Play Ugly, Score Beautifully

Stop the bleeding and get back on track

When it comes to playing golf, one thing is for sure: Rarely are two days ever the same. Some days, your swing is grooving nicely and you can't miss. Other days, the club feels foreign and uncomfortable, and hitting decent shots is really tough! If I knew the secret for playing your best every time you play, I'd be the first to let everybody know. Instead, what I do know is that when things aren't going exactly how you want and you sometimes feel uncomfortable, there are steps you can take to help protect your score and make it through the round.

Let's take a look at a handful of scenarios where you can stop the bleeding and get back on track. These fixes, drills and even swing thoughts aren't always the prettiest, and some aren't designed to be long-term fixes, but they'll definitely help you stop making the same mistakes and get through 18 holes.

Sometimes what you need to feel and what should actually happen in the golf swing are two different things. For instance, if you're hitting a lot of ugly slices off the tee, it's likely because you aren't squaring up the clubface through impact. On the opposite page, that's exactly what's happening. From the position you see just before impact, I have very little chance of hitting a straight shot with that open face.

This isn't a "real" position you want to have. It's an exaggerated sensation you want to feel.

If you don't activate the hands and square the face at impact, you'll slice every time!

If this sounds like you, and you can't shake the slice, here's what I want you to do. Feel as though you're rotating your wrists or forearms way before you get to the golf ball. This feels really ugly, but the upper-left photo shows you what I want you to feel as you swing the club down and through. So rehearse it a few times, feeling like you're forcing the clubhead to shut and close prematurely, even though it's really squaring up in real time.

Once you do that a few times, make your normal swing, but visualize the "ugly" position you just rehearsed. You'll feel the difference.

The release requires the turn of the body, extension of the arms and roll of the wrists.
Don't forget what happens after you make contact! If you're holding the face open after contact, you can bet the ball will go to the right either as a push or a push-slice. To further rid the slice from your game, practice getting into this position you see here, too. Then, as you make a real swing over the ball, think of this position, as well.

You'll soon see that how you think about your shot and how the body performs actually can have an effect on helping you make better swings and hit more consistent shots. Also, rehearsing ugly positions like the one above will help you feel more comfortable with your natural golf swing.

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