The most challenging aspect of golf is achieving a level of consistent performance. Part of the allure of the game is that everyone at some stage hits a perfect shot which is nearly impossible to explain to a non golfer the sheer joy when a golf shot is perfectly executed. But then the gnawing question becomes “why can’t I do that all the time?!” The ability to repeat success is what separates the good players from the average players & the great players from the good players.
We are more consistent than we think & we are more than capable of becoming more predictable than that! One way in which we are consistent is that we get in our own way. Perhaps it is aiming poorly, loosing correct ball position, thinking too much over the ball, but these are all ways in which we sabotage our own performance.
The fluidity with which the swing of Rory McIlroy or Anna Nordqvist repeats is no accident & it is not the result of in born talent alone, it was crafted. It is the result of hard work & maintained by carefully structured practise.
Everything – whether organic or mechanical needs to be maintained in order to function properly. The best get better by developing a relentlessly consistent standard of play.
We are dynamic creatures. Things constantly change. This is true in our lives & it is true in our golf. We all have played a round in which we drove the ball great but putted poorly or putted brilliantly but couldn’t hit a green from 50 yards. Different aspects of the game can be our demons on any given day. We yearn for the day when it all comes together.
Golf is a constant pursuit of perfection, that’s why it becomes such a big part of our lives. Just because you did something well last week doesn’t mean you’re going to do the same thing well this week. We never play the same round twice. But through properly structured maintenance practise you can bring a greater measure of repetition to your play.
When looking at the elements of golf – the technical, physical, mental, and emotional – what do you need to do in regard to each element to maintain your game? As you become more familiar with your own particular swing & game you will create your own list of maintenance drills.
list of fundamentals to check on a regular basis:
- Aiming: Is your clubface pointing to the target?
- Alignment: Are your feet, hips, knees & shoulders parallel to the target line, or how do you want them to be?
- Grip pressure: Do you keep the grip pressure constant through the swing and at the pressure that works best for you?
Getting in a good performance state: Do you need to check how well you separate the thinking part before the shot from the athletic act of hitting the shot?
Post shot routine: Check your ability to remain without judgement on shots you don’t like. Feel the good shots in your heart. Create a memory to use in the future.
Proper alignment is one of the areas in which we can fall into bad habits very easily.
Select a club, pick a target, stand behind the ball & assess the target. Decide where your feet need to be placed to make a proper swing to deliver the ball to the target.
Then lay a club on the ground slightly in front of where your toes would be. This helps line up properly for the shot. Repeat for a few minutes without hitting a shot or swinging a club. Focus on making certain your set-up is correct.
Not only are you making certain you are lined up properly but this reinforces what it feels like to be lined up properly.