As I looked to follow up on my recent blog “Road to Game Improvement I”, I realized that I should actually track my game at this point so the information and results I may relate to you will be current. So guess there will be a “Road to Game Improvement III”.
I then realized that I recently have started something to improve the consistency of my ball striking. I had become very frustrated on the fairways and sometimes off the tee. My recent blog on “A Tale of Two Nines Part II” speaks of these frustrations. To re-iterate, for me, they are Having the wrong swing thought and Being out of position at set-up (standing too close to the ball).
In many articles I have read, and many lessons from a pro on the internet, there is a common opinion that a consistent pre-shot routine is a good start to better ball striking. As I looked at myself, I did not have a consistent routine before I hit a ball. Sometimes we get frustrated watching a pre-shot routine that we feel have too many practice swings, etc. and takes too much time, but that does not have to be the case.
The other night I was flipping through movie channels on TV and came across “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. The movie had already started but I have seen it often enough that I can pick it up at any point. During the golf match, Bagger finally says to Junah, and I paraphrase, ‘It’s time for you to see the field’. He tells Junah to watch Bobby Jones who’s about to hit. He wants him to watch Jones’s concentration, standing behind the ball, making practice swings. As Bagger says ‘looking for that one true swing’ and clearing his mind of all but the coming golf shot. Jones then addresses the ball. swings and sends the drive down the fairway. He then had Junah try it and he also sent the tee shot down the fairway. Ah the movies, if it were only that simple.
I decided I needed a simple yet hopefully effective pre-shot routine. Again, I gleaned from videos that a pre-shot swing does not have to be set up to hit a ball as much as relaxing and finding the correct swing path. My new pre-shot routine is to stand behind the ball and look down the fairway to decide the path of my ball should I hit it as I want. While behind the ball, facing down the fairway, I take two swings. I am trying to get the club on the right swing path and the right backswing position. I then address the ball and am ready to hit.
Now for my proper swing thought, Turn your shoulders and meet the ball. That’s my swing thought and I believe that when I have that thought I hit the ball better. Often on a missed shot I realize I had another thought in my mind as I was hitting. You need to find your swing thought. The simple thought that will work for you to make your best contact with the ball. You have to find your pre-shot routine. My friend Bob has a pre-shot routine that includes moving his shoulders to relax them. Just something that will relax you and keep you somewhat consistent. We are amateurs and take it from me, although I believe a consistent pre-shot routine will improve your game it will not totally eliminate poor shots.
I also mentioned that sometimes I felt out of position on the tee or on the fairway. I felt that I was standing too close to the ball. Even though I felt that way, I would swing anyway and often hit a poor shot. If I was out of position I could not swing the path I wanted, hence, all bets were off as to where the ball would go. My solution has been to set up with the club in front of the ball (below the ball) as I take my stance. I then move the club, reaching forward and bending my knees to keep my posture before I swing. This seems to put me in a better position to make good contact with the ball and swing the club on my desired swing path. So far it appears to be working for me. I got this idea from Jack Disney, who sets up below the ball and reaches out when he swings. That works for him.
Unfortunately, I still occasionally lose concentration and fall out of one or more parts of my routine. When I follow my routine, Pre-shot, Setup and Swing thought, I hit the ball better.
You need to find what will work for you. You need to try and understand your swing. You may take input from your playing partners. You might decide to consult your Golf Pro. We are not Tiger Woods, but even his coaches have said he knows his swing better than anyone. You need to learn yours.
My plan is to add more ideas for improvement in future installments.
I hope this information has been of help to you or at least you enjoyed reading it. There is a comment section below. Please use it. I would love your ideas and feedback.