The Swing Ain’t the Swing

By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

In a game where the score is a benchmark of success, it’s surprising how many golfers believe that their score is directly related to how well they swing the club; good swing = good score, bad swing = bad score. But this concept excludes the idea of scoring well when you are swinging poorly. Ben Hogan, the best ball striker, said he expected to make only six good shots a round. Of course, Hogan’s concept of ‘good’ was a bit different than everyone else, but the point stands – the swing ain’t the only thing!

If you want to play like a pro, then you’ve got to think like a pro, and that involves cultivating the concept of golf as an unfolding process: As you progress from the tee, whereby rule, all positions are equal, you either increase or decrease your positional advantage until you hole out — the ultimate positional advantage.  This is the same process for every hole you play. To maximize your performance, you need to develop a plan that maneuvers the ball to favorable positions, just as a good billiard player controls the cue ball to run the table.

Thus, the strategy for scoring golf is POSITION, and those who consistently gain positional advantage consistently score well.


 Like your swing concept, ‘your golf game will never be any better than your concept of what a good golf game should be.’ If your idea of the game is hitting pretty shots, having fun, or hitting it farther than the next player – whatever it is, scoring will become an afterthought.

You may not even be aware that you’re doing this, and if somebody asked, you’d say that score is most important, but subconsciously a different priority drives your behavior.  Scorers prioritize low scores – they practice and play with a score in mind – and they use the swing merely as a vehicle.  This way, you can keep the focus on their most important goal — scoring.

With the perfect second-shot approach position from the right to a pin tucked left, this pro has maxed out his course management index by choosing a five-metal for the correct approach position.

This player is terrific from ~80 yards, so on a normal length par five like this one (second hole at the Honda Classic), he lays up to a distance he can get up/down from with ease.

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