Doesn’t it seem at times that golf is the ultimate game of randomness and that the way you play is total and utter chaos? One day you are in perfect control, and the next day you are so frustrated you want to go Happy Gilmore crazy and beat up Bob Barker.
In Jurassic Park, the character Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) uses “Chaos Theory” to explain occurrences in the world: “seemingly random and unpredictable occurrences that nevertheless follows precise rules.” I certainly see players take unpredictable, random actions on the golf course and in practice that create less than perfect outcomes.
But what if introducing a little chaos is a good thing for your golf game? What if it can make you focus better and can improve your aim? As a player’s coach, I try to limit the chaos a player deals with on a day-to-day basis on the golf course. Golf introduces chaos as an outside influence, however, and it makes what I try to control uncontrollable… unless I create awareness.
Things like the cut of the grass, the direction the tee markers point, or how the hole is designed create can create chaos for golfers. I have to help golfers find order in the chaos so they can keep their golf ball out of the water, the trees, the palmettos, the creek, and the Haverkamp’s backyard. To do this, I have to get them to focus. This is where my chaos drill comes in. It can help golfers see where they want to go instead of allowing the tee markers or the cut of grass to point them in the wrong direction.
The Chaos Drill
Start by laying down a bunch of clubs or alignment sticks in front of your ball. The more it looks like a game of pickup sticks, the better. You want them to point in a lot of different directions. Your job as you stand behind the ball is to fight through all the random lines pointing you in the wrong direction and see the ideal line, which is where you want the ball to go. You can even hold up your club and use the shaft as a pointer if that helps you see the correct line.
Seeing through all the chaos will help you learn to visualize the right line of play, which will get you on the right track before you even address the ball. And when you take the “chaos” away, it will be that much harder for an outside influence to get you off track.