players yelled you did not look at the hole it was only then i realised that i haddent i did it again the next hole and just missed but had an easy second.thanks allan

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 5, 2012

      Allan: it’s amazing what we can do when we get out of our own way and just hit the ball. The easy part is doing it once. The hard part is doing it over and over.

      Thanks for sharing,

      Cameron

  • wayne

    Reply Reply July 4, 2012

    happy to be back, tried your method before with good results, dont ask me why i went back to technique and have struggled for a while. on the weekend i decided to go back to freewheeling, with pretty good results looking forward to monthly metal this weekend.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 4, 2012

      Wayne: Good to have you back. Let us know how you get on.

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply July 5, 2012

    Most excellent refresher, Cam. I’m curious to know your thoughts on tempo in the golf swing. Automatic golf works best for me the slower my swing tempo is. I keep reminding myself of what Bobby Jones once said; “No one has ever swung the golf club too slowly.” James

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 5, 2012

      James: Tempo should be allowed to find you. If you’re consciously trying to swing slow then you’re not playing automatically. So swing in a way that feels good to you and your swing tempo should be fine.

      Most golfers when they say, “I swung too quickly” have lost awareness and feel.

      Cheers,

      Cameron

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply July 7, 2012

    “Tempo should be allowed to find you.” Thanks for that, Cameron. I started my round yesterday thinking about tempo, but caught myself by the third hole. Instead I just tried to breathe evenly. Ended up with a 74 from the back tees. 8^)

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 7, 2012

      James: Good to here. Learning to put trust in your inbuilt learning system is a big part of automatic golf. Adults usually get in the way and try and consciously control the motion. This is not the best way. Good score – keep up the good work 🙂

  • Terry

    Reply Reply July 15, 2012

    Hi Cam: yesterday was Round 1 of the 4 game trial, and things went just OK. 30 points but 37 putts did not help. Was reasonably successful and consistent with applying the principles, but they did not work well with the putter. Rd 2 tomorrow morning and 3 on Wed, so will try to work on putting. Incidentally I played with a young guy off scratch who is at a junior college in the US on a golf scholarship and he shot 6 under, withhis first bogey-free round forever. A pleasure to watch.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 15, 2012

      Terry: I can almost guarantee that you did not putt freely and had too much anxiety. You need to let go and putt with less fear. Check out the latest blog for more on this.

      Always good to see someone play in the zone. Thanks for posting.

      Cam

  • Barry Butterworth

    Reply Reply December 14, 2012

    Am trying but trying not to try. (Does that make sense?) Have recognised odd occasions – got a net 13 under a month ago. But it’s a continuing mental battle. My thanks to you for the concept.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 15, 2012

      Barry: anyone that can shoot 13 under has got plenty of game. If you can keep your focus off of the score you’ll do way better. Add your scorecard at the end of the round if that helps.

  • wayne

    Reply Reply December 14, 2012

    hi cam,
    your still the man. every time i get too technical i revert back to freewheeling and i get my rythm back.
    wayne

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 15, 2012

      Wayne: Thanks for posting and best of luck for 2013.

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply December 17, 2012

    “What oh”, I thought I was only allowed to count or sing? learn’t a lot from your blogs Cam but I catch myself feeling guilty for not counting or singing, most of the time I’m feeling my swing, but now after rereading this blog again, I have a new found enthusiasm for trusting the above prescription. Did I ever mention that i’m a slow learner. I can’t wait to embrace feeling my swing whilst swinging, I mean not feeling guilty for doing it, now thats what I call freedom. I can’t believe I missed this before what a waste of effort, because it makes sense to me now, we all do, learn differently!.

  • Garry major

    Reply Reply December 17, 2012

    Hi playing for along time 11 handicap but still have no fundermentals and no idea what to do at the top of my swing .the feeling of throwing the club underarm with my right hand has been a feeling I like where the lower body reacts to the throwing motion not leading the swinging motion with the hips left knee etc.I would love to practise something but have no idea what the order of movements should be.Had a day where every drive went over 300 yards and very excited but have not been able to repeat it .So looking for simple explanation of the moves required to hit the ball.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply December 19, 2012

      Gary: If you’re able to hit the ball 300 yards your swing is good enough to deliver the results you’re looking for. All of the analysis and trying to work out the moves to hit the ball is unlikely to be helping – this is a classical mindset and one I think causes more destruction and high handicaps.

      If you’re brave enough you’ve got to take a deep breath, relax and swing freely. This is the only way to truly unlock your best game.

      Again, if you’re able to smash the ball past the 300 yard marker, you MUST have the fundamentals. “Knowing” doesn’t always make too big a difference.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Cameron

  • adam

    Reply Reply June 5, 2013

    Ive just reviewed the three years ive been playing golf. The thing i noticed is that i did in fact improve. Ive only been on the course 6 times so no wonder my scores suck. I can at least hit the ball straight. And sometimes far. I wil continue with auto golf and see where it takes me.

  • adam

    Reply Reply June 5, 2013

    The fact is that i get irritated with myself over bad results. might as well learn not to analyze everything. Just go outside and play golf. I also get jealous when i see someone whos better than me. Seems odd but i shouldnt compare myself to other people and i should just play my own game. I came from not being able to hit a golf ball two feet to hitting it dead straight and medium distance. Seven iron 120 to 160 average. I feel confident enough to improve my score. I know it will come naturaly as i continue. Sorry for my previous comments i was just disappointed with myself. Im a perfectionist and i like doing things perfectly. I see now that thats not possible but i know i have improved over these three years. i also lusten closely to the champions of golf like nicklaus ballesteros ben hogan and all of the old greats. They say in thier own way that you just out there and do it. You dont fret you dont worry you dont complain you just go out there and get it done. Though nicklaus describes the mechanics of his swing this is only his thoughts during practice. When hes on the course he swings freely.he takes his practice swing to the first tee and beyond but he makes is instinctivehe doesnt think about it while hes on the course.

  • los angeles criminal defense attorney

    Reply Reply November 25, 2016

    This paragraph offers clear idea in support of the new viewers
    of blogging, that in fact how to do blogging.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field