How you get better at golf

You need three things:

1. YOUR BRAIN-An understanding of what to do. You get this from someone like me who has an eye for the simple idea of what physical movement will improve things. Easy to figure out for someone who knows what they are doing.

2. YOUR BODY-The ability to perform this movement. With very few exceptions, everyone has this ability. Aside from a complicated body contortion (usually wrong anyway) or an injury preventing the movement, this movement from #1 should be simple enough to perform. Again, very simple concept.

3. Communication between #1 and #2. This is the hard part and this is where the hard work and trial and error comes in.

Most people teach that diagnosing the problem is a complicated process of finding all of the faults that aren’t lining up the swing according to an arbitrary standard, then the fix is easy. Manipulate the club and body into all of these “correct positions.”

I find this ridiculous. If you know what you are looking at, diagnosing the biggest fault getting in the way of a player is one simple things at a time. Where the hard part comes in is finding #3. How the brain communicates the proper thought/feel that produces the change in motor activity.

Everyone has different levels of body control and different ways of interpreting information.

You as a golfer, in order to get better, do not need a laundry list of swing thoughts, body movements and positions. You as the golfer need to find the proper way to communicate one single change to your body.

For instance…I see a student who takes the club too far inside creating a poor wrist hinge, lifts the arms and makes the backswing too long and then comes over the top and casts it with very little lower body rotation. A very common laundry list of problems.

I do not talk each position of the golf swing and right shoulder this and left hip that and try and fix all those flaws. You fix the first 2 feet of the takeaway and see what else gets fixed.

So now we have #1, not so far inside off the ball…simple. Can pretty much any person do this? Of course, so we have #2.

Now we get to #3. I can use the entire band with on the internet to list all of the feels and thoughts that will get the club going back straighter the first 2 feet. I can get fresh with the student and show them how it feels.

It is up to the student to find the proper communication between his brain and his body that produces this small, but important motor activity change. He may find it on the first try, he may find it on the 23rd try, but finding the proper language for the mind and body to come together in a simple and natural way is the key to getting better at golf…and no amount of more knee flexion, upper and lower cog talk with less left forearm pronation at P2 is going to help.

Keeping the left elbow pointed at the chest longer. That is the kind of communication that will improve the swing and lower the scores.

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5 Comments

  1. Ron

    “You fix the first 2 feet of the takeaway and see what else gets fixed.” Right on! I learned this a long time ago and have relearned many times. As a golfer trying to improve, I started focusing on other parts of my swing only to struggle and have to relearn the first 2 feet take away set the tone, tempo and direction of the swing. This applies for all clubs: driver, irons, wedges and putters, especially putters!

    Enjoy reading your observations, Monte.

    Reply
  2. Calvin

    Wait. You slipped in a little takeaway lesson there didn’t you?

    Reply
  3. woody

    This is one of your best. I read something like this last night:

    “We should be creating an idea in our mind about what we want to do during the swing. When we think of that idea, our brain will direct our body to move accordingly.”

    I’d say that most golfers have the wrong idea (which maddeningly might work for a few people). Take Bobby Jones. His instruction said to push back with the left shoulder. Well, that finished me right there–DONE, no chance. Sure, his left shoulder moved, but I question whether he was pushing it. (In the case of Jones, sometimes he might have just been reading a script.)

    Then, I read Bob Toski’s book (which was pretty good as golf books go), and he said that the first move of the downswing is a slide. Well, there probably is a slide, but it probably isn’t the first thing.

    The problem with these coordinated people is that they were doing things automatically that they didn’t realize, and anyone taking their instruction literally had no chance.

    Wrong idea to start the backswing, wrong idea to start the downswing, and I was double-done before I started.

    Reply
  4. Jason

    Good post Monte. I have issues like what you mentioned. How about the thought of not starting the swing from a static position? Farward press, kicking right knee in as if your in a follow through before taking the club away, bouncing the club lightly on the turf before takeaway? I’m experiment with this. How about picturing Monte’s rhythm handset and timing drill back and through and just catching the next one on the takeaway?

    Reply
  5. Dayo

    Don’t always agree with all of your posts… But, this is the most common sense entry you’ve ever made.

    Reply

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