There Are Some Things Many People Get Wrong

The easiest part of striking a golf ball is in the fact that it isn’t moving – it is a stationary object, and you are never going to strike or stroke a ball that is in motion.

So, what is the most difficult part of striking a golf ball?

It’s the same fact – the ball is not in motion, rather it is sitting there quite placidly, awaiting your stroke at it.

And there is the problem – I don’t know of any other sport (other than pool/billiards) where you use an implement to strike a stationary object, unless perhaps it’s a puck at rest on the surface, which is a stretch, since most pucks will never come to rest during live play in hockey, but it’s possible.

In baseball, tennis, cricket, etc., you’re watching a moving ball approach you, usually at high speed and most times with movement (curving or bouncing), and you’re reacting to it with hand-eye coordinated movement.

So, most of the swing errors that arise, I put into two categories – that of either position or motion, and the address is something we can all control consciously, of course.

If you saw Jason Day come completely undone in the 3rd round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow last weekend, you may have noticed that it was his setup that led to the chaos – his stance was completely out of kilter with his shoulders set up going left of the target and his feet on a line either square to or closed to the target line.

This is something that is obvious to see if you’re looking for it, and what of the other ways you can get into trouble with your golf swing?

For most it’s that darned ball sitting there, just begging to be walloped, and yet how many books have been written on the subject of putting a swing on it?

Simply, you’re making errors in mechanics because of your visual focus on that stationary ball.

Instead of positioning yourself over the ball with the proper setup to come down through the bottom on the correct path with the proper club face alignment, you’re looking at the ball and reacting to it.

Truth be told, the hardest part about hitting a ball, even when you have a solid swing model, is killing or suppressing that reactive impulse – if you stand and swing the same way every time (and almost everyone has a consistent move, just perhaps not the one they wish they have), then it is a simple task to get over the ball and send it on its way.

There’s no requirement to sway away from the ball or to lunge at it – it’s just sitting there.

There’s no need to make a nice, measured back swing and then throw yourself at the pellet.

What you simply need to do is trust that, when you’ve build your setup and make the move you always make, that you will get a consistent and predictable result.

Swing flaws are things that are in your swing that make consistency more difficult to achieve, and they are tricky, because you can be a driving range star with a swing flaw – there is no score on the range and you can simply rake over another ball and keep making the same move and producing consistent results, whereas on the course, the score and the fact that there are no mulligans will make strange things happen to your swing, and the more flaws you have, the stranger it can get.

So, this has been the focus on my research all of these years – the ball doesn’t move, so if you put the same swing on it every time, you’ll produce consistent results.

And, the better that move is, the more speed, power and distance you’ll be able to produce.

But you have to get over that impulse, once you’re over the ball, to actually hit that ball, because now reaction will take over.

You have to trust your swing, and to imagine that, if everything suddenly went dark, you’d be able to make that same swing and still produce the desired result.

Of course, that is a hypothetical – you don’t ever have to hit a ball in complete darkness or with your eyes closed, but you should swing as if that’s the case.

The ball isn’t going anywhere, except where you send it.  You have an advantage in that the ball isn’t moving.  You can put the same move on it, time after time, especially on the tee block, and turn yourself into a flesh-and-blood Iron Byron.

Stop reacting to the ball and simply swing…

Easier said than done, but that’s what you need to do.

And if you don’t think it can be done, the only problem is that you don’t think it can be done.

I came from a lifetime of participation in other sports before I ever picked up a golf club in my mid-20’s, and the suppression of reaction to the stationary ball was the last thing I had to conquer.

So, I know how difficult it is, but if you’re driving yourself crazy with with the swing, this is likely the area where you’re struggling.

You’re either in a great setup and then making mechanical errors, or you’re in a faulty setup and from there, it doesn’t matter what you do, you will struggle with consistency.

First, you have to nail that setup.

Then, you can forget about the ball and just swing – the ball will get in the way.

I am working on that follow-up video to “E = MCS” for those who indicated that they want a more in-depth look at the trouble areas of the swing, and all of those areas, my friends, deal with suppressing reaction and simply performing the mechanics.

I made the analogy to someone the other day that “E = MCS” has everything you need to build and perform the swing – the setup, how to do it, the mechanics of a swing with no compensations, it’s the complete vehicle.

Now, I’m looking at what to put into the “User’s Manual” for that vehicle.  If you were able to watch the video, build your setup and get to work on the mechanics and you’re sailing along – that’s great!

However, if you are setting up properly and still struggling with what you do once you’re in motion, be it the first part of the back swing, or the second, or the transition from the top, or the second part of the down swing, I know what the problem is and…

I’m working on it!

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video

7 thoughts on “There Are Some Things Many People Get Wrong

  1. Terry

    Also on the driving range, you do not have to deal with all the different types of lies/stances you are faced with while playing. Some courses I play it is difficult to find flat lies even in the middle of the fairway. Ball is somewhat above/below or side hill above/below. These situations play havoc with consistency of strike and line, and require set up manipulation which can be quite challenging.

    1. D Watts Post author

      One way to get around that is to try to find different lies at the range or on the course, to practice. I would even hit the ball to some funky places on purpose at times to test myself out… this is where the game is fun!

      I’ll admit I love a good par save or birdie from a bad lie… I just prefer not to play 18 holes that way 😉

  2. Harleyweedwhacks

    I disagree. I’m looking to play professionally, and the last thing I want to do is think about my swing while I perform it. It needs to be subconscious. So in other words, work on your technique, but make it muscle memory.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I think about the target exactly twice – when I’m determining what the target will be, after which I set my target line and then build my setup for the coming shot.

      Then, I guess I think about the target once more when I look at it just before I swing (the Fred Couples thing I picked up from him years ago), and then I just swing.

      So, different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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