Playing Faster to Quiet Swing Thoughts

I was back in San Diego this past weekend and I was able to get up every morning and go practice.  The range I go to in SD has grass hitting stalls, two chipping greens and a large putting green.  Going there every morning was like going to Disneyland for a city golfer like me.  I worked on my full swing every morning, but the biggest strides I made were in my short game, putting and mental game.  I was able to get out and play a brand new course while I was home and put all of my changes to the test as well.

The first change I made to my game was last week when I took a good hard look at my short game and decided I needed to make a change.  I was constantly hitting bad chips with my sand wedge when I went out and played.  My solution was to use a 9 Iron whenever I could and roll the ball up to the hole instead of trying to fly in the entire way.  The results have been much more consistent and I feel more confident that I can chip and run a 9 Iron to 5 feet rather than fly a sand wedge to 5 feet.  When I went out and played my scrambling went from about 1% to 28.6%!!  That is a huge leap and I plan on sticking with this method.  If I am going to break 80 this summer I am going to do it with my short game and putting.

My putting is decent, but I felt like I never really made any putts outside of the 3 to 5 foot range.  When I was down in South Carolina my caddy told me that my putter was toe up and to stand closer to the ball.  This helped me flatten the putter, but I didn’t feel comfortable and I didn’t feel like I was rolling the ball.  My solution was to lay the putter flat but have my hands further away from my body and really focus on rolling the ball.  The solution was 1.89 putts per hole in my round with 4 one putts and only two 3 putts.  I felt comfortable and confident that I could make it from anywhere.  Very exciting change and lets hope it lasts.

The last change I made was my mental approach to playing my round.  A lot of times I will sit behind the ball before a shot and think about my swing keys and visualize the shot and take a decent amount of time.  This time I committed myself to visualizing the shot taking a small practice swing then stepping up and hitting the shot.  No matter what the result was I was committed to walking to the next shot and moving on.  The quicker pace of play actually helped me get rid of a lot of negative swing thoughts and worry about screwing up.  It let me be much more reactionary to the situation.  This was most true on chip shots and putts.  Just stepping up and hitting the shots removed a lot of the fear of failure that I have experienced in the past.  I also want to make it clear that there is a difference between playing quicker and rushing.  I don’t recommend playing super fast just to play fast, but speeding things up helped me just play golf instead of fear my misses.

The mental reprieve playing quicker gave me was my biggest take away from my round and I play to utilize it moving forward.  Hopefully Southwest actually delivers my “misplaced” clubs this morning and I am able to get out and play again very soon.  I don’t want to waste all of the momentum I gained out in San Diego.  After all, “If you rest, you rust!” (Helen Hayes)

One Comment to “Playing Faster to Quiet Swing Thoughts”

  1. Congrats on your improvement – keep working that short game. If you haven’t read “Putting out of your mind” by Bob Rotella, go buy it now. I read that in two days and went out to play the next day and it was like a new person was wielding my flat stick. Just an incredible positive experience from the changed approach. Good luck!

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