Discovering Simple Golf Tips to Improve Your Game
Taking some time off from golf on a family holiday in July gave Golfshake Ambassador Richard Moore an opportunity to catch up on some valuable golf magazine reading, including from the likes of Today's Golfer and Golf Monthly. Here’s a summary of some of the top tips he noted - especially on the most fascinating mental side of the game we all (sometimes!) love.
What if we just let our brain take over and do what it does best: Guide our movements which it does perfectly naturally?!
I refer here to the cerebellum at the back of the brain and we need to just let it do its job which is all about smooth coordination, correction and adjustments using data from all our senses. Surely we need to trust in this natural weapon. Instead the cerebellum plays ‘second fiddle’ and gets overcrowded by the noisy analytical prefrontal cortex which effectively drowns out the cerebellum!
Instead, let your mind take over! I’ve been told by fellow Golfshake Ambassador Matt Holbrook that taking a few Golfer’s CBD sweets has this positive effect in helping to calm the noise in your head.
Stay in the present and focus on the shot in hand. Pay more attention to the clues the course is giving you (wind, slopes etc) rather than delving too far into history of playing that shot/hole or anticipating the result.
Fully commit to your shot, no doubts, focus on executing what you envisage.
Have lots of positive questions in mind before hitting a putt. Such as ‘what does a good putt look like here?’ ‘What would it look like making this putt?’ ‘I can see this going in, I’ve holed putts this length many times, so can I can see this dying in at 7 o'clock on the clock face?’
Equally, approach your putts with no stress by simply accepting the consequences of missing to relieve any stress. ‘It is only a dropped shot!’
How do you deal with distractions and odd thoughts that weirdly creep into your mind at strange times? You can’t control these but you can control your reaction to them. So just accept/notice negative thoughts. Learn to let it pass and get refocused again.
Do you get affected by silly annoyances? The stuff that goes on around you with noisy playing partners and other groups! (Perhaps a playing partner that plays out of turn, or has a noisy clanking bag tag or someone talking loudly from another hole, or someone who clicks a club in the bag, scuffs the gravel path…all the silly annoying stuff).
Again, these are impossible to control. Unless you wear blinkers and ear plugs on the course (not to be advised) but it’s about how do you deal with distractions and odd thoughts that always creep into your mind at the weirdest moments! You can’t control them but you can control your reaction to these! You have way more control over your mind than you realise. And you can change your mind in an instant. “So, choose your attitude!”
So learn a way to make these ‘water off a duck’s back.’ Even worse, you must never blame annoyances for your resulting poor shot. That will then just get more under your skin and get compounded!
Consistency is a myth. Even the best players can record wildly different scores on consecutive days. We are different animals each day. Sleep, diet, moods can all be different. So learn to be adaptable to new conditions. It is unrealistic to expect to be the same each day. So ask ‘how can I make the best of what I have today?!’
With short irons, 80% miss short of the flag (most of these short right) so aim long left for greater accuracy to a central pin. The lack of commitment to these short shots being the chief culprit!
Find yourself short-sided facing a tricky pitch back on? Recognise we aren’t Phil Mickelson and three shots for bogey is acceptable. Doubles and triples are not. And playing to a safe part of the green takes pride and precision to execute to that place! Feelings of defeatism are not acceptable as these can result in poor execution. Instead-take pride in executing that shot precisely to the chosen target!
On the practice putting green aim for a tee peg. Like Seve used to. This provides a number of benefits:
1. focus on a smaller target
2. no negative thoughts when you just lip out
3. no one else on the putting green will be competing for your tee peg
On the tee set your driver up by hovering at the height you will hit it off the peg. If you set up by grounding it aligned to the centre, when you raise it up to the desired height it will be nearer the heel (prone to slices) so if you need to ground it set it nearer the toe of the club to promote a more central strike.
A 4 hybrid gives amateur golfers on average 19% GIR whereas a 4 iron gives 13% GIR (plus the hybrid is on average 5 feet closer to the pin. Hitting from light rough improves GIR by 8% too. A hybrid saves 0.4 shots a round (according to Shot Scope). But to be more effective you need to deploy a more descending blow (out to in) to avoid snarling in the grass and get more club face on the ball. So align you body open/left of target and don’t be tempted to move the ball back in your stance. Keep it central!
Did the advice work? Yes. After my break from golf I played very nicely to my handicap, certainly for the first 13 holes until I lost concentration taking an important phone call and then trading messages with my wife - a loss of focus causing dropped shots on the next three holes before I recomposed myself. So this reminds me of the most important top tip. Enjoy your golf and leave your phone at the bottom of your bag!
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