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Top Tips to Remember When on the Golf Course
By Achal Mehrotra
On The Side of Humor
Photo by Edwin Compton
Golf is a sport which is mentally demanding. A lot of mental preparation is required to successfully play this game and you're kind of on your own once you hit the course. A positive mindset with a strong belief in oneself is essential to master this sport. Sports psychologists agree that a sound mental state is important to lowering your score. Below are some tips that may help keep you on the right mental track.
• Stay Strong - The strength or toughness of the mind is what helps top players performing at their optimum. Even when the pressure of play is ratcheted up, you must maintain your focus, control and poise to play at a top level.
• Live in the Moment - It is a common practice among many to think a long way off when they are only beginning. They start to decide on different strategies which can only be implemented if the desired results come out immediately. If you don't concentrate on the task of the moment you will never be able to achieve your desired goals or your planned next shot. And your scores will inevitably fall if you don't concentrate on the present.
• Forget the Past - There are many golfers who live in the past and brood over the poor shots they have taken. But this habit should be abandoned because it is impossible to change the past and this will only affect your game in a negative way. Forget the bad shots and play on! Put your energy into hitting the next shot.
• Be Flexible - It is a must to make your mind flexible just like your body. You will be successful only when you can adjust to every condition and course. It is the trait of a successful player to discover creative ways and embrace all difficulties and situations.
• Be Positive - It has been said by iconic players that to master this sport, whether an amateur or a professional, you must develop a mental attitude which will help you to be more patient, forget the bad days and keep the hope in your heart that success will surely come your way sooner or later.
How long have you been playing? Every golfer has, in a moment of abject humility, threatened to quit the game. Very few actually follow-through. Why? Because every ardent student, has the feeling that they possess the ability to play a respectable game.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the game is the disparity between knowledge and results. A comprehensive understanding of swing mechanics doesn't guarantee improved performance any more than a basic knowledge precludes breaking ninety. Do you invest in regular instruction and practice diligently, but only realize marginal (if any) improvement? It's not uncommon to hear students lament that their game deteriorated after a series of formal lessons.
In most sports we expect to improve with regular instruction. As our confidence increases our skill level improves. For many golfers taking a golf lesson is a last resort; the student reluctantly accepts the fact that his game will deteriorate. This attitude, though it may be well-founded, is not exactly conductive to restoring confidence. Most once-a-week golfers harbour the belief that one poor shot is the by-product of poor swing mechanics. This belief sets up an endless cycle of trying to "fix" their swing. Is the discrepancy between results on the practice range and the golf course due to deteriorating swing mechanics or simply a lack of confidence?
A common reaction to a poor shot is the automatic tendency to try to quickly discover what you did wrong. The tacit assumption is that perfect mechanics will lead to perfect results. Perhaps a new attitude would interrupt the cycle of fault-finding and error correction. What if we assume that poor shots are inevitable? Instead of using perfect shots as the yardstick why not ingrain the belief that golf is a game of "misses"? Rather than using par as the criterion set up your own scorecard based on the quality of mis-hits. You could devise a scoring system where each shot is ranked on a scale from one to ten.
Based on my experience with over eleven-thousand students I've found this change, in perspective, is a simple technique for quickly restoring confidence after a poor shot. Using numbers to evaluate a shot removes the emotional attachment and helps maintain an even emotional keel that allows you to focus on the impending shot.
Confidence is a conscious choice. In the game of golf the odds are stacked against you. When you regard perfect shots as happy accidents, then you can focus on improving the quality of the poor shots and maintain a level of confidence that allows you to consistently play to the best of your ability.
In this article we suggested that confidence is a conscious choice. The tendency to look for swing flaws is an insidious tendency that destroys a golfer's confidence. Instead of striving for perfection, allow yourself the luxury of mistakes without self-criticism. When you accept that your score is a reflection of your "mis-hits", then you control the level of confidence that is the essential ingredient for constant improvement.
The Confidence Quotient: Setting Your Own Standard
By D. Johnston
Photo By Courtney Cook
Fear Not The Bunker, Senior Golfers.
When you hole out a bunker shot, it is the GREATEST feeling (in golf) but the bunker shot can be a golfer's worst nightmare as well. So let's learn how to make the sand our friend. If we can remove the fear with the correct practice, fear will become confidence and confidence breeds success. So let's do that now.
Have No Fear.
Fear Not 'The Sand' but become the Master of the Sand.
