I’m sure you know how difficult it is to get all of your game working at the same time. One week we’re saying, “If I could just get the short game working”, and the following week it’s, “Once I get close to the green I’m great – it just takes me an extra shot to get up by the green!”
It seems no matter how much we practice, or how much we believe in what we’re doing, it is so rare that we ever get the long game, mid and short irons, and short game/putting all working at the same time.
And the most frustrating thing is, when you step on the first tee you really don’t know what parts of your game are going to show up that day and what parts you are going to struggle with. No wonder the game drives us crazy!
I know when I get on the golf course most of the time I’m not really well prepared for the round – I don’t have time to practice regularly, and when I do play I am usually running to join my group on the first tee. My warm up seems to happen on the first couple of holes before I get a feel for what my body wants to do that day.
I know when I haven’t loosened up my whole body doesn’t function very well – my legs and lower back are tight which causes me to hit my first few shots to the left. So, I start my round trying to make good swings and hit good shots, knowing I am going to most likely pull the ball to the left – so, I aim a little right.
Then, as I loosen up and my swing feels more normal, I adjust my alignment so I am setup more towards the hole. But what happens when I continue to hit the ball left, or right, or a little heavy or thin. Now what do you do?
The first thing I do, when a particular aspect of my game is not quite what I want, is check my setup and alignment. Most people, myself included, tend to get too far from the ball at address. Combine that with poor alignment and there is no way the ball will go where we want. If that checks out OK and my swing feels pretty good then I will change something.
I won’t change any mechanics, because as I said my swing feels pretty good. I’ll change my ball position just a little. I’ll move the ball back just a touch, maybe 1/2 inch. A thin shot will work whereas a heavy or fat shot will not work.
What this slightly different ball position does for me is it gives me a little different feeling or sensation, a feeling I can key on. When I have problems with part of my game, usually it isn’t mechanical, it’s because I don’t have any “feeling or sensation” that I can key on. By positioning the ball a little differently I can focus on the new feeling, like my hands are ahead of the club more at impact than what they felt like before.
In a nutshell, when your swing feels pretty good but is not producing, don’t start tweaking your swing – tweak your ball position. This should give you a sense of feel or sensation, you can key on. A key that helps you swing more consistently and produce better shots!
If you’re still having problems, go see your PGA Professional.
Kim Anders is a PGA Professional residing in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at email@example.com.