Why perfect golf swings don’t always equate to success on the course

A perfect golf swing isn't everything, says a Top 100 Teacher.

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While technical perfection is often an elusive goal when it comes to most recreational players’ golf swings, Top 100 Teacher Dana Dahlquist says that’s okay.

In fact, all you have to do is look at the variety of swings that win on Tour, from former greats like Arnold Palmer and Raymond Floyd to modern players like Jim Furyk and Matt Wolff, to understand that even unorthodox swings can still have plenty of success.

And on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Dahlquist explained why it takes more than a perfect swing to make it in pro golf.

Mac O’Grady and Moe Norman are two players that are often heralded as possessing technically perfect golf swings, but neither player ever won a major championship.

“The amount of time it takes for you to get to where Mac is on a golf-swing level is insurmountable,” Dahlquist said. “But his personality — and I’ve played tournaments with him — he’s always in an argument, there’s always a challenge. It just doesn’t produce being in the zone. You’re not in a performance state at all.”

golfers on range
A Top 100 Teacher explains 1 piece of advice that can help all players improve
By: Jessica Marksbury , Dana Dahlquist

Dahlquist compared O’Grady’s mental state to Masters champ Scottie Scheffler’s, who Dahlquist says, along with caddie Ted Scott, manages to stay even-keeled, even after a bad shot.

“That has nothing to do with how good your grip is or how good you are at P2,” Dahlquist said. “That has to do with the performance side.”

Another example Dahlquist cited was Jordan Spieth’s Masters win, when Dahlquist remarked that Spieth didn’t hit it perfectly, but he simply played golf.

“He played the way you’re supposed to play,” Dahlquist said. “Every player that does some level of that isn’t thinking technical.”

For more from Dahlquist, including what it’s like to coach an elite player and one piece of advice that he thinks is applicable to every player, check out the full interview below.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.