Your success on the golf course is determined by how well you hit the golf ball. How well you hit the golf ball is based upon your control of the golf club. Your control of the golf club is based upon how well your body and arms work together. The consistency of your body and arms working together is directly related to your athletic ability.
Some people may have the natural athletic ability to do this with consistency. However, most people need to develop the skill of having their body and arms work together … or another way to say “develop the skill” … is to say that you need to practice.
However, for the vast majority of Golfers, practice just means going to the driving range and hitting golf balls. And while that Golfer is hitting golf balls … most of the time they aren’t practicing the relationship of their body and arms working together.
Your time on the practice range shouldn’t be dedicated primarily to hitting golf balls. It should be focused on doing drills to feel the movements of your body and arms working together. Once you start to feel how they work together, then hit a golf ball.
Where most Golfers make the mistake is they think the acquisition of skill comes 100% from the swings in which they hit the golf ball. So they hit ball after ball after ball hoping to improve their golf swing.
Yet they are doing very little in the way of practicing for improvement.
When you swing to hit a golf ball … everything is happening so fast … that it’s hard to feel what aspect of your body isn’t working perfectly with the other parts. There are very few people that have total awareness of what is happening in their golf swing as they’re hitting a golf ball.
For the most part, what these Golfers feel during their golf swings are not the ‘causes’ of the bad swing … they often just feel the ‘effects’. So after a bad shot – this Golfer hits their next shot trying to fix the ‘effect’. Yet, because the ‘cause’ wasn’t fixed … it’s another bad shot.
This process of using the hitting of the golf ball as practice (when you’re really not practicing) continues on and on and on without much improvement. And in fact, what starts to happen is that you slowly become worse because you’re now creating new compensations while trying to fix the ‘effect’.
The better way to practice is to spend more time feeling your movements away from the golf ball. Once you start to develop a feel for your body and arms working together … then hit 4 to 6 golf balls. Then go back to your practice without the golf ball until you have further improvement with your feel … followed by 4 to 6 golf balls.
This is practice as opposed to ball, ball, ball, ball, etc
Think of a Boxer practicing their boxing skills when preparing for a fight. One of the things they do to practice is called “Shadow Boxing”. Compare what you should be trying to accomplish with your golf swing to what Wikipedia says about Boxers using Shadow Boxing to improve their technique:
The main purpose of this exercise, apart from getting the muscles ready for another activity, is usually to maintain a fighter’s rhythm. This could be important as it usually gives fighters an idea of what is, and what is not, to be fixed.
Now to compare the above to how you should be practicing your golf swing – I’m going to substitute any word that pertains to boxing with a golf word:
The main purpose of this exercise, apart from getting the muscles ready for the golf swing (another activity), is usually to maintain a Golfer’s (fighter’s) rhythm. This could be important as it usually gives Golfers (fighters) an idea of what is, and what is not, to be fixed.
Yet, most Golfers just go out to hit golf ball after golf ball without ever practicing what they’re trying to accomplish on each of those swings.
The Monkey hits golf balls and gets knocked out each practice session
The Player practices their golf swing like Floyd Mayweather prepares for a boxing match
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life