Tip #38 from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about a simple way to fix your slice swing OR, to put more draw on your normal shot with one move and without changing anything else about your swing.
That’s the key, don’t do anything else but what I describe below in the tip in the book and in the video I did more recently where I have more details on this tip and a video here.
Greens and Fairways,
p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice? Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/
I used to be a regular slicer or power fader. Once I learned how to draw (hook), my game actually got worse.
I later dialed in tight to that sweet place smack dab in the middle of both extremes using mental techniques.
I am now going to tell you how I cured my slice forever, in a 5-minutes lesson from a pro.
I have since passed this tip in the middle of many rounds to golfers who have asked for it with instant, very dramatic results.
Many slicers have no concept about the direction their shoulders are pointing. Hold a club against the fronts of the shoulders at address and look to see where the club is now pointing. 98% of slicers will have the club pointing left (for right handers) of the target.
Grab their shoulders from behind and point that club to the right of the target and tell them to swing without changing that position of the shoulders.
Some will open their shoulders up again on the swing and you have to give them feedback on that by watching. You can do this for yourself using video or a mirror at home.
Most instructors teach something about “rolling or rotating the wrists over” but that is a forced move and assumes a lot of things that just aren’t there for a long time slicer.
Once you hold the shoulders in a closed position, everything else falls into place. Slicers might want to exaggerate keeping everything constant and not swinging their regular swing at first.
Instead, find the “feeling of keeping the shoulders in a closed position a lot longer than a normal shot.”
Tip #19 from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about overcoming all of the nervousness, tension and tightness golfers face on the course that destroys their swing and putting stroke. Simply put, it comes from fear. Fear of missing to be precise. Sometimes it’s a strong feeling and you can literally shake or tremble but most of the time, it’s very subtle and IS THE CAUSE of not being able to bring your relaxed practice swing to a round that matters.
Typical sport psychology mental game advice to deal with that is the golfer is told to “play in the present moment.” This is good advice, however, most golfers have no idea HOW to play in the present…and the tension and tightness continues no matter how many times you tell yourself to “play in the present.”
No, you need stronger medicine. You need a quick thought that can trigger a different emotion to get you out of the emotion of FEAR that is causing the tension. This mental shift tactic has the potential to do that for you. You’re welcome!
Greens and fairways,
…You’re on your home course at the 12th hole with that out-of-bounds fence line on the right.
…You long ago lost track of how many balls have sailed over that fence and cost you a balloon score.
…Every time you get up on the tee box for this hole you find that you get a pit in your stomach feeling or a twinge in your arms that works it’s way to freezing up your muscles.
…You make it worse by allowing the thought that “I hate this hole” or “I’m not going to hit this one out of bounds.”
…You might even voice it out loud as if you are telling God or The Universe that that is exactly what you want to have happen…
Sam Snead used to say that he was more afraid of a 4-foot putt than a charging elephant on his hunting safaris.
Fear sets in and you feel it.
Boy do you feel it, and you know what usually happens next- right?
I’ve got the shortcut for how to deal with fear when you haven’t learned my emotional mastery process.
The antidote to fear is CURIOSITY and it is now and forever your best friend on the golf course.
Any time you feel any sort of overblown fear going into some unknown situation (like “will I make this putt or not”), you want to tell yourself in the most playful, cheery tone you can muster: “I wonder what this will be like?”
You see, if you go into things for the main reason of satisfying your CURIOSITY, then you will always be successful at that and you will have no fear.
Changing your outcome and then knowing it will happen can rearrange your emotional chemistry in seconds.
Tip #31 from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice”
Every golfer knows the difference between how they feel approaching a shot in a practice round vs. how they feel in a competitive round. If I had a dollar for every golfer who plays amazing in practice but can’t bring it to the course, I’d be rich. Overcoming this is one of the holy grails of golf, right?
A typical tip given for this is to inject pressure into your practice and that helps… but what if you could inject your calm practice round swing/putting stroke into your competitive swing/stroke? This would train your unconscious mind, through repetition, to come to some kind of mix of a pressured swing and a practice swing that would show up whether you are in practice or competition, just the same! Hmmmm….Check it out:
Purposely schedule yourself a round when you know the course is uncrowded.
