Probably most golf coaches will tell you one of the most common complaints or pieces of feedback that golfers give is that they are inconsistent. This of course is very understandable, I guess it is the nature of the game we are playing. We see inconsistencies at the best level of golf as well as at club level but maybe one of the big differences between these levels is how these inconsistencies are defined and what action is taken.
First let’s look at what we do on in a game of golf. There are many variables we need to overcome and adjust for. There is the terrain we play on, certainly not too much consistency here. Then there are the different type of shots we need to hit like long and short shots as well as the minor differences between hitting different clubs, for example a 9 Iron shot from the fairway and a driver off the tee, once again not exactly the same. If we had a machine or robot that could reproduce an action exactly the same each time it would be no good for golf as we would have to make adjustments to its programing for each shot. We don’t need to repeat things in detail to play good golf, just as well as even as far back as 1922, Nickolai Bernstein found that humans didn’t repeat exact movements in repetition when conducting tests with advanced blacksmiths.
What then should we look to get consistent at when it comes to playing golf? I think one of the major constants we should work towards is being able to get a good centeredness of strike on our clubface.
Many golfers are not aware of the strike patterns they have on the face of the clubs, so my advice is start to have a look at where you are hitting the ball on the club and see if you have any consistency here. Unfortunately there may be a number of individual reasons why golfers get the strike patterns they do but sometimes just becoming aware of where you are hitting the ball can help you adjust your skill sets or even help you to change your technique sufficiently to improve this area. One of the other properties of our swing technique that I have found is closely related to how consistent we strike the ball is our swing path. You may need some professional help here but if you start off by looking in particular at your divots and noticing where they are pointing in relation to your target line.
One of the other areas you can work at becoming consistent in is your mental routines. It could be argued that this is the main thing that golfers can become very consistent in regardless of our athletic abilities. It is without doubt an area that the top golfers give importance to.
We know that practice does not make perfect but it does give us the opportunity to discover and learn about our games and with repetition allows us to build a certain amount of consistency in what we do. But remember you don’t need to be a robot and if you are reasonably consistent in your striking and mental side you will have the chance to play consistent golf.