What Can We Learn from Professional Golfers?
by Jeff Gustafson
Professional golfers are not only very talented, but they play smart, strategic golf. And it is the "smart, strategic..." that separates them from the good amateurs and the average club professional. They know how to stay in the moment and avoid distractions by being very focused when it comes to hitting that golf shot.
Yes, they practice for hours so that they can repeat that golf swing over and over again consistently; and they practice virtually every shot they will face when the tournament begins, but all good golfers do that. But just as important as it is to making the shots, you have to know where to place those shots to get that right angle to the pin, to get those extra birdies and eagles, to get into the win column.
Golf is not an easy game at any level.
Hitting that little white ball and getting it into that small little hole has been a mystery ever since the game began.
Even under the best of circumstances, pros will lose strokes when they lose focus. Golf takes a lot of discipline.
Think of the number of moving parts in the golf swing; the exact spot you need to hit the ball to get the distance required for the shot; the proper club selection; the tempo; the perfect club path; the right feel; soft hands; then firm grip or firm wrist; shoulder turn... If you have played golf for long at all you have probably been told to do all of the above at one time or another.
If you listen to the caddies of the touring pros they are like the playing pro's second conscience. They remind the player of what lies in front of them, what the ball is going to do, and what will happen if they go long or come up short. And although you would think that the player with all of his or her experience would consider all of those things on their own, truth is, there is just far too much to consider when the pressure is on.
"Make sure you get it well past the hole. With that club it is going to really spin. You don't want to...". "Aim at that bunker on the right hand side and draw it in. Swing smooth and..." "I don't know, I'd go with the 7 and get it there. Take bogey out of the picture. You have a..."
We don't all have caddies with us on the golf course. And if we did, I am not so sure they would want to have to work that hard. But there is a way to accomplish virtually the same thing.
If you notice in every golf tournament, the caddies and the players carry little pads in their pockets that give them the distances to the hole from various spots on the course. These booklets are generally computer generated before each round and give critical details to the golfers that help them make decisions on what club to hit and what things to consider like landing area, roll of the ball, trouble to avoid, etc. Then by considering conditions (wind direction, wind speed, rain, dry fairways, moist conditions, etc.) the golfer can make the appropriate adjustments.
Too often average golfers just go out there to "grip it and rip it" and live with the result. But golf can be so much more than that. Having a plan and actually writing that plan out can go a long ways to keeping you in the moment and focused on the task at hand during the round resulting in better scores.
And what golfer out there wouldn't want to drop 2 or 3 strokes a side or more?
Listen; typically, golf is a 4 to 4 ½ hour round. To stay focused during that amount of time is an accomplishment in it self and the truth is that the average golfer is not always up to the task. It doesn't take much to get out of focus. A miss hit ball, a stupid bogey, a fat-shot, a crappy bounce, a spike mark on the green, casual conversation, a beer or two can all get us off track and take our mind away from the task at hand.
Strategies are a game plan of how you hope to generally approach each hole based on your skill sets. By writing that approach out, it keeps you focused in the moment and basically gives you a new start with each and every hole. In the end, it is hoped that you will be successful on more holes than not. Again, it is to keep you in the moment, focused on the task.
Golf seems to always present new challenges with each time we play. But the general strategy shouldn't change. We should just make certain adjustments depending upon how well we are striking the ball; how confident we feel; etc. and note any new observations based on those adjustments. It is those notes that you can work from either on your own or with your local professional to refine your game or plan or just to smoothen out some kinks in the armor.
A well thought out plan works because smart golf saves strokes.
Article by Jeff Gustafson - Pocket Pro