You want to do this in order to allow yourself to play 2 balls on the course. But instead of the typical golfer who does this with a lackadaisical attitude and carefree swing, you want to do it with purpose and INTENTION.
What you want to do is play your first ball with the same intensity and pressure that you might have when playing the final round of the club championship.
I recommend putting a bet on it with a buddy and play strictly to the rules.
Do everything you can to put pressure on yourself with this ball.
With your second ball, you want to drop it in places where you need the most work such as in the rough, under a tree, behind an obstruction, with a bad lie, etc.
You will be alternating shots without fail.
Notice how you take yourself from pressure to relaxed…pressure to relaxed….pressure to relaxed. At some point, you will realize things about yourself that will give you the belief that you are in control of your state.
This is the magic for you!
And, you will be giving yourself a fabulous opportunity to work on the shots that you never work on while blurring the mental lines between pressure and relaxed.
If you go out and do this exercise with a blank mind, you won’t get much out of it.
This is what most golfers do when I see them playing 2 balls.
If you follow my advice, you will be improving your game WHILE still enjoying the challenge of shooting for a good score.
Tip #33 from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about tricking your brain at the time of the swing to put you into the relaxed swing state. We all know that tension ruins a golf swing. Sam Snead, who had one of the best golf swings of all time was asked what his swing thought was right before he started and he said: “I try to think Oily.” Now, I don’t know if that’s a technical term but you know what he means and the trick below can help you do that. If you’ve ever teed up a shot and had NO CARE about where it landed, then you know how this feels and the tip below is designed to help you find it so you can use it on the course, for real.
Greens and Fairways,
As you can see by now, eliminating problems one by one in your game is the way to get better without practice. The biggest problem of amateur golfers that I hear most often is that they do pretty well on the range and then can’t bring it over to the course.
After you incorporate this little mental strategy and get it into your body’s intelligence, that could easily be a thing of the past.
This can be done at home, during warmups, or anywhere. Go through a round or two doing everything else the same except for this:
Right before you start to swing the club, let your conscious mind create an imaginary picture of you hitting this ball off the edge of a cliff or a mountain top.
You’ve already picked your spots and communicated that to your unconscious through your eyes and through setting up your alignment in your pre-shot routine so no worries about target.
You’ve let go of the outcome and you’ve trusted that unconscious swing as you teach yourself how to have a free flowing swing.
It’s a bit of a mind trick and you will want to rehearse this on the range before a round and/or in your backyard into a net or with whiffle balls, but it works like a charm!
Notice the feeling as you swing with abandon and with the easy rhythm you see the pros with.
Your imagination is a powerful thing and can be the bridge between swings on the range and swings on the course.
Tip #37 from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about finding a quick fix on the course for when you have an uncontrollable hook or duck hook as they call it. I’ve got 3 fast tips in this chapter of the book below. Warning! These are not long term fixes for a bad swing. If you find yourself with a repeating bad pattern such as duck hooking it far too often, then you probably need a swing overhaul and want to see a good swing instructor. Anyway, tip #37 can be pulled out of your pocket right when you need it most. Try it on the range before going out to the course to prove it to yourself. It works!
Greens and Fairways,
Another one of the biggest problems with golfers is that they have too many mechanical thoughts going on about every shot.
Learning to trust and allow that unconscious swing will be key for overcoming that. In my “break 80 without practice” program, I detail the elements of how to train your mind to play automatic golf including an effective pre shot routine.
When you are struggling with a hook that comes out of nowhere, a simple fix focuses on keeping your dominant elbow (trailing elbow) next to your hip as you come down to the ball. It makes it nearly impossible to hook it when you do this.
You can do this a few times in your practice swing and then let this be your swing key that you think quickly about right before you actually take the club back.
Listen, I know what it feels like when you just can’t seem to shake a bad hook and it’s too late to work on your swing. In fact, you never want to tweak your swing on the course unless you have to to keep it in play.
If it’s not such a bad hook, then my best advice is to go with it and just adjust your aim accordingly.
Another quick fix, if it’s a practice round, is to find a downhill slope where the ball will be below your feet and hit a shot or two from there.
