However, I should not paint such a potentially depressing situation because the challenge of golf is what hooks us all in the long run. It is the shear difficulty of the game that has grown men and women devoting so much enjoyable time to cracking the code of the golf swing. We all secretly love the fact that this game is so darn hard. If it was easy we wouldn’t bother.
Learning How to Play Golf
The answer to ‘how to swing a golf club’ involves biomechanics, which is the study of human movement or that of the mechanical laws relating to the movement and structure of living organisms. This definition can immediately strike some people as way too complicated for how they approach their golf. This in itself shows the different ways in which human beings learn things depending upon the way they think and feel. Ask any PGA golf instructor and she or he will tell you that no two students are alike in how they like to understand the golf swing.
Instructing How to Swing the Golf Club
This then creates the need for golf teachers to be flexible in how they convey the essentials of the golf swing to their students. We live in a very theoretical age, where we spend up to a decade and a half in school studying conceptual learning. Lots of are used to learning stuff in this way via language, definitions, and theorems. However, when it comes to learning movements like dance and sporting actions theoretical learning doesn’t always cut it.
Many of us need to feel the moves to process muscle memory in a bid to repeat them on demand. Thus, experiential learning is a big part of how to swing the golf club for lots of folks.
This can be challenging for beginners who have not paid a great deal of attention to things like this previously in their lives. They lack the fine awareness to remember exactly how they set up to that last successful golf shot. Finding the correct set up and stance at address becomes very hit and miss. Establishing a sound foundation will provide the basis for hitting solid golf shots.
Your PGA golf instructor may get you to stand in front of a mirror in a bid to show you the correct set up at address. Similarly, your teacher may video you over the ball and swinging the club for a variety of practical reasons. Before and after videos can convey the message well to students about the importance of your set up. Your body is like the structure of a catapult, if you like, and for the golf ball to travel toward the target it is essential that this structure is in the right place. The challenge of this increases from the flat lie on the practice range to the variable slopes out on the actual golf course. Golf, remember, is a challenging game.
It can take some time, even with invaluable help of your PGA golf instructor, to consistently get this right. Rome was not built in a day. Allocate the necessary respect for getting your set up correct every single time you go to swing the golf club and you are halfway to happiness. Do not cut corners and look for short cuts, because in golf there are none. Golf is a strictly process orientated activity and you must honour that process. The pre-shot routine, I am sure you have probably heard about it. This is where every professional and single figure amateur golfer gets their set up right prior to pulling the trigger on their swing. It may involve practice drills or swings, as well, but fundamentally it sets the golfer at the correct position to address the golf ball for whatever type of shot they are making.
Lots of golfers talk about the mental side of the game and how important that is to playing good golf. Getting into this process orientated thinking sphere is a large part of that. New golfers often fail to understand this when they come to the game of golf. Slowing down your mind and getting into a state of mindfulness is part and parcel of how to swing a golf club. The golf swing is a fairly simple movement when understood but it demands an even tempo and rhythm for best results. The effectiveness of the golf swing is seriously diminished when things are out of kilter. Many of us get too fast and try and hit from the top of the downswing which doesn’t work. Sometimes we are so intent on hitting a good shot we don’t complete the backswing and fling or stab the club at the stationary ball.
You may want to establish certain ‘feels’ with your golf coach. So that you can feel when the back swing is completed before beginning the downswing. The lower body is the power engine for your golf swing. You hold the golf club in your hands and swing your arms but the power is in your hips to unleash through the swing. Sometimes when I am swinging really well I feel as if I am playing out of my feet. By this I mean my weight transfer back and through the swing is tangible. Try throwing a tennis ball over arm and pay attention to the process. Where is the force generated in your throw? It will be via your hips and lower body. It creates resistance against itself, so that you throw or swing against something to create force. This is where the ability to hit the golf ball great distances comes from in the golf swing.
I like to emphasise the ancient nature of golf. That it is a game involving sticks hitting a small stone like sphere. Sure, manufacturers have created wonderful sticks out of super light weight materials but fundamentally it is a fairly basic premise that the game of golf sits upon. We as golfers need to get into that simple frame of mind and not over-complicate things. We need to slow down firstly and you can practice this during your round by walking slowly and methodically to your ball. Not too slowly, of course, as slow play is a no-no. I recommend creating a pre-shot routine where you flip a switch inside your head as you walk into setting up for your shot. You absorb all the necessary data like wind strength and direction, surface lie conditions, distance to target, and target situation considerations. You choose your club after this careful consideration of all elements. Now, you enter into mindfulness where the only awareness is your set up, body, and, perhaps, one swing thought.
Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Golf Book: Green Cathedral Dreams.