How To Develop The Perfect Golf Swing
Have you ever heard of the old saying Practice Makes Perfect. I'm sure you have. A lot of people think that is good advice. On the surface it is, but what if your practice is full of inconsistencies and imperfections? What are you reinforcing? Are you developing good habits by still practicing the bad habits in the hopes that by some miracle something good will happen. That's the way most people approach just about everything, from learning how to play the piano, to learning math skills in school, or developing a perfect golf swing.
I had the good fortune to realize this truth very early in life. I was a very serious musician growing up. Many people said I was a prodigy. What occurred to me when I was a lad was that if I kept practicing the same thing over and over again incorrectly, I was not improving my skills at all, but reinforcing my bad habits. So I changed my approach to my practicing. I would play my scales over and over again and if I made a mistake, I would stop and play that one note over and over again. Then I would take the few notes before it and make the approach again and again until I got it right.
I came up with the acronym practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice does. You must practice with perfection in mind and not settle for anything less, whether it's music, or golf. If you make mistakes, stop and analyze why you made the mistake.
You must visualize perfection in your mind's eye in order to achieve perfection. Of course, true perfection is unobtainable, but we can come close.
I went on in life and became a professional classical musician and well respected university professor. I had students come to me from all over the US to learn my methods of learning. I really didn't teach anyone anything but how to teach themselves for the most part. Improving one's skills is mostly a solitary event. You won't have that teacher with you day in and day out to make sure you practice correctly, so it's extremely critical to develop the ability to analyze your problems and come up with a solution yourself. A good teacher can assist you by checking your progress from week to week, but the ultimate responsibility is yours.
What does all this have to do with golf you ask? Well, it has a lot to do with it. There are all kinds of skills one must master in order to be a good golfer. Putting in a lot of time at the golf range won't cut it if you are serious about improving one's abilities. If you continue to reinforce your bad habits by practicing them to death, you are just reinforcing your muscle memory to do it wrong. For that reason, you must seek out a qualified teacher. You must learn the fundamentals and the mechanics of the perfect swing in your minds eye before you can perfect it physically. You must understand the mechanics of a perfect swing mentally first, so do yourself a favor and get a teacher to teach it to you.
After you understand the mechanics of the perfect swing, I personally wouldn't recommend hitting the golf range. Not yet, at least. You have a lot of bad habits to unlearn first. If you put pressure on yourself by putting that ball in front of you, you will very easily slip back into your old habits.
I recommend you practice in your back yard first, without a ball. You need to concentrate on the mechanics of your backswing, your grip, your stance, the way you transfer power with your legs during your downswing, etc. You want to learn the correct way of doing everything, then reinforcing the correct method over and over again so everything becomes very fluid and you develop that muscle memory I talked about earlier. Once your muscles become adept at doing the mechanics the correct way, your motions will naturally become very fluid. Only then, would I recommend hitting the range and striking the ball. The first few times, I would advise that you have your teacher with you, to make sure the pressure of performing, or hitting the ball, doesn't cause you to relapse into your old habits.
Understanding the mental aspect is very important, but learning how to relax both mentally and physically is also key. If your muscles aren't loose and warmed up properly, then you will tend to alter your swing until those muscles do warm up. A good physical warm up and stretching routine will help you to loosen up. A tight muscle will seriously damage your efforts, so take your warm up routines seriously. You don't want to undo all the good habits that you have learned. Muscles that aren't warmed up properly tend to be carried by the ones that are. If you have muscle imbalances occurring then you will be doing more harm than good, so warm up properly and get all the muscles working together as a team.
This takes dedication and discipline to learn. When I first took up golf, I just went about it like most of you, just went out and hit the ball. When I decided to take it seriously, I thought to myself that all the principles I had developed to learn music would easily apply to golf, so I started taking lessons to learn the correct method, then I used the practice techniques I had developed in music and applied them to golf. I would practice various aspects of my swing as perfectly as possible, then I would put them all together and practice them as a whole. It took awhile but my scores started to drop. I went from scores in the 100's to scores in the 80's in 6 months. A year later I was a scratch golfer competing in local tournaments and winning a number of them. I strongly feel that if I had decided to, that I could have turned pro.
I believe that we all have the ability to do anything we want. If you want to be a musician, you can; a golfer, you can; a scientist, you can. We all have the ability to be great. To learn how to accomplish that is the key ingredient. If the desire is there, if the will is there, if the dedication is there, and above all, if the discipline is there, then you can achieve greatness.
Again, Practice Does Not Make Perfect! Perfect Practice Does!
About the Author: David Dorrough is a retired educator, having taught at several leading universities. Today, he is active as a free lance writer and is involved with Internet Marketing. As an avid golfer, you should visit his informative website on golf at http://www.golf.consumers-choice.net