April 2007 Newsletter
Improve Your Golf Game
Easily & Quickly
With Mental Training
Play “In the Zone” with Joan
PREPARE FOR PERFECTION
Golf game results are always changing because we as individuals change from day to day. How can Tiger Woods shoot a 43 on the last nine at Bay Hill, and then the next week have a 6-shot lead on the final nine at Doral? Tiger said that before the Doral tournament he analyzed and changed what had gone wrong at Bay Hill. He realized he made too many mental mistakes, including club selection, trajectory, shape and decisiveness. And he did this with a stiff neck and a replaced broken driver that had a different loft.
Mother Nature is once again showing her strength by raining hail, snow and rain on the eastern half of the country. The beautiful colors that we had with an early spring have turned brown with the freezing temperatures. But nothing can stop golfers from dreaming about getting back out on the course. While you are dreaming, here are some thoughts for you to analyze your game and get ready to play.
FEEL THE SWING
Once you “know & own” your fundamentals, begin to “feel” the swing motion from the ground up through your body. The kinetic energy begins in your feet and flows upward connecting all parts in a rhythmic flow. It is important to feel relaxed in all parts of your body to achieve the flexibility so necessary for timing and clubhead speed. Your feet and ankles should be loose and relaxed as if you are swimming in warm water. This feeling will then cause a chain reaction upward into your knees, hips and upper body without any conscious thought of moving a particular part of your body.
To make solid contact with the ball requires good balance. When you have mastered your fundaments, it is time to swing the golf club (without a ball). Check your balance by swinging with your feet close together. If you lose your balance, swing the club slowly and smoothly until you develop the feeling of good rhythm. Developing good rhythm allows you to forget about the mechanics of the swing and sense how to swing so the clubface returns to its original square position on the path through to the target.
Swinging freely without tension produces high clubhead speed, even coordination, and more distance. Tension or tightness in any part of your body will produce low clubhead speed and less distance. Feel the centrifugal force in the swing rather than using brute force. Tell yourself to swing in a long, smooth, easy, effortless motion. Feel the pause at the top of the backswing to have time to change direction. Feel the natural release of the clubhead as it rotates back to square. Let the clubhead build up speed through the hitting area like a roller coaster going down a steep incline. Allow the clubhead to swing freely. Swing back and forth in a rhythmic motion, letting gravity do the work. When you sense this feeling of a rhythmic and coordinated swing, anchor it into your memory bank with a word like “easy” or a fist pump, or a feeling of confidence.
On the golf course, your main concern should be your tempo. When your rhythm is off, go to the range and hit a few balls softly. Using your wedge is a good way to feel your rhythm. Then when you begin to hit those shots squarely, increase your speed a little, working up to full speed. Use the same process working up to a soft 7 iron and see if it doesn’t go as far as the hard hit 8 iron.
VISUALIZE THE SWING
If you are primarily a visual learner, videotape the tour pros on television so you can model their swings and have a visual memory of a good swing. It is important not to analyze the player’s movements. Just watch and allow the images to imprint in your mind. After you watch, close your eyes and see if you have the image in your mind’s eye. Now available on DVD is the SyberVision (www.Sybervision.com) muscular training programs using the swings of Al Geiberger and Patty Sheehan. When the weather is inclement, you can stay indoors and train your brain by watching these swings. Children learn by imitating. We can also learn by modeling these perfect in-sync swings.
HEAR THE SWING
Auditory learners can also learn by watching and listening to these SyberVision DVDs. You hear the unique sounds of each club striking the ball crisply. The background music is called Largo music. The beat of Largo music is the same as a relaxed heartbeat. Largo music promotes the production of endorphins in the brain, which can generate the relaxation response. Bobby Jones was an auditory thinker. He gained his confidence by sensing the rhythm and timing of his shots.
Putting is the last stop at the train station. Putting can be up to 40% of your score. (PMI Archived Newsletter, August 2000) Once you miss a putt, it has to be counted in your score. On the way to the green there are numerous options to recover from missed shots, but not on the putting green. Golfer’s nerves show up in their putting sooner than in other strokes. Now is the time to practice developing confidence in your ability to be a great putter so you don’t put pressure on your full shots to get the ball closer to the hole. Listening repeatedly to the PMI CD “Confident Putting for Lower Scores” (www.pmi4.com/cart) and rehearsing the feel and rhythm of your putting stroke indoors will prepare you for your return to the golf course.
The whole point of learning a preshot routine (PMI Archived Newsletter May 2005) is to make golf a reaction game. By the time you get to the ball, you won’t have to think, and can just react. A preshot routine prepares you to LET GO of thinking, and to put your swing into motion. A consistent preshot routine will produce consistent results on the golf course. Write down your routine and rehearse it in your mind indoors until you can go through it automatically without conscious thought. Using the same preparation routine for every shot:
1. keeps your muscles relaxed,
2. keeps away negative thoughts, and
3. it gives you something to focus on.
”You must be mindful but not thoughtful as you swing. You must not think or reflect; you must feel what you have to do. Our golfing self should be concerned with the movements necessary to produce a good shot. These movements are controlled by remembered feel and the only concentrating we must do is guarding this ‘remembered feel’ from interference.”
---Percy Boomer, British Golf Pro, Author of “On Learning Golf”
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