Golf: A Game of Opposites

Learn how to improve your results on the golf course.

By Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

On page 116 of Tiger Woods’ book, Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf, this legendary player says, “From a scientific standpoint, golf is a game of opposites. I think that is what makes it such a hard game for some people. A lot of things that occur when the club strikes the ball are just the opposite of what your instincts tell you should happen.”

Tiger is absolutely correct in this astute observation. I will share a few examples of golf as a game of opposites and offer remedies with an explanation.

When I swing fast, the ball goes slow.

Remedy: Swing slow and learn to make your swing efficient. Also, you will be more likely to hit the “sweet spot,” which adds exponentially to the desired force.

The harder I try, the worse I do.

Remedy: A golfer’s desire for success can cause tension, which restricts the natural physics of the golf technique. When we have fun and act playfully, we often execute the mechanics more efficiently, without thinking about it.

When I swing to the left, the ball goes to the right

Remedy: Think about soccer and billiards in this explanation. If you hit the left side of the ball, the force pushes the ball to the right and imparts a spin on the ball that promotes a curve to the right. Bubba Watson used this principle when his shot required him to curve the ball around the trees to get to the green in order to win the Masters.

If I look up, the ball goes down.

Remedy: This is the biggest error in golf for players of all skill levels. Golfers want to watch the ball successfully travel to the target. However, if we look too soon, we miss the ball or miss the “sweet spot,” hitting the side of the ball instead, which causes an undesirable spin that we cannot control. When we look to see the ball, we also stand up, which lifts the club head up, striking the top of the ball and forcing the ball down.

Remember that November is an ideal month to play golf on Hilton Head Island. I hope to see you out on the green!

A former PGA Tour pro and member of the local golf Hall of Fame, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or