Too many swing thoughts = too many shots

In order for me to be able to properly begin my journey to scratch, I feel it's important for me to take a step back, think about what's going on with my golf game at the moment and work out how I can begin to fix things. In this post, I'll share the rather gory and gruesome details about where my golf game is currently at and how I intend to dig myself out of the rather long and deep rabbit hole I'm currently residing in.

The stats don't lie

Recently, I had a rare child-free Sunday morning, so I decided to take advantage of this and join my neighbour (also a keen golfer) and his son for an early morning round. As I hadn’t been playing much in the days and weeks prior, I really wasn’t expecting much from my golf game but if I’m honest, I played so badly that I would have been as well just staying at home. My final round score was +11, which included three double-bogeys and numerous bogeys and was just embarrassing from start to finish. 

I’ve always been the type of golfer who is easy-osey out on the golf course. I don’t play often enough to expect to be able to play to my handicap (7) regularly – usually just happy enough to get 18 holes in and some much-needed exercise. However, recently, I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more frustrated on the golf course and at times wishing I hadn’t bothered teeing it up. Of the last six rounds I’ve played, I’ve only managed one round on or under my handicap, with the other five rounds being significantly over par (+12, +13, +14, +11, +18, +7). Granted two of those rounds were at courses I was playing for the first time and one was played in the wettest and windiest conditions I’ve ever experienced, but they’re simply not good enough. As you can see from my Shot Scope V3 performance data below, my scoring average for these six rounds is 5.1 strokes above my current handicap and I’m making far too many double bogeys or worse. I could dig a lot deeper into this data but this already makes me look bad enough so I’ll save that for another post.

Shot Scope online dashboard showing current performance statistics.

what's gone wrong?

Now, with me playing so terribly at the moment and my average 18-hole score over four strokes worse than it was for the entire 2021 season, I have to ask myself what the hell is going on?

Like many amateur golfers, I’ve spent many hours recording and analysing my golf swing, watching YouTube coaching videos and trying to generally tidy things up. However, I feel that this has had a detrimental effect on my golf game because I’ve reached the point where I cannot even swing a golf club without thinking about what I should (I use that term loosely) be doing with every single part of my body during the takeaway and the downswing, and my brain is fried. I’ve completely lost the ability to just swing a golf club without completely overt thinking it and I need to get back to the state of golf zen that I used to possess. The problem with trying to change so much about my golf swing is that I now feel like I have no idea how to initiate my swing or how to begin the downswing properly and there is absolutely no consistency in my shot shape or flight whatsoever. I’ve found myself in no man’s land and it makes playing golf to the standard I expect of myself very, very difficult. 

Right now, this comedy golf sketch by PGA Tour player J.C Anderson perfectly sums up my mind during my golf swing. How depressing.

THe solution

So, what needs to change? Well, for me it’s pretty straightforward. I need to go back to basics with my golf swing and keep things simple. When I was playing my best golf a few years ago (my handicap was as low as 6), I didn’t have any swing thoughts at all. I just stepped up and hit the ball. Granted – it didn’t always go to plan but the outcome was generally a hell of a lot better than it is at the moment. 

Going forward, the very first step and probably the most important one in my plan is to book a series of lessons with a local PGA Pro. I want to be able to rid my mind of all of those swing thoughts and get back to being able to just swing a golf club with freedom.

I’m not interested in swinging it like Rory McIlroy (although I’d love to) or bashing it 500 yards like Bryson, I just want to simplify things and go with the flow, and this is definitely something a golf pro will be able to help with. 

So there you have it – that’s the current state of play with my golf game and my plan of attack for the near future. I’m purposely keeping things simple here as I’d like to take a steer from the professional I work with as to what my next steps should be. Anyway, enough chit-chat. Now it’s time to identify a coach, book some lessons and get my game back on track.

Feel free to let me know in the comments area below if you’ve gone through a similar issue with your golf game and how you resolved it, or what you’re currently working on at the moment. 

Andy

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