The perfect golf swing conundrum

The search for the perfect golf swing gets in the way of playing the game. Perfection should be reserved for the golf teacher and the analytical.

The problem is that nobody can agree on what is the best way. Should you swing on an upright plane or flat? Is a slower swing better than fast? Do you cock your wrists early or late? It’s all too confusing because there’s no definitive answer.

If playing your best (read: shooting the lowest score) is important to you then forget about perfection – you want your focus on playing the game. The conundrum here is that the less you think, worry and stress about achieving perfection, the better your swing becomes.

And the magic here is that you’re not compromising the fun part – getting outside and swinging the sticks. The golf course is where Remarkable lives and I think is the reason why we all play the game. The euphoria of that perfectly struck shot that finishes close to the hole is hard to beat – and does it really matter if you’re unsure if why it happened? Best to keep going and play the game.

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  • Lukey

    Reply Reply January 7, 2013

    I have to agree here Cam because since I have thought less about the swing I’m now a club longer with my irons.
    Cheers Lukey

  • Mike Divot

    Reply Reply January 7, 2013

    The notion of the “perfect golf swing” is something that has infected golf instruction and golf thinking generally over the years.

    If you read really old stuff by (eg) Tommy Armour or Sam Snead, they are clearly more into feel than analysis and never lose sight of the goal (get the ball in the hole).

    Somewhere over the years, the idea set in that there is a thing that is the “perfect golf swing”, and if you can perform this “perfect golf swing”, then the game of golf rolls over at your feet and becomes easy.

    And more than that: anything that is not identical to this “perfect golf swing” gives inferior results and must therefore be avoided.

    We now examine every golfer’s swing to find the areas where it differs from the “perfect golf swing” and is thus “flawed”. To the point where we do ridiculous things like attack Jack Nicklaus for having a “flawed” swing, even as he’s demolishing courses and opponents around the world.

    All the while, no-one can identify this perfect golf swing. No golfer has ever performed it. Even the terms used to describe swings (on plane, early extension, clear the hips) are not clearly defined and differ from expert to expert.

    And worst of all, a carrot is held out to golfers that there is some kind of formula or recipe to “solve” golf: “do this and you will have a perfect swing”. “Use my dyna-swinge method for the perfect swing.” Etc etc.

    Reading your blog and following your advice has me hitting the ball like I haven’t in years, and having a blast doing it. Thanks Cam!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 8, 2013

      Mike: this is one of the best comments left on the website. I like your thoughts and I’m thrilled you’re playing with more freedom. Keep up the great work.


  • James Smith

    Reply Reply January 9, 2013

    I have discovered the secret to golf, Cameron. The secret to golf (pause for effect), is that there is no secret to golf. 😉

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 9, 2013

      James: Yep. There are no secret. At least, there’s no secret that’s gunna be a quick fix. It takes time and effort, like everything else that’s worthwhile. Anytime I see a website make crazy promises I tend to look the other way. Thanks for posting James.

  • allan kenny

    Reply Reply January 9, 2013

    i have been doing the relaxing of my swing and my thoughts of the swing and i am finding that my golf is improving as is my enjoyment and my handicap is down to 17.of course i slip every now and then and try to analyse ,give myself an upper cut and continue.thanks again .allan

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 9, 2013

      Allan: We all slip now and then – it’s part of the process. Don’t beat yourself up, the fact you’re aware of it is enough to keep improving. Well done.

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply January 9, 2013

    “This golf thing is all about hitting the shots. A player has to hit so many shots from different locations that focusing on your swing would be fruitless. I know this is exactly what you’ve been saying all this time … but I really get it now. It’s clear as day”.

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply January 10, 2013

    Scott, thanks for the link back to the “Be the Ball” discussion. I had a heart attack around the time of the original post and missed it. I think this is a great summary statement:

    “In any movement, trying to really understand it is the problem.Understanding will assist motivation to change and work on stuff, but it’ll also get in the way of doing. Understanding is thinking, and thinking can’t get it done subconsciously during movement. It can’t feel, it can’t compute fast enough. You can have some principles and touchstone points but that’s about it. Unless they are converted to things to feel and be aware of during the action, they get forgotten in skilful movement anyway.”

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