Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, spring 2018

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TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT B Y D A N PA S Q U A R I E L L O A N D L A I R D S M A L L 100 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 Finding Your Groove o much is discussed in the media about golf swing mechanics — we have been so blinded to believe that mechanics are the only way to play better golf! If we hit a bad shot, something must be wrong with our golf swing. We often think, "What swing thought or tip do I need to fix it?" We always try to fix the last poor shot on the next swing. We never get anywhere and end up chasing our tails looking for answers that are not there. One must remember that golf is a swing game, and not a game of positions (although yes, at times we do need to position the club to make the swing more efficient). These changes are done through feel of the club as it swings and the feel for the shape of the swing. In the book "The Legend of Bagger Vance," by Steven Pressfield, the underpinning theme is to unlock your "authentic swing." We all have an authentic or natural swing. You see that PGA tour players and other skilled golfers have all found their swings when they shoot their terrific low scores. The key is about how to find our groove and keep it. We know we have found our swing groove when we feel like the game is easy and the ball feels like butter on the club. The tough shots don't seem so tough, and we have a lot of distance in our shots — effortless power, not powerless effort. This is when the game is fun! It would be great to stay in this place, but we lose it all too quickly. Most golfers feel that their practice swing and their real swing are very different. They will tell you how wonderful their practice swing is — full of rhythm and effortless, with no tension. When it is time to hit the ball, how- ever, they are a different person. It can be difficult to find our swing groove when we don't have the time to practice and play, whether as a result of interruptions of life, family, work or other hobbies. Also, many players harbor too much tension and get too tight over the ball. When this happens, they lose their freedom and flow to their swing, along with the ability to feel where the club and clubface are during the swing. Many times it is because they are using their check-down list as they are preparing to start the swing. Dr. Glen Albaugh, a prominent sport psychologist who works with many PGA and LPGA TOUR players, shared the following drill with me, and I have used it with terrific success. It will help you to bring the two swings together and help you find your game consistently. This simple drill can also help reduce your tension and help you to let it go to the target. • At the practice facility, tee up five to seven balls in a row, using a middle iron – a 6-iron will do nicely. Your goal is to have an awareness of your practice swing from per- spective or level of freedom from tension. • Create a scale from 1 to 10. One would be a tight swing that is full of tension, while 10 would be a swing free of tension but not sloppy. • Take your practice swing and evaluate your swing on this scale. Your goal is to be somewhere between 7 and 9. • Step up to the ball and give it a go with the intention and awareness of trying to duplicate your earlier practice swing over the ball. I think you will find a higher awareness of your swing and an ability to make your rehearsal swing and your actual swing be and feel the same. Spend a few minutes with this drill every practice session. You will sur- prise yourself with the quality of your ball strikes and the lack of tension you have in your swing. The real trick is to take it to the golf course, which takes trust and courage. I know you will be pleasantly surprised with the results, have fun doing it and have more fun playing the game. Please visit us at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy for more tips to increase your enjoyment level of the game; you can reach us at 831/622-8650. We know we have found our swing groove when we feel like the game is easy and the ball feels like butter on the club. S

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