Raise your hand if you feel relaxed and focused when you take your practice swing.
Keep your hand in the air if you feel the same way when when you’re swinging at the ball.
Hmm. I don’t see anyone’s hand still up.
A few weeks ago I was hitting balls off grass and I noticed that my practice swing divot and my “hit the ball” divot right beside it were not in the same place. All the time.
So I went online, putting “ball bound golf” in the search window. I got two videos by Bobby Clampett about being ball-bound. He said he is, and demonstrated it in the same way. One practice swing, one swing at the ball, two divots.
His practice divot lay about two inches ahead of the ball divot. That’s almost exactly what I was getting when I was checking my own swing.
Both of us, and we’re not the only ones, allow the presence of the ball to change the way we swing the club. In mild cases, you can still hit playable shots. In severe cases, you have no idea what’s going to happen.
I don’t think along the lines of, Well, if a pro does it too, I guess its OK so I won’t worry about it.
It’s not OK for anyone. Instead of accepting* it, there has to be a way to change it–to make the two divots be the same.
My assumption, based on a sample size of two, me and Bobby Clampett, is this is a universal tendency, but not a universal absolute. There IS a way to avoid doing it. We just have to find it.
A few years ago, I brought up the matter tangentially in another post and suggested that instead of looking at the ball when you swing, look at the ground about an inch in front of the ball because that is what you’re trying to hit with the club.
But really, we need to find a better solution. We have to go back to the real origin of the problem.
When you take a practice swing, all you’re thinking about is swinging the club. You get ball-bound because you step up to the ball and the thought becomes, “Hit the ball.” That is the fatal error.
The solution is to address the ball and tell yourself, “Swing the club.” Tell yourself like it’s an order to DO it. Be firm with yourself that that’s what you’re going to do.
Then as soon as you have finished saying the word “club”, the INSTANT you have finished saying it, start your swing. Don’t give yourself a moment of time to insert another thought into your head, because you know what that thought will be.
“Swing the club” is not set in stone, though. It is merely one way of putting a thought into your head that is different than “Hit the ball,” or “Make good contact,” or something else like that.
One method I use with great success is to think of the butt end of the handle moving to the left from the start of the forward swing through contact with the ball. This takes my mind off the ball completely and I hit many good shots that way.
That is another example of something that takes your mind away from the ball.
This is a mental problem, and if you have it, you solve it by training your mind to do something other than what it is doing now. Your conscious mind is always talking to you. You have to give it the right thing to say.
* or, giving in.