Thursday, May 7, 2009

No Bad Shots

The first point we try to make when we work with a new or inexperienced player at the Academy is the idea that you will never hit a “bad” golf shot. Now I am sure you are thinking, “Of course I hit bad golf shots; in fact I hit more bad than good.” In reality that might be true but there are a number of reasons for you to not judge every result.
1. The difference between a great shot and a poor one is very small. Take for example a topped shot that just runs along the ground. The difference between hitting the ball on the bottom of the club and the one you strike in the center of the club face is at most about ½ inch. Let’s say you have a golf club that is 42 inches long. To miss by ½ inch is less than a 2% error. You were 98% correct.
2. It is human nature to try to fix the previous shot on the next attempt. We see it all the time. The ball goes into the woods on the right. I promise you on the next shot the player will aim a little farther left to make sure they don’t repeat the same mistake. The shot goes off without a hitch, they hit the ball where it was aimed and the target is now missed to the left. Next shot goes right to fix the left and now we are a mess. There is a name for this phenomenon, it is called Army Golf. Left, right, left right.
3. Good shots can produce bad results and bad shots can go in. My only hole in one bounced out of a tree and off a bank at the back of the green. Awful shot – great result.
The only way your game is going to get better is to be consistent. In order to achieve this consistency you have to do things the same way for every shot, regardless of result. Create a routine, use the same grip on every shot. Align yourself to the ball in the same manner every time. Swing the club the same length back and through. Try to swing each club and make each swing with the same tempo and rhythm. If you do this you will find your ball striking will become more consistent as well. The results might still be “bad”, but the mistakes will be similar. It is easier to fix one miss than many different ones.

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