I have a German colleague and mentor, who is probably one of the smartest people in the world. Over the past few years his research has involved golf and in particular the study of the motion of putting. A year or so ago I asked him after all of the study and work had he discovered a secret to playing golf. He said that he had. I was in great anticipation of some remarkable insight when he shared that the secret was, and I quote, “To get out of your own way”. I went on to thank him and suggest that was no great insight and I could have figured that out for myself. His reply was brilliant, “So why don’t you use it?” So in honor of my friend, here are some tips to help you get out of your own way.
Find the bottom of your swing. The most important fundamental in golf is positioning your body so that the ball is at the apex of the arc of your swing. This is more easily achieved if you will use the club to tell you where to stand rather than placing your feet first and searching for the ball. Remember when preparing to make a shot, the sequence is club to the ball first, and feet last. Not feet first and twist your upper body to position the club. This seems like a simple tip and it is something that every accomplished player understands, but, even with this knowledge, most of us will revert back to our feet first habit.
Swing the club, instead of trying to hit the ball. Since most of us don’t have the ball in the correct position when we swing, we have learned to try and hit at the ball rather than swing the club and let the ball get in the way. Most struggling players come to a stop at the ball rather than swinging the club all the way to the finish. This slows you down at impact and the effort to steer the club often puts the club in a twisted position at impact, causing directional problems even if we do get the club on the ball. End result – short and crooked.
So now you have been reminded of the two most important fundamentals. What do you do with them? This is the getting out of your own way part. The next time you play or practice, try this. 1. Set the club behind the ball and point the face at the target. 2. While you are looking at the clubface and without moving the club, take your stance so your body is perpendicular to the face. 3. Make a full swing! No hit, no try, no what ifs, just swing. Don’t judge the results, just keep doing the same thing. The results might shock you.