You could also take a couple practice swings while opening your stance way up; maybe even so much that you are facing the target.
Pay attention to the differing bodily sensations and movements, especially the wrists and hands.
I just got back from my annual golf vacation trip to the Running Y in South Central Oregon. It’s a beautiful Arnold Palmer course along Klamath Lake. It winds in and around some amazing scenery and you usually get to see wildlife like snakes, eagles, squirrels, marmots, deer and I once saw a bobcat there.
Anyway, the first round out, I played horribly. I put a couple dollar bet on the score with my 17 y/o son who lives for the days when he can beat me at golf. He’s well on his way and ended up winning by a stroke as I carded an 88. Ugggh. I was not happy with my game at all. Usually on vacation, I play my best because, well frankly, I’m in a great mood as vacations tend to do that!
After that game, I examined myself to find out why I played so poorly. By the way, the time to do that is after the round. During the round, you just want to focus on your successes and forgetting your misses. In that review of each hole, it was obvious to me that I just wasn’t hitting my approach shots which is one of my strengths!
As I teach my son and you, I then went about designing a plan to fix that before the next round and that plan revolved around “square and point.” (If you missed that video, here it is: straight golf shots)
I thought, “Great, I know the problem, I have the solution, I know what to do” and vowed to put some attention on it during my warmup before my next round.
So the next round comes up a couple days later and I go to the range to warm up. I go through my usual routine of pretending to play the course while on the range. During my “pretend” approach shots, I’m thinking and practicing “square and point” and my shots seem a lot better than before.
I go out on the course and shoot an 86. Ugggh!
Please understand that I don’t mean to insult you if that’s a great score for you. Everyone has their standard and mine, of course, is to break 80.
“What’s going on here” I again reflect and ask myself after the round. I was making putts and chipping reasonably well but my drives were bad and that undermined my confidence for my approach shots. Net effect on score: NO GAIN.
We had a 3rd round planned in a couple days. I vowed to fix these problems and finish the week with a great score.
With my driving, it was simple. I found myself trying to be too tricky in “working” the ball. I was trying to turn it over to get that extra 10 yards so as to make sure I out drive my son. I was trying to be Mr. Pro Golfer by hitting the low screaming drives against the wind and making it fly high with the wind…all fun things to do, but if you aren’t good enough to be consistent with that (I’m obviously not) then that is a BAD plan.
I let go of that and made a solid commitment to hit my regular consistent straight shot… every time, no matter what the hole or how long it is. Follow my preshot routine, pick my target, align my body along it, and just do “square and point.”
I spend the next 2 days thinking “square and point” with every free moment. I listen over and over to my golf hypnosis recording for accuracy. Before the round and warming up, I leave my woods in the bag and completely dedicate my warmups to “s and p.” I turn myself into a robot before I ever get to the first tee. I allow myself to have fun and joke and mess with my brothers and my son between shots but as soon as the preshot routine begins, I am Ben Hogan jr. with my icy focus on S & P.
Look over what I’ve written here as there are powerful messages on how to really improve your golf.
1. Review your game after every round.
2. Come up with a plan to fix what went wrong. In doing that, know that if you’ve hit good shots before or putted well before, then you have the answers within you. Ask for help if you need it.
3. Completely commit to the plan. Believe in yourself and the plan. Go all out to execute it.
What do most golfers do instead? The same thing they always do. They go to the range, do the same routine they’ve always done, and then they just HOPE that the golf gods will smile on them and give them a good score the next time. Not me, there is no HOPE in my vocabulary. There’s INTENTION and COMMITMENT.
My son makes a bet with me for straight up scratch scores. If he wins, I have to buy him a new pair of Nike Golf shoes. If I win, I get 12 hours of free labor from him for whatever I want.
The round begins and I rip my drive 280 right down the middle….
…tell you the rest in my next post.
I went golfing today with my son. As usual, I hadn’t done any practicing this winter. I played once last month in 3 layers of clothes and today, in 45 degree (7 Celsius) weather that was a bit warmer. Not exactly the peak of the season form for my game.
I ended up shooting 3-over par for 9 holes at Everett Country Club here in Washington. Like you, I finished the round thinking “If only I’d have executed that ONE shot better….
