When I was growing up and learning golf I always thought the perfect shot was a little draw. (Draw=The ball starts flying right of the target and curves back to the target). I wanted to swing the club a little in to out and close the club face just as I struck the ball. That is how I was taught and believed it for years. The trouble with it was it was hard to do. Sometimes I would leave it out to the right, while other times I would close it too much and hook it. Under pressure it was very hard to do. I never wanted to let it go. As a matter of fact, a cut felt great under the gun but I never practiced it. It's a great feeling playing in a tournament and thinking about a cut when you have not hit one in 20 rounds. My misses always seemed to be the opposite to what I really wanted to do. What was up with that? When I wanted to hit a draw my miss was right and when I did not want to hit a draw I would hit it way left. That kind of golf would drive a man crazy!
The P.U.R.E. Point of View
Golf is a frustrating game to learn. I like to think of it as a never ending journey of improvement. Many times, there is a fork in the road. A decision that is to be made that could be a cornerstone to your golf swing or short game. Many times, we make these decisions with the assumption they are correct only to find many problems in our golf swing are a result of this one poor decision that was made long ago. A decision to make a right turn instead of a left has caused you to get lost in a maze of one problem after another. That decision in golf could be as simple as a grip change, setup change or swing thought. It could be a misconception of why the ball goes up, down, or right to left. Your golf game could be much better if we would have just done the opposite of what you thought way back when or even last week. Golf is a game of opposites.
Each year there is a new crop of junior golfers introduced to competitive golf tournaments. There is also a new crop of junior golf parents introduced as well. This experience can be intimidating for both the junior and parent since there is no “how to” guide and you must learn on the fly. It is easy for experienced golfers to take the process for granted, but for new golfers and new golfer’s parents with no experience it can be an unpleasant ordeal. Here are some quick points that will make it easier to understand.
Competitive golfers must be masters of several skills to compete at a high level. Once you reach the level of collegiate golf, all golfers hit it pretty straight and far. The thing that separates most of them is the short game, game management, and the putter. There is also a unique skill that some great players have. That is the ability to correct swing problems on the course. I wish I had a nickel for every time a student told me they were hitting it right, left, thin, or fat in a tournament and could not fix it. We have all been there. The key is to not keep making the same mistake. Great golfers can recognize a trend and start to self-diagnose to eliminate the fault.
One of the most common questions I get from junior golf parents is “What is the key to success?” With all the factors that go into the success of a junior golfer it seems like the answer would be easy, but it is not. Things like golf instruction, physical ability, tournament experience, nutrition, and work ethic all come to mind. But the number one factor I see with successful junior golfers is the process that they learned to play and compete. Most come from an environment that complimented continued physical and mechanical improvement with appropriate competition. This allowed the child to continue to build his golfing tools while slowly raising the level of their competition and finding recognition at each level. In other words, they learned to win.
The use of launch monitors over the last few years has become very popular with tour caliber players and highly-competitive amateur players. New words like spin rate, launch angle, and smash factor have become regular golf lingo. Players are starting to understand how swing path and face angle work together to produce different ball flights. The thing many players do not understand is how impact affects ball flight.