Improve Golf Swing! – 11 “Reasons Why Golf Lessons Fail”

In our efforts to improve golf swing performance we have all taken a professional lesson or two – or more! Some of us have even stopped counting!

The sessions are amazing!

A trained eye assesses our swing mechanics and patterns. We get instruction on how to instantly improve golf swing imperfections and flaws. Our swing becomes perfect!

If only this perfection would last.

It is a common finding that as quickly as the solution to improve golf swing performance arrives, it departs.

Why does this happen?

In his book, The Winning Touch in Golf, A Psychological Approach, author Peter G. Cranford, Ph.D. offers 11 reasons why professional instruction to improve golf swing performance often fails.

Cranford writes;

“Often a person with a golfing flaw will consult their pro and is straightened out. Later, when they try their new stroke on the course, it doesn’t seem to work. There are a number of reasons why golf lessons fail.

1. The player is concentrating so hard on the new form that they neglect to do the usual golf thinking that has to accompany the stroke. For instance, they may not consider the usual factors of the condition of the green, the putting problem, the distance to the green, or golf management. The answer to this is that the new golf stroke should be practiced until it has been “over-learned.” When this has come about, the mind will not be siphoned away from problems of over-all thinking. In the mean¬time, if you recognize the danger, it is possible to finesse the problem by attacking it serially. First work out the decisions of management, then tackle the execution of the shot.

2. The form is correct, but they have not learned the idiosyncrasies of that particular stroke. It may be that their ball rolls further or stops more quickly than before. They must acquire a new scale of touch. Incidentally, this is one phase of golf that has not received much treatment in instruction. The present attitude is that this is simply a matter of muscle memory, and learners are left to their own devices. In putting, chipping, trap shots, and approaches, “touch” is of the essence in golf. Since this touch varies with different methods of hitting shots, it should be practiced. And, since it is seldom that two shots are of the same length, golf practice without constant change in the length of the shot is inefficient. Such practice violates our rule that practice should duplicate playing conditions.

3. Poor luck is operating. They may be stroking better but scoring worse. They need to average more scores.

4. They have waited too long to try the stroke on the course, and has forgotten some of the instruction.

5. They tried the stroke without first warming up. When they learned the new form, they no doubt hit many shots. When they went on the course, the advantage of the warm-up was missing.

6. There was a loss of confidence when applying the shot. It would have been different if the pro had been along to give them assurance.

7. Something has occurred to create confusion in the golfer. Confusion generally comes about when instruction has not been completely absorbed, when some bit of instruction has emotional overtones, and particularly if a decision is hanging fire. The longer the indecision, the more confusion (and anxiety) is generated.

8. The golfer does not realize the vast number of shots required to put into effect a new method that a professional can teach in five minutes. Even a professional golfer would practice for months using a minor improvement in grip before they would dare try this change in important play.

9. While the golfer was under the professional’s tutelage, small mistakes were corrected continuously, but now the golfer tends to stray from the instructional beam. The learner should keep returning to the professional for further instruction as fast as they relapse, until all the remedial instruction has become part of the over-all pattern of the stroke.

There is also the problem of the “groove.”

A golfing friend who, when correcting his putting, occasionally made many consecutive good shots when his golfing environment was standardized. The same thing often occurs during a practice session. After hitting a number of balls toward a caddy, the problem of aiming disappears. The stance has only slight modifications. Often our feet sink slightly into the ground. The pro directly modifies other features of our swing. Altogether there is some apparent improvement which will not necessarily transfer to the course. One of our practice fairways has a slope, so that, in taking stances, the feet are slightly higher than the position of the ball. Learn to hit a straight drive on this fairway and it becomes a hook when you play from level tees.

10. The golfer has been fooled by “feel.” If a person has developed a slice, for instance, their pro corrects it by advising them to hit inside out. When they first begin to make the correction, the new stroke “feels funny.” It seems exaggerated and unnatural, but since the shot finally comes off well, they accept the method. The new stroke feels less and less awkward as time goes on, until it seems perfectly natural.

This is the danger point.

They are so accustomed to the need for the “feel” of swinging inside out that they try to recapture this sensation by further accentuating the inside-out arc. Lo and behold, an in-out feel that once changed a slice into a straight ball is turning the straight ball into a ducking hook. Similar overcompensation occurs in putting. Beware of being tricked by a “feel” after the shot is grooved.

11. The new stroke is working well, but some other department of their game may be off, or the improvement may not reveal itself in scores except over a longer period of time.”

These 11 tips help one better understand the reasons why, soon after professional instruction, we find our swing again defaulting to its old bad habits.

Use these valuable tips to better preserve your professional swing instruction and to improve golf swing performance.

Check back again for more posts and tips to improve golf swing performance and get more out of your professional golf instruction!

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