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The Consistency Blog: Part 1

So, you want to be more “consistent.”  This is the most common request I hear initially from new students.  Consistency seems like a very reasonable desire, but consistency with what?  In this blog series I am going to unpack what I believe most golfers mean when they speak about consistency, delving into what it would look like if they achieved it and how we can work towards it. 

Part 1: What do we mean by “consistent.”

Consistency seems to be a catch-all term used by golfers.  However, the game, by design, is wildly inconsistent.  We play different courses, in different weather conditions, on different grasses with different course conditions.  We hit shots off different lies, from different distances with different intentions.  We have 14 different clubs designed to do different things and they can all be used in different ways.  We play in different formats, with different people, all over the world.  We have 4 different major areas of the game, and they all require different techniques with different skills and different goals.  The game requires us to be ok with these inconsistencies and embrace them.

When golfers talk about consistency, it is usually regarding one of two things: first, their scores and secondly, their “swing.”  Based on all the inconsistencies I outlined above, trying to be consistent in your scoring is an effort in futility.  Arccos golf, which has tracked millions of shots from golfers of all abilities, has shown that even a “consistent” golfer (someone who doesn’t vary by more than 2 shots in their handicap over a year) will still have an average variance of 17 shots from their high and low round for the year.  Because the game is so inconsistent, our scores will follow suit.  The only things we can control are how we approach each shot and how we compete during a round.

The inconsistencies that we need to focus on come from the shots that we play. I believe that most golfers think that their “swing” is inconsistent, which they then equate to inconsistent golf shots.  Often, I will hear students say that if they can get their swing “right,” they will be more consistent.  There is no argument that having a swing that functions well from a technical standpoint will allow you to hit better golf shots, but a better swing is only the starting point.  

Our foundation for consistency is good technique.  The better we are moving the club and our body, the easier it is to align the club with the ball consistently and more manageable our shot patterns can be. Working on technique alone, however, does not guarantee that we will hit consistent shots. Below is an example of relatively consistent and functional technique with inconsistent shot patterns.

This is something that I see regularly. This swing, technically, was very good. The path the player created with the club was consistent and could produce a very playable ball flight. The shots however were very erratic and had different shapes. These inconsistencies come from skill. The foundation in the swing is there, to become more consistent, skills need to be acquired and then refined.

Being more "consistent" starts with a good technical foundation. But what it really comes down to is improving the skills required to produce quality golf shots. Throughout this series I will cover what goes into acquiring skill and how we develop it; what skills we need to focus on; and then how we can implement these skills on the golf course. The journey to being more consistent can be an incredibly fun process, as long as we can embrace the inconsistencies along the way.

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The most consistent aspect of Golf is that it is inconsistent. Professionals that shoot 62 on Friday usually shoot 72 on Saturday. The rule of inconsistency!!

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