Ten­sion is root cause of most toe shots

Seaway News - - AUTO TALK -

(NC) - Ques­tion: "Lately I have been hit­ting the ball dead right. What am I do­ing?"

An­swer: One of two things could be caus­ing that. Ei­ther you are hit­ting the ball off the heel or off the toe of the club. Both of those spots could cause the ball to go dead right.

Well this week I'm go­ing to talk about the toe shot. Al­though both shots --the heel shot and the toe shot --go straight off to the right (for a right-handed player), they are two com­pletely dif­fer­ent mis­takes.

Ten­sion is the killer of all golf swings and it is the root cause of most toe shots. Ten­sion also causes curs­ing and phrases like "I hate this game!"

Why does ten­sion cause you to hit off the toe? Well, when you swing the club to­ward the golf ball, ten­sion will cause you to pull your arms to­ward your body. When your arms are pulled to­ward your body, the club also gets pulled to­ward your body. When that hap­pens, the only part of the club that will hit the golf ball is the toe of the club. The golf ball has no choice, but to go right.

What causes ten­sion? Un­cer­tainty, lack of con­fi­dence, a bad grip, an un­bal­anced set-up po­si­tion, wa­ter haz­ards, sand bunkers, slow play and, I can't men­tion it enough, un­cer­tainty.

Why does un­cer­tainty cause ten­sion in golf? When you are set-up over the golf ball and you don't know if you are go­ing to hit it to the right (into the trees) or the left (into the wa­ter), that is un­cer­tainty. The sus­pense is killing you. It is like when you are driv­ing your car in a city you never been in be­fore. It is rush hour and the lo­cals are all speed­ing by know­ing ex­actly where they want to go. You are slow­ing down at ev­ery street sign to read the name of the street, so you don't miss your turn. Cars are back­ing up be­hind you. You can feel the other mo­torists get­ting up­set with your un­cer­tain driv­ing and you hear them honk­ing their horns be­cause you are go­ing very slow, un­cer­tain on where you have to turn.

This is a tense sit­u­a­tion. It is sim­i­lar in golf. Have you ever been in the sit­u­a­tion that you were stand­ing over your golf ball and you didn't know in which di­rec­tion it was go­ing to fly af­ter you hit it, the other play­ers in your group are al­ready down the fair­way and the four­some be­hind your group is let­ting you know that you are play­ing slow? There is no way, in that sit­u­a­tion that ten­sion couldn't be build­ing up in­side you.

The best ad­vice I have for both sit­u­a­tions is come pre­pared. On your road trip, have a map you stud­ied be­fore you ven­ture out. On the golf course, you should prac­tice be­fore you play. If you went to the prac­tice range a cou­ple of days be­fore your round of golf, you will have an idea of which way the ma­jor­ity of golf balls will go when you hit them. Then on the day you play, hit a few balls be­fore you play. Con­firm that you know the di­rec­tion you will hit the ma­jor­ity of your golf balls. No­tice how I say ma­jor­ity.

That is im­por­tant! Not many peo­ple can hit ev­ery ball in the same di­rec­tion. But if you know in which di­rec­tion you are go­ing to hit seven out of 10 golf balls, even if it is a wicked slice, you can at least aim for it.

By hav­ing that game plan in your head. You are tak­ing away much of the ten­sion caused by un­cer­tainty. This will al­low you to make a swing that goes through the ball prop­erly and will de­crease your chance of hit­ting balls off of the toe.

So lets make a com­mit­ment to come to the golf course pre­pared and be­come ten­sion free.

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