You know the one shot I’m talking about. The one shot that would have saved you 2 or 3 strokes if it would have gone well.
I was this close (holding my thumb and index finger barely apart) from hitting par.
Anyway, my son was struggling hard with his driver blocking everything out to the right and this course is tree lined on every fairway. I told him that he looked really stiff and robotic and to loosen up. It didn’t work.
I finally told him to dedicate this practice round to one concept….Trust.
“How do you do that” he asked, “when I have no confidence in my driver right now?”
I said: “Well, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying something different right?..why don’t you pretend that you can speak or communicate to the driver head and tell it to square up at the moment of impact and then travel down the target line? Stop trying to guide the club and TRUST that it is going to happen. Let go of control.”
That’s unconscious golf.
I told him to go up the tee with the idea that you want the ball to go down the middle of the fairway but that you don’t care if it doesn’t. He was completely lost with that one 🙂
“He said I don’t know if I can do that” and I said, “I know…just go ahead and PRETEND that you can” and see what happens.
He ended up parring out for the last 3 holes after that. It was fun watching him. He surprised himself.
You see, every round shouldn’t be a round where you are trying to beat your best score. Some rounds are a buildup to that day. How many rounds have you played poorly and then left the course in disgust or disappointment.
The goal is to have fun and learn and improve in the long run. With that kind of attitude and a certain TRUST that your body knows what to do, has done it before, and will do it again, you can stop trying to force every shot and let them happen to your natural ability.
Dedicate each round to focusing in on one thing that if you were to incorporate into your game without having to think about it, you would drop scores.
It’s too late to do much about your swing when you are out there playing. That should be done off the course or with your instructor.
Oh, and by the way. Did you know that some pros actually purposefully go with a block shot sometimes when they really need to hit a fairway because it is really reliable and easy to replicate.
Ray Floyd wrote about this in his book. I told my son about this and I’m thinking that just maybe, that’s what freed him up to start trusting and letting go of trying to “fix” his swing.
There’s many ways to get a low score on any given day.
Greens and fairways,
1. TRUST YOUR SWING YET DEVELOP A “YIP-PROOF STROKE.” It has become a cliché to trust your swing. However, most swingsters do not deeply trust what they have. They have omnipresent little doubts and always seem to be tweaking something. These patterns eventually lead to flinches and freezes. The bowling great Billy Welu advised, “Trust is a must or your game is a bust.” Think right now: what does it really mean to totally trust your swing? Take your time and specifically answer this question to your satisfaction. Your answers are important. They provide a foundation for not only implicitly trusting your swing, but deeply believing in yourself again.
During this time, you might want to take a series of lessons from a trusted teaching pro who understands your predicament. At the very least, these lessons will confirm some essentials about your swing. Feeling solid with your fundamentals can go a long way to resisting the yips. Your pro may find a couple things to alter. You may also learn some new shots. Remind yourself that these mechanical emphases are the building blocks to a trustworthy and repeatable swing.
As you rediscover the essentials of the full swing you then have to honor them. Whether they may be a full takeaway, powerful coil, hands set on top, smooth transition, purposeful tempo, or a powerful release, reacquaint yourself with your core swing. Then create one (AND ONLY ONE!) swing cue which encapsulates your core swing. During a round emphasize this one swing cue from the first tee shot. Trust that this cue encompasses everything. Stop thinking about everything else and throw yourself into this one swing cue.
Believe your core swing will be quite good enough. Build on your strengths. As you reinforce your swing it becomes more consistent. This is good in itself and it helps prevent the yips.
HOWEVER, you also need to develop a backup swing for when the yips seep into your game. I call this a “yip-proof swing” (YPS). This swing won’t look as nice and the ball won’t go as far, but it will hold up under the stress of the yips.
Typically, this YPS is shorter and has less moving parts than your full swing. Such a swing relies more on your larger muscle groups instead of the smaller (and more susceptible) muscle groups of the arms. Develop an abbreviated three-quarter, punch, or knockdown swing which can be used in a pinch. Have your hands lead during the downswing and purposefully accelerate through these shots. You will discover that such a swing is easy…and even mindless…to execute. And that’s the point.
