It sounds rude and incendiary. The truth can sting sometimes. But I love you and want you to be better and have more fun.
Self diagnosing your golf swing mechanics is killing your game. Even worse is if you're commenting on your buddy's swing and giving him tips.The harshest truth in this whole guide is that 99.9% of people do not know anything about the golf swing. The 0.1% who do know, are the good golf coaches and pros who can tailor a lesson to each individual person.
But I do know about the golf swing!
Reading about mechanics in a book or watching them on Youtube creates an illusion of knowledge. You only know what someone else is talking about. There is no practical application of the principles from you to someone else.
Two questions to clear this up once and for all
1. Have you or your friend who advises you on your swing, ever helped someone with their swing mechanics from a double digit handicap (18+) down to low single figure (<3)?
2. How much money have you made coaching low handicaps into the elite level of golf?
Just to understand the movement of the clubface, hands, shoulders, wrists, body, legs and feet in the swing would take months. That's just the basics. Implementing them properly onto other people would take years of iteration.
The only exceptions are the people who know HOW TO TEACH PEOPLE and HAVE TAUGHT PEOPLE with success in improving their clients game. These are pros and they have skin in the game.
Anyone giving you advise about your swing about spinning out, early extension, early release, whatever nonsense...they have no skin in the game.
Why are coaches and pros the only ones who know the swing?
There is no ONE swing for anyone. A swing you may learn about, for you, is not relevant for someone else.
There is no mechanic you can implement into your swing that would work in another persons swing the same way. The use of language, vocabulary, the way something feels, the interpretation of it all is different in every human being.
A GREAT coach and pro will know how to transmit the message to you in a way YOU understand. A great coach will take time to learn how you learn.
It's one thing to know about mechanics of a golf swing. It's an entirely superior skill to know how to teach someone those fundamentals. To know how to communicate something complex that you truly understand, in a simple way for someone else to understand is where the amateur part time swing pro fails HARD.
The pro or coach can help you to improve YOUR swing. Once he has helped you, this does not mean you have an understanding of the golf swing. You have the understanding of the golf swing according to YOU and YOUR variables that the coach took a while to work out, through his years of expertise.
There is no comparison. And the old quote goes: 'A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.'
Avoid messing up other people
This image is a typical comment you might see from amateur swing mechanic experts on my Youtube channel. I get comments disagreeing with the pro on my videos who is fixing my swing as he is doing it. I get people giving me swing advice like the comment above.
Read it again and ask yourself: 'how is that useful?'. This type of talk should be totally banned from conversation about golf. How is it helpful to point out 'swing plane'? Pointing out flaws is easy. Any dingbat can do it and not understand that it's their opinion from their bias.
When I point at the moon, why focus on my finger?
The overarching idea here, Playa, is that you do not have the self-diagnosis ability. Confirmed. You do not have the ability to diagnose someone else. Confirmed. The diagnosis of someone else in relation to OUR OWN experience is not helpful in the least to that person.
If a problem is pointed out, there had better be at least 5 different ways to fix it in a way that the person who has a problem can understand it. If anyone points out a problem in your swing...you better push them for a solution they have used for their clients.
Oh, no clients? STFU.
The problem with Youtube swing mechanic videos
You watch a video and they explain a tip that will 'correct your slice' for example.
It will never work. Yes there are exceptions but they are very very specific. See below for explanation.
The person in the video is not talking about YOUR swing. They have never seen YOUR body type, your swing, your mental processing, nothing.
You hit a slice and assume they are talking about you. But the worst part is yet to come.
You cannot self-diagnose your golf swing
First problem is that you mis-diagnosed your ailment and think that their swing mechanic is for what you are doing when it is not. That's a bad starting point.
Do you have a down the line and front on version of any of your swings on the golf course? If you do not, then you cannot self-diagnose. You 100% cannot see what you are doing without this information. Therefore you cannot diagnose yourself.
But let's say that you continue to self-diagnose because you like the way the guy talks. It resonates with you.
Your diagnosis is incorrect to begin with, and then you take the concept in the video with you to the range or the golf course and implement it. You have to remember exactly what he said between now and then. Is it the correct fix though and will you remember it?
You didn't have the video of your before picture so you cannot compare that with how your swing looks after you use the tip from Youtube at the driving range. Bad news! It gets worse and worse.
You guess your way through the mechanic because you forgot half the video and you implement it incorrectly like a game of broken telephone. What you end up doing is not even the thing they showed you on Youtube! You have no reference point to see the implementation compared to the prior swing!
So we've gone from a wrong diagnosis, to a wrong solution implemented wrongly.
Oh dear playa. It gets EVEN worse!
After you try it for 10 or 20 swings, you find it doesn't work. So you abandon it. But your body and brain is too smart for you. Your body remembers it and if you find it 'does work', you know how it goes: it stops working in 3 weeks. Then you have to find the next tip.
