26 April, 2008


The feel for my tee shot came back yesterday at the driving range. After I hit 70 balls, I used full power and it felt really good. I was aiming slightly to the right and using an in-to-out swing path; but the balls were all down the middle! So, it is really true that what I thought was the correct way to hit a draw shot was in fact the way to hit a straight ball down the middle!!

Every time I just swing and try to hit the ball on the sweet spot and don’t worry about where the ball goes and every thing turns out just fine. If not, I make one small adjustment and see what happens to the next ball. If I changed more than one variable in my golf swing I do not know which change gave me the result, whether good or bad. A very small single adjustment in my preparation for a golf swing has a big change in the resulting trajectory of the ball.
Many golfers make the common mistake of trying to coordinate too many variables into their swing e.g: grip, foot position, line up to target, set-up, bent knee, straight back, chin up, straight left forearm, wrist cocked, slow back swing, accelerating down swing, in-to-in swing, weight transfer left to right, weight transfer right to left, moving the left hip out of the way, head very still, rotate, follow through, hit down, take divot with iron, release on impact, right wrist rolling over left at impact, full release and use no more than 70 % full power.

If you think of all these things you will certainly end up a very confused golfer at the tee. You will probably not hit the ball exactly the way you want it. It could result in any one of these shots:
draw, fade, hook, slice, pull, push, shank, fluff, top, sky, miss...
The desirable shots are fade and draw. We try to avoid making all the other shots. An ideally straight shot down the middle is rare and is not actually possible to repeat. It does happen occasionally and is not a consistent outcome even for the professionals. Putting a little spin on the ball will help us to control its flight, either to the right (fade) or to the left (draw). Be happy with that.

When a golfer is new at the game he hardly ever bends the ball to the left. His shots are mainly fades or slices to the right. Usually after his handicap comes down to 18 or less (takes 2 years), he starts to draw and hook the ball to the left. This is a normal progression. First you slice, then you hook your shots. Every golfer goes through this process. This is a most frustrating time for him because now he cannot stop bending the ball to the left. When he was new to the game he cannot stop bending the ball to the right.
As his understanding of the mechanics of the ideal golf swing increases, one day he will suddenly be able to bend the ball’s flight left or right at will. When this happens, he becomes completely addicted to the game of golf. He will play golf at every opportunity he gets. When he cannot get to the golf course he will go to the driving range or even to the nearest park, to hit his bucket of balls. As he plays more frequently he will see his ability improve almost daily. His handicap comes down steadily and he begins to think that a handicap of 9 (single figure handicap) will soon come within his reach.
This is the most interesting time for the player. His addiction and commitment to the game of golf is almost complete. We hear quite often that a golfer’s wife has become a golf widow. The comparison is very apt. All it means is this. He prefers now to spend his spare time playing golf rather than with his wife. He actually gets a rush every time he birdies a hole.
The anticipation of this adrenalin rush, starts every time he tees up his golf ball at the tee. This is repeated many times, as a round of golf consists of playing 18 holes. For 3 or 4 hours these peaks and troughs continue to maintain him in this euphoric state. There are very few games that can deliver such a mental high for such an extended period of time. It is in anticipation of this adrenalin rush (high) that golfers get excited every time they make arrangements to play a game. If you wish to read more on this subject, I have written a blog just about golf .

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