19th Hole

Kim Anders
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf Schools and Academies Estrella del Mar Golf and Beach Resort
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, AZ

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Trust Your Feelings & Hit the Wrong Club

Have you ever been faced with a shot and had a strong feeling what club you should hit? That little voice inside tells you, “This is a nice 7 iron!! Just smooth it up there right next to the hole”. Then your playing partner, with his GPS device, tries to help by telling you the exact yardage, which turns out to be an 8 iron. Now what do you do?

Most of the time you take the “correct club”, the 8 iron, and then at the top of the backswing the little voice that told you what club to hit in the first place reminds you it is a nice 7 and you have an 8 iron in your hand. This means you’d better hit it hard – solid, too. OOPS!!

More times than not I will go with my first impression, my gut feeling when it comes to club selection. A lot of people don’t like this conflict of do I trust my eye or do I trust the yardage? I like it when my eye and brain tell me what club to hit because now I don’t have to spend all that time figuring out what club I hit 173 yards. I have found it’s almost always best to trust my eye and the little voice in my head than to automatically go with the yardage. Besides, 173 yards at my home course could be anything from a 9 iron to a 5, or even more.

It’s all about commitment. If you’re committed to the club in your hand, EVEN IF IT’S THE WRONG CLUB, you are better off than if you have the correct club and don’t feel good with it. I hit the wrong club all the time and, by golly, when I pull the trigger with the wrong club I feel good about the shot. I feel like I stand a real good chance of hitting the ball close to the hole. But, when I have the correct club for the yardage and don’t feel good with it I end up adjusting my swing to compensate for the lack of comfort or commitment in my brain.

I look at it this way. My brain is a lot smarter than I am. I figure it has already taken into consideration how I’m swinging that day; maybe I’m hitting it real solid and a little longer than usual, my uphill, sidehill lie, wind, etc., etc., and calculated that into the feeling I had when I first arrived at my ball.

I’m a golf professional not a mathematician. Most of the time I don’t like to count beyond 4, except sometimes when I’m playing a par 5. My brain is my caddie and it knows how I hit the ball, where my strengths and weaknesses are, and how I’m feeling that day. So, when my caddie tells me to hit the wrong club I’m usually going to do what my caddie tells me to do.

Trust your brain. It’s probably a lot smarter than the one swinging the club!!