You can spend the money for a few lessons from your pro and that is fine as long as they are instilling confidence and not fear of getting out. We must eliminate the doubt of the bunker shot. Easy to say but how do we do that? The main reason golfers have problems getting out of the bunker is because of fear of leaving the ball in the bunker. We are defeated before we even swing the club. What we need to do is get past that fear and if we learn the proper way to hit even the easiest shot out of the bunker, that is one less thing you will have to worry about in your golf game.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Aside from my golf tips, practice is the best way to master that dreaded bunker shot. Spend some time in the practice bunker hitting all types of lies. Learn how the bounce on your club works and how to use it properly. Do you know what degree of bounce is on your sand wedge, pitching wedge, and lob wedge?
If not ask your pro what they are. Once you know the bounce of each club then you can start to practice to see how bounce affects your shots.
Here is a drill that will work miracles on your sand game. Draw a straight line (perpendicular to target line) about 3 feet long in the sand with a second line starting at the end of the first line but gradually going out on a slight angle (think 1/2 V shape) until the line is three inches behind your first line. Practice entering the sand on the angled (back) line with the bottom of your divot being 3-4 inches in front of the entry point.
Practice doing that until you can consistently hit the angled line. Now place golf balls about 4 inches apart just on the front edge the first (straight) line that you drew in the sand. Starting with the ball nearest you, hit the sand at that point behind the golf ball.That shot should travel 15-20 yards, move down the line hitting the angled line on each ball. See how they all travel different distances?
MASTER THE SAND.
This is how to eliminate the fear of bunkers. If you can spend 30 minutes practicing that drill, the next time you are in a bunker, your brain will take over and hit the sand in the correct place.
This drill is one that I have taught to my golf buddies and many other golfers. It works every time but you must dig it out of the sand. It is exciting to watch one of my buddies that could not get out of a bunker to save his life, all of a sudden, he is full of confidence and has no fear of bunkers. You will do the same thing with just a few minutes of correct practice.
FORGET WHAT YOU SEE THE PRO'S DO.
Too often, recreational golfers try to mimic what the pros do in the bunker. Golf pros spend hours practicing bunker shot. Most amateurs do not have that luxury, but a few minutes a week will work wonders as long as we practice correctly. Stop making the shot harder than it really is. Take a bit wider stance so your hips can move freely, swing with your shoulders instead of all arms much like a short pitch shot and strike a few inches behind the ball as discussed in the previous paragraph.
KNOW THE SAND.
Different lies and sand conditions affect a bunker shot more than putting the right swing on the ball. Soft, fluffy sand calls for a contact spot further behind the ball. After some rain, a bunker can become hard and compact. This is where knowing the bounce on your different clubs will make a huge difference. If you try a normal bunker shot, your club could bounce off of the hard sand, make solid contact with the ball and send it flying over the green. In this case, use a club with less bounce so it will dig in behind the ball and not bounce into the golf ball. The ball will come out with less spin, so allow more distance before the hole for the ball to land. This is something you should practice when the sand is wet and firm but do not fear the sand.
LIES, LIES, LIES.
The lie of the ball can be your best friend or worst enemy. Your ball can be in the bunker, without room to actually stand in it for a shot. In this case, widen your stance and bend your knees drastically. Avoid bending at the waist because doing so will not allow you to use your upper body in your swing. Swing with your arms and shoulders with your feet still. Let the club slide under the ball like a normal bunker shot.
If your ball is plugged in the bunker, you have some decisions to make. If half of your ball is showing, you can still get out in good condition.
Play the ball back in your stance, pick your club straight up and slam it down right behind the ball.
If the ball is completely buried you may have to take your medicine (an unplayable) or if you have practiced this shot, you know, it will still come out but it takes a lot of speed and you need to allow for lots of roll.
DO NOT QUIT ON A BUNKER SHOT.
Fairway bunker shots are among the hardest in golf. Too often, golfers think they must always use a sand wedge in the sand. For the long bunker shots, use any club that will clear the lip on the bunker. You can hit hybrids out of fairway bunkers as long as you can clear the lip. I play the ball in the middle of my stance so I can ensure ball first contact. Practice will show you where you should play the golf ball. This shot is played with what I call still legs. All the movement should be from the hips up. Play the ball in the middle of your stance so you can contact the ball first.
The sand and bunkers truly are your friends unless you FEAR them. Correct practice turns fear into CONFIDENCE.
Play Shots From the Sand Trap Like a Pro
By Jim Sullivan
Photo By Mike Cox
Why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants?
In case he got a hole in one!
What’s the easiest shot in golf?
Your fourth putt!
Golf balls are like eggs.
They’re white, sold by the dozen, and after a week you need to buy some more!