RE­PLAC­ING OLD HABITS WITH NEW

Kevin Smith gives tips on what to do when you are learn­ing some­thing new from your golf coach.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS -

One thing that I learnt very

early on as a coach was that I need to be part tech­ni­cian, part psy­chol­o­gist and part sales per­son. I need to sell to the golfer stand­ing in front of me why they need to make the rec­om­mended changes even when feel­ing very for­eign and or un­com­fort­able.

So what I would like to en­cour­age every golfer tak­ing in­struc­tion to know, is that it is very im­por­tant to fully un­der­stand the changes and the 'why' rec­om­mended to you by your PGA Pro­fes­sional, es­pe­cially when re­plac­ing old poor habits with new im­proved habits. Ac­cept that these changes will feel dif­fer­ent. But that's what's re­quired to help you move ahead with your golf and help you achieve your golf­ing goals.

Remember Ein­stein's def­i­ni­tion of in­san­ity: "do­ing the same thing over and over again and ex­pect­ing a dif­fer­ent re­sult"

It's also im­por­tant to remember that when in­stalling these new habits the golfer needs to de­velop a clear im­age of what these changes look like as well as what they feel like to you, so that you have your own per­sonal ref­er­ences.

Us­ing a mir­ror or video can help you de­velop these changes. Here are some ex­am­ples of changes the golfer may need to 'down­load'.

↑ 01-02: CHANG­ING YOUR GRIP

This can be a golfers worst night­mare! How­ever as the hands are our only link be­tween us and the golf club, it's es­sen­tial that we hold the club in such a man­ner that when we swing the club nat­u­rally it re­turns back squarely to the ball with­out us hav­ing to cre­ate a bunch of mod­i­fi­ca­tions that may then lead to other is­sues or even in­jury.

When mak­ing this change I rec­om­mended leav­ing a club next to your favourite chair so that you can pick it up and check your hand po­si­tion as of­ten as is pos­si­ble.

I also rec­om­mend the golfer gets use to it through their chip­ping first, then pitch­ing, be­fore mak­ing full swings with their new im­proved grip. I'm sure by do­ing this that in no time at all your new po­si­tion will start to feel a lot more com­fort­able and pro­vide a lot more suc­cess on the golf course.

← 03: ALIGN­MENT

An­other com­mon change rec­om­mended by golf coaches is for our clients to be­come a lot more aware of align­ing their bod­ies par­al­lel to their tar­get line. I'm sure if you were to go and watch the top am­at­uers or visit a pro­fes­sional event and see them warm­ing up on the range. That most will have an align­ment aid down on the ground sim­i­lar to what I'm demon­strat­ing. Hav­ing this aid there then en­ables them to start to know what the cor­rect align­ment both looks and feels like, mak­ing it a lot eas­ier to get this right when out on the course.

Sec­ond to this, dis­cuss with your PGA Pro­fes­sional a rou­tine that will help you out on the course where you are ob­vi­ously un­able to put an align­ment aid down.

↑ 04-05: OVERSWINGING

One fi­nal com­mon change I have needed to rec­om­mend to clients is to shorten their back­swings. Of­ten we are en­cour­aged to swing the club back to par­al­lel or hor­i­zon­tal (3 O'clock), how­ever, due to in­er­tia and mo­men­tum the club of­ten trav­els a lot fur­ther back than what we may think. And I'm sure you have heard the say­ing of "feel isn't real" mean­ing that what we may feel and think we are do­ing might not match up with what we are ac­tu­ally do­ing. So given this change you may need to feel that your back­swing is only a 1/2 or 3/4 in length to have it stop where your coach rec­om­mends it to be?

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