Who Cares What Your Swing Looks Like? This Is All That Matters…
I have a bit of a ridiculous golf swing.
Most instructors would have a field day with it. They would tell me my takeaway is horrible. I come wayyyy inside “the plane” on my takeaway. I don’t rotate my hips enough, my stance is probably a bit too narrow, etc etc.
I recently showed a video of it to a friend of mine who is an instructor, and this was his response:
I get it, and I don’t really like looking at my swing much on video because I know I’m doing some unorthodox things.
Here’s the thing. I don’t care.
My wonky swing gets the ball going mostly where I am aimed. I trust it. I can repeat it.
To me that’s all that matters in golf, and it’s the first thing I talk about in my book.
The golf swing is probably the most debated motion in all of sports. There are so many ways to get it done. I get a kick out of watching people argue about their version of the swing, and why it’s right.
I urge you not to listen to anyone who claims to promote only one way to swing a club, and to seek out your own swing. You can certainly do that with the help of a qualified instructor, or even on your own if you are willing to put the work in, and be somewhat of a detective.
All that really matters is what is going on at impact. If your version of the golf swing can get your club face to square up reasonably at impact, then you have succeeded. The golf ball could care less what you did to make that happen.
Are there certain moves that all great golfers share? Absolutely! But you don’t need to necessarily be doing all of them to play effective golf.
My less-than-pretty swing has broken 80 several hundred times, and even 70. If I can do it while breaking many of the “swing rules”, so can you.
That is why one of my favorite ways to track my progress these days is to measure what is going on at impact with my swing. You may have seen instructors like Andrew Rice and Adam Young promoting this drill, and I think it’s one of the best ones out there.
All I do is take a dry eraser pen (full disclosure: I stole it from my son’s set) and mark a circle on the golf ball before I hit it. After you swing, it will leave a small residue on the club face to let you know where you made contact.
Using this drill I have figured out that my bad swings are usually occurring on the heel of the club. When I feel it, and then see it…something interesting is going on between my brain and my body.
When things are going well, then I get a sense of the kind of motions I am making with my body that are leading to impact close to the sweet spot.
Here are the last 5 swings from my session last night; all exactly on the same spot with my ridiculous golf swing.
Give this a shot next time you are at the range. Really try and feel what goes on during your swings when the mark isn’t anywhere close to the sweet spot, and what is going on when you do hit the center of the club face.
If you can get those marks closer to the center then you are making effective golf swings no matter how weird or unorthodox they may look.
Something else to consider for every person who plays golf, there are no do overs during your round. It’s the first and last time you will ever play that stroke under those conditions. Your swing is always being modified for the current stroke in play you cannot escape that. You can close a club face relative to a target just by alignment left of it and open the club face by alignment right of it. Golf is a game first with two objectives, get the ball into the cup and do it with the fewest strokes. How you get there depends how you miss just choose a forgiving miss. This game is all about momentum. Choose where to miss and hit the miss zone. That builds momentum. Miss the miss zone and your confidence and trust in your swing drops causing momentum to work against you. Control the controllable and blend it with the uncontrollable. Work towards balance. Some times you get good kicks, bounces, and extra breaks from the wind while other times it goes the other way. Who cares it will all balance out during a round. Above all remember the worst result you can have is replacing your ball with another so relax and learn to manage risk or find another game!
Clay Gardner says
I’ve been reading your articles for about a month now. I’ve read some really good articles about things I hadn’t thought of or considered. Others where I already knew the info and there wasn’t a lot gained, but I always enjoy reading the experiences and information you glean. Hopefully you don’t get swallowed up by sponsors that take the unbiased position out of your pieces. Just wanted you to know I’m a fan of your work buddy.
Thanks for the kind words, Clay! My opinion is not for sale 🙂