It was a good swing!
I've been helping an old friend improve her golf swing so she can enjoy playing weekend golf with her new husband. After convincing her that a consistent golf swing doesn't just happen without an investment of some time and energy, I prepared a solid and doable course of practice sessions that would fit even her busy schedule. It's so user-friendly that just about anyone who wants to play better golf can handle the load.
A few weeks later she ran excitedly into the Pro Shop looking for me. She had followed the lesson plan as prescribed and then joined her husband for their first round of golf together. Beaming from ear to ear, she reported, "I remembered everything. I took my time, planted my feet, relaxed, focused, took a deep breath, and swung the driver just like I'd been doing for the past two weeks. When I felt the club connect with the ball and heard a sharp 'crack,' I felt such a thrill that I could hardly contain myself and keep my head down. When I finally looked up, I could see the ball sailing straight down the fairway!"
She and her husband gaped at the ball as it bounced once, bounced again, and finally rolled to a stop almost 150 yards away. Suddenly there was a 'Whoop!' from her husband and then he was lifting her off her feet and swinging her around shouting, "You hit it! You really hit it!" She was pleased at his reaction but she was not so happy when they approached her ball, which was only a few yards from his, and he said, "Bet you can't do that again." But she showed him that her great drive wasn't a fluke with a second wood shot, almost as long and just as straight, leaving her with a perfect lie about 100 yards from the green of the long par-5 hole.
When she approached the third shot, she was really nervous because she had been practicing with her woods and now she was faced with an iron shot. "But," she said, "I got focused and I just started my swing. I didn't hit it quite hard enough to make the green but it went straight! I couldn't believe it and neither could my husband. He was so impressed, he asked to see my plan."
The plan I gave her consisted of three parts:
1. Consistency - What it is and why it works.
2. Practice Makes Consistent - Why consistency is perfect.
3. Consistent Tips That Work Consistently
1. Consistency - What it is and why it works.
Consistency is the art of repeating the same helpful actions to achieve the same desirable results. That sounds a lot like the definition of insanity: repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Many people classify golfers as somewhat insane for chasing a small white ball over hills and in and out of lakes, traps, and deep forests through heat, rain, and even snow. While this behavior is fairly consistent for many occasional golfers, it can only be considered insanity if they continue to make the same mistakes and expect their shots to land in fairways and on greens.
The "Consistency/Insanity Defense." As crazy as it sounds, the qualities needed to achieve consistency are the very same ones - commitment and determination. The difference lies in what you choose to repeat to achieve the expected result. If your actions will not contribute to an excellent swing, then you fall in the insanity camp because you continue to produce the same poor swing with the same poor results.
On the other hand, if you are repeating actions that result in long, straight drives, as well as deadly accurate chips and putts, then you are on your way to consistency.
2. Practice Makes Consistent
Whatever I tried to achieve in my life, I heard the same advice from my parents: Practice makes perfect. As I have grown up and found a measure of success in many endeavors, I have proven them almost right. I say "almost right" because I discovered that, no matter how long and consistently I practice, I am incapable of perfection.
Consistency is not perfection but it is as close as we can get to it. It means performing the same actions the same way every time and I soon discovered that I am capable of consistency. As I worked on my own golf swing, I found that the proper actions produced the desired results. Repeating those actions over and over produced those results consistently.
Practice is the consistent repetition of an action; so, practice not only "makes consistent," it is consistency itself. Therefore, to be a consistent golfer takes practice, practice, practice.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Address the tee properly (Repeat 20 times twice a day)
- Stand straight without hunching your shoulders
- Plant your feet slightly further apart than your shoulders
- Flex your knees and adjust your weight on your feet until balanced
- Relax your shoulders, shake out your arms and let them fall at your side
Grip the club properly (Repeat 20 times twice a day)
- Lay the club head next to the tee and relax with it loosely in one hand
- Place the other hand on the grip
- Adjust your grip until comfortable
Swing the club
- Address the tee and grip the club as practiced
- Swing smoothly and firmly with your arms and shoulders
- Follow through completely with your head down and eye on the tee
- Videotape and analyze - make adjustments as needed
Swing the club properly (Repeat 20 times four times a day)
- Pay attention to the feel of the proper swing
- Make sure each swing feels the same
- Videotape your last set of swings to be sure your swing is consistent with the beginning
Hit the ball
- Place a ball on the tee and address the ball properly
- Forget that there is a ball in front of you and just swing as practiced
- After the ball has left the tee, complete your swing and then look up
- If the ball didn't go where you intended, adjust your swing
- Once your swing is effectively hitting the ball, repeat 20 times as many times a day as you can
3. Consistent Tips that Work Consistently
These tips are from golfers who have worked long and hard to perfect their golf swing. While most of them are still aiming for the perfection that will never come, that doesn't keep them from trying.
- Get it right. Repeat your swing until it feels right and natural.
- Practice, practice, practice - in your back yard, your basement, even your garage.
- Ask for and pay attention to good feedback.
- Develop a positive attitude. Reward yourself for good shots and look for ways to improve the bad ones.
One final word to the wise: Most golfers whine and complain about their scores, their poor strokes, and their high handicaps. Instead of beating yourself up when you hit poorly, reward your good play consistently. Whenever you hit a green or the middle of the fairway, congratulate yourself and then swing again the same way. If it feels the same, remember it and then do the same thing again and again until it feels natural. It may sound like the road to insanity, but it is the only way to consistency at its best.
This article was written by Keith Matthews. Keith is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at TopGolfTipsHQ.com.