Like a unicorn, the concept of the perfect golf swing often takes on an almost mythological status in the minds of golfing aficionados. Most golfers know a great swing when they see it, but attempts to define what exactly constitutes a perfect swing will often leave even great players feeling confused and frustrated.

It may help to define exactly what a perfect golf swing would achieve. At its best, a great swing is consistent from shot to shot: A powerful and accurate hit won’t be very effective if it only occurs once in a blue moon. Getting shots right on a consistent basis should be the goal of any good golfer.

Moreover, a great shot will be comfortable to take. Unless we wish to cut the lifespan of our golfing career in half, a great shot must not contribute to repetitive strain injuries such as elbow tendinitis. These sorts of injuries can make golfing painful and even unenjoyable. However accurate it may be, no 250-yard drive is worth a lifetime of shoulder and back pain.

Indeed, by developing a consistent and comfortable shot, we’ll improve our game (and maintain our health) for years to come.

So what must we do to achieve these two objectives? Part of the answer lies in focusing on the impact between the club and the ball itself: Posture is an important component of a great swing, but we’ll sell ourselves short as golfers if we take uncomfortable shots simply because we believe such shots embody the “right” way to swing. Indeed, too many people focus on posture rather than quality of the strike when lining up a shot.

This is also where finding what works for you comes into play: On your next golf outing, try employing a number of different stances on the driving range. Which positions feel most comfortable to you? Which positions allow you to connect with the “sweet spot” of the ball itself? Which kind of hit leaves your body feeling strained, tense, and uncomfortable? Which hit leaves you feeling loose and flexible? What kind of striking position would you be able to consistently maintain on round after round of play?

To wit, to really approach a level of mastery in golfing, most of us will have listen to our bodies as much as we listen to our coaches. Book learning is an essential facet of any good golf game, it is true, but we must also develop a swing that is right for both our body style and method of playing. The perfect golf swing may not exist, but the perfect golf swing for ourselves just might.