Whether you’re standing in the locker room or the golf shop at the end of the day and you ask each player how he played today, the answer is usually the same. Not very well! Everyone wants to play better and more importantly, score lower than they do, but only seldom do they reach their expectations. During a round of golf, most everyone who has any experience will make some very good golf shots. This is the time to ask yourself, what did I do right? However, most golfers continually ask what am I doing wrong? When I questioned why a player wants to know, they most often say because they do not want to do that again. Now my question to them is, do you know if you can hit that same bad shot again and they always say no.
The lesson to be learned here is to determine what you were thinking about and what your golf swing and body motion was when the shot was a good one. You become a better player the day you start to identify why the good shots were good ones and forget why the bad ones were bad unless the poor shot is a constant one. It appears to me that when a golfer continues to hit bad shots, he will focus more and more on the ball with the intent of hitting it rather than the execution of swing thoughts or body control to resume making good ball contact.
Without good ball contact, players return to square one and concentration goes out the window. The more you try to hit it, the less chance you have to develop a good golf swing. What a player does naturally and what is comfortable for him is most likely preventing him from improving.
The emotional side of golf and the level of frustration players may reach has much to do with who they are and the level of desire they possess to play better golf. There are a variety of suggestions that couldhelp people deal with anger and stress on the golf course or practice range. Evaluate how good you really are is one recommendation.
Practice with three piles of ten balls. Two good shots with the first ten, four with the second ten and three with the third ten tells you that you are a “thirty percenter.” When you practice and become a “sixty percenter,” you are hitting more good shots and less bad ones. Your score should be coming down as well as your level of frustration.
Another good way to fight tension and frustration is to stop keeping score for awhile. Begin to enjoy the day, the company and realize how good the exercise is for you. The best way to overcome weaknesses is to address and understand cause and effect.
Find a well respected golf instructor in your area and devote the time and effort it takes to make changes and see what those new changes can do. One of my favorite comments to students is: golf is like a bank account, you cannot take out more than you put in. Most golfers want a lot more out of the game than they are willing to put in. Do you fit in this category?
I have always thought that golf is an unnatural game for most people and fighting bad habits that take place naturally becomes the big problem. When a player really wants to improve, he will learn what it takes to make better contact with the ball and then move up to the next level of expertise where you are able to impart the spin on the ball that you desire.
You must learn to be patient, put the practice time in to make swing changes, focus on all the good that golf does for you and smile a whole lot more regardless of the type of day you are experiencing! Let’s face it, we are all lucky when it’s our day to be on the golf course!
Lou Thibeault is a teaching golf professional at The Links of Naples, 16161 Tamiami Trail E., Naples. You may reach him at 394-8102, or at 417-1313.