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How to find your feel when you’ve completely lost it

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One of the most frustrating things in golf is to “have it” one day, just to lose it the very next. It’s scary to be on the golf course and have no feel whatsoever; you feel lost, and like you’ll never be able to play well again. Feel is the thing that helps you manufacture shots around the course and helps you to control your trajectory, distance, and landing angle… and when it’s gone, it’s difficult to get it back. That’s why I’m here to help.

In my opinion here are the top four areas where people tend to lose their feel:

  • Off the Tee
  • Iron Shots
  • Around the Green
  • On the Green

I will examine each and give you tips so you can find your feel once again!

Off the Tee

Yesterday it was simple to hit every fairway — long and straight — and today you can’t seem to even keep it in the treeline! In my opinion, this is one of the worst places to lose your feel because spending all day in the trees is going to kill your scores and psyche. But don’t fret, it’s a simple reason why you have “lost it”… you are simply out of sequence.

You have a certain kinematic sequence that you need to follow, but once you get the out of whack, you can’t hit the side of a barn! So whenever you lose it, try to begin your swing with your legs; the usual way people lose their feel is to use their upper body to begin the swing. You must reverse the process. So go to the range and hit a few balls making sure your legs START the sequence of events and let the arms follow, and I bet you’ll find your feel once again.

Iron Shots

You’ve hit great drives hole-after-hole, ready to attack the pin. But so far, you’ve only hit two greens through 12 holes and neither of them sniffed the flagstick. Losing feeling with your irons can come in two usual areas — hitting the ball solidly and/or losing your directional control. Regardless, both are a royal pain because you never know which one will rear it’s ugly head and cause you the next bogey on your card.

When this happens with the irons, it’s likely that you’ve “gotten too long.” Whenever I have a player who’s lost, I always get them to try and feel like they are making three-quarter swings with the focus on hitting the ball solidly. Usually when they shorten it up and begin to find the face again, good things happen. So whenever you find yourself in a bind on the course, just take a smaller swing with relaxed transitional tempo, and focus on hitting the ball in the center of the face. All will be right with the world once again!

Around the Green

Short game shots come in all shapes and sizes, and I could write an entire book on this subject. But lets make it simple. Losing your feel here, for the sake of this article, is when you just can’t control your distances on any type of short game shot. There is nothing that makes a golfer more frustrated than having a simple pitch shot and boning it to the other side of the green.

I know that each of you have done this from time-to-time… I mean who hasn’t? But here is a simple way to regain your distance control once again. Take your shag bag and your lob wedge and find some tall grass and a tight pin where you have little green to work with. Now hit flop shots trying to land the ball in the section of the green between the fringe and the pin. When you can do this consistently, you have found your feel once again! The longer grass and the tighter pin makes you focus a touch more and it only seems to take 50-100 shots for you to have it all under control once again. Go out and channel your inner-Phil by hitting these flop shots and you’ll find your feel (and look cool doing it!)

On the Green

I’m sure none of you have ever three putted or sent a downhill putt entirely off the green, right? Sadly, we have all lost it on the putting green, and it usually it happens when you have to play with your boss or n a big match or something, never when you’re just playing 9 holes alone.

Here is the simple solution: go to the putting green and hit super-long, big breaking putts… the most difficult putts you can find on the practice green. Once you have figured it out and you have some control of the ball again, try and do the same thing with the highest line possible until you have that under control. Now do the same thing with the lowest line possible… you will find that you have a low, medium, and high line to the hole. Once you can hit the ball close using all three, you will have your feel back again and be ready to go!

By this time, I hope you have a few better ideas as to how to find your feel. Remember, feel comes back just as quickly as it left, so don’t panic. Just follow these tips and everything will be OK once again.

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Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: tom.stickney@puntamita.com

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Ryan

    Jan 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Check out my new blog on golf instruction!

    https://hgolfinstruction.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/the-mental-game/

  2. RBImGuy

    Jan 14, 2018 at 4:03 am

    Funny article, I never lost feel yet

  3. Edge Of Lean

    Jan 8, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    A little obvious at the beginning: “Where do you lose feel the most? Answer: everywhere.”

    • emil

      Jan 8, 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Physical feel? Mental feel? Or both?
      So how do you determine and isolate the reason for the loss of “feel”?
      Answer that!

  4. Joe

    Jan 8, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I like this article. It’s simple. Though I don’t know if it will work as it’s about 5 degrees outside here in MN right now, my swing disappeared all Summer last year for the firs time in my adult life. It was crushing. Though I will try some of these tips when I get the chance. Thank you sir.

  5. just plain bill

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    wish i had read this before yesterday’s round…

  6. taylor

    Jan 7, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Stinkney never responds to questions. Hiding 🙁

  7. emil

    Jan 7, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Is the problem “feel” or “feeelings” …. when you’ve completely lost it?
    There is kinesthetic feel … and emotional feeelings. So which is it because each solicits a different physical and mental reaction?
    How do you recover a physical “kinematic sequence” when the problem is because of a hormonal adreneline rush (or deficiency) into your brain?

  8. Speedy

    Jan 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Good tips, and “don’t panic” reassurance, Tom

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