Employ this yip-proof swing when you feel queazy and need to survive a shot. Punch, swipe, or even bunt the ball down the fairway. This is not giving up. Rather, it is a positive response to the yips.
So rely on your full swing until you feel the onset of the yips. In such situations, automatically and unemotionally shift to your yip-proof swing. Don’t think nor fret. Just do it. Succeeding with your YPS will distance yourself from yipping. Many times you can return to your regular swing in a hole or two. Even if you have to stay with the YPS, recognize that this a victory in that you have successfully coped with the yips. And each time you cope with the yips you weaken them and empower yourself.
Think of these two types of swings as different performance “gears.” Like a race car, you automatically shift between these two swing gears depending on the situation.
B. SWING RELATIVELY EASY YET OCCASIONALLY TAKE A RIP AT ONE. Trusting your swing means tuning into your optimal rhythm. A rhythmical swing is a repeatable swing. It also holds up under stress. Finally, smooth swing rhythm helps connect mind and body.
What is the ONE point of your full swing from which your rhythm emanates? Whether it is in the forward press, a long takeaway, complete turn, an uncoiling of the hips, starting down slowly, firing the rear hip and elbow simultaneously, or even posing on the followthrough, find one emphasis on which your rhythm depends. Feel this and think this.
Rhythmical swings which hold up throughout a round are grounded in swinging relatively easy. At this level one is more apt to release the club and make consistent contact. Such swings tend to be consistently performed. Hence all rounds should be approached with swinging relatively easy. Battling swingsters typically try to force and blast all swings during a round. An important step to regaining overall control is to learn again how to swing relatively easy.
How does one find this optimal swing zone? In human performance there is an important distinction between optimal and maximal. Not all full swings should be executed full-out. I define a “100% maximal swing” as the hardest you can swing while remaining in balance. Given this, at what percent of maximum is your optimum swing? As you discover and define it, refer to it this way: an 85% full swing. Whatever your number, always attach the word “full” after it. This will remind you that your optimal swing rhythm is NOT 92% OF a full swing, but a full swing AT 92% power. This is a critical distinction.
So during a round you can keep your mind engaged by “calibrating” the full swing on particular shots. For instance, on my first drive or approach shot, I may calibrate these early swings to be at “76 full.” On the important tee shot on the first par 3, I might calibrate this at a “90 full.” Or if I am playing into the wind or to a back pin, I might calibrate this at an “84 full.” Or whenever I am engaging my YPS, I might calibrate this at a “79 full.” After you find your optimal number, experiment with various swing speeds on the range. Predict each swing rhythm and determine if you can perform it. This exercise will empower your swinging, ballstriking, and even overall control.
HOWEVER, at certain times during a round you may choose to swing all-out on a shot. When you determine it is worth the risk, swing one at “100% full.” On a drive on a par 5, going for that green in two, or wailing one downwind, it is okay to occasionally calibrate a “96 full” swing. Just make sure that the couple subsequent full swings are back down into your optimal zone. You don’t want to become giddy and start swinging out of your shoes on every shot.
Especially with the onset of the full swing yips, one good tactic is to go all-out on a swing. Show the yips who is the boss! Give yourself plenty of margin for error and go after it. You see, it is a natural reaction for swingsters to become more hesitant and even timid. Throw in what I call a “What The Heck” swing to reassert control. Don’t care where the ball goes. Such a WTH swing is the best way to confront any fears you have about missing a shot. Even with your Yip-Proof Swing, occasionally calibrate this at a 95 full level. Shrug your shoulders, clearly commit yourself, say “What The Heck,” and let it loose!
Swing rhythm can be felt and sensed, but it also can be thought and calibrated. So feel your rhythm, ground you swings in your optimal zone, calibrate each one, and occasionally throw in an all-out flail! Rhythm will bring you back and see you through.
Swingsters, there is hope. There are answers. Believe it. You are now on your way!
Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP
You knew it had to happen. For readers of my articles in these pages, you know that I have a special affinity for those poor souls afflicted with the yips. The responses from “yipsters” and “chipsters” have been gratifying. They have overcome their flinches and, as importantly, soothed their tormented psyches.
