The Bigger & Smaller picture

The Bigger & Smaller picture

Sometimes it is hard to understand why we hit shots one way and then what appears to be the same thought process the shot comes out different the next time. It can be one of the most annoying things about golf (and yet maybe one of the reasons why we continue to enjoy it). Consistency is something we are all probably wanting a bit more of at some time in our golf and I don’t think there is anything wrong with this providing we understand the parts we can be reasonably consistent at.

The first thing we have to acknowledge is – when we play golf our golf swings change every time! Yes this is true even at the highest levels of golf these changes happen but for a lot of us they only change in the real small movements or what is sometimes referred to as “fine motor skill movement”. However the good news is that golf is the type of game that wouldn’t work very well if we were robots as each shot on the course tends not to be exactly the same as the last. Fine motor skill improvement is sometimes referred to as skill training, and although this is probably not an exact definition it really refers to the way we think about our movements or “movement outcomes”. I’m sure some of you will have experienced that wonderful time hitting some shots so well but not been aware of any conscious thought in our swing. Well in simple terms this is an example of letting our fine motor skills operate to their best without trying to micro manage them.

BUT – there’s always a but. The big movements or the “gross motor patterns” establish the overall look and style of the swing. Let me give you an example. If you take a golfer with a driver who has a downswing that starts with a big unwinding of the shoulders bringing the club-head on a 5 degree out-to in swing path and the club-face is open to this path by 4 degrees and assuming a reasonable centered hit with reasonable speed. The ball can be struck nice if the fine motor skills are working in co-ordination but the ball will still travel from left to right (for RH golfer). If the fine motor skills are not in sync there is a good chance the strike may suffer as well. In other words skill alone will not stop the ball slicing.

I personally think it helps golfers to both manage their games and seek a path to improve things if you understand the big picture of your swing movements, but remember when playing that focusing too much on the big picture can hinder your ability to let those fine motor skills work.

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