The simplest answer to give to the above question is “no”, however in this this article I wanted to think about a more realistic answer and how this can impact on our mind-set to making improvements.
An idea that is widely accepted is that human beings (in fact most animals) seem to be engineered to create patterns or habits that allow us to carry things out in our unconscious. We become very resistant to change. In terms of body movement patterns, science has made big strides in understanding how we work both in biological and neurological ways. Things like an understanding of myelination (material that forms a layer, the myelin sheath, usually around only the axon of a neuron, it is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system.) have shown why practice or repetition is useful. But this reticence to change can sometimes have drawbacks when we want to alter or improve our swings.
Getting Stuck in Habit In my opinion the best skill any golfer can practice is the ability to change impact factors at will. In other words become aware of where the club-head is and what it is doing at the hitting area. When you think about it this unconscious skill needs to happen to a certain degree when we play golf anyway. For example when we tee off with our driver we don’t want to take a divot but perhaps our next iron shot from the tight lie of the fairway will need to be struck more on a descending blow to make ideal contact. The next shot may require us to hit the ball above the level of our feet and so on. We need to make these marginal adaptions instinctively. Bubba Watson the American left handed golfer is a great modern example of someone who has developed this unconscious skill to a great level. One of the defining elements to your technique is poor perception of impact and the lack of ability to become unstuck. An illustration of this could be the scenario of a golfer who is shanking the ball gets told to stand a bit further away from the ball. The next shot or two they hit may be struck well but very quickly the impact returns to habit and they shank the next ball even though they are still stood that little bit further away. Another example of players responding to impact habits could be that the golfer with a slice is aiming left of the target. They are not slicing because they are aiming left, the player is aiming left because they have a slice.
So back to the original question – if you are trapped in a habit you don’t like, you must find the cause not just the symptom. Now the difficult bit, you must allow yourself the freedom and openness to hit bad shots when learning, without this you will stay stuck in old habit. This is not just a protection for your confidence it literally is how we learn best about what we need to do to make changes. In my experience the golfer who is not stuck in habit, at impact in particular, has the best capacity to change with least detrimental effect on their game. During the early part of swing changes you must focus on the process, remember a large part of your swing is not just the technical positions but the ability to co-ordinate these movement in rhythm and sequence and this can take time.
Be Patient, be realistic, understand it takes time for your body to get used to real change and everything should not be seen as a quick fix. At the same time it doesn’t have to take forever, but an appreciation of the idea that your body will want to go back to what is more ingrained in the early stages should make you better prepared to make the changes you want.