By Kathleen Heiney

LPGA Class A, Fitness and Yoga Instructor

As an LPGA instructor since 2005 and player for over 35 years, I have seen many articles on instruction, equipment, quick fixes, tips, tricks and more.   What is the key to becoming a better player?  I decided to do some research on the top teaching articles of 2018 and what I found was interesting.

The top article titles for 2018 were as follows:

  • “You never practice and when you do its unproductive” 
  • “Your equipment isn’t maximized”
  • “You don’t track your stats”
  • “You are not as good as you think you are”

Let’s face it, to be a solid player it takes a lot of time and effort. It seems as though we don’t have the time, we did 20 years ago, or we choose not to invest it into our practice.  We will read “tips and tricks” in a book or golf magazine, go out and try it, feel as though it is the magic bullet, but cannot sustain it.  In addition, buying new equipment, drivers, wedges or even a whole bag of new clubs. All these things may help temporarily, but then we fall back into old habits, so no what?

What tends to get overlooked or often times completely dismissed, is continuing to fine basic fundamentals.  You know the boring stuff, grip, stance, posture, aim/alignment etc. Fundamental principles are incredibly important because without them, chances are, you will not continue to progress. Why, because without fundamental principles, it is difficult to maintain a solid, repeatable golf swing.  If you cannot set up properly over a golf ball before you pull the trigger, you don’t stand a chance.  For example, if you have an improper grip, aligned in the wrong direction or you are too close to the ball, you will not produce a good golf shot.

Fundamental principles are the static components of your golf swing, another way to think about this is pre-shot routine. Meaning all the things that you need to have in place prior to executing the actual physical swing. One reason, fundamentals may get lost during a round, is because players often feel rushed and therefore don’t make them a priority. Instead, the mindset is step up and swing at it and move on to the next hole. If you don’t take the time to incorporate solid fundamentals, you are less likely to hit a good golf shot, which in turn will slow down play.

Another important part of fundamental principles is having an understanding of basic swing faults and misses.  Often when we miss a shot, we have no idea why.  A pull hook for example, generally occurs because the hands are ahead of the body at impact.  This may happen when a player becomes tired, fatigued or in a hurry.  There are many ways to miss a shot, but more importantly if we have an understanding of why it occurs, at a foundational level, it may be easier to correct during a round.

Success is neither magical nor mysterious in all areas of life. It is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.  If you want to become a solid player, then go back and review or better yet, master the fundamentals.  I guaranteed you will improve your game and your life!