When I ask clients what they think is the most important thing to focus on in golf, they usually tell me that it is to make good ball contact as consistently as possible. I would agree that making good ball contact IS important, but argue that when you make this your goal, you open yourself to errors. Because good ball contact is the result of focusing on something other than the ball.
Have you ever chunked a shot, topped a shot, pushed or pulled a shot during a round? I am guessing your answer is YES! These types of mistakes happen from time to time. What you may not realize is that the issue is with your thinking, which can result in a breakdown in your swing.
Golf is an interesting sport in that the ball is not moving at the point of contact. Additionally, golfers aren’t looking at their target when they swing, but are often looking in the direction of the ball at their feet. This can present a problem with your focal point on a shot, and create confusion around your most important job.
So what is your most important job in golf?
Think about the things you can manage in your game — your effort, your focus, your attitude, your preparation, and most importantly, your swing. Yet, many golfers get fixated on making the ball do something.
To paraphrase Gary Player, he said that every golf shot starts in the mind first…only then do the body, club and ball follow. So if you are focused on the type of swing you wish to create with the club you have selected, and make a good practice swing before you address your ball, then the only job that remains is to repeat that good swing. This requires you to operate with a sense of trust that the rest (meaning the ball) will take care of itself.
So the next time you find yourself frustrated by a chunk, top, push or pull, recognize that those are all indications that your attention and energy were focused down at the ball, rather out toward your target, and your swing echoed that focus. Golf doesn’t have to be complicated, so don’t let your thinking get in your way. When you keep your attention centered on the right parts of your game from tee to green, you will find that you play with more consistency and freedom.
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