Learn Like A Pro, Play Like A Pro!

Apply lasting improvements to your golf game

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Nothing replaces solid mechanics when it comes to hitting the ball a long way. But you still need to be in the correct state to allow for the swing mechanics to flow just right. Tight muscles are slow muscles, and most golfers try to increase swingspeed by tensing up, not by getting their muscles relaxed to be able to generate more clubhead speed. Hey, we're all guilty of approaching a big drive like a wrestler and flexing our muscles, gripping the club tighter and so on. But, in reality, getting your muscles too involved actually can slow your swing down, not speed it up. You have to stay relaxed and supple!

A great way to do that is to take a slow, deep breath before every shot. This will reduce muscle tension, not to mention help calm your mind when you start getting nervous or tense over a shot. Deep breathing increases your oxygen flow to the brain and to the muscles, signaling them that it's okay to relax.

Come time to execute a shot, take one last deep breath, then let it go and make a golf swing. Do this not just before you hit a drive, but any shot (or putt!) you face on the golf course. Tour players use deep breaths a lot—watch for them on the next TV broadcast, and pay attention to their preshot routines. A deep breath is employed by dozens of the best players in the world.

The golf swing shouldn't hurt. If it did, Tour players wouldn't last very long. Take, for instance, how the body works through impact. The last thing you should do, especially with an iron, is attempt to square the clubface with your shoulders. Through the hitting area, Tour players use their forearms to square the clubface, with the back of the left hand rotating the clubface toward the target at impact. Using your forearms instead of your shoulders to square the face allows your head to remain stable and your eyes to see the clubface hit the ball. When you try and use the shoulders to square the face, you not only lose power and control, you end up placing a lot of stress on the back, shoulders and arms, which could lead to some injuries over time.

At impact, because I'm allowing my forearms to control the rotation of the clubface, I actually can see the ball leave the face at impact.

When you contort and attempt to square the clubface with your shoulders, you'll have a hard time producing good results.

The key is to trust that the clubhead will lift the ball on its own, and the forearms are what square the clubface, not the shoulders.

We've all done it. You hit a bad shot, only to face another from under a tree that requires you to thread the needle, so to speak, and hit a miraculous shot. Better yet, many of us pull that shot off more than we expect.

Why do most play trouble shots so well? I think it's because when faced with trouble like this, our focus sharpens considerably. The options for the shot are minimal and we're very limited on what type of shots we can hit and still produce good results. The trouble you may have with tree limbs, bunkers and rough makes creating a clear picture very easy in our minds. Golfers need to take this same level of visualization to regular shots from the fairway. Some golfers get lazy and just go through the motions and hit poor shots when they should learn to visualize a more limited set of options and focus more on hitting specific types of shots.

Try that the next time you play, and envision every shot you play as a trouble shot. You'll sharpen your focus considerably.


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