What are your New Year Resolutions?

I promise to stick to the basics of my golf set up every time I prepare to hit a ball this year.

Choose the club that best suites the lie -check

Select a target that has a good margin for error-check

Grip, position, flexibility and pressure-check

Posture , balance and aim-check

Enough “thinking” so now I promise to switch off the part of my brain obsessed with details and prone to doubt and fear.

Now I promise to visualize a great outcome using the part of my brain where doubt and fear do not exist .

 It is going to be a great year!

 

 

 

Looking for your next fix ?

Just last week I had a very keen golf student come for his third lesson,but before we talk about that lets bring you upto date, with his recent history.

Lesson one

We started about 10 days ago, and it soon became clear, within a couple of swings, that although it looked like the swing was very unorthodox and indeed all over the place, we needed to go back to basics and adjust the address position so that the club, his wrists, arms and body were correctly aligned and balanced before the movement could even be considered.

Once this was done the swing immediately improved and most of the swing faults disappeared as if by magic.

He was now hitting the ball beautifully so we agreed to meet again in a few days to check on progress, making sure he had a disciplined address routine.

Lesson two

 Next time we meet, the address position was not too bad but the but the takeaway had gone crazy, as the clubhead was moving away much faster than the hands and the swing had become very flat.

 Again we adjusted the set up first just moving the hands and club to the centre line of the body(he had them slighty ahead of centre), but this time we stressed the importance of the movement beginning with the body and hands pushing the clubhead back low and slow.The clubhead is the last thing to move, not the first.

Hey presto everything was suddenly perfect again, so he agreed to practice set up routine and takeaway and we plan to  meet in 5 days.

Lesson three 

When he turns up this time he cannot hit the ball at all, it is worse than it has ever been, and I realised there was no point fixing his swing again, even though that is what he wanted.

It was obvoius to me he had become addicted to the next fix.

He craved it like a drug addict.

He had been doing these drugs for years, with all the lessons he had ever had( not from me this was only lesson 3),surely the next tip would make it work!

Just one more magic move! Please.

It was obvious that to really help him I must refuse to fix him again.

When he asked me” what on earth are we going to do if you do not fix me?”, I explained that he needed to learn how to apply lessons only to the point of balance.

That is what a good lesson is doing , helping the player to achieve balance, but that same lesson applied over and over will result in a loss of balance, unless the player knows when to stop.

When we are playing well, we notice …..NOTHING!

Nothing  is what you notice if you are in balance.

So this lesson was to practice slowly, breathing deeply, feeling heavy in the feet, swinging with full awarness of the action of swinging the club.

Noticing the shot,yes, but putting most of the attention on the feed back the body gave.

Feeling small imbalances, but then doing nothing about it.

Just set up for the next shot, play again, notice the feed back from the body, but do nothing about it.

Soon he realised the body is very capable of adjusting automaticly as long as he noticed what what happening.

Within 30 minutes he was calm , confident and swinging with full awarness.

We agree to meet in a few weeks, let’s hope he does not want me to fix him again,! 

 

 

Having, Doing, or Being?

Many years ago I spent some days in the company of Fred Shoemaker and his amazing colleagues at the  Extraordinary Golf School.

One of the things Fred shared with me was how the world was full of people he refered to as the “have have do do’s”, who were constantly having “this” and doing “that” hoping that one day they would “be” a golfer.

The culture of golf encourages them to have new clubs, and do lots of practice at the range, but actually none of these will help them become a golfer.

 Addiction to having and doing only moves you further from “being” a golfer, further from feeling what a golfer feels.

Ultimately frustration is the only outcome.

There is never enough, the new club stops performing, the latest swing thought  does not work anymore………….Aggh!

Being has to preceed having and doing, so the first thing you need to be aware of  is your actions, so you realise you are the cause of the shot you just hit.

Someone once told me the definition of madness is someone who keeps doing the same thing, hoping it will turn out differently. Sounds a lot like most people you see practicing to me!

Don’t tell everyone, but you have everything you need to play great golf, but perhaps you are not yet fully aware of your skills.

So next time you slice a shot notice what you did to cause it.

Often it helps to experiment on the range and even exaggerate your mistake to make sure, so that you are fully aware of what causes the slice, YOU!

When you know you are the cause you will stop blaming the clubs, the wind, the course, the weather, your partners……………, you will be happy, you will be a golfer!

Rain again so train that brain

The weather here in Spain has turned again and we seem set, for a few days by the fire.

I know you have become bored of practicing the correct right wrist movement on the sofa, and have checked your grip, aim, posture and takeaway a thousand times in the mirror. See the golf lessons here.

 Yet still you can’t think of anything but getting out playing again, stop wasting time and improve your mind!

Sit quietly, relax, clear your mind, place your hands on your stomach, and focus on your breathing.

Deep and slow.  In one, out one, in two, out two…….

It sounds simple to sit and count each breathe in and out from 1 to 10, and then begin at 1 again.

However it is really tough, because your mind begins to wander, and random thoughts, like “what’s for dinner” pop into your head!

When you catch it wandering, don’t get mad, just notice your lack of focus and begin again, 1…..2…..3…..4….5…6….7….8….9…..10…..1….2

This lack of focus is exactly what causes loose shots on the course, so practicing getting your focus back whilst staying relaxed is essential.

If you master this for just a few minutes you will feel amazing, calm yet energized.

So don’t waste your time in the rain, train your brain.

The Culture of Golf (Hickory v Lamborghini)

When you start to learn golf ( actually once you start you never stop!) there seems to be a lot of good advice available from books,magazines,tv pundits,and fellow players.

Even if you find a Golf Pro to “teach” you, how can you be sure the information you are gathering is the truth?

My experience has made it easier to spot the information which though often passed on with the desire to help actually adds to the confusion.The fundamental problem stems from modelling tuition on what the top players do. Back when I was young Jack Nicklaus, Tony Jacklin and Johnny Miller were fashionable, so everyone learnt to slide their hips towards the target. 35 years on everyone who grew up with that motion has ankle, knee and back pain!

Watching what the stars of the tour do is great fun but not the best way to become self aware and develop a good technique. Read more »

Slapping and a sliding

When the sun comes we all rush to the range to find our swing to be ready for the season,but the range is probably the worst place to find your swing!

It all happens too fast, and instead of  checking the basics and noticing what you are doing,  your  focus is on the ball. After a while you “get your eye in”  by cancelling a poor hand action (which slaps the ball left) with a poor body movement (a slide which sends the ball right) and top off with the immortal words Now I’ve got it! 

You are now actually further from the truth than you were before you started practicing.

Why not take your time to hit tiny chip shots with a sand wedge, picking a target just 10 meters away, use a normal set up, pay attention to your grip,aim, and posture and do half swings in slow motion.

 Hold the finish and check to see if you fulfil the 3 conditions of a good impact. 

Hips are open, weight into left heel.

Shoulders parallel, left up right down.

Both thumbs pushing down, so head  of club  finishes low to the ground.

When you can do that, take it to the range, gently add body turn to lengthen the swing as the target is further away. Focus on hitting the ball well rather than hard.”
Now you’ve got it!”

Golf in the poor weather

The weather is poor even here in Spain, so spend some time working on the sofa, watch some golf, and practice correct right hand move as per the first online golf lesson

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