When it comes to playing better golf there are many problems that may arise. You might slice the ball, top it, chunk it, come over the top, cast the club, and so much more.
When it comes to fixing each of these issues some instructors use what we call "bandaid fixes" to show instant results but they're only superficial fixes and don't address the root cause.
Good instructors know that when it comes to making a player better in the long run, we often need to re-evaluate the fundamentals of the game.
They may seem really basic but they're often overlooked, yet proper fundamentals can solve almost all issues you may have with your swing.
Even Tour players are constantly working with swing coaches to improve their fundamentals because they know that over time very small changes creep into things like their grips and when that happens, their ball flight will start to change. Often times the changes are very small and happen over a long period of time but when left unchecked they could be the difference between winning and missing the cut.
So now that we know the importance of fundamentals, let's take a more in depth look and try to understand each one.
1) HAPPY, HEALTHY, MOBILE BODY
The most important thing we can do is take care of ourselves so we have a happy, healthy, and mobile body to play golf with. If we take care of ourselves, eat healthy foods, exercise, mobilize, meditate, and stay humble, we will create the ideal foundation in which we can grow.
There are some of us that have bodies that are not happy, healthy, or mobile who still play decent golf. These people are typically either very talented or have spent a lot of time practicing and learning how to work within their current constraints. This means those people have a lot of room to grow and won't reach their fullest potential until they make the lifestyle changes necessary to create a happy, healthy mobile body.
The same thing goes for people with disabilities. They may start from a disadvantage such as having an amputated leg but that doesn't mean they can't continue to improve their body, mind, and mobility to optimize what they do have.
That's the beauty of golf is that everyone can enjoy this game and it's important to understand that there's always room to improve regardless of where you are now.
The second fundamental we need to concern ourself with is alignment. If we are aimed incorrectly, the swing will be compensated in one way or another in order to get the ball to our intended target.
I see it all the time where players will hit half a bucket of balls on the range trying to get their 8 iron to go straight at where they think they're aiming and finally they get a few shots in a row to go straight. The problem however is that they usually aren't aimed correctly so when they switch clubs, the ball goes all over the place and they can't figure out why. They make the same swing but don't get the same results.
By aligning properly we do two things. 1) When we hit a straight shot we can confirm that it was in fact a straight shot. 2) We train our eyes to recognize what straight looks like.
3) GRIP, POSTURE, TEMPO
The third level of fundamentals are also incredibly important to playing good golf but they're flexible in the sense that there's no one right way to do them.
If you watch a tour event, you'll see players will all different grips, postures, and tempos, but they all play great golf. While they may all have different techniques with their fundamentals, there are some underlying principles that are the same between everyone of them.
I'll save the details of these fundamentals for a different article but for now just know that whether you have a strong grip, weak grip, or neutral grip... whether you stand tall or more bent over, and whether you swing fast or slow, no one is better than the other. It all depends on you and your body. Everyone is different and therefore so too will be some of your fundamentals
The top of our fundamentals pyramid is the equipment we use. We can work everything under the sun to fix your golf swing but if you're playing equipment that's not properly fit for you, you'll have compensations in your swing that'll prevent you from playing your best golf.
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So now you know the importance of continually improving your fundamentals, go get at it!
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