A frequent customer of the Academy stopped in this week. As we were chatting, he made the comment I hear far too often. “I am getting ready to put the clubs away for the season”, he said. This was not some great revelation; I hear similar comments every day. But some reason, hearing it from him struck a nerve. This person had put serious time and effort into getting his game to another level this season. He had made an equipment change, and worked very hard on developing a routine and some consistency in his swing. He analyzed his putting stroke and developed a method that was best for him, and not a copy of a method that worked for someone else. To sum it up, he had made himself a better player, and had a plan to become a greater player than he ever imagined he could be at the beginning of the summer. When I questioned his logic of putting the clubs away, his response was, “Winter is coming, whether you like it or not. What else can I do?”
Don’t put the clubs away. At least keep them where you can pick one up and pretend you’re playing golf. Now is the time to break some bad habits, most of which are not found in your golf swing, but in your preparation to swing the club. So, every once in a while, as you walk through the garage, practice your routine. Take a club and pretend you are going to hit a ball at a spot on the wall. If you can do this on a tile floor that can show you parallel lines, even better. Go through the motions of preparing to hit a shot, even to the point of starting your backswing (take it away slowly). Remember to work from the ball back. Aim the club first, then check your grip, align your shoulder s, and finally, take your stance and set your feet. I cannot stress enough the idea of placing your feet after everything else is lined up. If you can break the habit of planting your feet first and twisting into position, you will eliminate a number of problems. For example, the problem of where the ball is positioned in your stance is solved because if you set up in the proper sequence, the golf club will tell you the appropriate place to stand. If you can make your pre-shot routine a habit this winter, I promise a fast start next spring.