Plan the shot bet­ter

Golf Australia - - THE WANDERING GOLFER -

These seven steps will go along way to im­prov­ing your tech­nique – but that counts for noth­ing if you don’t have an ef­fec­tive plan for the shot. Fo­cus on these five ar­eas to en­sure your strat­egy matches your swing

TAKE YOUR TIME

When you’re faced with a tough shot, the huge temp­ta­tion is to get it over with. But rush­ing the shot brings dis­as­ter. In­stead, take your time. Stand di­rectly be­hind your ball tar­get line and ab­sorb the en­tire scene, haz­ards and all. Re­alise the fair­way is wide; you could prob­a­bly fit 1,000 balls across it, and you only need one of those. Above all, prove to your­self that while the shot is tough, a good out­come is a pos­si­bil­ity.

LOCK ON TO YOUR TAR­GET

Dan­ger­ous haz­ards like wa­ter have an ugly habit of grasp­ing your at­ten­tion. You can’t ig­nore it, but you can re­lease your­self from its hold by pick­ing your tar­get and com­mit­ting to it through­out the plan­ning stage. The clearer you de­fine your line, the easier this comes, so pick an in­ter­me­di­ate tar­get to help you. Drum this line into your mind’s eye and you’ll be bet­ter able to re­sist that last-sec­ond doubt that breeds a ‘safety’ ad­just­ment… and usu­ally dis­as­ter.

KEEP AWARE

Some tees have mower stripes that may – or may not – point you down the fair­way. It’s im­por­tant you be­come aware of these lines and how they re­late to your cho­sen shot path be­cause it’s easy to be sub­lim­i­nally in­flu­enced by them. Sim­i­larly with the tee mark­ers; they will not nec­es­sar­ily line up square to your shot. The bot­tom line is to use these el­e­ments to help you aim… and en­sure they don’t use you.

MIND YOUR BODY LAN­GUAGE

Be aware of how you stand, move and breathe. Sim­ply stand­ing tall with good pos­ture can help give you a feel­ing of con­fi­dence. Take this feel­ing into your prac­tice swing. Hold a bal­anced fin­ish, look­ing down the fair­way; try to look as com­posed as pos­si­ble to any on­looker. Mov­ing like this helps you feel con­fi­dent and com­mit­ted, and helps you ward off feel­ings of twitch­i­ness. A deep breath also helps slow your heart rate and keep you calm.

GO WITH WHAT YOU KNOW

Your best chance of pulling the shot off lies with hit­ting the shot you are most com­fort­able with. It’s im­por­tant you don’t let the haz­ards or the hole force you into us­ing a club – or a shape of shot – that makes you anx­ious. That can mean play­ing for a left-to-right shot even if the hole bends the other way, or chang­ing clubs if you think it will help you com­mit with a con­fi­dent swing.

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