Have a look at some old golf footage below and you’ll see how true this was of putting – it was incredibly ‘wristy’ and even the grip was the same as any other golf swing…
In golf coaching circles this was known as the ‘unified swing theory’ and many golf students were taught this for around 50 years.
The only problem with this theory was that it was WRONG
It was actually never proved and probably came about through some golf-pro being mis-quoted in a newspaper and eventually became golf folk-lore.
The game of golf consists of FIVE games
In the modern game of golf teachers and golf professionals all now agree that there are FIVE games of golf within golf.
1. Power game
In this part of the golf game you use the big muscles to hit the ball as far as you can – the key name of the golf game obviously being ‘power’.
Attributes of the power game include speed, strength, hitting and of course power.
2. Short game
In the short golf game accuracy is the key, not power. These shots are generally played from inside 100 yards of the hole. The aim is to get the ball inside the ‘magic’ 8 feet circle, from which you have a much higher chance of holing your putt.
When you think of the short game you should think of touch, rhythm, crisp and positive.
Most golf professionals have a personal psychology coach now – I’m not suggesting you need one but have a look at my golf psychology post
Amateurs can benefit HUGELY from this part of the golf game and it’s well worth learning the basics. The main aim is to help you control your state of mind (and hence your emotions) to help you produce a reliable consistent swing/putt when the pressure is on, but that is just the tip of a big ice-berg. It’s a huge subject in it’s own right.
Psychology should conjure thoughts of emotional control, focus and concentration.
4. Course Management
Managing your way around a golf course can be a very rewarding experience – choosing the right shot at the right time and putting your ball in the right place on the course can save you a LOT of shots and win you a lot of matches. The greatest exponent of good course management by far was Jack Nicklaus.
Course management is about skill evaluation, strategy and shot selection.
Finally we come to putting! Putting is totally different from all the other games. There is no power involved, no body movement, a different grip, and the ball never goes into the air – at least hopefully!
Putting is all about feel, smoothness, simple and pure.
Modern golf coaches also agree that the LEAST important part of the game of golf when it comes to scoring is the power game(1).
To score well in the game of golf you need to be working on your putting and short game, closely followed by psychology and management.
Even the great Jack Nicklaus didn’t have a brilliant power game. It was certainly very good, but he excelled in other areas (especially management) and this was a huge factor in his success.
Also think about Tiger. When he turned a pro he had a simply awesome power game, but a so-so short game. He really didn’t win much in his first year or so as a pro. It was only when he started improving his putting and short game that he started to be almost unbeatable.
So here’s my advice – next time you’re heading to the practice ground or booking up a coaching session, consider working on something other than the power game and you’ll soon start to see improvements in your scores.