Just about every day I receive emails from golfers throughout the world who experience some type of yips. I wish you could read some of these heart-wrenching stories. They have lost control of the fine motor skills necessary for playing solid golf. It is like some kind of demon is in control of their bodies and minds. They are embarrassed by their ineptness and frustrated with the inability to maintain control. Beyond that, the yips have sapped the joy out of playing the game they love.
From the systems we have created, golfers of all abilities have learned how to better accept, respond, and even overcome their putting and chipping yips. However, there is still one variant which has never been formally addressed…until now. It is the full swing yips. You knew it had to happen!
THE TANGLED WEB OF THE FULL SWING YIPS
The full swing yips are a relatively rare form of this performance affliction. They take on some very specific forms. Some full swing yipsters (whom I call “swingsters”) are unable to take back the club. They are literally frozen over the ball. Other swingsters shutter during the takeaway. Still others freeze at the top of the swing. Others “hitch” (one of my swingster’s term) on the way down. Finally, some uncontrollably flinch at impact, raising up as if they are afraid to hurt the ball.
Each of the three major types of yips are unique and separate unto themselves. I have very rarely seen golfers who have, say, the putting and pitching yips. The full swing yips have quite distinct dynamics. Whereas the putting and chipping yips are subtle and covert, the full swing yips are obvious and overt. They are almost violent. In teaching and playing pros’ circles, the full swing yips are that “dirty little secret” to which is rarely admitted, much less discussed and addressed.
In a game where the full swing is the visual and symbolic hallmark of mechanical mastery, yipping is embarrassing. Beyond the physical flinches, the mental and emotional responses become almost agonizing. Swingsters constantly struggle and eventually become ever-rationalizing, discouraged, and even dour. Indeed, the full swing yips create a tangled web.
The more swingsters try to combat them, the more these yips control through elusiveness. At the other extreme, trying to ignore them hoping they will go away does not work either. And of course, pressurized playing situations bring them out more dramatically. Swingsters can sense that long before they reach the ball they will yip. They become tunnel-visioned, short of breath, and experience queazy stomachs. In a game where self-control is elementary, it is personally humiliating to have something else in charge.
Like the other two forms of the yips, swingsters tend to be very intelligent and aware. Their abilities to analyze and be sensitive can actually work against them in that they frequently get in their own ways. The yips develop and flourish in the overly analytical and sensitive. Now, it offers little solace for those afflicted with the yips to tell their jesting partners, “I have the yips because I am much more cognizant and perceptive than you clods!” However, just as a swingster’s intellect facilitates the yips, it also provides a pathway out of this morass. (I used these big words here to titillate your intelligence!)
BEFORE WE START…
Okay, are you ready to work? Are your really ready? Are you totally committed to overcoming your yipping? Answer these questions truthfully. I have encountered some swingsters who say they are committed to change, but really aren’t. It is as if their yips have become grudging friends…like a crazy old uncle. They seem to be comfortable with their yips and actually fear giving them up for the unknown. As the old saying goes, “The devil you know may be better than the devil you don’t know.” Do you really want to change?
Even though I have helped a couple hundred yipsters and scores of chipsters, I have only seen 32 swingsters. However, some definite trends have emerged. Here are a couple of important perspectives before we embark.
(1) Believe the full swing yips can be overcome. This process is usually long, nonlinear, and even illogical. AND they can be conquered.
(2) You have to let go of your pride, self-image, and old ego attachments of how you used to swing. Accept that you will have to learn new ways of swinging and playing the game.
(3) Convince yourself that you are doing battle not only with those yips, but with your mind as well. Part of this struggle will be in direct confronting. However, a big part of this battle will also be in learning how to accept, allow, and remain detached.
THE DUALITIES OF HANDLING THE FULL SWING YIPS
There are four core dimensions in overcoming the full swing yips. I have found that each of these dimensions needs to be addressed in two almost antithetical ways. That is, you will have to develop almost contradictory techniques within each dimension. Rest assured that one of these mutually exclusive techniques will be effective for each yipping situation you encounter.
Before you proceed, please one word of warning: as you read through these strategies, resist the temptation to apply all of them at once. This will only exacerbate your yipping. Diligently read each of these dimensions three times. Then exclusively emphasize the first for a full two weeks. Then work on the second. Next month I will present the third and fourth dimensions. This will give you time to completely understand and implement the first two. In this manner, you will build an interlocking system of your new game.
