Millions of words of golf instruction have been written, including thousands on this web site. There is so much information to distill and absorb, it's hard for anyone to make sense of it all. That's what this post is for.
Below are eighteeen words that tell you exactly what you need to do to become a shot-maker -- someone who hits the ball well consistently and accurately. Everything I have read, heard, and been taught, boils down to these eighteen words.
1. If the ball is on a tee, think: square face, center hit. (4)
2. If the ball is on the ground, think: ball first, ground second. (4)
3. In addition for the short game: weight left, stays left; left hand leads through. (8)
4. Putting: sweet spot. (2)
Numbers 1 and 2 are mental skills, not physical skills. Let your mind lead your body. Think these things just before you take the club away. Give the order once, then stay out of your way and let the right things happen.
Number 3 means start with your weight on the left side and let not one ounce of it shift right; the right hand never passes the left. These principles are common to every short shot. You can practice this in your living room without a ball.
Number 4 is the soul of the putting stroke. Listen and feel. Contact on the sweet spot sings a different song and is so soft in the hands. It's what gives you control of the ball.
Devote your practice to only these things. This is what to repeat 10,000 times. If I wanted to create a good golfer from scratch, this is all I would have him or her work on.
Write these eighteen words down on a card to carry with you when you play. Look at the card before you hit any shot.
Trust me. This is it. If you want to hit the ball as well as you can, it's these eighteen words. It is that way, it always was that way, it will always be that way.