Column: The counter-intuitive nature of golf

Things that make sense in your mind don't always make sense on the golf course, says Chilliwack Golf Club instructor Jennifer Greggain.

Jennifer played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including two seasons on the LPGA.

She is the 2015 Pepsi Norhwest Open Champion and 2015 PGA of BC Women’s Champion, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy.

She can be contacted at 604-798-9805,, or at



There are a number of aspects of the game of golf that are actually quite counter-intuitive to how any person naturally responds to learning a skill.

I believe that the flight of the golf ball is a very important source of feedback to understand any undesirable patterns you may be having in your game. Having a good understanding of some basic facts is critical so that our nervous system understands what the golf ball is actually trying to tell us.

During the first lesson I have with most of my students, we will almost always have a discussion on grip pressure, and the effect it can have on a number of aspects to ball flight, especially on distance. With the famous quote “Grip it and Rip It” lingering in the back of almost every golfer’s mind, looking for more distance by holding the club too tight is actually one of the most common mistakes made in golf.

Although it seems that holding the club with a relatively firm grip pressure should result in more distance, it is actually one of the highest causes of power loss.

Achieving more distance requires an efficient transfer of energy from your body, through the club, and onto the ball. If your hands, arms and shoulders hold unnecessary tension during any shot, efficient energy transfer is impaired, resulting in loss of distance, among other undesirable consequences. Instead, relax and hold the club with a relatively loose grip pressure. This allows for easy energy transfer, and thus more distance.

Next, every golfer must understand the effect of aim and alignment on the direction and curve of a golf ball.

If a golfer’s system sees a pattern of undesirable direction, especially too much curve, it will almost automatically respond by altering aim and alignment to the opposite direction.

This adjustment seems perfectly logical and otherwise harmless.

What this nervous system doesn’t know is that adjusting alignment can highly enhance curve, making the result worse.

Over a period of time, this learning cycle will result in a seemingly incurable slice or a hook, and a very frustrated golfer.

So be sure to check your aim and alignment if you struggle with direction issues and too much curve to your ball flight.

Finally, many golfers, especially those new to the game, struggle with trajectory, specifically the dreaded ‘topped’ shot. This shot results from the club striking the top of the ball, and the ball rolling along the ground, and often too long or short of the desired target. If this is your pattern, your system may believe that helping hit the ball up in the air will result in a more desirable trajectory.

In fact, this thought process will often worsen the situation since the perceived method of striking ‘up’ often results in a reverse pivot with little or no weight shift onto the lead side of the swing. To combat this issue, be sure to remind your brain that a good weight shift onto your lead side, striking the ball in a descending motion is required to get the ball airborne.

So if you are struggling with a specific undesirable pattern to your ball flight, be sure to understand the facts of what the golf ball is actually telling you.

Often times, what your system believes could help cure an issue, will only cause the situation to become worse.

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read