Part 2: Golf Swing Yips-2
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But it really doesn’t matter what you do before you strike the ball (Look at Jim Furyk). What matters, in physics, is the point of impact and direction the club is going at that spot.
The basic idea behind this is that you really only need your club to do 2 things to send a ball straight to your chosen spot.
1. Have the clubface square at impact
2. Have the end of the club follow along the target line until a release “point” where the club will then follow through naturally over your shoulder to a finish.
For instance, when you use the driver, since the swing with the driver is the flattest (closest to horizontal), the point where you release the club to finish will be sooner than if you use a sand wedge. The wedges generally will have a more upright, vertical plane and so I find myself actually having the wedge and higher irons following all the way down the target line until, at one spot, it actually points at the target before releasing to a finish.
The longer the club, the less likely it is to actually hit the spot where you are literally “pointing at the target”, however, it is still valuable for those longer clubs to start a little practice swing by first pointing at the target and then bringing the club back to “find” the right backswing.
Why is this concept important or even worth considering for my game?
Because if you are going to try and improve without spending hours on the range practicing every intricate move a teaching pro gives you over a period of time, then you need something SIMPLE that your unconscious can take, understand, and run with.
If you try to do Mental practice for the list of things you need to keep in mind while trying to achieve the perfect swing, your unconscious mind is likely to get confused and give up, just like you do when you hear too many things at once. Square and point is SIMPLE!
Also, if you have an uncontrollable hook, you might find this concept helpful in straightening out some. Pointing the club at the target more will make your swing a bit more vertical which will necessitate more of a fader’s path.
Part of square and point is talked and written about when you see references to keeping the clubhead on line for the first couple feet after striking the ball. I totally agree but it’s only part of the story.
Here is a question one of the members asked specifically about this:
“ I do have a question on the square and point.
Are you talking about squaring the club face to the target and then with
your arms pointing the head of the club at the target (at which point the
shaft is parallel to the ground) or are you talking about simply moving the
club face ahead of the ball a couple of feet while maintaining its alignment
to the target?
That part was a bit hazy to me. “
And here is my answer:
“Square and point” means as you mention: “squaring the club face to the target and then with your arms pointing the head of the club at the target”. (with caveat in paragraph 2 above)
Now, having said that, the way I use this concept, is to think about it during my practice swing. Mentally see a “freeze frame” of these 2 spots in your swing occurring. Direct your unconscious to accomplish these two positions with your club and the ball has to go straight since you understand the physics of it that necessitate that result if successful. The swing is really happening too fast to try to manipulate your hands to “square” the clubface. You just need to give a good message to your subconscious along these lines and over time and let IT accomplish that.
Just like you ride a bike you don’t consciously think about all the muscle contractions necessary to balance and pedal and steer.
Depending on the person, you can go so far as to focus your whole swing around this even while doing your regular swing, or you can subtely (sp?) let it sink into your unconscious over time and let it slowly become a part of your swing that you built using a good swing method taught to you by a pro or other instructional swing system.
If you’ve ever seen a golfer swing the “Natural Golf” way, (originated by Moe Norman) then you might notice that they really understand this concept. They actually almost finish their swing pointing at the target.
However, I and others take our regular swing and let the swing finish naturally AFTER having the clubface point toward the target at one point. And don’t forget that to help set it up, you can begin a practice swing by starting with the club pointing at the target and then bring it backwards to help “set” and feel where the backswing should go to be on a good plane as I described in the CD.
When I’m on the range warming up for a round is when I really work on this concept and then when on the course, I just say outloud or think “square and point” to direct my unconscious to make it happen. Off the course, I do this in my head.
Here’s the kicker: When visualizing this as you nod off to sleep, imagine yourself doing this in slow motion. Slow your swing down so that you can actually see the clubface at the moment of impact with the ball, in a perfectly square position and then freeze the vision again at the perfect spot of release so that the ball HAS TO GO TO THE TARGET. You will then be sending clear, direct messages to your subconscious of what you want it to accomplish! Use any of the techniques on the CD’s for visualizing.
Greens and fairways!