MEANDMI FUNDAMENTALS SERIES
This series is designed as a self-help troubleshooting guide. By focusing on the fundamentals related to your handicap we will help you achieve the lowest score and not search fruitlessly for the perfect swing.
In conjunction with our flow chart ‘analysis matrix’, we hope to provide the tools for your improvement.
The ‘FUNDAMENTALS’ series includes:
FUNDAMENTALS FOR A HIGH HANDICAP – ABOVE 18
Many high handicappers are full of trepidation when it comes to receiving advice from a professional. You may be slightly nervous about hitting shots in front of a professional and you may be concerned about information overload. The game can seem very complex, there are so many theories espoused by playing partners, TV analysts and in magazine articles – all promising you everlasting joy on the golf course. There is no magic pill but it is not as simple as just putting the hours in at the range either.
Improving your performance is about an honest approach to all aspects of the game mentioned in this ‘fundamental’ series. Changing a pattern (a recurring swing fault or way of thinking) is about changing a habit. This is difficult to do but with some analysis from a professional you can avoid the trap of ingraining your bad habits.
FUNDAMENTALS FOR A MID-HANDICAP – FROM 10-17
So you have decided to work on your long game over the winter period…time on the course is scarce and the weather is poor. Enthusiasm abounds over those first few sessions, ball after ball sailing into the evening darkness. But soon it feels repetitive and lacking in purpose. How do those tour pro’s practice for so long without suffering from boredom?
The reality is that more professionals than you think, do not actually practice that much, in the sense of spending their time at the driving range. They are obviously dedicated to the game but are very careful to maintain their enthusiasm, instinct and creativity. Personalities like Bubba Watson, Fred Couples and Seve (early in his career), were/are known to avoid the range. Instead playing competitive practice rounds and experimenting on the course with a few balls.
Others like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh are famous for their dedication to the range. For them the search for perfection, the feel of a perfectly struck shot and the sense of accomplishment is so appealing they can spend hours and hours at the range. They practice in a very specific way though, this is not the monotony it appears.
They have a very high tolerance level for what is an acceptable shot, a very precise target and employ their creativity throughout the session. Rarely will they hit more than three shots to the same target with the same shape. In a long session every ball flight will be attempted and honed. Varying your practice keeps you focussed and develops your feel. Keep your enthusiasm this winter and start next season with a bang!
FUNDAMENTALS FOR A LOW HANDICAP – FROM 0 – 9
What can you do to improve quicker? How do you speed up the process of habit change? As much as we try and consciously change our movement patterns it is a very difficult task to do based on what you can feel. Even the most physically gifted golfers in the world depend on appropriate drills to improve. Drills are great because no matter what you feel when practicing, you cannot cheat the drill.
The video below shows Tiger practicing with a glove under his arm to ensure the arm stays close to the chest throughout the swing. If he doesn’t keep his arm close, the glove will fall and he knows he hasn’t made the swing he intended. There is no need to trust his feel or trust what a coach says, it is an objective result. This type of feedback is a great way to ensure you are making a swing change and ingraining new habits.
FUNDAMENTALS FOR AN EXPERT – BETTER THAN SCRATCH
Trackman Combine (http://mytrackman.com/public/trackman-combine-intro) has flourished in popularity lately. The skills test is very detailed and you can compare your score on a world leaderboard. Its a great way of creating pressure in a practice session and simulates the need to hit a fairway or knock an iron close coming down the stretch of a tournament.
Practicing on the course is sometimes tricky to do depending on what time you have free and the facility you are a member at. If you can, it is the perfect place to experiment with shots and gain a comfort level with creativity you maybe only experience on the range at the moment. Try and find the hardest shots on each hole, take the riskiest line off the tee and hit your putts much firmer than you normally would. Try and have as much fun as you can and tap into your creativity. Golf is not a mathematical test, make sure and treat it like a game.
Below is a video of European tour pro Alex Noren talking you through a practice round in which he plays the game worst ball. Basically he hits two shots from every position, always choosing the worst result. The difficulty of the game is immense and anything close to par is a very good result for a professional. It recreates the pressure of tournament golf where you feel you have such a high quality of golf to constantly perform and compete. If you are not a consistent golfer it will show up quickly here! Try and have as much fun as Alex Noren next time you practice, but perhaps you won’t get away with the hoodie?