What’s The Best Advice That Arnold Palmer Can Give To His Grandson?

In a recent interview with the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman, Arnold Palmer shared some of the wisdom gained from his long and illustrious career.

When talking about game improvement, he tells us that in his day golf was far simpler. In his opinion, the modern player makes the golf swing far too complicated. Today’s golfer has a multitude of swing analysis and practice drills for every inch of the swing, taking the focus away from more important areas. The way he learned the game was simple: practice the fundamentals of golf and the rest will follow.

When asked what advice he gives to any of his grandchildren that aspire to be professional players: “learn and practice the fundamentals”. Coming from a man who knows the game (arguably) better than anyone else, this advice could not be more valuable.

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Jack Nicklaus says the same, and if you”ve ever watched any of his teaching videos, the focus is mostly on perfecting the fundamentals and a good pre-shot routine.

He said in his book, Golf, My Way:

“Once I’m sure my fundamentals are right, what I work for is feel.”

Testimonies such as this raise a very good question. How effective is all the modern technology in ultimately making us score better and get more enjoyment from the game?


Historical handicap data tells that it really isn’t helping us that much, and despite all the advancement in equipment (clubs, balls, swing monitors etc) we haven’t actually lowered our scores as a result. Even though we can hit the ball so much further than we could 20 years ago with better balls and much bigger sweet-spots, it hasn’t led to better scores.

The golf swing has become too complicated and ironically, the golf industry is largely responsible. The average player is standing over the ball trying to remember the 10 tips he or she read in Golf Digest the evening before, creating self-doubt, a greater focus on the swing than the target and a general lack of confidence.

It’s time to listen to players like Arnie and Jack. Work on the fundamentals and make the rest about visualization and feel. It’s that easy! Learning this and the mental game is by far a more simple and effective way to play better golf instead of working on countless swing drills. Learn the right set-up, develop a good routine and become more connected with what you want the ball to do, not creating the perfect golf swing. Shift your practice time towards this and I’ve no doubt you will see the results.

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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Troy Vayanos

    Great advice.

    I think the fundamentals get lost a lot these days with players. They have become too obsessed with distance off the tea instead of getting the basics right.

  2. Sara Woodward

    David,
    As ever you have cut to the chase. The quiet voice of reason in a game lost in a cacophany of complicated concepts perpetuated by self promoting golf gurus guarding their reputation, ego and bank balance. Braid, Taylor and Hogan must wonder what happened to their simple game…….. Keep it Simple. It is that simple, basic and fundamental. Well done you 🙂

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