The 4 Pillars of Golf
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
Many believe that people can’t change – that once you reach adulthood, your personality is pretty much set. When things go wrong, this belief can lead to a shrug of the shoulders – “What can you do?” or it’s just “Manny being Manny” or “Britney being Britney.” This implies that intervention is hopeless – a mature personality, or golf game, “is what it is.”
I hear a version of this every week or so when I talk to golfers – and the older the golfer, the more resigned they sound. “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is what they believe, and my message to them is that when you’re having trouble with your game, don’t just accept it – be proactive – intervene; do something that helps you make changes that improve your game.
The Intervention Plan
In my world, I start with helping the student make an intervention plan – the centerpiece of which is to concentrate effort on the four essential areas I call the Four Pillars of Golf. They are (1) swing mechanics, (2) equipment, (3) mental management, and (4) physical fitness. The Four Pillars are the vehicles to maximize your potential by making you the best you can be in each area. If you can do that, you will bring the best “you” to your golf game, and that’s all anyone can ask.
To do anything well, you need to assemble your resources, i.e., the skills, concepts, mental programs, habits, and attitudes that make peak performance possible – I call this process of assembly “going to see the Wizard,” the centerpiece of which involves a journey of self-acquisition. Once you have identified the skills you’ll need, you must choose how they are acquired, i.e., it is not enough to know what they are; you must know how to make them part of you. A good teacher is very helpful in finding and incorporating the Four Pillars.
Takeaway: You need an improvement plan, and I suggest The Four Pillars. It covers the “WHAT” you should know. Once the resources are in your arsenal, you must use them to play the game – this is where your focus moves from the practice range and hitting golf shots to the golf course and playing golf. The skills to hit the golf ball are called swing mechanics, but as outlined above, the swing is only the first Pillar; the other three will be clarified in subsequent articles.
A vital part of the first pillar (swing mechanics) is a good grip.
A good drill that unlocks the proper shoulder action.