Before I get into the meat of this blog I have to unburden myself. If I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t have believed it. Imagine you’re playing in a 2 man tournament and one of the players on the team you’re paired with does the following: borrows his partners putter from time to time, goes to his car and gets more clubs part way through the round, tries to give putts in a tournament where you’re playing against the field, goes to the practice tee and starts giving a lesson while his foursome is on the adjacent green putting, plays a radio at full volume, plays in barefeet for the first 15 holes, plays the last 5 holes with headphones on and, instead of teeing off in turn on the last hole, goes to a nearby green and strikes up a conversation with the foresome putting. I actually witnessed that and more yesterday. Glad that tournament is over! All I can say is respect the game of golf by bringing your A etiquette game every time.
Now, in respect of the headline, it’s hard to get better at this very tough game of golf if you don’t know what your body is doing during your swing. If you can’t feel it, you can’t maintain it if it’s right or fix it if it’s wrong.
So what do you do about it? Let me suggest that when you’re on the practice tee, hit sets of 5 shots thinking about one part of your body and what it does. Feel the hips for five shots, then the shoulders, then the left arm, the right arm and so on. Don’t try to fix anything, just be aware of what’s going on. The ability to put your consciousness in a part of your body is critical to becoming a better player.
If you can feel what your body is doing during a round, you have a much better chance of self correcting. When I’m not playing well I’ll go through my body part check list and then realize my left arm is breaking down, or I’m not turning my shoulders towards the target on the backswing. That’s a much better way to right the ship than randomly trying new things, hoping that some new swing thought will fix your game.
Being able to feel what you’re doing is the first step to a successful golf lesson. Most of us have read a lot of golf instruction and have a pretty good idea of the components of a good golf swing, yet we aren’t consistently good ball strikers. Why? Because something we know – like shifting the weight onto the left side (for righthanders) during the downswing – we aren’t doing. And we aren’t doing it, because we can’t feel it.
Good instruction and video feedback are great ways to begin to ‘feel’ your swing, no matter what shape it’s in. Then go hit some balls and move your consciousness from one part of your body to another and you’re on you way to golf game improvement that lasts!