3 steps to really improve your golf
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.