What will happen if you don't work on your game to hit more fairways and greens,
or on your short game or putting? You can wave good-bye to birdies and pars, as
they will be hard to come by if you're all over the course.
Not practicing correctly is a sure set up for failure. If, as the saying goes,
"Golf is an intelligent game played by intelligent people stupidly," here are
some enlightened tips on how to practice with purpose.
First, the ball is not the target; the target is the fairway or the green that
lies ahead. Many golfers make the game harder because they make their motion to
the ball, which, again, is not the target.
For some athletes, the ball can be the target. A batter focuses on the baseball
as it heads toward the plate. A receiver's eyes zero in on the football before
he makes a catch. Tennis players have to intently watch the ball coming at them
in order to hit it. Other athletes - a quarterback, a pitcher or a basketball
player shooting a shot - all have to look toward their intended target in order
to see where they are throwing. They can't look at the ball; instead they
project to their target and trust their skills.
Golfers getting ready to hit the next shot most likely cannot see the target,
so they must rely on their swing to carry them through. They don't have to see
the ball to swing effectively. That is the reason the blind can play golf. By
not focusing on the ball, they simply focus on making a nice free-flowing swing.
This is the reason most people's practice swings are better than their real
swings, because they don't have a ball in front of them.
The secret to having a successful swing is, first and foremost, staying in
balance. Balance is a must in order to create centrifugal force, which
results in accuracy as well as distance. Allowing the body to rotate around
a steady head or around the spine propels the club head in a true swing arc.
Regardless of the sport, all great athletes have to have good balance
in order to execute particular moves. What robs most people of their
balance is tension! Under stress, especially in tight situations when an
important shot or putt is needed to be made, we start to tighten up. Once
this occurs, we start having too many moving parts in our swing and this
throws us out of balance.
On your next trip to the practice range, hit some balls with your feet
together. If you maintain proper balance, you most likely will be surprised
at how far and how straight the ball travels. Then try it with feet
together and your eyes closed to take your focus off the ball. This
will give you a greater sense of how important it is to maintain your
balance and project to your target with your mind's eye, not your
My father was legally blind before he passed away two years ago. He
played a lot of good golf, consistently breaking 80. You may have
excuses when it comes to your golf game, but I promise none of them
are good ones.
If you want to see more birdies on your scorecard, start by playing
the right way. Doing so will help you say hello to birdies and
bye-bye to bogies.