Archive for April, 2013

April 17, 2013

Stop Thinking about Your Swing!

If you are anything like me you desperately want to get better at golf. You think about your swing at night, at work and maybe even while out at dinner. You probably even stroke putts and hit chips somewhere in your home. You watch golf on the weekends and you read about it during the week. You have taken lessons, purchased strange training aids and struggled to get significantly better. I am guilty of all of the above and I am beginning to think it is more of a detriment than anything else. The reason I say this is because the more I think about my swing the worse it gets. I’ll explain.

I recently came back from a six-day golf trip in North Carolina. While I was on the trip I played a lot of golf. I played so much golf, I didn’t have time to think about my swing. I never had a long period of time where I was sitting at my desk wondering what my next round would hold. My next round was always the next day. The next range session was only a few hours away. It was easy to let go of some of my swing thought anxiety because I knew I had a chance to work on it in the very near future.

Now I am back in Chicago and I am thinking about my swing again. I’m thinking about it  a lot. Sitting at my desk not knowing when my next round will be is causing me to think about my swing more than I want. Since I have been back, I have played two rounds of golf. They were my two worst scores I have ever shot on this course. Being stuck at a desk and having two terrible rounds of golf to reflect on is causing me to think about the mechanics of my swing way too much.

Last night I went to the range to pound out some of these new demons. I bought a large bucket and went to work. I knew my grip was a bit off, as was my takeaway and my release just wasn’t getting the job done. I was determined to fix all of these things. Want to know the result? The WORST bucket of balls I have ever hit. I was hitting my pitching wedge a good 20 yards left of my target. 20 yards!!! I was furious.

I bought a second bucket. This time I said to myself, “keep your head still and hit down on the ball.” The result? A bucket full of golf shots. I started to hit the ball straighter and further by just trying to smash the ball into the ground. I wasn’t worried about my takeaway or my angle of attack and blah blah blah. I have written this before, but over thinking the swing is an absolute game killer.

A lot of mechanics goes into the golf swing. My experience so far has been that over thinking those mechanics can be a real pitfall. This might be a gross over simplification on my end and I recognize that. My experience has shown me that getting the swing thoughts out of my head is the best way for me to play golf. There are a few more range sessions in my near future as well as a few early morning 9 hole outings before work in order to keep working on my game. If I don’t have something on the horizon I know I will let myself fall back into over thinking and analyzing my swing.

April 2, 2013

Back from Pinehurst and Back to Work!

I am officially back from my trip down to Pinehurst and back at the desk. It is tough coming back to chilly Chicago after six days on the course in nice weather, but it is inevitable for us cube monkeys who don’t live in the ideal golf climate. The trip down south produced a few things I really liked and a few things I really didn’t like. Let’s start with the good.

1) My swing is MUCH better than it was last season. The work I have done with Mike Thornburg at Play 18 this off-season has helped a ton. During this trip I hit the ball the best I have ever hit it off the tee and produced some of the better iron shots I have ever hit as well. My irons were a bit less consistent, but the results were noticeably different.

2) My ability to go “Play” golf has improved as well. I did a great job of focusing on each shot as they came and left the worry and stress about my score and the technical aspects of the swing on the range. I shortened up my range warm up sessions in an attempt to not over think the game and just go play and it really helped. The main change I made was that if I hit a club well three times in a row during my warm up I was done with it. That was all the confidence I needed to take to the course.

3) I was surprisingly confident with the putter for not having worked on it much. The take away I had from this was that it is very easy to over think putting. I found that when I was more reactive to each putt I felt more natural as opposed to worrying about technique. There is something to be said for letting go of the concept of control on the greens.

Ok, time for the not so good.

1) My scores did not reflect the way I hit the ball tee to green.

2) My short game is still rusty and needs the most improvement. Part of this was that I practiced a lot with my wedges this off-season and got down to Pinehurst where the lies around the greens are much tighter than I expected and require much more bump and run shots or putting off the green. I was not ready for this at all and was a bit lost in the short game area. I eventually adjusted, but was very disappointed with the short game results.

3) I have a lot more work to do, but feel I am trending in the right direction.

4) Looking back on these rounds I didn’t set any real tangible goals to shoot for and I wish I had. I need to take a good long look at this upcoming season and set some real goals and stick to them.

This weekend could mark the beginning of the Chicago golf season for me even if the weather is still in the 50s. I have the itch to play again and I need to do something about it. Stay tuned as the journey continues!