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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Go Over the Drink, Not into It

I often link you to an article I've read in these posts because I think they'll help and I think the source of the tips should be recognized.

Today I'm linking you to two different but related articles -- both short -- that I think build on one another but that you might not have put together on your own because they're in different places.

Fish and golf balls

The articles are both at the Golf Digest site. One is by teacher Rick Smith about hitting shots over water and the other is about calming your nerves under pressure by former professional football player Lewis Howes.

Smith says that most weekend players tend to get nervous when faced with a shot over water. (Did you know that? Talk about an understatement!) As a result they tighten their grip on the club and end up making a very short backswing, which then translates into a awkward stab at the ball and an irritating splash.

His solution is to think about making a smooth stroke back and keeping your arms and body in sync on the way through. He also warns against trying to help the ball up, as you'll hit it fat or else scoop it. Both will put you in the water.

But saying "Don't get tight when you swing" is a lot easier than actually staying loose, isn't it? That's where the Howes article comes in. He has a four-step process for relieving the pressure:
  1. Visualize. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and try to see the shot you want to hit. That helps you focus on the job at hand.
  2. Breathe. You already took a deep breath, so why not take a few more? Howes suggests at least ten deep breaths; this helps you make sure that you're alert and your muscles have lots of oxygen to work with.
  3. Be grateful. See this shot as a great opportunity to accomplish something wonderful. Lots of players actually wish they had this shot!
  4. Remember that you're in control. You make the shot, not your playing partners. You take the club back, you make the stroke and you choose when you make the stroke. (Well, within reason. Don't stand around for ten minutes, but wait till you're ready.)
Now, when you're faced with a shot over water, you have a clear goal -- make a smooth swing -- and a short routine to help you get loose. Shots like this aren't that difficult if you know how to prepare for them... and now you do.

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