It’s About Time You Fixed Your Chipping.
Most people who take golf lessons are impatient. They believe that their instructor has a magic wand and can fix their swing flaws in an instant. This is a myth. There has never been a student whose handicap has gone from 15 to scratch after a single lesson.
When you have a golf lesson you will get solid information from your instructor on why your shots do what they do, and then you’ll get equally good advice on how to fix the problem. After that it’s mostly up to you. Are you willing to change and put in the time and effort? If you hit a few bad shots and get frustrated then revert back to your old bad habits, you won’t improve. If the only time you practice the new technique is when you have a golf lesson you won’t improve very fast, if at all. If you only play rounds of golf and don’t hit balls on the range, change is not likely to happen.
That means you need to practice away from the course so you won’t be influenced by outcomes like score. When practicing, you also need to be patient with yourself and your progress. You must have faith in the process and stick with it. As I tell my clients when frustrated while trying to learn a new skill, “The old you is fighting the new you, and one is going to win. If you allow the old you to win, this is as good as you will ever be. BUT if you stick with it, the new you will eventually win out and then you’ll go to another level. But it will take time an patience.”
The other thing I impress on my students is that improvement is not a constant. There will be ups and downs. The analogy I use is a stock chart. The stock I will use to illustrate my point is Apple. Perhaps the best company in the world. As you see in the chart, even Apple doesn’t go up every day. Each little spike on the stock chart represents a day.
Learning works the same way. Some days are easy, others are a struggle. That is because what you are doing is uncomfortable and/or you just don’t trust those new feelings yet. This will especially be the case on the golf course. These “dips” in your learning are learning opportunities. Wise investors don’t panic and sell when this happens. They understand that this is completely natural and if they stick with the stock, over time they will see a tidy profit. Also, you can be assured that following the dips, as shown in the chart, the stock rises to new highs as new skills are ingrained. That being said, notice the TREND of the stock. The trend is very positive. If you were in the market for a good stock, this would most definitely be a BUY! You need to look at yourself and your progress in the same philosophical way.
Progress may not be happening as fast as you would like, but it is happening. Focus on your trend.
Often you’ll hear a tour pro in an interview when he/she is working on a swing change say something like, “I know I’m working on all the right things, I just have to be patient and wait till it all comes together.”
Why not take that same approach. Work on the right things. Don’t revert back to what frustrated you in the first place. Take a long term approach. Don’t expect it all to happen instantly.
If each time you practice you only improve by 1% then over 20 practices you’ll be 20% better! That is enough to see some real improvement.
Unless you gain an understanding of what your ball is doing in the air you can’t take action to correct your problem.
There are only 9 flights that your ball will take after it has been hit. Once you have identified your predominant ball flight making the necessary corrections to your grip and alignment really aren’t that difficult. Hopefully this will help you better understand cause and effect and what adjustments need to be made to improve. Then, it’s a matter of staying committed to what is scientifically correct.
Let’s run briefly through each outcome. We will start in the middle:
Straight: This is the ideal. The club comes into the ball on a great path with the clubface square to the target. Life is good.
Hook: The path is good but the clubface is closed at impact. You just need to weaken your grip.
Slice: The path is good but the clubface is open at impact. You just need to strengthen your grip.
On the left branch of the ball flight tree (Pull) are the ball flights that of course start the ball left. Which means the clubhead came into the ball on an outside to in path.
Pull: If your ball goes straight left with no real curve the clubhead traveled on an outside to in path with a square clubface. You need to work on alignment which will affect the path of your club.
Pull Slice: The clubhead came into the ball with an outside to in path with and open clubface. You can play golf with this ball flight but you’ll really lose distance. But at least the ball works back toward the intended target.
Pull Hook: The clubhead came into the ball with an outside to in path with a closed face. If you hit this shot often keep a lot of balls in your bag, you’re gonna’ need them. Change your grip and alignment.
On the right branch of the ball flight tree (Push) are the ball flights that of course start the ball to the right. Which means the clubhead came into the ball on an inside to out path.
Push: The clubhead came into the ball with a inside to out path with a square clubface. Work on your alignment. You are probably aimed right.
Push Hook: The clubhead came into the ball with an inside to out path with a closed clubface. You can play golf with this ball flight because the ball works back toward center but you’ll probably have a pretty low ball flight and the top spin that this shot creates makes it difficult to control your iron shots because the first bounce on the green will be big. I recommend playing with a ball that gives you a lot of control. You have learned to have a strong grip to compensate for aiming so far right.
Push Slice: The clubhead came into the ball with an inside out path and an open clubface. Just like with the pull-hook if you hit this shot regularly keep a lot of balls in your bag. You need to work on alignment and strengthen your grip.
As you can see from the descriptions of each shot there are patterns. You’ll either want to adjust your grip or your alignment or both. Most of the root problems of the golf swing come back to a faulty grip and/or alignment. If you are willing to do a little investigative work and make some changes you can make a real difference in your game that will last.
In future lessons I will be giving advice on proper grip and alignment. So please keep following.
Thanks for the comments.
In the last lesson, The Pro Position, we we talked about where the clubhead needs to be when the shaft is parallel to the ground. In this lesson I’ll tell you why.
Here’s the poop. Like it or not, during the golf swing the clubhead is going to make a loop. The clubhead doesn’t just swing back and through on the same path. With all of the turning and twisting the body does during the swing this would be almost impossible and not to mention, counterproductive.
So, you have two choices. First, let’s talk about the best option. If you get into The Pro Position you have already done most of the work and the club is on a terrific path that will set the club in a beautiful position at the top of the swing. Then, without any effort on your part the club will come down into the ball on a nice inside path and you’ll hit the ball where you were aiming. By choosing this option you will play more confident golf and then begin to focus more on targets and playing more instinctively, instead of having doubts and fears running around your mind during the swing.
Now, the other option makes golf much harder. If you take the club back inside when the shaft is parallel to the ground your body will begin its process of trying to make compensations for a faulty swing path. Because the clubhead is stuck behind you at this point your arms will begin to lift the club to try and re-route the club. This more than likely will result in the club coming in from the outside or, the classic over the top move. Many golfers have this move but they don’t understand how they do it and more importantly, they don’t know the cure. Well, here it is.
When the club comes over the top it creates so many potential problems that I can’t discuss them all in one lesson. Each person who hits from over the top has their own unique way of screwing up the shot. Sometimes you’ll hit snap hooks. Sometimes you’ll hit pull-slices.Sometimes you’ll hit it straight. The possibilities are endless. And if your brain knows the possibilities are endless its going get overloaded. Now many golfers can play decent golf with an over the top swing but they’ll never play to their potential. Because in crucial moments the compensations the body and mind are trying to make, don’t usually work when you’re in a pressure situation during your round.
This loop keeps golf very unpredictable from day to day and shot to shot.
So that’s the poop on the loop. I say, make this hard game as easy as possible.
Thanks for a awesome first week! The response has been great! Thanks for the comments and as always, if you have an issue you’d like discussed, leave it in the comment box. I’ll get to them.