Does the swing create the shot – or does the shot create the swing?
What kind of golf swing technique do you approve of? Are you a stack and tilter, a one-planer, or a two-planer? The choices can seem endless in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and opinion.
It can often seem a total minefield leading to so much confusion to the individual and in the end bad golf for the collective.
This doesn’t have to be the case.
I recently spent a wonderful day with a former Ryder Cup captain. We looked back on a memorable career but as with all of us playing the game of golf we tend to look at what we may be still capable of in the future as opposed to what we did in the past.
To recall previous achievements can be a wonderful trip down memory lane but in and of itself it can be less than useful as we can often slip into ‘how good I used to be’.
My view has always been to ask yourself a great question, which is: ‘What is possible?’
Often when I ask that question people jump straight back at me and say what they think I want to hear and say that anything is possible.
I always instantly correct this at the risk of disappointing, but anything is NOT possible.
With the best will in the world, at my age if I thought I was capable of running a 100 metres in less than 10 seconds then I think even if I have the most positive mind set in the world, I will not under any circumstances get to that finish line from a start in less than 10 seconds.
There are, however, for all of us an incredible number of things that are indeed possible, especially if you look at your own game of golf.
Could it be, for instance, possible for you to learn more about how to control your golf club? To send it on a certain path with the face pointing in a certain direction to create a desired shot – could that be possible? Could it be possible for you to learn much greater pace control on the greens?
When you begin to drill down and look at subsections of your game you see a whole world of opportunity and potential learning you could still embrace if you opened up to that possibility.
This brings me nicely to another question I asked to the aforementioned Ryder Cup captain which I would like you all to consider for yourselves. Does the swing create the shot, or does the shot create the swing?
Think for a moment as our skipper did and when a smile broke across his face I knew we were on to something interesting.
He realised by his own admission he had fallen into the trap of believing if he could stand there and make a series of perfect moves then the shot would take care of itself.
My experience is that it doesn’t. Unless we are crystal clear about what we intend the ball to do it is very difficult for the body to create the necessary collective movement.
Your body cannot organise a movement without a very clear intent.
If you intend to throw a ball to someone’s hand which is 10 feet away from you then your body will organise a series of movements around that intent.
Think about it this way for your golf: if you decide that you are going to play a low punch would your practice swing look and feel different than if you were aiming to play a high fade? It should do!
With clear intent of what we are actually trying to do, the genius of the body can take over.
Of course if you intend to hit a high draw and your swing path is seven degrees to the left you will have some skills to learn but even in practice if you know what shot you are actually trying to play then you can begin to learn the process of what you need to do to produce that shot.
You can learn the skill of influencing the club to influence the ball.
However, it all starts with a decision of what shot you are actually trying to play.
Be clear with this most simple of principles and watch your game really progress.