Slow Down to Save Shots
Hello, men, women, and children who play golf! Welcome to West Grand Golf’s blog. I am the head women’s golf coach at Drake University and am excited to share my thoughts and ideas with you about this great game. Topics will include, course management, practice strategies, mental skills, fitness, and nutrition. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about please leave a comment, and share share share this blog! Thank you! I hope you find this blog helpful.
Summer is officially here, and you’ve probably knocked most of the dust off your golf game and are in mid-season form. But as we know, golf is a game of misses, and it’s the management of those misses that will determine your score at the end of 18.
How many times have you had a good round going only to make a double bogey or worse? Think back to the bad hole. What could you have done differently? Did you get upset after finding yourself behind a tree and try to make a hero shot only to be behind another tree? It’s mistakes like this that tack on 2, 3, or more strokes to a round. A simple course management strategy can help you shave these strokes immediately. No crazy swing changes, gadgets to buy, or drills to do. All you have to do is THINK!
Dr. Mo Pickens, sports psychologist, breaks it down into 5 steps. His approach is the simplest and most effective way to manage your game when you get into trouble.
- SLOW DOWN—Too often when we find ourselves off the fairway, we rush through our routine (or skip it all together). This leads to poor decision making and likely more trouble.
- APPROACH YOUR BALL WITHOUT A CLUB IN HAND—Walking to your ball with your 5 iron in hand limits your ability to think about any other club. You’ve set yourself up to be biased towards that 5 iron being the club for the shot. Again, you’ve clouded your mind, possibly leading to a poor decision.
- LOOK IN ALL DIRECTIONS—Our first instinct is to look forward and up when in trouble. However, the best play may in fact be backwards. This is especially true if up against the lip of a bunker.
- LOOK THROUGH AND LONG—Make sure you know what is on the other side of the green and/or where you’re punching out. No reason to add penalty strokes just because you didn’t realize there was a hazard behind the green, or on the other side of the fairway. This is a mental error that is easily avoided.
- PICK A SPECIFIC TARGET— Many times we look in the general shot direction, punch the ball, and then hope for the best. Being intentional with your recovery shot is vital. Determine your direction of play, choose the club to use, pick a specific target, and know the distance of the shot. This will save you from having to punch out AGAIN because you hit it too far or not far enough.
A little thinking, and following this 5 step check list, you can easily save 2-5 shots per round. Memorize this check list, or better yet, copy it to a note card and keep it in your golf bag!
Fairways and Greens,
Head Women’s Golf Coach