Golf Tips - Keep Your Swing Simple

By Tom Ward

Throughout my years as a golf instructor, teaching both in the U.S. and in several foreign countries, I have consistently noted one familiar theme that affects golfers all over the world.

Lesson after lesson, in country after country, is compromised, made less effective or, at worst case, rendered useless by a tendency to complicate things when it comes to the golf swing.

It's the old 'analysis causes paralysis' syndrome. People are trying to think of, and do, too many things at once in a game, where, if you shot 72 for 18 holes you would only contact the ball for approximately 0.036 seconds. This amazing data was given to me by friends at True Temper's applied research group.

This is why it is so important to stress simplicity. The secret of both teaching and learning the golf swing is communication. There have been numerous good books and articles written over the years on how to swing a golf club. From my experience in teaching in foreign languages, I feel it is not only difficult but almost impossible to communicate in writing unless the terms and words mean the same to writer as to reader. Remember, different words have different meanings to different people. Don't hesitate to ask "What does that mean?".

Communicating your point through the proper learning channels I feel will be a must for teachers throughout this decade. If a teacher uses only one strategy, he/she will be as effective as a car that runs in only one gear.

It is easier and likely more productive communicating through motion. Learning through written material only is learning by the mechanics. You must supplement written knowledge by learning feel through good motion. In the end, to play the game well you swing the club by feel, not by mechanics. It has been said: 'To know a thing by its parts is science; to feel it as a whole is art'. It helps to understand the mechanics (science) of a swing. However, it should help at least as much to develop the feel (art).

I think it helps a golfer to understand a good swing if he understands what causes a good swing. It has been my experience that players expect to hit a good shot, without knowing why. For instance, a player wants to cure a slice, but he doesn't know what causes it. It makes sense to me that it is much easier to cure the problem if he knows the circumstances that caused it. Albert Einstein once said, "You can't solve the problem using the same thinking that created it in the first place."

Here's some food for thought - an example of how I've seen people play golf all over the world:

"People work hard climbing the ladder of success only to realize it's leaning on the wrong wall."*

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