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Swing Better = Get Better?

Ask yourself this – what is your idea of ‘Swing better’. If it is based on an assumption that a swing, which is symmetrical and pretty, is better, go ahead and work on how your swing looks. You can look great, as you never improve your scores.

Studies in biomechanics clearly show that some of the tour players ‘ugly’ swing traits are actually very beneficial. It will take time for the golf magazines and social media to catch up, but you will see.

Here’s a much better question, and it brings us closer to the fundamental difference between you and a professional. Read this line over and over and over… Until it haunts your dreams

“The biggest difference between a professional and an amateur is how the club impacts the ball”, not the body positions at impact but how the club and the ball interact through that fraction of a second where they are in contact with one another.

So, if this were all that matters to the golf ball, wouldn’t it be a good idea to work on this directly? Wouldn’t it be better to improve your understanding of it, as well as your ability to get the desired impact?

The average golfer will find this really difficult to accept as the overriding message in every forum, every magazine and every you tube or social media video is to improve your style to improve your function. Swing it this/that way – move your body like this/that etc. But, wait a minute; do you teach a child the mechanics of putting a fork into their mouth in order to get the function (feed themselves)? Or, does the mechanics arise as a result of improved function, with focus on the function itself? We all know the answer to that, unless you are teaching your kids how to bend their arms and wrists to feed themselves while they slowly slip into a state of malnutrition

When technique arises as a result of function, it becomes more adaptable. Children who learn simply to put the fork into their mouth will do it using many different techniques. The child who learns through a set of defined commands may produce a functional (albeit unnatural technique), but it will be far less adaptable. Your brain will generally co-ordinate all the necessary variables into an appropriate action, if it has function as its primary objective.

However, style is not irrelevant – far from it. But unfortunately the common perception of what is important in the golf swing is far from the truth – as evidenced by the vast amount of top players with different styles on tour. These players have often come to these styles in spite of being taught commonly held beliefs about perfect takeaways etc.

 There are some commonalities among good players, but you are not going to find those things in your magazines. There are certain swing mechanics that produce bigger margins for error/more technical repeatability, but one thing is true any style change you make should serve a purpose. It should

  1. Improve impact
  2. Improve repeatability of impact
  3. Reduce injury

You should NOT be making swing changes simply to look prettier or more like your favorite model.

Technique matters – but most things that the average amateur deems ‘correct technique’ can seriously be called into question. Unless a technique helps you achieve a more consistent or better impact (or is a safer way for your body), it is a waste of time. If you are busy trying to get your club ‘on-line’ at the top, ask yourself is that really improving your function?

The moral of the story

  • There are much wider acceptable boundaries of swing style which will produce function
  • Lots of things held dear as technical ‘musts’ are nothing more than old wives tales – so be careful
  • Pro’s have more skill – so work on developing skill
  • Skill is different to technique
  • Technique can (and does) arise from function.
  • Direct technical changes should be a supplement to improved skill– not dominate it
  • There is more to a golfer than their swing style. Trying to get good at golf by only improving your swing style is short sighted, at best.

I understand that many of you will have strongly held beliefs challenged by this article. Good. Maybe it will open your eyes to why you are not as good as you should be.

 

2017-04-29T12:38:18+00:00April 29th, 2017|