I keep a collection of swing images and associated feels on hand to facilitate subtle adjustments for advanced players’ launch monitor data and ball flight. Let us define an “advanced player” as one who possesses a solid setup, consistent face strike and good coordination of in-swing movements. These players generally do not require dramatic mechanical changes and can quickly benefit from the well-defined images and task below.
Shallowing AoA (Angle Of Attack)
Advanced players can often struggle hitting down too steeply with their short irons and wedges.
Feel: Most of us have tinkered with our swings while indoors, so I ask the players to take a wedge and make a few rehearsal swings. The players should feel a nice, shallow brush as if swinging on their living room carpet. I remind them, “You can brush the carpet, but you had better not take a chunk out of it!” Feel this, then apply. The angle of attack number will become more shallow and strike will improve.
Players can also hit down too much with their driver. An image that I like is placing an agility cone in front of the ball; then feel as if the club head is ascending along the inclined angle of the cone. Feeling like you are set up and swinging a bit “uphill” is another great sensation to achieve positive AoA with the driver.
Neutralizing an outward path
Advanced players can hit hooks and blocks from their path moving too much outward, or traveling too much from inside-out in relation to the target line.
Feel: I place a taller cone inside the target line and about 2 feet in front of the impact area. I then ask the players to make a swing and feel as though they will knock the cone over. Sometimes the image is all that is needed, but sometimes we make practice swings while actually hitting the cone. Swing path and direction will quickly improve.
Tweaking face-to-path relationship
Most golfers tend to be good at making adjustments to their swing path. Consistently controlling the club face, however, is a bit more challenging. I see many advanced players who struggle with misdirected shots that draw too much or too quickly.
Feel: I want you to imagine a race to impact in which the heel of the club wins. “Heel beats toe!” is the mantra. This image works well in conjunction with our cone drill. Rotate the chest open and the hands inward to give the heel the advantage of winning.
Check your pre-swing fundamentals, then give these fixes a try. For advanced players, a little bit goes a long way, so pay close attention to your ball flight and/or measurement device to determine just the right amount for you.
What should your hips do in the golf swing?
If you want to become more consistent, a better ball striker and hit longer golf shots then this is the video for you. This video will show you exactly what your hips pelvis should be doing during your backswing, downswing and through impact. Having great control of your pelvis and it’s movement will help you have greater control over your golf swing.
Playing in your mind vs. playing out of your mind
Comparing the recreational beginner to the elite player
As a player, I know there are rounds of golf where I feel like I worked extremely hard to achieve the results and there are also rounds that are effortless and just plain easy. Why do we go through these peaks and valleys in golf?
As an instructor and player, I want to explore a deeper understanding of what it means to be playing out of your mind vs. playing in your mind.
I want to address both beginners and elite players on their quest for better play. All beginners and elite players must understand that, as players, we are all experiencing ups and downs. The bottom line is that some handle them better than others.
Why is this a feeling golfers have: “playing out of your mind”?
Well, it is pure relaxation. It is fluid, seamless, continuous motion. No hang-ups. No hiccups.
The next big question, how do we achieve this regularly?
We get to this without forcing it, by believing in our makeup. It is locked in our subconscious. It is a controllable, uncontrollable. Subconsciously, your nervous system is in the green light. You are just doing. This is peak performance. This is the zone. This is playing autonomously, out of your mind.
I believe that over time, a golfer’s game is compiled in his/her built-up expectations of the player they truly believe they are. Expecting to make a putt vs. just so happening to make it feeds two different minds. When you place an expectation on an action tension is created. Tension creeps into our nervous system and our brains either respond or they don’t. This is called pressure. This is what I call playing in your mind. You are in your head, your thoughts are far too many and there is just a whole lot floating around up there.
The more players play/practice, the more they will expect out of themselves, and in result, create that pressure. (ie. Why progress is difficult to achieve the closer you get to shooting par or better). The best players are better at responding to that pressure. Their systems are auto-immune to pressure. (ie. Think of practice like medicine and think of a pre-shot routine like the Advil to help calm the spiking nerves.)
- Playing in your mind = high tension golf… you might need an Advil.
- Playing out of your mind = low tension golf… you are in a good headspace and are doing all the right things before your round even started.
The key to understanding here is that we can play in both minds and achieve success in either situation. It is all about managing yourself and your re-act game.
Subconscious playing is beyond enjoyable. It is more recreational in style. I believe beginners are playing more subconsciously, more recreationally. I believe elite players can learn from the beginner because they are achieving superior moments and sensations more subconsciously, more often. All players at all levels have off days. It is important to remember we all have this in common.
The goal is always to play your best. When I play my best, there are no preconceived thoughts of action. It’s simply action. Playing out of your mind is an unwritten script, unrehearsed, and unrepeatable on a day to day basis, you’re living it.
Say you have that one round, that out of your mind, crazy good day. The next few days, what do you do? Do you try to mimic everything you did to achieve that low number? As good players, we take these great days and try to piece it together into a script of playing. We know we can get it down to almost damn near perfect. The more a player rehearses the better they get. Edits are made…knowing that things are always shifting. Visualization is key.
No doubt, it’s a huge cycle. Players are in a continuous race to achieve results in numbers. Players looking to reach great success should generate a journal/log and compile a record and playback method and revisit it repeatedly.
There is no secret or magic…it takes mastering the minds to achieve the best results more often. Most important, as players, we must recognize that during our amazing rounds…
- We are relaxed
- We are having fun
- We are just doing
In this game, the deeper we go, the more we propose to be there. It will always bring us back to the basics. One complete full circle, back to the beginner in all of us. So, the next time an experienced player sees a beginner on the first tee…take a moment and appreciate that player!
Remember to enjoy the walk and believe that hard work always works!
Please reach out to me at email@example.com to learn more about the zone and how to become accustomed to playing autonomously.
Equipment improvements are even better for women! Now they are getting over 300 yards!
We had a sweet driver shaft fitting at Club Champion in January. We picked up the shaft in their store in Phoenix and that afternoon, and Savannah hit two benchmark drives at 305 and another at 317 yards! Kinda makes you a bit of a believer, huh!? We are looking forward to seeing the numbers on our GC Quad back home this week to check out the difference. Stay tuned for next week!
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