I have been reading some of my fellow bloggers thoughts on practicing and lessons and it got me to thinking. I am in a bit of a yearlong rough patch with my game. The scoring ability is just not where it needs to be. I have narrowed it down to three factors that are causing the higher numbers. Let’s get into them.
Factor 1 – Inconsistent driving accuracy: To put it lightly, I hit it all over the place. This is the most maddening part of my game right now. When I was younger I hit 10+ fairways a round every time. It doesn’t matter how good your short game is if you are in trouble off the tee a good part of the time.
Factor 2 – Poor Chipping: This is somewhat influenced by the driving. I put extra pressure on this part of the game when drives are wild. In addition to that, I have had far too many chunks or skulls that add up really quickly. I would attribute most of this issue to a lack of practice.
Factor 3 – Lack of confidence: I will be honest with you. I don’t practice a lot. Either due to time constraints or just wanting to play when I have the time for golf. I understand that practice is key to improvement, but I am also playing scared at times. I think this is a combination of poor results and a lack of practice.
So what am I doing about it? Am I going quit the game after the dire synopsis above? Um, of course not! I love this game too much. So while it is extremely frustrating to shoot in the mid to high 80’s when you have broken par multiple times, I would never consider giving up on the game. Put quite simply, it is one of my favorite things in life.
The plan is simple. I am taking lessons, which I hadn’t done in about 8+ years. This has resulted in a lot of changes. Some of these I have listed below:
- Fixing my alignment: I aimed way right to compensate for my pull hook. Aiming left of my intended target feels really weird. So does sometimes hitting a cut.
- Keeping my hands higher at address: They had gotten really low and I was surprised to see it on video. This also feels awkward, but I am committed.
- Focusing on not swinging my arms back after my shoulders have stopped turning: This would get me out of sequence and my arms were having to play catch-up.
- Stopping the flip of my hands at impact: This is by far the hardest part. When I do it correctly I sometimes hit shots well right because I have been so afraid to release before due to my ever-present hook.
So, the second part of the plan is to practice. I won’t be hitting balls until my hands bleed, there just isn’t enough time. I do hope to get more work in when my job slows down a little bit and the weather turns a little warmer.
The final portion of the plan and arguably the toughest part is to play with a better mental game. This involves minimizing swing thoughts when I play, playing with more confidence/positive thoughts, and generally playing without expectations.
I am encouraged that things will turn around and even if they don’t I am still playing a wonderful game on wonderful courses with wonderful people. It’s a win-win. Let me know what you think in the comments and I hope this has helped if you too are going through a slump.