The decision to take golf lessons is often full of apprehension. We know that a lesson is going to first expose the faults in the swing, and it is also going to often times leave us playing worse for a short time while the new golf swing changes set in to our normal swing routine. I've been looking for some hard data research into how many actual shots are required to take hold, and I would say it's around 300 shots per change from what I see from experience.
That means that if you are not practising properly and often then the swing change can take months, then we can't expect to see score based results right awar. During this time, our body and brain like to go back to auto pilot meaning that we get out onto the golf course and our brain resists the change. We have to adjust our on course behaviour in order to see score results and we have to help ourselves improve by avoiding a negative behaviour giving a positive result.
The main reason for this resistance is that it requires us to set up the shot differently. We all have seen it 100 times: the golfer that aims off into the trees and then pulls it into the fairway. He'd swear it was a straight shot until the one time that he actually hits one straight and it goes straight into the trees. When he undoubtedly asks what happened, he playing partners will always say the same thing: "That's right where you were aiming!"
So today I'll be giving you some tips which will help you to re-inforce those swing changes out on the golf course. We're going to use some aim based on course imagery in order to engrain those swing changes. So here we go (these on course aim guides are set for a right handed golfer - the opposite will apply for lefties):
Slicer (The most common): The slicer loves to aim further left to adjust for that ball flight, further making the issues of slicing worse. Then each round of golf reinforces this set up and engrains a bad alignment with the eyes.
The Cause: Usually the path is toward across the ball left to right and the clubface is open to that path (pointing right of the line of the path). This puts a massive slice on the ball and stops the clubface from being able to rotate.
The steps to fix it on course
1) Aim straight - this will feel very right to you
2) Swing toward the miss - meaning swing the path of the club out to the right
3) Work to turn the hands and forearms left through the ball. Think Knuckles down through the ball.
At the start you will hit it so far right, but the idea here is not to award the brain by thinking you hit target by engraining poor aim and alignment.
The Hook: Players all fear the hook. It's a hook because it give terrorizing visions of an uncontrollable curve that never really slows down. This is usually a better players miss and is often tempo related as a base. Players try to fight the hook by holding on to the club, but this greatly impedes the clubhead speed and can cause injury over time.
The Cause: This is normally a club face problem as a club path in to out would have to be very severe to create such a hooked shot. That means we really need to neutralize the face and match it with the club path. What we'd be looking to do is to neutralize the face via an improvement in the extension. We can fix this on course by simply moving the ball position much further forward in the stance.
The steps to Fix it On Course:
1) Start with the ball 2 inches forward of normal
2) We want to keep our body moving through the shot without stopping. We can even use the Gary Player walk through style of swing to engrain this movement. If you aren't sure what that is, just have a look at the image below. Give it a try one practice round, and let's try not to use this in tournaments.
3) We want to delay our wrist release as long as possible once we get used to keeping the momentum moving forward through the shot. The largest impact however will be surely through moving the body weight through the shot.
So next time you're hitting it well on the range and feel like you have the club path and club face moving properly and matched up, then be sure not to fall back into the bad aim and alignment habits on course. You will really have to fight to do it at the start, but it will really pay dividends in the short to medium term.
Give us a call and we'd be happy to put you to the test in our golf simulator at Zayed Sports City.