The Recent Trend in Golf Instruction May Be Detrimental

The recent trend in golf instruction is being driven by the people that have invested large sums of money into the latest technology and getting “certified” in using it.  They have also created the “modern golf swing” which can needlessly cause serious potential problems.

In a recent article Peter Kostis hit the nail on the head when he said:

“Over the last 20 years, I’ve witnessed the emergence of a troubling trend in swing analysis: an overabundance of reliance on numbers. Launch monitors tell us way more than we need to know. Clubhead speed, attack angle, ball speed, launch angle, spin rate—and a lot more. Recreational players are beginning to treat this data like golf’s Holy Grail, and their pursuit of perfect Tour-player numbers is not only stifling their improvement, it may also be destroying their bodies.

For 400 years or so, golf was played with the left heel coming up on the backswing and the left knee releasing behind the ball, with the hips and the torso turning freely. All of a sudden, around 30 years ago, the modern swing decided that was all wrong. Now you’re told to keep your left heel down on the backswing and resist with your lower body to create torque and separation in the hips and shoulders. There is no real reasoning behind this philosophy, other than the fact that the “reverse C” swing of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson was thought to cause back problems. Well, I’m here to tell you that this “modern” swing has caused more back problems than ever before.”

The truth is that we learn the golf swing in three stages:

Cognitive Stage – During this stage, the learner mostly relies on visual input and trial and error to guide learning.

Associative Stage – During this stage the learner has had some practice and has identified various stimuli that may occur, they can focus on “how to do” moving on from the “what to do” in the first stage.

Autonomous Stage – During this final stage of learning, the motor skill becomes mostly automatic.

It is only late in this 3rd and final stage that we can actually start to refine the golf swing. Prior to this numbers and data are not relevant. Until a player attains a skill level that is capable of producing a handicap of 5 or less he has little need for the vast amount of data produced by technology.

Also keep in mind that even if you do perfect your numbers you may not lower your score. Learn to play golf, perfect swing positions.

So forget the numbers and just learn to enjoy the game more.

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