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.
Perfect The Fundamentals Of Golf
Jack Nicklaus says the same, and if you”ve ever watched any of his teaching videos, the focus is mostly on perfecting the fundamentals of golf 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 swing mechanics than the target and a general lack of confidence.
It’s time to listen to players like Arnie and Jack. Work on the fundamentals of golf 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.