This week we’re starting to feel that summer weather here in Niagara, and with that comes a few more rounds of golf. The excuse “I’m not playing enough” just won’t fly anymore.
Have you taken the time to have some focused practice? Maybe a lesson to fix that one part of your game that you know needs work on.
If things aren’t where you want them to be, then maybe it’s time for a weapons check.
Think of a weapons check as an inventory, or a personal account of all aspects of your game. The better you get to know yourself and your game, the better you will play. This is one of the easiest ways to improve your game and coincidentally the most cost efficient. All that it requires is for you to reflect on your rounds and pay attention to your game with a keen, investigative eye. Let’s get into it.
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses
What is your favourite club?
When asked this question, most people will respond with some sort of short iron like a 9, 8, or 7-iron. Now, how often do you hit this club in a normal round? If the answer to this question is not at least 5 or 6 times, then you are doing your game a disservice!
Your favourite club is your favourite club for a reason. You probably hit it very well and therefore feel confident with it in your hand.
The next time that you play, purposefully leave yourself multiple chances to hit this club.
On the other hand, what is your least favourite club? This answer is much simpler. If you do not have time to practice with it, leave it in the garage. That’s right, you shouldn’t even have it with you. Not only will this spare you from feeling hopeless over the ball, but hopefully it will make you avoid putting yourself in that situation entirely.
2. What’s your natural shot shape?
If you were to hit ten balls and bet your life savings on the average curvature of those shots, what would you choose?
While golf shares only some similarities with roulette, this one is key. If you don’t have time to work on your game and change your shot shape, (this takes thousands of deliberate repetitions), then stick with what you know. For all you faders out there, stop trying to fall in love with the draw. Dance with the girl you brought to the party and learn how to score with a fade (or whatever your natural shot shape is). Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Fred Couples, JB Holmes, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka, and even Tiger Woods hit fades, so there is nothing wrong with a ball that starts left and finishes right (for your righties out there).
Will you have to be consistent with your alignment, ball position, rhythm, and setup?
Yes, of course, but playing your natural shot shape will allow you to consistently score the best that you can. The last thing we want is for you to be stuck with some semi-reliable-quasi-draw that has not yet been engrained to the point of being automatic. If scoring is what you are after, then stick with your shape.
3. Be honest!
Being honest with your yourself about your abilities (and limitations) is probably the easiest way to shave strokes off your game.
How many times have you been in the trees and tried to hit a hero shot, only to embarrass yourself and end up picking up and thanking the Equitable Stroke Control (ESC) rule? Probably more than you would like to admit, but that’s okay! We have a solution that will allow you to score better, have more fun, and perhaps win that Nassau with Joe a little more often. It’s not glamorous nor is it revolutionary, but perhaps the simplest advice of all: be honest.
Be honest with your game and the shots you can hit.
Be honest with your ability and revert to what you did in practice.
If you couldn’t pull of a shot on the range after scraping and raking thirty balls from the same spot, nor could you even find the sweet spot, you should probably avoid trying the shot on the golf course when you only get one attempt and the result matters. The next time that you are faced with a short-sided flop shot and pull the 60* wedge to hit it high and soft, be honest and truly ask yourself if you could pull this shot off at least 70% of the time. If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board. The 70% rule can be applied to all aspects on the golf course and if applied correctly, will help you gauge your ability while taking your ego out of the shot.
As one Navy Seal commander famously said,
“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
Take the time to write down:
Three (3) shots you’d like to get better at or,
Three (3) situations on the course you’d like to get better at
Go practice those. And if you need a hand, let us know.