As we move into 2013 and a new year in the life of a golfer, I hear plenty of resolutions withoutcome focused goals. In 2013 I want to:
- “Lower my handicap by 5 shots”
- “Break 80 for the first time”
- “Make it onto my school/college/club team”
Resolutions can be great, but what really makes the difference is the action we take towards reaching these goals. It is admirable to dream of lowering your handicap by 5 shots, but action needs to be taken too!
So, I want to give you some more ways to make your dreams into reality.
I am sure that you have heard the quote attributed to Einstein, which describes insanity as:
“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Well, in this article I want to focus on your practice time and how to make some changes that will ultimately get you closer to achieving your golfing resolutions. Remember also, that YOU can choose to make changes whenever you want; you don’t have to wait till society decides you are allowed a “new start” in January!
The next time you are at the driving range, on your practice ground or even making swing motions inside due to adverse weather conditions; give these three tips a try, to give you extra awareness of what you are currently doing in your golf game.
Slow motion: When I learned how to play the drums, I found I needed to use this technique all of the time. When learning a new complex beat for example, I got the best results from slowing the beat down, often to unrecognisably slow speeds, before piecing it together and building up the speed. You will have done the same as you have acquired many life skills, yet it hasn’t caught on that much in golf.
Don’t beat yourself up; the golf swing is a very complex movement; so make it easier to gain some important awareness of the club and your body, by slowing it down when hitting some practice shots. As a starter, try making a swing that lasts for 30 seconds, that’s right…30 seconds! It will be tougher than you think but correct repetitions at this pace rather than full-speed attempts are likely to give better results at changing a movement pattern.
It can’t be THAT crazy an idea if it used by former LPGA No. 1 player Ai Miyazato, and one of the best ball strikers of all time, Ben Hogan.
“Whenever I’m working on something I always do it in slow motion,” Hogan said. That way I can monitor what I’m doing.”
Exaggeration: Let’s take a common mistake that stops golfers from making solid contact with their irons. The flaw is that at impact the clubhead is often out in front of the grip, which adds loft, reduces efficiency and leaks speed and power. For those of you that struggle with this, I want you to go to the range and try to really exaggerate of all these feelings on your next shot. Try to get the grip leading the clubhead to the ball, with your arms in hands in front of the ball through the external thought of trying to start the shot as low as possible.
You may not believe me, but your golfing brain is often a lot smarter than you imagined! Just exaggerating a movement and trying to hit super-low shots with your hands way in front of the clubface gives us a heightened awareness and completely different feeling which we can then take into our practice shots. Ever see Tiger or Graeme McDowell standing on the tee exaggerating an “over the top” move to start their downswing? This is exactly what they are doing; exaggerating the move and then getting it just right when they take their real swings.
Eyes closed: One more way to give you that extra feeling of awareness is to make your swing with your eyes closed. Awareness of the clubface is something that tour players have developed through many, many hours of hitting shots, but this little tip can help you build your awareness too. Close your eyes and make a swing, stopping at impact and feeling where the clubface is. Then open your eyes and check. Use this in any area of your swing to start to develop some extra feel and awareness of the movements as an alternative to using your eyes to check.
If 2013 really is going to be different in your golfing life, these three tips are a simple way to improve your practice time, stop you being on the “insanity loop” and instead get you playing your best golf ever!