On course instruction focuses primarily on the decisions a player makes under any given set of circumstances. It is also a time for the student to inquire, “what do I do in this situation?” Dealing with uneven lies, specialty shot such as punch or lob shots, and when and where to be aggressive are all subjects that are covered on the golf course.
On the golf course you can really on rely on one thing… your pre-shot routine. In this routine you should visualize the perfect shot, sending the ball exactly where you intend it to go. Doing a routine leads to consistency which we will refer to later in this segment.
During the session on the golf course, swing mechanics are not the focal point. Getting the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes and sending the ball in that direction should be the only thing in a player’s mind at this time. When you focus on swing mechanics, it can really turn disastrous and each shot involved tension and manipulation. Analysis / paralysis takes over, this is when golf becomes frustrating and not fun.
If you have a routine and stick to it, you will enjoy each and every shot that you encounter. Here is more information about the power of having visualization in your routine.
The Power of Visualization
Do you ever wonder how the professionals on television hit the ball so well? How the ball seems to do whatever they want? The reason why they are so consistent is because they all have an impeccable pre-shot routine. The routine is rehearsed a tremendous amount in practice sessions. At this time they primarily focus on the fundamentals (grip, posture, alignment and ball position). PGA and LPGA players work on perfecting not only their golf swings but also a pre-shot routine that they can count on in a pressure situation. This routine includes visualizing exactly what they want the ball to do. This process is very powerful and allows them to hit these amazing shots week after week.
While they practice they take their time to rehearse their routine. Stepping behind the ball before each and every shot. While standing about 10-15 feet behind the ball professionals visualize the flight of the ball, where it is going to land and take a practice swing. They may repeat this process 2-3 times before they address the ball. All of the preparation for the shot takes place during their routine. Once they step up to the ball they have already hit this shot in their mind a number of times. They simply look at the target and attempt to produce the setup and swing they have just rehearsed.
Most of the thinking is done behind the ball in the routine. This routine and process of visualizing the perfect shot is what makes them so great. Once they take to the golf course, players will bring this pre-shot routine with them. It is what helps them deal with the pressure situations that often occur in tournament play, or any match that the weekend golfer may find for that matter.
When you visualize the flight of your golf ball in your pre-shot routine it will give your shots more purpose. That way when you miss shot, it will be a more acceptable miss. After all if you do the same routine for every shot, isn’t that being consistent? Consistency starts with your routine in your practice sessions, then you can practice with a purpose and prepare for the golf course.
The finish position is most important to gain feedback in each and every swing that you make through the golf ball. You will find that Dynamic balance - the ability to shift the weight from the back foot to the front in the golf swing. This transference of weight is common to all sports that need explosive force. If you are in balance in the finish position then you are in control from Start to Finish. Most importantly you are in balance at the moment of truth… Impact.
If you ever wonder why you are hitting poor shots. Ask yourself from the finish position… while you are posing in the strong position watching the flight of the ball… am I in balance? If the answer is no then you are swinging too hard. You can swing aggressively as long as you can hold that balanced finish position. The key is trying to find the happy medium between what is too hard and what is too easy.
When your constant focus is to finish in a balanced position you will find that your misses will become much better misses. This is my definition of golf consistency, when your misses go the same distance and direction as when you hit the ball well. Timing is the sequentially linked motion of the body and club in the backswing and the return movement to the ball in the forward swing. A well-timed swing develops in order and then reverses the order on the forward swing to impact.
•Backswing timing- wrists, arms, shoulders, hips, legs
•Downswing timing- legs, hips, shoulders, arms, wrists
Your simple swing thought for the rest of your golf career...
Often times we get too caught up in the positions of the take away or at the top of the backswing. The most important position is impact… the moment of truth. When thinking about impact players start to think about how to hit the ball instead of how to swing through the ball. Here is the best drill for anyone who wants to really improve his or her golf swing.
At home, in your back yard, or on the practice range, with any club, take a swing and hold your finish position for 10 seconds. Evaluate your comfort level with this position, and your balance. Balance is essential for improving ball striking, gaining distance and becoming more consistent. If you are falling over when you swing, then you are out of balance at impact, which is why the ball did not go where you intended. When you hit an errant shot the first question you should ask yourself instead of, “What did I do wrong?” is “Am I in balance?” If the answer is no then that is what you need to focus on… the finish position.
Repeat this practice drill until you become more comfortable with a balanced finish position. The longer you can stay in a balanced finish position and the more comfortable you become with this feeling, the more likely you will get to this position when there is a ball in front of you. Instead of thinking about hitting the ball, think about swinging through the ball and sending the ball at your target.
Hold the finish until the ball lands when you are practicing. Evaluate your balance for each swing. You will notice the better and more balanced you are in the follow through, the better your quality of golf shot will be.
Characteristics are very similar in all of the best players in the world.
- Eyes tracking the ball
- Standing tall and athletic
- Shoulders rotated to over 90 degrees
- Belt buckle towards the target with the hips fully rotated
- Weight fully transferred to the front leg
- Rear foot with the toe tapping