Some of the best golf swing advice that I’ve ever heard came from two former Stanford golfers (not named Tiger Woods). The first nugget came from a four time All-American named Joel Kribel. His other amateur accomplishments are too numerous to list. Kribel said that “whatever you’re working on, over exaggerate it.”
How often does a swing change feel weird? How often do you look at a video of yourself feeling as though you’ve made drastic changes only to see that it is fractionally different? As I was describing this phenomenon to one of my students (a physical therapist), she told me that the word I was looking for was “proprioception,” which is the sense of your body parts’ position. In my experience, changes are very difficult to make if you let your feelings slow you down. You must over exaggerate the changes.
The second bit of advice that I really love came from Casey Martin. Martin was on the 1994 NCAA Championship team at Stanford and also coached a National Championship team at the University of Oregon in 2016.
Martin suggested that instead of trying to make changes in your mechanics that will hopefully produce a desired ball flight; make changes to your ball flight that will elicit changes in your technique. In other words, if you’re hooking the ball, try to slice it. You might just hit it straight.
Drills are what I take away from both of these bits of advice. Drills should be the complete opposite of the problem and the exaggeration of the solution. For just about every swing fault, there are are plenty of drills that can bring about changes, quickly. A side benefit of doing drills is that the expectation of hitting a good shot goes away. When good shots happen, it’s a pleasant surprise. If a bad shot happens, you were doing a drill that was the opposite of what you were doing wrong. It wasn’t supposed to be easy.
A lesson in feel. When a young Billy Harmon complained to his father that his grip change didn’t “feel right,” Claude Harmon Sr. reminded his son that the golf club and the golf ball were inanimate objects, neither giving a damn how he felt.
Again, don’t let your feel slow you down. Your feelings will change. When you take a lesson, leave with a few drills to practice.