Posts tagged ‘Golfing’

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.

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May 20, 2011

Divots can be your friend…

Recently, I have given a bit more attention and notice to the divots I have been taking out on the golf course.  In the past I was a bit afraid to take a healthy divot because I felt like I was going to hit every shot fat and I really didn’t understand the concept of the divot.  I understand that there are guys out there (Steve Sticker types) who are good enough to pick the ball clean, but I am not that kind of player or nearly that good.

I haven’t had a chance to read Tom Watson’s new book yet, but I can already tell I am going to enjoy it and learn from it just by reading a few excerpts online.  Watson acknowledges that a golfer can learn a great deal about the quality of their golf shots by looking at their divot.  I have to be honest that prior to this year I never spent much time looking at my divots or really caring about them.  If I hit a shot thin or fat I would just say, “oh I came up out of that shot or I hit behind the ball.”  Now, I am trying to focus on hitting the ball first and leaving a shallow divot a few inches in front of the ball.  Now when I hit a thin shot I don’t leave much of a divot and if I hit it fat, my divot is much deeper.

The hardest part about this concept for me is the lack of a grass driving range in the city of Chicago.  The feeling you get when you hit the ball first then take a clean divot is unmatched on a mat.  I am not sure how to get around this, but I would encourage all golfers out there who want to get better to take some time to look at the divots they are leaving out on the course.  It can tell you a great deal about your alignment, swing path and shot shape.  Be a student of the game and learn from your time on the course.  It will make a difference in your enjoyment of the game!