Perceiving A Sound Swing
by Michael Hebron, PGA Master Professional, CI
Smithtown Landing Country Club, Smithtown, NY
Your brain provides a very reliable and accurate system of telling the body
what to do. The golf shot your swing produced was created in your brain, it
did not happen by chance. The process started in the brain, moved to the
body, then to the club and finally to the ball.
If the brain can accurately tell the body what to do, why are many golfers not
playing up to their potential? The body then accurately performs the motion
the brain transmitted.
When the golfer's perception of the swing is inaccurate, the brain is using
When learning a motor skill, first improve the information the brain receives.
You must develop very specific pictures, feelings and concepts, for the right
side of the brain which controls the motor skill. Pictures, feelings and concepts
are the language and vocabulary of the brain's right side--not words.
Studies show communication is only 5% words; that 85% of the information
your brain receives and stores came from the eyes, and 50% of what we hear
is forgotten immediately. The best way a golfer's mind can communicate with
the body is to try to see and feel the shot beforehand---recalling the last
successful shot, even if it was a chip or putt, is going to help.
Most golf shots are missed before the swing starts. When your body goes into
motion, it is just recreating the image and feel of the motion you have stored
in your brain. Students will improve when they learn to define and recall what
they need to do in contrast to what they are currently doing. To check your
current information base, take a look at what you perceive versus what you
perform and check to see if your perceptions are correct.
• Find a quiet place, close your eyes and replay a mental movie of your golf
• Visualize each portion of your swing motion in a frame by frame replay,
identify what is happening in each frame.
What we see before, during and after each shot on the course is very
important to our progress. If you find that there are blank spots in your mental
replay, you may need to fill in some of your knowledge base.
Try recording your own swing. Replay the shot at full speed, in slow motion
and frame by frame (or strobe on home VCR models). Try to freeze or stop
each frame and compare the position to the position in the previous frame.
Are you actually performing the motion you perceived?
Record a sound swing made by a tour player during a televised tournament.
Try to stop each frame and compare the body and club position to the
position in the previous frame. See if you can identify what body positions
have changed, making particular note of the relationship of each part of the
Depending upon your current knowledge base, you may or may not be able to
identify all of the differences in your swing and the tour players swing. This
exercise will help you find where your knowledge base strengths and
weakness are. It will help you to check to see if your perception of a sound
swing is appropriate. Our golf school strives to provide a broad range of
visual aids to help students make progress in visualizing a sound golf swing.
copyright Michael Hebron, 2008, all rights reserved.