The best thing about this golf blog and writing about the game is helping everyday golfers from around the world. Yesterday alone I received a call from Japan and the below email from a newish golfer from the USA.

I’ve been playing for a year and just can’t seem to swing the club. Lessons from a half dozen pros or so; videotapes; endless hours on the range; lots of time on the course, lots of books and videos, lots of grip changes, some new clubs, and still can’t hit long or straight. I’m 59, good health, reasonable condition, fairly strong, average athletic ability. Some lower back and flexibility issues, probably worse than average but not all that exceptional. Problems seem to be out to in downswing, with body coming up, and very poor follow through. Result is I spend most of my time in the rough and can’t break 110. I’d say that one out of five shots is hit cleanly.

This is quite a common problem for guys and girls learning the game later on in life. Typically the person is/was a professional type (accountant, doctor, lawyer, engineer etc) and has been successful at most other things (whether it be professionally, sport, personally or all three). But for some reason golf becomes mission impossible. In an earlier work I called this the “Golf Phenomenon”. Golf drives these people mad, and unless they can learn a consistent game they either quit or have some unhealthy love/hate relationship with the sport.

Here’s my return email:

Your issues are fairly common and I have some opinion about what you should be doing. My thoughts are not mainstream and might take some digestion.

1. If you play the game and keep your focus on hitting shots your swing will improve.

2. Keep technique as simple as possible. Your grip is simply holding the club in a way that allows you to move the club with speed – so don’t worry too much about knuckles and grip pressure etc. Same with your stance – your focus should be standing in a way that allows you to hit the ball – thoughts on alignment and body angles can come later (if at all).

3. Your body (system) will find a way to hit the ball if you let it. Don’t fight your system.

4. More lessons are not going to help. You will be better listening to your gut and trusting that YOU will improve. Learning to hit a ball really is no harder than doing anything else. We make it hard by trying to take in more info.

5. Do what feels good to you – don’t force yourself into body positions that are uncomfortable.

6. The swing needs to flow – it’s like a dance, so don’t focus on specific positions, think of the swing as a whole. Hitting balls and other objects is the best idea. Working on say your backswing typically disrupts the process.

7. Find the simplest cue for each shot. i.e. “clip the tee” for your driver. If you can do this the rest of the swing will take care of itself. I have a number of training aids in design that help you learn a better swing, chip or putt. They are objective based tools that give the user a basic objective to achieve.

The temptation is to take in every bit of advice, To be honest, my stuff may only be adding to your confusion. The above steps came quickly to me and they may be improved upon, but if you simplify things and keep your focus on hitting that silly white ball then your learning system will take over. In time, you’ll find yourself improving and the game becoming easier.

This is the hardest thing for an adult mind to accept. We try and override what’s natural and fight the system. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions.

That was my quick response – my automatic brain took over and I didn’t analyse what I was writing. After rereading I think it’s pretty good advice for someone learning the game.

Here’s the return email that has just hit my inbox.

Thanks for all of this. I think there is much to what you say because I was hitting better last year when I began — before pros, videos, etc

Sums things up pretty well.

I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts to expand on this topic further. I’ll be covering my thoughts on starting out, learning a swing that works and overcoming obstacles that golf throws at you.

I’ve got no idea how many posts/lessons this will cover or the frequency of my writing (hoping to do at least one lesson per week). It should grow legs as the content develops and your feedback, questions and input is encouraged.

The easiest way to keep up to date with the latest lessons is to enter your email address here (because there will definitely be a randomness to when I post new articles) – this way you’ll get automatic updates sent to your inbox and you don’t need to keep coming back to check. It would also be great if you can pass this info onto any golfer friends/family that might find it interesting.

If you want to add any lessons or issues you want covered then enter them below.