Posted on: 9 September


Playing The Long Game by Michael Long.

NEWS FLASH – You are better than you think.


One of my philosophies as a golf coach is that everyone is a better golfer than they give themselves credit for. Sure, you may hit some bad shots. You may hit some really bad shots! But when I say “that is so close’ or “great move” or “that’s it”, I mean it. My comments are usually met with a confused look on the face of my students…………… a look of – “really?” or “did you actually see that shot?”
But let me explain.


If you have a complete mishit, such as a thinned or topped shot, you are actually only millimetres away from a perfect shot. If you hit a wild shot off the tee or into the green, you are actually only one or two degrees away from a perfect shot. You make think you need a complete rebuild of your swing but in reality, a little tweak here or there will produce the results you’re looking for.


Take the topped shot off the tee or the thinned shot into the green. This is often caused by a changing of height during the swing, probably due to being unbalanced during the swing, and it can literally be a couple of millimetres between perfection and disaster.


The wild drive or wide shot into the green. A shot that is 20 metres offline can be simply corrected by improving the club face angle at impact. There are a few reasons for this, but it could perhaps be solved with a slight correction to your grip. A simple change of just two degrees at impact can have you on the edge of the fairway or in the middle of the green.
There is such a small difference between success and failure. It’s as simple as that. And I don’t think a complete overhaul of your swing is needed here. Do you?


The problem is we are led to believe, by magazines, the internet, “experts” on golf shows, that a bigger shoulder turn, cocking the wrist earlier, a greater lag into the ball, and a re-rotation of the left forearm on the downswing (phew – that’s a lot of things to change!) will lead us to the holy grail of golf. But let me introduce you to a couple of facts. Firstly, we professionals don’t think of all those things when we play golf. The swing takes between 0.8 to 1.2 seconds; so good luck trying to think of all those technical movements whilst hitting a shot. Secondly, unless you are going to spend 10 hours a day on the range, a radical change of the golf swing is almost impossible. Even then, 10 hours may not be enough.


So the good news is that whenever you hit a bad shot you can remind yourself that small changes are mostly likely all that is required. That’s why I believe in working with golfers to develop an understanding of your game and your swing. Working on sound basics and using some drills will allow you to build an awareness of your own beautiful swing and will stop you feeling like you have to make drastic swing changes every time you hit a less than perfect shot.


For some ideas on how you can correct minor faults with your golf game come and see me at Wembley Golf Course. Michaellonggolf.com


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