I was giving a group lesson to some experienced men recently, and one of them asked a great question – “when do I know that I’ve “got it” ” meaning when would he know that he’s got a golf swing that is repeatable.
Here’s the answer – or at least my answer.
You know you’ve got it when it’s automatic. Automatic means that when you approach a shot and go through your pre-shot routine, all you are thinking about is the distance, club selection, where to land the ball for the best putt, and how to flight the ball. In other words, the thought of swing mechanics doesn’t enter your mind. You determine the strategic information, go through your pre-shot routine, then execute the shot.
This does not mean that you might not rehearse your release or your swing path for a few reps. Automatic does mean that you are not consciously thinking about setup, weight shift, rotation, impact, or follow through. When those aspects are automatic, you’ve “got it”.
How do you “get it”?
Here’s the Big Secret – there is no big secret, no magic instant cures, no shortcuts. I would really like to sugar coat it for you, but it is what it is. You get it by doing repetitions correctly until they literally become automatic. You “get it” for the golf swing by doing multiple reps, very slowly at first. The golf swing is impossible to learn at full speed.
Rush things and you regress.
You take segment of the swing, do a lot of reps correctly, take the next segment of the swing, do a lot of reps correctly, than you stack all the segments and do a lot of reps of that correctly, then you “get it”.
How many Repetitions? To master a segment – and I mean a small segment, it takes 3,000 to 5,000 reps done correctly, very slowly at first; not a guess – a researched fact. That sounds like a lot – but if you break it down, 100 reps done each day for a month is around 3,000 reps.
In the book “Outliers” and also in “The Talent Code” researchers identified the amount of time necessary obtain mastery in endeavors like piano, ballet, tennis, and a golf swing as 10,000 hours. Interestingly, that particular amount of time stayed consistent from discipline to discipline.
Now – to be sure – you can obtain a high level of skill before you obtain mastery. In golf that’s evident with many young pros, but to be like Tiger (his golf game) you would have to put in the time like he has since age 3. I wonder how many practice hours he has into his game – you can bet it’s more than 10,000.
So don’t be discouraged, enjoy your practice and proficiency will come.
Just be patient.
I will share something that has helped my own swing immensely just this year. I mention this at the risk of reinforcing the title bestowed upon me by my sons as “Master of the Obvious”. Observing a lot of good swings will help your own swing. When I was a two plane swinger, I used to watch a Psycho Cybernetics DVD showing all-time great Al Geiberger swinging each club slowly, perfectly and flawlessly. I would watch it at least 3 times a week for one hour at 6 am, and it really helped my tempo. Currently, I watch college level players compete at tournaments as part of my golf coach duties at GCC, and that has really helped my tempo.
So here’s my TCT – guaranteed tip:
Watching good golf swings is good for your own swing. And you can do that from the comfort of your own living room. So when you are getting heat from your significant other for “couch potatoing” a PGA tour event on TV, just mention that it’s all a part of mastering your golf swing 🙂