Golf is a complicated game. To play your best it requires an amalgamation of preparation, technique, skill, equipment, physicality, mental sharpness, emotional control, and tactics – just for starters. They all apply to every aspect of playing the sport from the tee box all the way through the putting green.
Most golfers are hyper-focused on technique, and make the full swing the essence of what they seek assistance with.
What often surprises them is that their technique can be good but how they apply it may be leading to weakness in their ability to score or control the flight of the golf ball.
I know that may seem strange to some but I’ll give you a recent example of working with a student and how changing their thinking helped them better apply an already polished technique and skill combination.
Golfer A was a low handicap golfer. He arrived for his first lesson with a two handicap and an ability to hit golf balls in play on a regular basis. He prided himself in hitting the ball “straight”. In his mind that meant hitting a golf ball pretty much towards his target with some slight variations.
Just one problem. His idea of “straight” did not always end up with a golf ball directly on his final target. While he lined up with the face at the target and he was able to deliver it there, his path was always slightly left or right of where the face was, meaning his shots always had some curve, always AWAY from the final target. Yes, the misses were still close enough to the hole where he could easily two-putt, it did not bring him within the range where one putt was achievable more often. That meant he was missing out on the scoring opportunities to make him an even better player!
One we determined his more common tendency to have a path that went out to in (by a small degree) over in-to-out (he was a right-handed player), we worked on getting the face lined up slightly left of target, with his path moving just left of that. That new alignment created a consistent and slight left-to-right shot that was now moving TOWARD the target rather than away from it.
His swing remained largely the same, with some tweaks planned for the future to help enhance his ball-striking consistency and overall distance.
The takeaway here is to understand that improving your ability to get a golf ball on target more often is not always about skill and technique, it may be as simple as helping you get a better idea of concepts around golf ball flight.
To educate yourself about this and more, work with your coach to get the most out of your golf game this season.
Remember, that means more than just swing technique.
Scott MacLeod is the Associate Publisher/Editor of Flagstick Golf Magazine and a PGA of Canada Class A Member.