After teaching and talking to golfers for more than thirty years I have observed a consistent pattern that emerges with some club golfers and it goes like this – The player will begin the round well and after about four or five holes hits a bad shot or two. The immediate reaction is to start analyzing their swing and attempt to correct what they THINK has caused the bad shots.
This is fraught with danger and I will explain why in this article:-
- Firstly the player is using what they feel to analyze the swing and these feelings can mislead you.
- As a result, players often start to change the wrong swing component.
- This then complicates the situation further.
Even though I am an experienced golf coach, with an eye trained to detect swing faults, to be accurate and have the player understand I use video technology. The golf swing, like any other learned fine motor skill, is best performed without too much thinking involved. The on course self analysis just adds a lot more thinking which really gets in the way of making a smooth golf swing.
During your round, often after tinkering with the swing mechanics the shot making gets worse and then another change is made. This is the cycle that many club golfers repeat on a weekly basis.
To help stop this cycle here are a couple of tools for you to use:-
- Thinking Zone – Approach all shots from an area behind the ball where you can think
(Thinking Zone – where we can analyze, plan and practice the needed shot).
- Doing Zone – This is a “think free zone” where we action the shot with only the alignment, setup, target and ball flight in mind.
Another good on course habit to develop is to only have an emotional reaction to good shots. The bad shot needs to be treated calmly, watching where the ball finishes, accepting it and just moving on. If we make a big issue of the poor shots it makes it very easy to remember them. We need to make more of and enjoy the good shots so they are the easy ones to remember when we are in an important part of the round.
If a player has recently had a lesson/s from his coach, then this may be uppermost in his mind while they are playing their round. The highly conscious focus on the correction needs to have been left on the driving range. By the time the player is on course he needs to trust the practice that he has done to ingrain the better swing or habit. This should ensure that the player will not overdo the correction while on course.
A great tool to help implement is to have a little practice session at home, away from a golf environment. This should consist of some swings without a ball to instill the necessary feel prior to going to the course. Once at the course trust the feel and ONLY ever think about that correction in the thinking zone, not while hitting a shot.
To identify whether this applies to you, look back over a couple of recent rounds to see if your start is good and your mid to late round is made difficult by not quite as good of ball striking as early in the round.
Hope this helps you enjoy this wonderful challenge that is GOLF