Thursday, July 07, 2011

Go mental and play golf at the same time...

7/7/11 Day four of no golf, have not broken out in sweats or tremors from withdrawal. Physical condition is better without the hitting of golf balls every day, the continuous wrist pain of the past two weeks has gone as have various other strains and aches. Do miss being out side and enjoying the exercise of developing the fluid rythym of swinging golf sticks. Even in the gale strength winds, rain and cold conditions during the past two months that did not stop me from getting out and practising each day.

On the other hand my mind is working flat out on my golf swing , if anything this is an unforeseen bonus that is new territory in my golf. Visualising the swing and shots about to be played has not been a major facet of the game on my part. Do make the attempt to use mental pictures in practise and rounds, it has been on the back of the priority list when it comes to getting better. Yet once I cannot play the game as I have forced myself to do this week the situation has released a deeper concentration and thought process, being unable to play has helped.

I recall reading this tale of a US Pilot. “During the late 60’s when the U.S. was at war in Vietnam, U.S. Air force col. George Hall, was a pilot who was shot down over Vietnam and captured as a prisoner of war where he spent 7 ½ years in p.o.w camp. Before capture, he weighed better than 200 pounds and was an avid golfer who had gotten himself down to a 4 handicap. The first thing he wanted to do when he was released was to play a round of golf. He was invited to the 1973 pro-am New Orleans PGA Open. And he shot a 76! After not having played golf for 7 ½ years, and losing a 100 pounds, he played to his handicap the first time out. After the round, some members of the press came up to him and asked him “so, was that beginner’s first time luck?” He says: “luck, I never 3-putted a green in the last 5 years!”

What was he talking about?

He spent those years in prison playing golf in his mind. Yep, it’s for real. The first couple years he reported that he replayed rounds that he had already played in his life prior to being captured. And then the next few years he played new rounds on courses that he knew and some that he didn’t.”

My mind the past three days has been continually going over my set up and swing with the driver, this club I have been working very hard on improving this year. The last couple of round off the tee with this club has been very good and reflecting the benefit of dedicated practise and making a serious effort to correct faults. In essence the fault that had been making the tee shot erratic was caused by standing too far away from the ball and stretching out to get the club face behind the ball at address. Standing a little closer has removed the outside in swing plane, hitting across the ball and slicing tee shots is now replaced with hitting through and balls going straight and the draw is back in my tee shots.

I am now doing the same with the current malaise of too many second shots going off course. Replaying the last round errors with these strokes through the mind and attempting to define the fault. As it stands at the minute, again it may be from standing too far away from the ball in address. The whole problem in both cases has the taste of mental pressure making me try to set myself to swing wide and hard when playing competition. The problem is not on the practise fairway and in fact has been worked on technically there and only rears its head in the pressure of trying too hard in competition.

Interesting to be able to now have the time in playing golf to be able to work things out this way. I have tried to instil these mind exercises as workable tools over the past seasons and this has taken root in my realm of golf possibilities. The progress in getting better takes time and patience is the most valuable asset in my nature. Slowly and steadily the handicap has improved in step with my awareness of how to play the game. Thankyou for your time and attention. “Hit ‘em Straight all” Geoff