And then it gets WORSE AGAIN!
Either way, your body and brain are remembering the thoughts and the feelings and it slowly creeps into your swing and becomes permanent. Two months later, you're worse off and you add another solution from Youtube to get you back. But this time you try maybe 3 or 4 new ideas to counter the terrible shots you're now hitting.
Please do not do this to yourself and see a coach. They can help you to progress so much quicker. You can leapfrog your self-inflicted development and skip 2-3 yers of wandering around in the dark with your eyes closed.
A Case Study in Self-Diagnosis and Destroying your Game
The cycle of self-inflicted pain put on repeat for 1-2 years and you'll be playing the worst golf of your life.
I have seen it. Here's a few videos of BDog from the channel.
He screwed his swing up so badly by looking for solutions to problems he could not diagnose - problems he even created from thin air that did not exist! He stacked poor Youtube solution on top of poor solution, using the Ego to continue down a rabbit hole into NEARLY QUITTING GOLF.
The video below is from December 2019. There is a video underneath this one of him from July 2018 for you to compare to.
It was after this round, I told Brian: 'Brian, you have to see a pro. I cannot play golf with you anymore until you see a pro. You've completely destroyed your game with youtube". He later told me that if I hadn't told him that, he would have actually quit golf there and then. The coaching idea freed him of so much tension, pain, frustration.
It can feel almost religious to get guidance and shed the demons brewing in your mind.
This is a guy who was pounding the ball as a beginner. It was mesmerizing to watch. After some work, we got him to break 100 for the first time in July 2018. The video below is from July 2018. Can you see the difference in swing between the video above and the video below?
I haven't forgotten to include what happened after the round in December 2019. After that round in the first video on this page...
I banished him to a coach. He saw one coach who helped him, but in my opinion, it didn't suit Brian 100% but it helped him to clear his head and move beyond the headworms he had created for himself.
BDog then saw another coach much closer to his home. His name is Jean and he works out of the Permas Jaya Golf Club in Johor, Malaysia. He really got Brian to focus on the right things. Brian however, all credit to him: he put in the hard work on the range and did not waste his lesson.
And that's EXACTLY THE POINT!
He was given the key to fix himself by a coach who knew what he was talking about. A coach who would tailor his lessons to a students specific situation.
Brian was no longer focusing on 100 different things that MIGHT work, and implementing them wrong. He focused on what the coach KNEW would work, FOR BRIAN tailored specifically to him. That is so monumental, you have no idea until someone points it out. You feel like a whole new sport is being played - golf. Before, you weren't playing golf. You were playing Frustration.
He consistently went to the driving range after every lesson with his coach and he implemented what his coach had said. He would slow motion swing at home, to practice the moves.
He took video down the line and front-on. He took it seriously. He sent videos to his coach. His coach corrected or encouraged.
Brian went for 5 lessons with that coach and just worked on the things he was given. Focus on small tasks that make big difference because someone who knew the swing and how to teach someone the swing told him. From 100 potential concepts, to 1-2 concepts to ingrain.
Here are a few videos of Brian getting better. He got his game on track 2 weeks after that round when I told him to go see a pro. You can see the whole playlist here: Brian from Zero to Hero
Then came March 12th, 2020. He was getting better. He came back under 100 and was looking more on track. He had no more fluff from some Youtube merchant trying to sell you confusion and despair to make you crazy so you'll pay him $100 per minute.
And then he shot a flat 80 in September 2021. That's a 3 year journey from someone who could break 100, to someone who couldn't break 120, and eventually a man who can break 80 if he doesn't miss short putts. You can see the full journey in the playlist on Youtube.
You're not convinced?
That's okay. I only give the truth. I give people what is real and what I have seen over 25 years of being around a golf course and mid and high handicappers.
See a coach as early as possible. Get the fundamentals right. If you have bad habits like me, it takes longer to correct them. If your coach doesn't gel with you, find another one. Just stick to ONE VOICE when you find the right one.
A good pro will do the following: give you an improvement plan. Get you hitting better shots quickly. Speak to you in a way you understand and feel concepts. He will take his time to learn about how you process info. He won't put you into a cookie cutter swing.
But none of that matters as much as the first meeting. Only one question you need at ask yourself. Do I trust this guy?
I go to a dry needle expert who relives my muscle knots. I lie on her bed as she sticks needles deep into my muscles where if I move or she goes too deep, she can puncture my lung. I have never felt as calm as I do when i lie on her treatment bed.
That's the kind of trust you must have in your golf pro. If you don't, GTFO.
But please. If you're having problems or your friends are having problems, please. Please. Go see a pro yourself. Advise your friend to see a pro. Please don't help your friend or self diagnose yourself.