Sunday, October 23, 2005

"Back... Hit"

For our very first tip... here's one that is very simple, but strangely effective.

When you swing back, try to think the word "Back" at the precise instant the clubhead reaches the very end of the backswing... as it is changing direction. Then, think "Hit" at the exact instant the head contacts the ball.

That's it! Very simple, isn't it.

Now, I'll confess. The idea is stolen shamelessly from Tim Gallwey and his wonderful book, The Inner Game of Golf. I'm not going to tell you now what the point is, or how the tip works, but I'll surely devote a full essay to the subject later on. For now, I just urge you to try it.

Having said Tim's book is terrific, I shouldn't question the details, but I will anyway. I, personally, think using the word "Hit" is dangerous. We don't want to think about "hitting." Instead, we want to think about swinging the club and only allowing the ball get in the way. So you might want to think "through" as the head passes the ball. Or, since "through" is a pretty long word for such an instantaneous event, you might prefer "One... Two"

One more little "quibble"... Using only two words, with the last coming at the moment of contact, might also trap you into a "hitting" action and keep you from swinging through to a full finish. If so, you might want to use three words, with the last coming as the club comes to a stop. My own personal choice is, "Back... And... Through" When I first went to that, the trap was in wanting to say "And" as I shifted my weight back to my left... too early.

The next time you go to the range, play around with which variation works best for you. Then, commit to doing it on every shot: drive, iron, or putt. Focus intently on trying to think the words at precisely the correct instant; grade yourself. Commit to doing it for your next three rounds, and see if you have the discipline to actually do it — every time. (You'll find it difficult, I'll bet.)

Then, feed me back a comment and tell me what happened. I'll bet you'll be surprised!