Playing golf naturally – some questions answered
The following comments are from a keen golfer from Sydney. You may find my answers helpful if you’re struggling grasping the concepts of natural learning and playing golf automatically.
As I’ve explained to you before I’m a very technical golfer who finds it hard to let go of thinking about the golf swing in a technical way and just play in a state of relaxed concentration.
Firstly, my approach allows you to do all of the thinking that you wish to do. If you like to analyse, think, worry and concern yourself with the details of the golf swing (or anything else) then you are free to do this.
The trick is to do your thinking in a way that still allows you to play automatically. I go into more detail about this in my book, Play Golf Your Way.
Secondly, hitting the ball more instinctively takes a little time to get used to. If you’ve always had your mind full of technical thoughts, then you will struggle to let go of this ‘security blanket’. You will also be tempted to go back to your old ways each time you hit a bad shot or the game gets difficult.
This is the beauty of learning a better golf game. You can’t buy it or steal it. You have to earn it. And this takes some patience and discipline. If making a change for the better was easy then there would be no golf instruction industry and no frustrated golfers. Only golfers that are prepared to take the time to understand the learning process and invest the energy to implement it will succeed. All the others will spend their time looking for the quick fix or the miracle cure – a bit like hoping to win lotto if you ask me.
I’ve been hitting with a wild slice lately and thinking “it’ll come good soon”. So I got in front of the mirror the other night practicing my swing when I think I realised what I was doing wrong.
I was trying to swing hard and uninhibited, which was not allowing me to take time in the transition of my backswing to downswing. That threw out the timing.
Then, the main thing that was causing the big slice, was that I noticed my left tricep was stiff, I believe this is a subconscious legacy that was left over from years of coaching – the type of coaching that focuses on a straight left arm.
When I try to swing in a more relaxed way as you suggest, it only causes the ball to go sideways.
If I try and swing in a relaxed manner combined with a straight left arm I noticed that the club face was open at impact. No wonder I was having problems!
This type of email is very normal for an analytical golfer. There is nothing wrong with being analytical, sometimes thinking too much can get in the way of improving your golf game 🙂
You shouldn’t have to try to swing hard, relaxed or uninhibited. When you play golf automatically (which I think should be every golfer’s goal) then you are just swinging. You have to be prepared to get what you have got. I have found that when you let go and stop worrying, your REAL swing will shine through. This swing is always better than a contrived and conscious swing. In almost all cases this natural swing will be relaxed, free flowing and more powerful.
By letting go you have to give up control. This doesn’t mean that you swing out of control and in a super aggressive manner. NO – you must allow your body to swing in a way that it wants to. Many golfers mistake letting go by playing quickly and hitting the ball hard. This is not correct, you MUST let your subconscious lead the way.
My Second point:
I don’t think swinging in a mirror and looking at what is happening is the best thing to do. Usually the golfer will make up stories as to what is going on. Sometimes they may diagnose correctly, but more often than not they will make a guess as to what the problem is. I call these little guesses stories.
Even if you know exactly what the problem is, you still need to perform the skill (at least when you’re out on the golf course) automatically. This requires you to let go and stop thinking.
My advice is to start with an easy shot, say chipping or pitching. When you can hit these shots with a clear mind then move further away from the hole. Don’t be in a rush, enjoy the process and allow yourself to learn and explore the real possibilities open to you.
My third point:
There is nothing wrong with fixing your swing. This should only be done away from the golf course. When you play golf that is all you should do – PLAY GOLF! This is not a time to fix or control your swing.
You should also strive to make all changes automatic (so you can do them without thinking about them) it also helps if you only focus on ONE thing at a time. This step really isn’t flexible – it is a fundamental of learning a great golf game!
I expand on these concepts further in my book. I have now made it available to all my blog readers at a special price.
If you’d like to get your own copy please visit this link (product is a down loadable file. If you’d like hard copy edition please contact me)
If you have any questions please let me know.