March 17

Inconsistent Swing Lessons

Golf Lessons


If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of inconsistency in swing lessons.

These inconsistent swing lessons from multiple teachers and players can create big problems if you’re trying to figure out how to golf more consistently.

First, though, I’m going to give a few examples.  Quotes from famous teachers and players that’ll serve as a small sampling of what I’m talking about.

If you want to read them all, I highly advise you pick up the book A Disorderly Compendium of Golf (pages 152-153 if you’re curious).  Some of the info throughout the book is dated, but there’s still lots of good stuff in it.  This isn’t an affiliate link (though I’m thinking about getting into that), so click away, as I get nothing from it other than feeling good about suggesting a great book.

Here we go:

Inconsistent Swing Lesson #1: Reaching For The Ball

Tom Watson:  You should never feel you’re reaching for the ball.

Johnny Miller: Reach for the ball but not so much that your weight is back on your heels.

confusion from inconsistent swing lessons

Inconsistent Swing Lesson #2: The Force That Controls the Swing

David Leadbetter: Both the direction and the speed of the clubhead are controlled by your torso.  Your hands and arms remain passive- think “active body, passive hands”.

Ernest JonesThe body and all its parts should be treated as disastrous leaders but as wholly admirable followers of the action of the hands and fingers.  The basic action of the swing is the proper action of the hands and fingers.

confusion from inconsistent swing lessons

Inconsistent Swing Lesson #3: Head Games

Jack Nicklaus: All kinds of golfing evils stem from head movement.

Jimmy Ballard (I can’t find his Wikipedia page, so here’s his website, if you want to learn about him): The head must move with the spine during the swing if you are to generate any real power.

anger from inconsistent swing lessons!

Why, why, why?!  Oh, yeah… I can tell you why!

It’s because there’s more than one way to do the job.

Is it an overly simple answer?  Yup, but it’s the true answer.

Just like almost anything else in this world, there’s more than one way to do a job or solve a problem.  Obviously, 1+1 will always equal 2, but there’s more than one way to roof a house, wash the dishes, or hit a golf ball.

Just ask Tiger, Furyk, Bubba, or Rocco.

Speaking of Problems with Inconsistent Swing Lessons…

Following different instructors looking for the same fix will only create confusion.  Every instructor means well, but they all go about things differently.

Do you know about “coaching trees” in football?  Bill Walsh, former NFL HC for the San Fransisco 49ers is a good example.  He’s the “trunk” of the tree; Andy Reid, Jon Gruden and Steve Marriucci are “branches” off his trunk.

Click here for a better, more visual explanation of Bill Walsh’s coaching “tree”.

Anyway, golf teachers have them, as well.  What that means is, some teachers will have similar terminology and swing ideals, but even then that’s not a guarantee.  In reality, it’s best to stick with one teacher for best results.

Do you follow different teachers on YouTube, or watch the different instructional shows on The Golf Channel, or follow my blog?

If you do (if you don’t follow me, there’s the sign-up form over there –>) there’s the problem: not everyone shares the same philosophy or terminology.

Some teachers like to be really fancy with their language, others, like me, use the KISS Method for everything.  Some like to think the golfer is part machine, others like to think of the swing as a fluid motion.

It can cause confusion, something you don’t need when learning how to golf consistently.  If one person’s telling you to do this, and another’s telling you to do that, you’re going to end up doing neither poorly.

The Solution

Now, it’s alright if you want to listen to one teacher for full-swing insights, another for putting, another for the short game, etc.  It’s still pushing it, in my opinion, but it could be worse, right?  Right.

That said, I highly advise you to stick with one teacher, for simplicity’s sake.  If you don’t know who, I’d be happy to offer my services (wink!), but I’m not averse to pointing you to others I think are good.

A rule of thumb I like to use is if you feel yourself kind of “sinking in” when the instructor talks, that’s an indicator you should focus on that teacher.  I do that when I watch School of Golf.

Find that one teacher, whether it’s someone posting videos on YouTube, a local, someone hosting a show on TV, someone writing tips in a magazine or blog, and stick with him/her.  You’ll go from chasing theories to getting better!

About the author 

Justin Blair

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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