One of the fascinating (and frustrating) aspects of golf, is the wide variation in style; it appears that every player follows a different set of rules.
How can the once-a-week golfer cut through the plethora of (often conflicting) technical data to determine which elements are worth emulating?
Perhaps a different perspective might shed some light.
Have you ever hit a perfect shot? Every golfer, at every skill level, can relate to the feeling of effortlessness. Your ability to consistently re-create that effortless feeling before each shot, is the missing link that is often overlooked in traditional instruction.
Easy to say, but how do you do it?
Develop a simple set of movements, that help you quickly recall the feeling of past success. In golf lingo, this series of movements is referred to as a pre-shot routine.
A common misconception, is believing the routine is immutable; that each movement must be repeated with mechanical precision. An effective pre-shot routine, is a series of innocuous movements that distract the conscious mind from worrying about swing mechanics or potential disaster. The exact movements are secondary – the primary goal is to stay in motion until you feel ready to hit the shot.
Obviously, the generic term “ready” means something different to each of us, but you know the ineffable feeling – as if you knew the swing was going to be good before the swing began.
Freezing over the ball at address, is one of the most common faults for the mid to high handicap golfer.
What happens when you stop moving? The automatic reaction, is to start thinking about swing mechanics or potential hazards or previous mistakes.
Are you familiar with the term “staying in the moment?”
This applies to golfers at every skill level. When the body is in motion, the rational mind is in neutral. Once you stop moving, you have three to seven seconds before the conscious mind takes over and starts sending out warning signals.
The next time you watch golf on television, pay attention to a player’s pre-swing movements. Does the player twirl the club? Perhaps a tug on the shirtsleeve is part of the routine. Any movement that repeats consistently is part of the pre-shot routine.
When you begin to focus on feelings, rather than proper technique, then you’ve found the secret to moving beyond conscious control and allowing your natural ability to take over. In effect, you learn how to “forget” swing mechanics for one-and-a-half seconds and just hit the damn ball!