Not Understanding What Works In My Golf Game

We have all played rounds of golf were everything was working. It just seemed that no matter how we swung the club, the results were better than average. Then, poof we have a very low score and we walk off the course elated. We are “walking on sunshine” (I bet you are humming that song right now); at that moment, all was right in the world. It was a great day on the golf course! The next round, thinking to build on our last round successes, yet nothing works. We chopped more wood than a lumberjack and no matter what we try we cannot figure out what was wrong. To me the answer is simple; we do not understand what works in our golf game to consistently make it successful!

Like many seasoned players, I have analysed all aspects of my swing. I am pretty sure I have narrowed down how to create a consistent effective golf swing. These three tenets apply to all aspects of my game with no exception. When, for whatever reason, I decide not to follow these fundamental swing actions, then all heck breaks loose and my game heads to the dumpster faster than the speed of light.

Listening to Jack Nicklaus

These fundamental aspects of my swing are neither special nor complicated, yet on some swings I neglect one or two. Not sure why, but it happens. In no particular order:

  • Keeping my head still. Well of course this particular golf lesson is important (I know you all thought it, but kept it silent). This is my number one fundamental aspect of my swing that causes me the most trouble. On the days I am successful, my head focuses on the contact point for a count of one before tracking the ball. My body rotates around my head and feet in a smooth controlled rhythm. When I am struggling, I am more like a bobble-head doll that constantly nods my head in all directions. The funny thing, I know this is key to my success, but some days…….
  • Following through on my target line. I sometimes have the tendency to tug my swing to the left. Generally this happens when I attempt to hit the ball farther, but this is nothing new. Where I notice the greatest challenge is when chipping or pitching from 100 yards and closer. When I swing easier (which I am working on this year) my body moves ahead of my arms and wrists and I end up hitting the ball left. My club head finishes through the ball left of my intended line; thus, I hit the ball left. I know this is a constant challenge and try to keep focused on my follow through, but some days……..
  • Never try to steer the ball. This might seem like another obvious statement, however the moment I try to steer the ball, I lose control of swing. This can happen with any club! Instead of trusting my swing, I feel I need to help control the ball and that never works for me. I need to commit to a shot and swing away. If I visualize success of a shot, I just need to let my body take over and let it do its thing. When I do this, I have a smooth tempo and accurate contact. Never trying to steer the ball is a good thing, but some days……

Those three points are the secret to my golf swing. Of course there are many, many other things to think about when making a golf shot, but if can constantly include the above three aspects of my swing on each shot, then fantastic things can happen. I wish I had the secret to ensure that they are always present, but alas I do not. I guess that is what I am an amateur playing well, but not fantastic all the time (scores and results are relative). Golf is a simple and complex game that never ceases to provide constant amusement.

Do you know your golf game? Do you know what makes our swing great?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


6 thoughts on “Not Understanding What Works In My Golf Game

  1. HI Jim,
    keeping the head still is a big thing for me, on a bad day I am almost looking where the ball should go before I hit it. I know in tennis a drill they use is to mentally say the word strike as you hit the ball, this focuses you on watching the ball. Think I will have to try it next time out, when the wind and rain eventually go away.


    • Pete,

      I tell my friends, and myself, to count to one after contact before lifting their head to see the ball flight. I remind them that I am watching where there ball goes and that focusing on contact is very helpful for their swing.

      Cheers Jim


  2. Jim, DJ shot 60 yesterday. Today he will probably score 5-10 strokes worse and will be asking himself the same questions. It afflicts every golfer. I think your approach is correct. You identify what you do right (or think you did) and try to replicate. I do the same thing. After every round, I jot down a few comments on the quality of my ball striking and what I was thinking. After 13 years of tracking, I’ve got data that points to two consistent keys: Keep my head still (as you do) and pause before making a downswing. There are too many good ball striking days that have these two in common to ignore. I simply try to replicate every time out. The approach works.




    • Brian

      You are a data collection is amazing. I have some data, but only recently started to gather it. After I analyze it, I do discard….habit for work. It is good that you have a couple of things that work and you know it does by your captured information after each round. That some how makes me feel better about my approach. Have a great weekend.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know my golf game pretty well but no, I don’t know what makes for a great swing. Not really. I see the evidence of them in my shots from time to time. But one thing I know for sure is whatever it is I feel in the golf swing has little relation to what I am actually doing. I’d need lots more video to study to “know” what makes me hit a great swing verses an ok one. And maybe a golf psychologist to walk through a round or two with me to get some insight into my strengths and weaknesses in thinking through the game and using my emotions to better advantage might help a bit too. I’m not likely to get either, but I’m sure they wouldn’t hurt.


    • Kevin

      If we played golf for a living, all of what you said would likely have happened. Since we are amateurs playing for the enjoyment of the sport, I guess we will continue to strive the best way we know how.

      Cheers Jim


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