Golf instructors, golfing schools, golf advice, even self-help instructional golf materials flood the media. No matter where you turn, it seems like there is always somebody ready to help you get a better golf swing. But before you start accepting any of this help, you need to think about a few things first.
Separate the Good from the Bad
Like any other sport, the best way to improve at golf is repetitive practice using the proper form. The tricky part is figuring out exactly what the proper form is, and how one goes about acquiring it. The sad truth about this industry is that there are a lot of pseudo-experts and unproven techniques out there. If you apply the wrong advice, you could end up with a worse swing than you had in the beginning.
But isn’t that what golf instructors are for? Don’t they correct your mistakes and set you on the right path? Bad habits are hard to break, so it is really important not to develop new ones. If you take bad advice, it only hampers your progress as you will have to unlearn these bad habits before you can start learning the good ones. What is worse, some “training” tips may cause injuries which can hurt your golf game permanently.
Spotting the Genuine Article
There is no hard and fast way to identify bad advice, but certain things should ring alarm bells. Good advice works for lots of people, so ask around. Try to contact other players who have either been taught by the same instructor or have benefited from the proposed technique.
Look at the credentials of the instructor, if he plays a good game that’s ok, but it is also important to see if he has any formal education. People who have no sports medicine background may be recommending potentially harmful drills without them realizing it. Well meaning individuals have caused great harm before.
Managing the Tangibles
Goal setting is a key component of any training exercise, so what is the goal of this activity? It should not be as nebulous as: ‘you will improve your game’ or ‘you will have better form’. Measurable goals are important, such as average distance traveled by the golf ball, increased accuracy of shot trajectory, or increased golf ball speed.
Some of the problems you encounter may be related to your golf equipment. It pays to make sure that you are using the correct club length for your height, good fitting shoes, and appropriate clothing. You must also practice in a setting which hampers your movements. If you are in an area that is too crowded, this may prevent you from fully realizing your swing.
Keep Your Mental Game Pure
Finally, find instructors and training tips that fit your personality. Golf like any other game involves a lot of psychology, so your mental game must be improved as well. Try to figure out what kind of personality you are and what mental traits you need to develop to acquire a better golf swing. This is often the major stumbling block for athletes, be they professional or amateur, so do not feel weird about it.
In the end you will not only get a better game, you may even get a better you.