Principles versus Mechanics


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How can you play your best golf? With mechanics or principal based instruction?

For about the last 50 years, people have been taught the golf swing through mechanics; infinite mechanics, highly specific mechanics. People have been taught to put their hands on the stick, the club, in a very, very specific way. Not only the positions of each finger, but the pressure of each finger. This is also true about the stance, the posture, the backswing, the downswing, impact, follow through, and any other place in the swing we can find with ultra-slow motion video cameras. All these mechanics in order to copy some great player’s grip, stance, posture etc. etc. etc. .

It's no wonder people think golf is the most difficult, complicated, challenging, frustrating, embarrassing game ever devised. I thought it was too, even when I was playing on the PGA Tour.

The frustration golfers feel, is by trying to be and do something that they are not. Mechanics based instruction assaults the symptoms from the outside, and never addresses the inside of the individual. It's an attack on the symptoms without ever addressing the cause of those symptoms. If there is a fix to the swing through mechanics, it is each very temporary and short-lived. It begins that vicious circle of get better, get worse, find a new teacher, get better, get worse, find a new teacher, get better, get worse, etc. etc. etc. .

The underlying assumption in mechanics based instruction is obviously that if we all copy some great player’s swing mechanics, that would make all golfers great players. That assumption is based on another faulty assumption: that we are all exactly the same. An incorrect basis for reasoning can only result in false conclusions. The results of all this mechanics based instruction has not been an abundance of gleeful golfers. Scores have neither gone down, nor has frustration lessened. What has been needed is a new golf instruction system. Now that new system is available.

Deming is the man who went to Japan several years ago to help them with their ailing automobile production. The advice he gave to them applies to golf as well. He said, “It’s not the people that are the problem, it's the system. 94% of all your problems are in the system. You need a new system. ” What has been needed is a new golf instruction system. Concept Golf is the new golf instruction system. Zero mechanics, 100% principles. It is a discovery that is a result of my frustration from receiving and giving mechanics based instruction. Mechanics based instruction certainly did not improve my golf game and it never really improved my students golf games.

Principal based instruction has its foundation in a simple concept; all things are products of thought. Every chair, every computer, every glass, every pencil, every golf swing is a manifestation of a thought. Everything that we see and everything that we do was first a thought; a simple, straightforward idea that made sense to the thinker. No product can be manifested from an incomplete, confused, disorganized, illogical thought.

Each person's golf swing is a product of their thought. It is simply a manifestation of the beliefs the individual holds as true. In other words, principal based instruction works from the inside to the outside. It starts with the golfer’s thinking. It rearranges the golfers thinking so that it is based on truth and reality rather than on opinion. When the golfer understands the principles that cause every positive effect, that will automatically improve the golfers swing and naturally his shotmaking. With principal based instruction, there is never a direct assault on the mechanics of the golfer’s swing.

How many principles are there? If there as many principles as there are you-must-get-it-exactly-right positions. according to mechanic based instruction, golfers are still in the same fix. To all golfers great relief, there are only five, yes that's right only five, swing principles. Two static and three dynamic principles. Now, five is a number we can handle. It fits on one hand! There is Address Position, Alignment, Weight Transfer, Shoulder Relaxation and Back Leg and Knee.

Principal based instruction is very simple. It is designed simply to get the golfer to understand the principles that underlie the swing and the game. It is this understanding that will allow the body and its “system” to create a perfect golf swing for each individual. As you know, principals are ideas that are the same for every individual, changeless over time, and they create every positive effect that can be desired in the golf swing.

When the golfer accepts these principles, they become his foundation for his perfect, authentic golf swing. Every good ball striker has always utilized all five principles in their golf swing. Their swings may look quite different, as we witnessed on the Champions Tour, but they're all based on the same few principles. The fact that their swings look different is a good thing, because they are all unique individuals. It is actually a necessity that each golfer’s swing looks different from every other golfer’s swing.

For each golfer to function at his maximum ability he must have his own unique, perfect, uncomplicated golf swing based on the five Concept Golf swing principles. Each and every golfer must be allowed to develop his own authentic golf swing. Every swing that is based on the five Concept Golf principles will be perfect for that golfer. All good golfers use the same five principles, but all in their own way.

Golf instruction based on principles goes straight to the heart of the matter. It helps the golfer get it very clear picture or understanding of the golf swing through principles. Every positive effect at the golfer wants in the golf swing will happen automatically as a result of the understanding of the few principles. There is never any attempt to get your fingers just right on the stick, to assume hundreds of specific positions during the golf swing or to do things that would in any other sport seemed quite unnatural.

Principal based instruction also allows the golfer to have one swing, for all clubs, all shots, all the time. Nothing changes in the short game or specialty kinds of shots. The golfer always uses the same basic motion. The clubface may be adjusted slightly, or the ball position may be adjusted slightly, but the swing is always exactly the same and always based on the few principles.

Playing golf with a principled-based golf swing actually makes the game fun. I've even heard a few golfers say the game actually seems easy with a principal based foundation. A principal based golf swing requires no practice, and no fixing, because it's all the golfer’s swing. It is not a swing borrowed from some one else or from a group of people.

In the future, rather than thinking that your shotmaking problem is with your grip, your stance, your address position, your backswing, your follow-through, your eyesight, your strength, etc. etc. etc. , please ask yourself a few questions like these. What is my picture of the golf swing? What is my understanding of the golf swing? Is the golf swing I see inside of me, a simple golf swing? Does my golf swing express me or is it something that's been copied from other golfers? What might happen if I just forgot all the so-called swing rules and play golf my way with my own swing?

John Toepel is a Veteran PGA Tour Player, instructor, author, and professional speaker. He is also the discoverer of Concept Golf, the quickest way to immediate, life-long lasting improvements to anyone's golf game. To learn more about Concept Golf, including the most comprehensive golf instruction system ever, “The Concept Golf Perfect Shot Making System", please visit and Discover the Par Golfer in You!


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