You’re Not THAT Guy, Are You?
“There should be a direct ball flight reason for any changes made to any golf swing, and the swing should NOT be changed just because of a theory or an accepted position. On the course, the swing and flight of the ball should – will – MUST – change because the golf course is not flat. Ignoring or disregarding the terrain and conditions will result in conventionally average performance – or worse.”
A few years ago, I saw a verrry well-known pro on TV say that for a right-hander when a ball is above your feet it should go left, so he said to “lean forward on the balls of your feet and choke up, and then try to hit it straight.”
Now, if you think about it, this makes no sense whatsoever. It should go left so you should try to hit it straight? You’re not buying that, are you? Do as he says and you’ll surely stick the club in the ground…
Here’s another one from another verrry well-known pro: When the ball is below your feet you should bend more to reach the ball and then try to hit a draw. Sounds to me like a sure way to shank it.
And yet another: When the ball is on a downslope you should swing down the hill but make sure you hold your balance and don’t lose it in the direction of the target. I think Gary Player would have a field day with that one since he practically walked through almost every shot…
These are all “conventional” golf tips, with conventional theories. They really aren’t based on examining the position of the face when it strikes the ball on the course. And they’re sure to prevent you from getting better at playing golf.
Or, how about the pro who says you really must hit a massive amount of range balls to get better? I’d have to ask, if it takes that much work, how effective is your instruction?
If you think about it, lower scores are actually unconventional! Really – conventional tips like these typically get you conventionally average to high scores. If we dare to think outside the box it will take something unconventional for you to lower your scores!
This is the box where conventional thinking takes place. Conventional golfers try to hit the ball straight and think that the performance they get on the range should directly transfer to the course. But the unconventional player places all of his emphasis on what happens on the golf course and learns out there, while using the range simply for warming up and some swing corrections. He doesn’t believe that the range performance is realistic because the lies are too good. And he knows that you never count your score on the range.
Everyone has a personal signature to their golf swing. Look at the swings on tour and you’ll see all kinds of different things going on. The instruction industry is just getting through the swing-modeling craze that has gone on since video was introduced in the 80’s and more recently took on a new life with the advent of launch monitors, but the emphasis is not on “sameness”.
Don’t get me wrong – videos and launch monitors are valuable tools in an experienced teaching pro’s toolbox. They do not end the conversation. They should be used to diagnose, treat, and support the player’s performance, not as a visual swing model and optimum set of numbers that must be “chased” in order to perform plastic surgery to make the player look like some touring pro.
It took a while for the industry to finally bury the “keep your left arm straight, your head down, and your eye on the ball” philosophy, though it still lingers in the dangerously untrained hands of husbands, fathers, and boyfriends – not to mention some wives, mothers, and girlfriends. (You’re not THAT guy, are you? If you truly want them to play golf, this instead will surely send them home angry at you.)
So what we’re saying is that a golf instructor’s first real duty is to do no harm to the existing golf swing. Over the years there has been a suggestion floating around that a player has to get worse before he gets better. That one’s hogwash too. If a pro tells you that, run away…
The teaching pro should know the effects of the positions and movements and the proper blend of each that you need for your ball flight in order to make your swing better – and more importantly, your ball flights. For example, if your thumbs are straight down the top of the grip, chances are high that you’re probably going to slice the ball. The farther on top you turn your top hand – to the right for right-handers and left for left-handers – the less slice you should get and sooner or later as you keep turning your hands on the grip at some point you should begin to hook the ball.
So, you might ask, what should I do to try to find unconventionally good results? Ordinarily, I’d say, test everything you hear, but I doubt you have that much time.
Just pick a few things to try differently, and find a golf pro who wants to go on the course with you and show you how to score. For example, what IF you were slightly on your heels and closer to the ball when it is above your feet? Or, maybe you DID lose your balance somewhat down the hill when the ball is on a downslope – what happened to the ball? Or – here’s a freebie – what if you hit chips and pitches with the shaft fairly vertical and just the toe of your wedges touching the ground?
Feel free to improve your swing while you’re at it, but don’t go hog wild trying to “model” your swing. Many players want to groove their swing, but just when they have it grooved they take it to the golf course and it doesn’t hold up. Then it’s back to the drawing board.
Maybe it’s because the range is “conventional”, and the golf course designer decided to make his course somewhat “unconventional”?
Join the growing number of players who understand that training on a flat surface that never changes and then playing a course that isn’t flat means failure when you least expect it.
Still think that sticking to a model golf swing in perfect balance is the way to play golf? Say, you’re not one of those “flat earthers”, are you?
C’mon, you’re smarter than that…. You have a swing – it’s time to start learning how to use it to play GOLF!!!
Imagine if you had done this when you started playing golf…?