My confidence in my golf game and my initial improvement can be put down to the programme I have created, and the application of that programme.
But, things do go wrong on the golf course.
A good example was Luke Donald’s performance in the Doral tournament earlier this month. Donald went into the final day in second place, 2 shots off the lead.
The first three days of the tournament, he played in typical Donald fashion. He isn’t the longest hitter on tour, but he is one of the most accurate. One of his strengths is hitting the fairways which allows him to play his unerringly accurate shots to the green.
On the final day, he couldn’t consistently hit a fairway with his drives and consequently missed greens and dropped shots finishing the tournament tied in 6th place.
Donald clearly knew why he was spraying his drives and possibly tried to make the relevant adjustments during his round to overcome the problem. I expect that for his next tournament, he will have worked on the problem and ensured that he has made whatever necessary corrections to revert to his normal accuracy.
So even the Pro’s who spend hours honing their swing can experience a problem. The advantage they have is they have the skill to know what is going wrong and they have the support backup of a coach to help them correct the problem off the course.
For many of us, we don’t have the immediate recourse to back up support, so it becomes even more important that we uncover for ourselves what causes the problem we are experiencing during our round, so that even if we can’t find the solution in the round itself, we can work on eliminating the fault off the course ready for our next round.
I played with my mate, Dave on Wednesday last week and during the round started to slice my drives.
Now we all know that slices are caused by having an open club face when it strikes the ball and most high handicappers try to resolve this by closing the golf face at set up or by aiming well left, but these changes just seem to amplify the problem and the result.
I knew exactly what I was doing wrong. My club face was arriving at the ball in front of my hands, thus ensuring that the club face was open. Whatever I tried during the round didn’t work, but I knew what I had to work on, off the course.
The corrections I made allowed me to shoot par in the Saturday, President’s Cup competition which was the subject of my last post.
On Saturday, I never sliced one drive. I did slice a couple of 4 and 5 iron shots, but I knew what I had to do and was able to correct this problem so overall I played consistently well. As mentioned in my last post, my problem is in my lack of ability to play out of a greenside bunker!
Unless we can recognise the reason for faults that occur during a round, we cannot correct it, without recourse to a lesson with our Golf Pro. So understanding why things are happening gives us the great advantage of being able to put in a self help correction programme.
There is so much written about the golf swing. A lot of teachers break the swing down to such a degree that it only helps to confuse. A book I found to be absolutely invaluable was ‘Nail It’ by an English golf Pro, Joe Hagan.
Joe isn’t concerned with the way we swing. His major concern is helping us to understand how to ‘apply the club to the ball through impact’.
We are all aware that clubs have ‘sweet spots’. Joe states, ‘To move a golf ball forward powerfully, we have to apply pressure into the core of the ball with the club’s sweet spot. Because golf clubs have loft, (to get the ball into the air) this pressure can only be effectively achieved with the club shaft leant forward at impact…’
‘Nail It’ goes on to describe in words and pictures how to achieve this.
Ultimately the purpose of the swing is to deliver the club face to the ball so that the club’s sweet spot makes square contact with the ball. Whenever this isn’t achieved, sweet shots and sweet results don’t happen.
Using this information has allowed me to determine what corrections I need to make if a problem persists.