One bad shot/day ruins improvement.

The following quotes are the biggest hindrance of improvement for golfers at all skill levels.

“Oh, I pulled that ball, I must be over the top, I need to swing more right.”

“I am having a terrible day. It doesn’t mater that I shot 3 of the 4 best scores in my life recently, what I’m doing isn’t working.”

If you think you can or should adjust after one bad shot, you’re never going to get better. If you think one bad trip to the range, or one bad round means what has been working for months isn’t working anymore, you’re never going to get better.

Bad shots/days happen. Even the best in the world, but let’s put that aside and look at the practicality of trying to adjust to one bad shot.

What are the odds that are of the following are will happen?

1. You know exactly why the bad shot happened.
2. You know exactly what to to do fix that flaw.
3. You put the fix into play correctly.

How about an 80’s teen movie where Robert Downey Jr. is a drug addict and dies of an overdose?

If you are making adjustments after each bad shot, you end the day with 40 different swings. How is that helpful in improving your swing on the range, or shooting a lower score?

Now if you make the same miss 5-6 times in a row, then some adjustment is necessary…and if on the course, make it small. Alignment, ball position, etc. Throwing mechanical changes at each miss is a disaster, especially considering most people make the same exact swing on the course no matter what new idea they throw in there.

As far as a bad day…how dumb is it to ruin months of progress by changing course from what has providing steady improvement?

Your improvement is like the Dow Jones. You know there will be some down days, but as long as the long term trend is up, what you’re doing is likely correct.

To use that analogy, how stupid would someone be to dump their whole portfolio if the Dow went down 80, when it’s up 2000 that last 52 weeks?

Pros who practice every day talk about 12-18 months for a swing change to become ingrained, yet once a week hackers get mad when they don’t stripe every ball with a 2 yard draw after trying something for 2 weeks…or even 20 minutes.

If you want to get better, realize long term correct changes produce small incremental improvements with peaks and valleys along the way.

“70 yards and 15 strokes off your handicap or your money back…”

That deal also comes with an option for buying a bridge in New York and ocean front property in Nebraska.




  1. M

    Monte – What is your borometer to evaluate if swing changes you are making are actually making you better? Obviously, lower scores are the easiest to see but so often other parts of ones game suffer a bit when working on swing changes and so much goes into scoring.

    I’ve heard some say that your best and worst shots in the “after” swing should be better/more manageable. Everything in the middle of the spectrum is just golf. I guess it depends on what you’re changing.

  2. Metafolfer


    Monte, I could not agree more. The axiom to stick with the swing you brought to the course has paid off in spades for my game. If some of the fundamentals are properly in place and you don’t mess with them they start to build your swing. Once some baseline is established it can be added to or subtracted from. That takes time and faith and no knee jerk response to a mis hit. All of you reputable teachers warn against multiple changes.

    thanks for all of your insights and help.

  3. Marcus Deckert

    Monte you are spot on. I’m relatively talented and you and I have been working on my swing since November 2014. It’s a slow and steady road with ups and downs and especially me just not executing the changes. BUT a little at a time change happens.

    We working stiffs might practice 3 times a week…pros need a year – we have to be accepting that 2 or 3 years to really nail it is reasonable.


  4. Kelvin

    It’s no coincidence that I always come back to the same feel/intent after “experimenting” with 4 or 5 others…it’s tough to have the discipline to stick with what you know is the right way but might not give the results you want 100% of the time.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Rob

    Great advice Monte! Thanks.

  6. Kip

    You can’t find your swing on the course, just trees.

  7. daveydo

    “70 yards and 15 strokes off your handicap or your money back…”

    That deal also comes with an option for buying a bridge in New York and ocean front property in Nebraska.

    Finally, someone has said it. thank you.

  8. James G

    Great commentary Monte. I don’t try to fix anything on the course. What I do attempt to do, not sure if this is right or wrong, is focus on the fundamentals in my setup. Making sure that is spot on is about all I can control. After that, good days and bad days happen as you said.

  9. pcb_duffer

    IMHO one of the most important tools is the ability to purge one’s short term memory. I often tell myself “Idiot, you pulled that one!” as the ball is in flight, and the next time I stand over the ball my swing thought is “Okay, fool, you know how to swing a golf club. Now do so.”

  10. Jack Boutton

    Guilty as charged….. and it is a disaster!


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