Nailing Your Driver

There is an easy way to hit the ball square in the center of the clubface with your driver. Would you like to know what it is?

No changes in your physical technique are required. It’s strictly in your mind.

Your mind, that is, your unconscious mind, is very good at understanding orders and seeing to it that your body carries them out.

To do what I proposed, as you stand at address, and before you take the club back, think to yourself, “center hit.”

Then swing the club and stay out of its way. Anything your conscious mind adds to the swing to help make that center hit happen only “fouls” it up.

It will take some practice, because you have to teach your unconscious mind what “center hit” means.

But it shouldn’t be too long before it starts working.

You’re welcome!

Practice Your Takeaway

Everything that wants a good ending needs a good start.

Arnold Palmer once said that if you take the club back the right way for the first eighteen inches, not much else can go wrong after that.

Well, maybe if you’re Arnold Palmer, but the importance of a good takeaway cannot be ignored. A mistake here can ruin a swing that has barely begun.

A good takeaway has these characteristics:

  • The club starts back slowly. A golf swing is not a drag race.
  • The club goes straight back for the first foot.
  • The clubface stays square to the clubpath.
  • No tension enters your body, anywhere.

Get a club, set up, and practice this over and over and over this winter. Every day. Just the first two feet or so of your swing.

You cannot practice this too much, and you cannot practice anything that will have a bigger payoff.

your target is the ball

Hitting a successful shot demands that you focus on your target. But what it your target?

It is the ball. It is the object you are trying to hit with the club you are about to swing.

The destination of the shot is the ball’s target, not yours.

You have figured out where that is and how you are doing to get the ball there–exactly how you are going to use the club to execute your plan.

Once you have done that, the plan is dialed in to your unconscious mind. From there your task is to have the clubface meet the ball as you intended.

The odds of that happening are much greater when you define your target as, and focus on, the ball.

Do not misinterpret this. I am not saying you should hit at the ball. You still swing through it.

A relaxed golf swing

Tension has no place in any golf stroke. The opposite of tension is relaxation.

Too many people, including golf instructors, think that to be relaxed is to be in a limp, lifeless state from which no activity can emerge. That is only one kind of relaxation, which is body-driven.

There is another kind of relaxation, which begins in the mind and is transmitted to the body. This is an active relaxation that allows the body to perform with power and precision.

To relax your mind, stand with good, straight posture and get your mind moving by repeating the meditation described on page 15 of The Golfing Self before you address the ball. This should take only a few seconds. Feel your body softening, the tension releasing. Let the air out. This is relaxation by rule of mind.

Apply this to golf by being vigilant at three key points:
– the instant the club starts back,
– the instant you start it forward, and
– the moment before impact.

The goal is to maintain active relaxation throughout the stroke. These are the spots where relaxation can be lost.

A Little-Known Facet of Grip Pressure

It seems obvious that grip pressure refers to how firmly your fingers hold the handle. That is true, but the way to get the pressure right is not to think about your fingers.

Grip pressure includes how the the hands press against each other, namely how pocket in the palm of the right hand rests against the thumb of the left hand. Contact must be secure, but without a feeling of the hands pressing against each other here.

For left-handed golfers it is the pressure of the pocket of the left hand resting on the right thumb.

The key point is to maintain that amount of pressure at that spot during the entire swing. That is very easy to do, and has the effect of keeping your fingers from squeezing when they shouldn’t.

While you are learning how to do this, pay attention at the places where pressure can easily change, which are at takeaway, at the start of the forward swing, or as the hands approach impact.

A Unique Masters

There were many things about this year’s Masters that made it unique. Start with it being played in November.

This Golf Digest article gives you 18 more reasons why this was a Masters to remember.

I will add, that without spectators, we got to see the entire course in a new way–where holes are in relation to each other, where tees are in relate to the preceding green, like we never have before and will never see again.

Unless you can angle an invitation to play there. Good luck.

Augusta National in Autumn

I spent a lot of time yesterday watching The Masters on TV. But I wasn’t watching the golf particularly. I was watching the course.

This time of year the course is jaw-dropping beautiful–much more so than in the spring. All the trees are yellow, and the grass everywhere is deep green. With no spectators on the course, you can see the depth of these colors in big swatches.

And with no spectators, you can see the course like you have never seen it before. You see it as if you were there, playing it, just like you saw all of Winged Foot and the Open. You see the whole thing, and it’s beautiful.

This is the only chance you will ever have to see this wondrous sight, so drink it all all three days remaining if you can, and for sure on the weekend. You will remember it forever.

2020 Masters Preview

Winner: Dustin Johnson by five shots over Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im .

Before a major championship, I introduce the tournament, who I think will win, put in a bit of history, and all that. Not this year.

This year the message is different. This year might be the beginning of the end of The Masters at Augusta.

I got this off Alex Miceli’s The Morning Read a few days ago:

“Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…According to Carl Paulson, co-host of “Inside the Ropes” on SiriusXm PGA Tour Radio, DeChambeau teed it up last week with Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Masters champion, and the reports from Lyle were ‘jaw-dropping.’

“Here’s a recap, per Paulson via Lyle, of what DeChambeau hit into some of the holes”

No. 1 (Par 4, 445 yards): Sand wedge
No. 2 (Par 5, 575 yards): 8-iron
No. 3 (Par 4, 350 yards): Flew the green with 3-wood off the tee
No. 8 (Par 5, 570 yards): 7-iron
No. 9 (Par 4, 460 yards): Sand wedge
No. 10 (Par 4, 495 yards): Pitching wedge
No. 11 (Par 4, 505 yards): 9-iron
No. 13 (Par 5, 510 yards): 7-iron (hit 3-wood off tee)
No. 15 (Par 5, 530 yards): 9-iron
No. 17 (Par 4, 440 yards): Sand wedge”

And here is what Miceli said on today’s TMR.

Six years ago I posted in this space that the distance the pros were starting to hit the ball could make Augusta obsolete in a few years. That time might have arrived.

Bryson dismantled Winged Foot. We’ll see if he does the same thing to Augusta, which was no rough to speak of.

And then, since there is only one course on which The Masters and be played, and in, say, five years it cannot stand up to just being run over, what then?

If this year is the beginning of the end of The Masters at Augusta, is it also the beginning of the end of The Masters?

Little Differences That Make a Big Difference in How Well You Play