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WHY YOUR GOLF SWING CHANGES EVERY TIME

You hit one great, then you hit one horrifically.

Want to know the difference? Of course you do – Read on.

THE TEST

A few weeks ago, this PGA Teaching Pro  ran test.
He hit shots where he contacted the ground in different places (intentionally), either;

• Ball then turf, like you should
• Turf 1 inch behind the ball
• Turf 2 inches behind the ball
• Turf 3 inches behind the ball
 
However, as a quick summary, hitting 3 inches behind the ball lost 45 yards of distance on a 156-yard shot (and that was after throwing out the real duffed shots).

 

He also recorded video of the swings. Do you want to see the differences between the two swings?


Okay then

For the below pics, the pure strike was on the left, the duffed shot is on the right. The lines are references for head height and position relative to the ball.

THE SET UP

Hmm, nothing to see here. Pretty much identical

BACKSWING


Wait, is this the same picture?



TOP OF SWING

Yeah, he  must have made a mistake, they look identical



DOWNSWING

Ok, I still can’t spot anything noticeable




AT IMPACT

Well, there is a tiny difference here – but the image capture is about 1/20th of a frame out, so it might just be that.
The body seems to be in an almost identical location.



FOLLOW THROUGH

The ball has long gone by this position, but there is still no difference.




END POSITION

Nope, nothing here either.




WAIT, GO BACK

Oh, there is a difference

If we go back to the impact pic and zoom in, we can see something. Yeah, the divot started behind the ball.



Want to see where 45 yards of difference comes from? Look no further.


However, the body positions throughout the backswing, downswing, impact and follow through were all pretty much identical.

NOTE

Don’t miss the point here. Critique his swing all you want (it’s very functional, and allows him to average 85 on a Trackman combine) – the message here is this;
The difference between a shot which flew 156 yards and one which flew 85 yards was negligible.

 



WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
When an amateur golfer hits a poor shot, they often think (and report to me) that they have made a drastic movement change.
They genuinely believe that their motion on a good shot looks like Adam Scott’s, and their poor-shots look like a mad-man wielding an axe.

Truth is, in 99% of cases, their motion for good and bad shots is identical on a macro level.



WHAT THE HECK IS MACRO?

Think of macro-movements as your big-muscle, gross motor pattern.

Things like

• How much you turned your shoulders or hips
• How much you moved your head
• Your clubshaft plane
• Your release (or lag) pattern
• Your weight shift
• Your swing direction (whether you came over the top or not)
• Your sequencing (did you start with your hips or shoulders etc)
Etc, etc etc.

While you think you change these things significantly on a poor shot, all the video evidence I have collected of amateur golfers (and there is a lot of it) has shown me one thing;

From shot to shot (good and bad), the macro movements are almost identical.

SO, WHAT IS CHANGING?

What if you dropped in height by quarter of an inch, or your scapula had a fraction less retraction through impact?

What if your knees flexed a couple of degrees more than usual in transition, or your lead arm straightened a few degrees more through impact?

While we might never notice these things on camera, they can make a significant difference to your shot quality.
All the little, subtle and unseeable movements of the many joints we have – they all create what we call the micro-movements.

MICRO MOVEMENTS

Micro-movements, fine motor movements, call them what you want – this is predominantly where the differences between your good and bad shots arise.
The big question on everybody’s mind is then, how do we control the micro movements?


 

Great question!


MOTOR LEARNING

A lot of science has been done on this topic.
The science has shown that (in other sports too) these micro-movements change every time. That’s completely normal.
In fact, with all the moving parts in a golf swing, it’s actually inevitable.



On a subtle level (and sometimes not-so-subtle), every swing you make is a snowflake.

The difference between High performers and poor performers is NOT their consistency of micro-movements, but their ability to coordinate them into something that works.

Also, an abundance of research from Gabriel Wulf has shown that external focuses (focuses which are outside of our body – opposed to internal focuses, which deal with body part movements) dramatically aid our brain’s ability to coordinate all these mini moves.

 

So what can we do now Coach?  Is this for Adults only or can Juniors benefit also? Can it be this simple?

YES...YES...YES!

I have found that external focuses, specifically regarding club and ball contact (something called “external process focuses”) combined with

>Scaling

>Feedback

>Differential practice

>Variability practice

Speeds up the learning process incredibly.  Scientifically Proven!!

This is where I discovered this skill-based approach to learning golf, which is radically different to how golf has been traditionally taught. 

Did you really learn how to use a spoon and eat by swing thoughts (spoon thoughts lol), technical instruction, and body positions?   Nope!  Here is your food and here is a spoon.  Go get it!  I am sure you missed and it got messy but we became experts quickly and I still hit the hole in my face 100%.  That's how external process works.  Hell, I would have starved if I had to listen to instruction!!  

Now Let's Fix This!