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Task clarity

99.9% of the physical skills we learn in our life, like using scissors, hammering a nail, or catching a ball evolved from this simple start point: "What effect am I trying to create?". Cutting paper, driving a nail straight into a wall or not letting the ball hit the ground, respectively. N.b. In attempting these tasks, do you remember telling yourself to keep you head still?

In golf the prevalence of body-focused instruction means the average golfer not only has become disconnected from the task, isn't actually that clear what it is.

A Task Clarity survey for golfers I have run for many years reveals that there is a correlation between golfers who thin the ball, and those who think that low point of an iron (ball turf interaction) should be directly under the ball. The correct answer is 2-6" after. Misconceptions about impact lead to technical problems, like scooping or falling backwards through impact as in this example.


In the main, despite its intrinsic value, task or impact is extremely under-coached. I see new clients who can explain in detail what they want their trail hip to do, but confess its been years since they even thought about the club-face. This is nuts. Imagine what would happen if you weren't paying attention to the scissors, hammer or rapidly approaching ball in the first paragraph. Ouch.


Task clarity isn't a quick learn. How the club needs to behave through impact to hit a splash shot out of a bunker, for example, is very much a 3D problem to solve. The angle of attack, the path, the face, the loft are all variables we can tweak to create the desired effect. Whilst it is possible to develop an intuitive understanding of the desired club delivery, there's no getting away from the 3D 'ness of the thing.

Unlock self organised movement

Task clarity gives the brain and body purpose to the movement that follows. You can get so much good swing for free, if the brain is focused on the desired effect.

For each game area, and each shot, there will be subtle (or significant) alterations in what is required of the club through the impact zone, in order to create the desired shot. Sometimes all I need to do is point out that a pupil's ball is on an upslope, and ask whether any adjustment to delivery needs to be made. If they are engaged with the task, they begin to make intuitive little adjustments to their stance, and practice swings that mirror the slope. Self organisation is possible if the task is clear.

Skill begins here

Skill is the ability to make the ball behave as intended by influencing elements like:

  • Impact location

  • Face angle

  • Plane

The more accurate, 3 dimensional and intuitive your understanding of the task is, the more skilful you can become.

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