This is a quote I came up with a few years ago, and I still hold by it. Over the years I have observed several other myths or misunderstandings in golf that should be clarified.
Let’s start at the putting green where a large majority of shots happen.
Myth: You should make every 6 foot putt and make several long putts per round.
Truth: We have a tilted view of this because of what we watch on TV. The pros are playing on greens that are generally better than what we see, and admit it … they are more talented and put loads of time into their game. Even the pros will only make about 50% or 60% of the 6 footers and a small percentage of long putts, and lastly, because of tape delay, we see about every putt they make and few of the ones they miss.
Resolve: Stay still on the short putts, practice them, and try to get the long ones close but don’t expect too much and don’t get upset.
Myth: Keep your head down.
Truth: Keep it down the entire swing? I don’t think so. This will keep your swing too tight and not allow the good extension you need. I feel that during the later part of the swing, your head needs to come up to allow the momentum of the club and a good follow-through to the target. Look at David Duval and Anika Sorrenstam, who have their heads rotating toward the target before impact to allow the motion to continue.
Resolve: Loosen up, and keep the body moving more toward the target with the club.
Myth: You can hit the ball 250 yards
Truth: Maybe you can, maybe you can not. You need to learn what your distance is and trust that. In a recent interview with Larry Nelson of the Senior PGA Tour, he said in all of the pro-am’s he plays that players not hitting enough club is a key problem. The ego gets into the way and players try to hit the ball further than their capability.
Resolve: When you make a proper swing, with fundamentals tuned in, you will get the distance you deserve and hit enough club so you do not have to force the shot.
Myth: Your swing needs to be perfect.
Truth: Your swing is your swing. Certainly it can be changed some, but don’t expect to swing like one of the top pros; you will not be able to put the time into it to make major changes.
Resolve: Learn to play with your swing. Know your faults and habits and learn how to monitor that. Certainly the swing can improve, but take it slowly.
Golf can be complex if you let it be, but I truly believe it can be simpler than most people make it and if you understand and resolve some of the myths that affect your swing, you will be able to play in a more efficient manner.
This is a good illustration of my feeling that you should understand enough about your swing and playing the game that you can do some self-instruction. Certainly, over analysis can be bad, but when you are on the course playing or hitting balls, you should know enough about the game that if you get off, you can get yourself somewhat closer than you were.