Golf Swing Mechanics Or Smooth Swing?
“Which One Should You Focus On?”
Which is more important – making a smooth golf swing or having the proper swing mechanics? This is a good question to ask yourself as it could help you improve your consistency.
Which do you often find yourself more focused on? Do you spend more time thinking about your shoulders, your backswing, your swing plane, your follow-through or do you spend more time on trying to make a smooth golf swing so that all these parts work seamlessly?
We have discovered that it’s a fine line between focusing too much on one or the other. If you’re more focused on your swing mechanics – would the smoothness of your golf swing suffer? Or if you focused more on a smooth golf swing – would your swing mechanics suffer?
It’s like the old question: what came first – the chicken or the egg? Does good swing mechanics help create a smooth golf swing or does a smooth golf swing help to create good swing mechanics?
At first glance, I would guess that most Golfers spend more time thinking about their swing mechanics vs. making a smooth swing. Yet, most Golfers struggle with inconsistency – so if that is you, that might tell you to put a little more focus on making a smooth golf swing.
Now, I’m not here to say that making a smooth golf swing will make you a consistent Golfer or that it will automatically help you to hit the golf ball better – however, it can “occasionally” smooth-out some of the compensations in your golf swing (bad swing mechanics).
For example: Are you the type of Golfer that hits a fantastic shot once-in-a-while and then says to yourself (and anyone who will listen): “Why can’t I do that all the time?” It maybe that your swing mechanics might not be the best, however – for whatever reason, you just made a smooth golf swing that allowed all your compensations to align to hit a solid golf shot. Then, on your next golf shot – for whatever reason, you’re not as smooth, your compensations don’t align and you hit what seems to be the worst golf shot of your life.
Or, how about this?
I have seen many Golfers that have great swing mechanics, yet aren’t able to put it together on the golf course. They can do it on the practice range – but on the golf course it often becomes a struggle. These are the Golfers that on the practice range are able to hit shot after shot just like they want to hit the golf ball. If you were watching them hit golf balls on the practice range, you might say: “He/she can really hit the golf ball. I wonder what they score on the golf course. I bet they’re in the 70’s all the time.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at a Golfer on the practice range and thought they would play great on the golf course. Then get paired up with this Golfer to play 18 holes and just be amazed at how inconsistent they played. And although they hit a few good shots on the golf course … you don’t feel as impressed with their game as you did while watching them on the practice range. When you saw them on practice range – it was ball after ball of effortless looking swings that sent the golf ball flying through the air towards their target.
On the range it looked like they would shoot 70 – on the golf course it looked like they lost about 15 golf balls. You would think that someone that has the ability to swing the golf club that well on the practice range – should be able to just let it go and make consistently good swings on the golf course.
From what I see with this type of Golfer, it appears that on the golf course there is a lot of indecision, a lot of second guessing, a lot of trying new things in their golf swing from swing to swing and thus, a lot of errant golf shots. What happened to this Golfer during their walk from the practice range to the 1st tee? Did they just lose their golf swing?
There are a good amount of Golfers that don’t hit the golf ball as well on the golf course as they have the ability to do so. Do you know anyone like that?
There is no doubt that being able to move your body (meaning your total body – hands, arms, legs, core, etc.) so that the golf club is moving in a good way towards the golf ball is critical towards hitting a good golf shot. However, like the example above of a Golfer than can hit great on the practice range – good swing mechanics doesn’t guarantee great shots. Just like a smooth golf swing (with bad swing mechanics) doesn’t guarantee a great golf shot.
A golf swing that has great mechanics, but isn’t smooth is just as inconsistent as a smooth golf swing that doesn’t have good swing mechanics. Both parts must be equal to have a consistent golf swing. Any inconsistency in either aspect will create errant golf shots.
It’s like the Golfer that can make the effortless practice swing – but feels as if their swing changes (gets worse) when the golf ball is there.
I’ve seen too many Golfers that feel that they can swing the golf club “properly” when there isn’t a golf ball in front of them. The golf club will move smoothly – moving past that imaginary golf ball as if it would’ve hit the most beautiful shot ever. Yet, when there’s a golf ball there … what happens? The golf swing doesn’t look the same. Why?
Was it a loss of swing mechanics because the golf ball was there? Did you forget everything and totally lose your swing? Or do you just have a smooth, effortless looking golf swing with inconsistent swing mechanics? Just because you can swing smooth without the golf ball in front of you – doesn’t mean that your golf club would’ve hit the golf ball with a straight club face, on a good swing path, and while impacting it at the proper angle required.
So, although it may feel as though you made a good golf swing (because it felt smooth) – it doesn’t mean the swing mechanics were very good because there wasn’t a golf ball flying through the air (or skidding across the ground) to show you the results or effectiveness of your swing mechanics.
To play your best golf requires the total package of good swing mechanics, along with having the ability to make a smooth golf swing when the golf ball is there when it counts. That’s when you’ll become more consistent – when you’re able to be equally skilled with your swing mechanics and your ability to make a smooth golf swing.
Too many Golfers work on their golf swing in pieces – they work on their takeaway (getting shoulders to turn 90 degrees, hips 45 degrees, getting the club to move inside, shifting the weight) – then they work on the top of their swing (shaft parallel to the ground, a flat left wrist, club pointing parallel to the target line) – then they work on the downswing (blah, blah, blah) – then they work on impact (blah, blah, blah) – then they work on follow-through (blah, blah, blah) – then they work on their finish position (blah, blah, blah).
Yet, you can do all those things perfect – but, if it’s not a smooth transition from position to position – it’s not going to be a good golf shot. The timing (smoothness) of how you do all those things is just as important. So again, I’m not here to say that a smooth golf swing cures all – I’m here to say that you need to work on smooth as much as you work on mechanics. You need to find a way to work on both at the same time!
So going back to the opening question: What should you first learn to do – make a smooth golf swing or have the proper swing mechanics? If you ask 100 Golf Instructors – you’d probably get 75% saying swing mechanics and the other 25% saying smooth golf swing. What do we believe at GMS?
We believe that you can practice a certain way that allows you to practice both at the same time. In most golf instruction – you first need to learn all the swing mechanics of the backswing, then learn all the swing mechanics of the downswing, then all the swing mechanics of the follow-through. With little or no mention of how to make a smooth swing so that the timing of your golf swing allows all these swing mechanics to connect. Although you’ll hear a lot of – “Well don’t worry about it … you need to get worse before you get better.”
Remember, you’ll hit the golf ball your best when your swing mechanics and your ability to make a smooth golf swing become equal. So why not learn to do both at the same time? Don’t be the Golfer that says – “Well, I first need to learn the swing mechanics before I worry about being smooth.” Because that’s the Golfer that will be saying the same thing 10 years from now.
Better golf is just around the corner if you can learn to do both at the same time!
The Monkey knows everything there is to know about the back swing, forward swing and follow-through – yet can’t be consistent on the golf course
The Player practices so that they’re improving their swing mechanics at the same time that they’re practicing to make a smooth, effortless golf swing
Go ahead, be a Player!