Golfers are always hoping for “the secret,” that one tip that will make their swing come together that very moment and let them play golf happily ever after. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. A fix-it tip is like a patch on a coat. Just as patches eventually fall off, quick fixes don’t last. Johnny Miller called those tips “WOOD,” which stands for “Works Only One Day.” There’s no substitute for doing the work and spending the time it takes to groove a good technique until it becomes second nature. As I wrote in Zen Golf, “Train it until you trust it, and trust it before you try it.” So practice with a plan, and with patience, knowing that your hard work will bear fruit in the future.
When it comes time to take your range game to the course, you want to be able to trust your swing with the new feel and movement. You’ll have the best chance of executing that if you focus on it before you play the shot, rather than thinking about it while you are swinging.
Stand well behind the ball and make two or three partial swings. The most important thing is to produce the feeling of the specific move you want to make. This “programs” your body to do its best to make a good swing.
Rather than making a full swing at full speed, it’s more effective to program your move using a partial swing, one that lets you get a good feel for the way your body and your club are moving in sequence. Use whatever works best for you to get that feel. After swinging that way a couple of times, tell yourself that the move is programmed in. Like a computer, you program it and let it run.
After making your programming swings, picture the shot you’re playing, take a full breath, and let it all the way out. Walk forward without rushing and address the ball. There is no longer any need to think about how you’re going to make your swing. Trust that you’ve done your best to program your move, and swing away.
— Dr. Joe Parent, author of ZEN GOLF: Mastering the Mental Game and a PGA TOUR/LPGA Instructor. Learn more at drjoeparent.com