Golf is Hard
From the PGA Tour player to the 30+ handicapper, our best golf feels elusive. This leads us all to say things like, “I just want to be more consistent.” But here’s the truth: you already are consistent. In this lesson, I’ll teach you to understand your consistency and then improve it.
This Lesson Is For You If:
You want to understand your game better
You want to set better goals for real improvement
You ARE Consistent
Every golfer has consistent tendencies in their swing. Even if you feel like you hit the ball all over the planet, there are consistent elements.
The most consistent thing for most golfers is the swing path. I’ll use myself as an example. My path tends to be pretty close to zero, so on any given swing I will be somewhere from a degree right to a degree left.
Another consistent element is your angle of attack and low point. Again, as my own example: I tend to be very shallow with a low point that’s slightly in front of or behind the ball.
The third consistent element is your strike location. My tendency is to be a little low on the face, anywhere from the center to the heel.
If you spend a little time on a launch monitor and with some impact tape, you can understand your tendencies as well.
How Consistent Swings Create Inconsistent Results
“Ok, Matt. If we’re all so consistent, why do we hit it all over the place?”
There are two reasons: the club face and the way your consistent elements work together.
Of these two, the club face is more important. With my neutral path, I can hit shots left or right if I lose control of the face. Someone with a swing path to the right can hit anything from snap hooks to draws to pushes to blocked fades, depending on the club face. The swing is consistent, but on any given swing the club face can go awry.
We also need to consider the way the consistent elements work together. I can make a swing with a neutral path and control the club face, but if I hit the heel, the ball will fade. If that same swing finds the center of the face, the ball is perfectly straight. Both results are within my normal distribution.
How to Get Better: Improve Your Concepts
Knowing all this, there are two ways to get better. First, you need to get a good understanding of what you’re doing and what results are within your normal distribution. Get some time on a launch monitor to learn about your swing path and angle of attack. Use impact tape to figure out your strike tendencies. Study your divots to figure out how well you control your low point.
When you know your tendencies and you have a firm grasp on Ball Flight Laws, you will be able to figure out what your ball is going to do the majority of the time. That alone will allow you to manage your game and shoot better scores.
How to Get Better: Improve What Matters
If you want to improve your swing and your tendencies, you need to concentrate on what matters. I would strongly suggest to you that your swing path is very low on that list. There are guys playing for millions of dollars who draw it and guys playing for millions who fade it. Your swing path does not dictate who you are as a golfer.
I would recommend that if you’re looking to make upgrades, start with strike quality. That could be controlling your low point better or finding the center of the face more often. Your current situation will determine which is a more pressing issue. If you want some drills on improving strike quality, check out The Strike Plan.
I hope this helps you to think more clearly about your swing and gets you on the path to meaningful improvement. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section.