(Part 1 of a two-part series)
Recently I took a series of lessons from Rob Randall, the teaching professional at Legacy Golf Club in Norwalk. The main objective? Bring my practice game to the course.
Maybe you’re like me – Jack Nicklaus on the range, Jack Daniels on the course. Locked in a frustrating cycle. Practice well, play poorly, practice some more in order to play better, then play poorly again. What can we do to hit our best shots on the fairways?
The answer may lie in what’s in your brain.
When we’re on the range, we can focus on our swing mechanics. We can tweak our grip, stance, takeaway, follow-through, and anything else we want. If it doesn’t work, we simply pull another ball from the bucket and try again. If it works, we repeat it.
On the course, however, it’s nearly impossible do that. Each shot gives us just one try. If we’re thinking about swing mechanics, we’re doomed. But since it’s all we’ve thought about on the range, it’s almost impossible to stop on the course.
What’s a person to do? Turn off the brain?
That brings me to the advice Rob gave me. Instead of turning off the brain, we need to fill it – with the right things.
Wait a minute! Fill the brain? Yes, exactly.
Rob, who does a lot of on-course work with top amateurs and local pros, says the best players take time before they hit their shot. And they ask some important questions. Where will my perfect shot go? Where is the best place to miss? How will my lie affect the shot? What about the wind? Where do I want to hit the next shot from?
Now for the real key. Once you’ve nailed down the strategy you’re going to play, simply step up to the ball and go.
Now is not the time to be thinking about swing mechanics. You’ve done the work on the range. Now simply do what you’ve repeated hundreds of times. Fortunately, your brain is full, which means it’s almost impossible to think about swing mechanics. It truly works!
The proof was in the pudding for me. Rob gave me an on-course playing lesson that day. He took me out to four of the toughest holes in central Iowa, where I made four stress-free pars. Believe me when I tell you, that hasn’t happened often this year.
And the best part? I didn’t strike a single shot perfectly. But they were all good enough, entirely because I wasn’t thinking about mechanics.
In short, filling the brain clears the mind. And that’s when we can play our best!
So … what should a person think about? I’ll go into more detail about that with my next post.