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Golf Blueprint Research Division 

Welcome to the GBRD, a home for research, findings and thoughts from Doc Darras. 

The "perfect" golf swing problem.

Every single golfer wants to improve their golf swing regardless, if you’re the number one player in the world or a 20 handicapper.

I did a fun experiment once where I tried to go 45 days without thinking about my golf swing. It was one of the most challenging and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had in my golf journey. I do this for a living every single day helping people around the world with regards to their practice habits and yet even I sometimes find myself Spending far too much time working on the golf swing that I want versus the golf swing that I have.

A good friend of mine, that we call Uncle Skip, caddied on tour for quite some time and used to remind me when we would play together saying “Doc, you have to dance with the date that you brought.” The swing I want, versus the swing I have that day can sometimes be very different!

"Perfect golf swing"

Cofounder of The Titleist Performance Institute, Dave Phillips, talks about this when when we are together working with our Tour clients. Dave will do a physical screen on the golfer to understand what they can, and are limited in doing understanding your body and the way that you move is critical to your golf swing. Unfortunately, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole on Instagram or YouTube looking up the “perfect golf swing” and then going to the driving range and trying to replicate that.

TPI Dave

I try to avoid generalities as an academic, and it’s important to understand outliers. With that being said, yes, it is possible that trying to copy another players swing has worked, but it is not recommended.

I used to love watching Tiger Woods 2000’s videos where he absolutely flushes irons 250+ yards in the air. Unfortunately for me and every golfer who has come since, I am not Tiger Woods. That doesn’t mean that I can’t play the best golf that I can while owning my swing.

World #1 and world #50

One day, a young pro asked Dave what’s the difference between the number one player in the world and the number fifty player in the world. They both have a lot of physical skill and are able to strike the ball consistently. Why then do some get it done when it matters? Dave’s response fascinated me. He said “the number one player in the world isn’t trying to swing like anyone else, they own their golf swings.”

Why then do we go to the driving range? Grab a seven iron, a tripod and try to replicate the “perfect swing” they saw on social media. There is no such thing as a perfect golf swing and chasing this has ruined many careers along the way.

The idea that if you improve your golf swing, you will improve your golf game is a bit of a paradox. What is a “better” golf swing? If you ask 10 instructors all 10 of them might tell you something different. This phenomenon is no different than people who enjoy sushi, while some will say Italian is their favorite food.

There are fundamental principles in which many professional golfers share. However, the way that they each go about striking the golf ball is unique to them. For amateurs it’s easy to say that if I improve my golf swing, I will score better, but like Claude Harmon III says, "golf isn't subjective, it's not about who has the prettiest swing."

The why is what I am interested in. How can you shoot lower scores with the golf swing that you currently have today? Self analyzing your own golf game and being objective with yourself is very challenging and human beings are widely known to struggle in this area.

If you’re serious about performing on the course, you first must understand your own game and identify your strengths and weaknesses. My recommendation is to find someone that you trust. Ideally, that is better than you at golf and just ask them.

Hey, “what do you think I do well what do you think I could work on to get to that next level?” When I play with our Golf Blueprint tour pro's, I ask them after the rounds, "what can I do better?" Their answers often surprise and humble me, but then I have to get to work on closing the gap between us.

If you don’t have a buddy that you play with regularly or for some reason, you just don’t want to ask, I recommend keeping some sort of statistical system. There are tons out there that have different benefits, but I recommend one that is intent based.

Golf Statistics and humility

Once you get a baseline of your statistics, it will show you the areas of the game that you can improve in. This is a major roadblock for a lot of players, because for the first time their ego will be open to doubt as I spoke about before when Dr. Kevin Moore showed me that I was a poor wedge player. My confidence tanked and I began to doubt my ability to play golf at a high level.

The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you do want to improve, and you are willing to ask the hard question of “how can I improve?”

Now that you understand some baseline statistics, you need to learn how far each one of your clubs goes. When I used to be a fitter, one of the funny memories that I have from that time was people remarking that the $22,000 Trackman must be broken because, “they always carry their driver 290 yards.”

How far do you carry your driver?

When people fill out our Golf Blueprint questionnaire, and we ask the same question, “how far do you carry your driver?”

The challenge is that many players do not have access to a Trackman on a daily basis to learn how far they actually carry their clubs. For the purposes of data, we don’t care how far you have hit a driver once, downwind in a hurricane that bounced off a cart path twice and ended up 330 yards.

I’m not even that concerned with how far you hit the ball on your best days. I am far more concerned with how far your 7-iron goes on the 15th hole when you’re a bit tired and a bit nervous.

Just like we began with dancing with the date that you brought one of the most common amateur mistakes is wanting to hit the ball further, therefore hoping that this is the hole that the YouTube video I watched will pay off and I will flush my seven iron, and the ball goes exactly where I hoped it went.

For non-tour pros who aren’t hitting balls every day all day it’s important to be kind to yourself. I’m sure you’re very good at your day job and if I was to come try to be a chef in a restaurant for example, I wouldn’t know how to make duck confit, why then do golfers show up on Saturday mornings with their buddies and expect to shoot 65 when they’ve worked 50 hours and have may be only practiced for an hour at best in the previous week

The goal of Golf Blueprint is to help you play your own best golf, whatever level that may be. All of us want to improve but you need to be realistic about the time and commitment you have to your game. I have been a part of the conversation with a player who said I want to win the masters, and we created a plan along with their coach and their team to do exactly that. I will never tell someone that their dreams are impossible, because what if they are willing to do the work and accomplish it?

If you are a 38-year-old man who works in office job and has two kids and never played college golf, your chances of winning the masters are probably slim. You could qualify for the mid a.m. and get in run the tables when the middleman and win the masters like that but lets first focus on qualifying for the mid and getting into matchplay and winning that! By creating and setting realistic goals you will likely enjoy golf more and score better in the long run.


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