Trust Your Swing by Wally Armstrong

“Instead of trying to maneuver the ball with your body, arms, and hands, trust your swing and the club you select for the shot.” – Ben Hogan

One of the worst things you can do in golf is to lose confidence in your game during a round. And it happens more often than you might think—not only to amateurs but to seasoned players and professionals as well. I’m convinced that lack of trust is the single biggest cause behind poorly executed shots, for players at all levels of the game. When we stand over the ball and allow doubts to creep in—doubts about our abilities, our swing mechanics, the club we’ve selected, and so on—our swing becomes forced and hesitant, which almost always leads to some form of miss-hit. I’ve seen it time and again, in other players and myself.

As an instructor, one common mistake I’ve witnessed is that players will come to me one day to help them with their game, we’ll make some minor changes to their swing, and the next day they’ll be out on the course playing eighteen holes. Almost without exception, this does more harm than good. Nothing frustrates golfers more than trying to work out a swing flaw in the middle of a round. It will mess up your mind, and your score.

The key is to learn to compartmentalize. When we’re on the driving range, we can focus on the fundamentals of the swing. That’s the time to think about what we need to do to overcome a swing flaw and to work on changing the dynamics of our take-away or our downswing. And that’s the proper place to spend hours working on these changes. But when we get to the course, it’s time to put away these thoughts and play by feel. We need to trust what we’ve learned on the practice tee and let our swing flow freely—to let our minds be engaged in the shot making, not in the mechanics of the game. Too often players fall into the trap of playing what pros call “driving-range golf.”

The fact is, a player has a better chance of scoring well with a poor swing and a lot of confidence than with the greatest mechanics in the world and a mind riddled with doubt.