The first week in January in the cold, rainy Northwest is probably the worst time of year to be writing posts for a golf blog. You can’t play, and it’s almost too cold sometimes even to go the range. But I always know if I do something golfy, I’ll get an idea.
So a few days ago the temperature was mild and it wasn’t raining, so I went to the field that is just a block away from my house. It’s the parking lot for the Oregon State Fairgrounds, which is out of view above the picture. My house is out of view about one block below.
I always go there with one ball and one club, hit the ball, go find it, and hit it back again, over and over. It focuses my mind, because if I make mistake and hit a bad shot, it’s a long walk to the ball to have a chance to get it right. So I try very hard not to make mistakes.
The yellow dot on the left is where I start hitting from. The yellow dot on the right is beside a telephone pole which you can see fairly clearly if you enlarge the picture. The pole is 139 yards from the opening spot.
I took my 6-iron that day. My first shot was up in the air, very straight, but got to about the pole. That’s not a long way for a 6-iron, but it happened because I hit the ball about a quarter-inch toward the toe. I did the same thing coming back, and the ball just barely got to the starting spot.
Another shot downrange ended up in about the same place, but this time had I hit it slightly toward the heel.
Fortunately, after three shots, all of them very nice looking and going right where I had aimed them, but all of them way short of where they should have ended up, my mind finally warmed up.
I realized I was swinging too fast, so I thought to myself, “Relax. Slow down your swing to a speed you can control.”
And what do you think happened? Of course! I hit the ball dead on the center of the clubface and it went to the green dot, 14 yards past the starting point.
By doing just those two things, which have nothing to do with swing technique, but everything to do with how you use your mind, I changed my 6-iron from a ~140-yard club to a mid-150s club.
(Want to get 15 more yards with your driver? Hint, hint.)
What I’m saying is the center of the clubface is your best friend. If you overpower your swing you’ll never make its acquaintance.
What I’m not saying is you should slow down your swing to the point of somnambulance. But if slow your swing down to control, or to comfort, or however you want to say want to it, you’ll be getting easy power and easy distance.