Traditional golf instruction seems to be dominated by technical analysis of golf swing mechanics. The development of video, computerization and golf ball flight analysis has influenced this trend. Perhaps also, this approach has become so pervasive and accepted as traditional golf instruction because technical golf swing instruction and analysis of golf swing mechanics speak to, and appeal to, our intellect. But, if mechanical golf swing instruction was the best way to improve, why have golfers’ handicaps not improved and golfers continue to search for new instruction amid ongoing frustration? The problem is that our conscious intellect is not the mechanism that produces efficient and effective motor movement in our body!
Our conscious thinking mind is designed to function through analysis and judgment. Our educational system generally trains us to predominantly use this function. It is useful in making conscious logical decisions where analysis and judgment are called for. Today’s society is more and more grounded in logical “scientific thinking” especially with the advent of computerization. It has become primarily a “digital world.” We are conditioned to live in our conscious logical left brain at the expense of our conceptual and creative right brain. Logic, analysis and judgment limit our concept of the world – and of our golf swing!
You could say that our ability to move our body and perform a natural, effortless and instinctive golf swing – a golf swing that is unique to our physicality – has been unintentionally hijacked. Fluid physical movement cannot be segmented or digitized. The kinesthetic abilities that perform a golf swing are designed to flow in the continuum of conscious and subconscious cooperation – in a body/mind flow utilizing our instinctive kinesthetic intelligence.
To be clear, I am not saying that golf swing instruction has no value. An understanding of effective bodily movement can be valuable in order to use the tool of a golf club as it is designed. But what is the ideal method for the body/mind mechanism to learn, understand and embody effective kinesthetic movement? Is it through golf swing analysis and golf swing mechanics and instruction which speak to our thinking conscious mind? Or might it be through a process of exploring a variety of movements and kinesthetically experiencing the movement in our body that produces the results we desire – an effortless golf swing and pure impact?
Analysis of golf swing mechanics will probably continue to appeal to our logical thinking mind. It may take a leap of faith, and expanded awareness, to accept that exploration and self-discovery grounded in feeling and sensing physical movement in our body/mind is actually more effective in developing a consistent, reliable and instinctive golf swing. Stated another way, can you think an effective golf swing into existence, or must you experience the feel of the movement in your body that produces an effective golf swing?!?
Understanding effective golf swing mechanics can be useful, but the dominance of the focus on golf swing mechanics in traditional golf swing instruction can be counterproductive. It often tends to result in “paralysis by analysis” rather than “freedom and flow” in one’s golf swing. I invite you to explore the two different focuses to improving your golf swing. Experiment for yourself to see which approach facilitates an effortless golf swing and the desired results.
If you approach experiencing a variety of movements in your golf swing during your golf practice with an open mind, a “beginner’s mind” (see the November 2018 Instinctive Golf Blog, Play and Golf Practice on this site), you may be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll likely discover. For guidance in exploring and experiencing variations in movement in your golf swing, see the sample of forty instinct-awakening golf exercises in the Awaken Your Inner Golfer book.