What does your weekend fourball look like? We're going to hazard a guess that it's made up of four golfers with different physiques and golf swing styles that are poles apart.
The best golf swing for you is one that's repeatable and gets the desired results. If you're struggling with your game, it could be because you're trying to swing like your buddy or your favourite golf pro. Really, you should be swinging in the way that's best suited to your body.
So how can you listen to your body on your way to building a better golf swing? Here's a few ideas for starters.
Your body type matters
Let's be honest, most of us are built a little differently than the average PGA Tour pro. But just because you're not as athletic as prime-Tiger, doesn't mean you can't have a great golf swing. You simply need to know how to work with what your body gives you.
Your 'ideal' golf swing takes into account a few different factors. It will vary from golfer to golfer and depends on your height, body type, flexibility and strength.
There's no point trying to reinvent the wheel here. Working against your natural physical attributes will stop you from ever unlocking your true potential. Keep it simple, and keep it natural.
Ignore your playing partner (unless he's a pro)
We've all been there. After another topped shot, a well-meaning playing partner chimes in to offer some wisdom - "You lifted your head there", or "your left arm isn't straight enough, mate".
What might sound like a helpful guiding hand on the face of it will probably just add to your frustrations through the round. What your playing partners do - or think they do - in their swing might work for them, but it won't be the silver bullet you're looking for.
As we've already covered, the moves you need to make in your golf swing will be determined by your body type, flexibility, and strength, which likely differs from your buddy's.
Unless the advice is coming from a golf coach, give a courteous nod and file it under 'garbage'.
Impact is key
Who cares what your swing looks like? Golf is a game of results. As is often said, 'there are no pictures on scorecards', and that's also true for your swing. While we may all admire the beautiful flowing motions of many golfers on the professional tours, scoring is king.
Let's get something clear - all that really matters in your golf swing is where you are at impact. If you can square the clubface as it strikes the golf ball, you can play good golf. How pretty the swing looks on its journey away from the ball and back down again is less important.
Any Jim Furyk-style funky moves you might make in the backswing are perfectly acceptable if you can re-route the club and deliver it square at impact.
Of course, there are a few things that all good golfers will do in order to ensure a pure strike, but if you've watched enough professional golf you'll see golfers with wildly different swings winning week to week.
Understand your flexibility and strength
Your current level of flexibility and strength can play a huge role in what your golf swing looks like and your ability to play solid golf. If you're struggling on either count, the good news is that you can improve these attributes with fitness training.
Of course, you will naturally lose flexibility and strength with age. While golf is one of the best games to play as you get older, you won't be as strong or flexible as you once were. Listening to your body and perhaps making certain adjustments will become more and more important as the years pass.
If you've recently suffered any loss of flexibility, your golf swing could already require a few tweaks. You'd also benefit from a longer warm-up so that it doesn't take until the back nine for you to properly loosen up.
If you're lucky enough to have youth on your side, a loss of flexibility might not be an issue for you. Don't rest on your laurels, though. To reduce any lack of mobility in the future, work on your flexibility by incorporating stretches into your daily fitness regime.
Some golfers swear by yoga to maintain their suppleness. Why not give it a go?
Check in with a pro
Golf lessons are by no means a prerequisite for golfers. They can be expensive, and it's perfectly plausible for you to continue along your path and try to work out any kinks yourself.
The real benefit of checking in with a golf coach, though, is that - unlike each of your buddies - they are aware of the golf swing nuances between specific body types. They can provide advice on the moves you are making and the fixes you need while matching them to your physique.
They've seen every body type through the years, and it could give you the insights you need to take your game to the next level.
Remember: Swing your swing
Let's wrap things up with a powerful quote from The King - Mr Arnold Palmer:
"Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing. Not a swing you saw on TV. Not that swing you wish you had. No, swing your swing. Capable of greatness. Prized only by you. Perfect in its imperfection. Swing your swing. I know, I did."
If one of the greatest golfers the world has ever seen believes that there's no one set way to swing the golf club, that's good enough for us.
You need to spend time working on YOUR golf swing. Forget how pretty it looks. Accept advice only from those in the know and spend time smoothing out the edges with tips that work for YOU.
If you can put in the hard yards sculpting a swing that's best suited to your body, better golf and a lower handicap will be your reward.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at our tips on how to flush your ball from tricky lies. You can read it here.