Learning to maintain your poise when something goes wrong isn’t easy. It isn’t something you pick up from a golf lesson or a golf tip magazine. It’s something you learn on your own. Nevertheless, if you can learn to maintain your cool when things go bad, you’ll minimize the damage done on a bad hole or during a bad round. More importantly, you’ll boost your confidence dramatically. That in turn will help you cut strokes off your golf score and keep a lid on your golf handicap.
Having an arsenal of instant on-course swing fixes also helps. These fixes enable you to regain your poise when trouble strikes and instill confidence in your game when you need it most. We’re not talking about major swing fixes here. Save those for the range. We’re talking about minor adjustments, small changes designed to correct a specific swing fault that’s preventing you from playing well. The key is recognizing and adjusting quickly to the fault when it occurs. Below are some instant on-course fixes.
Losing Putter Feel
Your missing six-footers because you’ve lost your feel for putting. The more you miss, the more you start to sweat. The more your start to sweat, the tighter your grip gets. Gripping the putter too tightly causes you to lose feel in your hands. Suddenly, you have hands of stone. Next time that happens grip the putter more in your fingers. This not only increases your feel, it also helps gauge distances. In addition, decreasing grip pressure allows the putter to travel on a natural path, enabling you to make consistent contact, and it encourages a freer release on short putts.
Stopping The Shanks
Clanking shots off the hosel rots. Usually, it happens at the worst time, when you’re hitting a chip shot to the green, costing you strokes and maybe par. Shanks happen because the club gets behind your body on your backswing. When you come around, the first thing hitting the ball is the hosel. That’s not good. When shanking starts, take an extra practice swing or two. Concentrate on keeping the clubface in front of your body on the inside of an imaginary ball. Instead of hitting the real ball on the hosel, you’ll hit it in the middle of your clubface.
Busted Bunker Shots
Some days you live in the bunkers. Every hole, it seems, you’re in a bunker. And sometimes you’re hitting from one bunker to another. Unfortunately, you’re having a hard time getting out of them. And that’s costing you strokes. When that happens, try this: Move the ball forward a little in your stance. Playing the ball of the instep of your front foot opens the sand wedge up. Keeping the clubface clause is a major cause of bad bunker shots. In fact, if you’re going to make a mistake with ball position, moving the ball too far forward is better than moving it too far back. In addition, focus on throwing the sand beneath the ball out of the bunker, not the ball itself. The result: You’ll hit the classic explosion shot.
Hitting Low Flat Hooks
If you start hitting low hooks off the tee, you may be reaching for the ball. That means you’re bending too far over the ball. Instead, stand up a little straighter in address. And when you take a practice swing, swing to the inside of an imaginary the ball, missing it. You’ll feel your whole body straightening out and your arms getting stronger. You’ll also feel your arms getting longer. They’re supposed to hang from your shoulders, not out from them.
Missing Short Putts
Missing too many eight-foot putts erodes confidence. Missing two-footers obliterates it. To avoid this, narrow your focus. Instead of looking at the hole, pick out a spot on the back of the cup. Putt to that spot. This creates a positive image in your head and banishes any thoughts of missing the putt. You can also try picking out a spot between you and the cup in line with the hole and putting to that. It’s easier to hit something closer to you than farther away. This will also banish negative thoughts. That’s the key.
Maintaining your poise and concentration when things go bad keeps your score and golf handicap in check. So if you want to become a better golfer, learn this skill. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you pick up at golf instruction sessions. It’s something you learn on your own. Having a stock of instant on course fixes, minor changes to correct a swing fault, also helps you maintain your cool and boost your confidence. Sometimes, a minor change is all you need to transform a disastrous round into a good one.