Received the below from James…
Back in the late seventies and early eighties when I was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, I used to golf with a lot of retired Marines. I gleaned a good bit of wisdom from them, and want to share this piece of advice I got from Jerry on the tenth tee one Saturday morning. I had sliced every ball I hit on the first nine, and was really stinking the course up. When it was my turn to tee off on the tenth hole, Jerry said, “Smitty, you do what you want, but if I were you, I’d try doing something different.”
I like this, but only if you take the advice the right way. Many, will rack their brains trying to figure out what they’re doing wrong, or think back to the latest issue of Golf Digest to remember that tip on fixing the golf slice. For the most part this kind of thinking does more harm than good. You end up going around in circles and never really get any meaningful breakthroughs.
“whatever it takes”, is one of my favourite cues to get my game back on track and I was reminded of it when I read James’s comment.
“Whatever it takes” is a different mindset from over-thinking. You’re not trying to think your way out of a golfing slump, you’re gunna hit your way out of it. Here’s what I’m on about.
Like James, say you’re having a terrible time on the front nine, hitting slice after slice. When you get to the tenth tee you can give yourself a little pep talk…
C’mon big guy, let’s get this ball in play. What will it take for this stupid little ball to find that huge fairway down there?”
That question is way better than, “what am I doing wrong?” The “wrong” question has no definitive answer. It’s all guessing and not going to help you much – it’s a merry-go-round that leads nowhere.
But a better question will give you a way forward – a solution to your little dip in form. And hopefully you come up with something like,
– let’s aim way to the left and play with this slice. There’s no point in fighting it today, let’s just play with what I’ve got.
– I’m just going to hood the clubface closed a little. My sight is off today so this should counteract the sidespin I’m placing on the ball.
– I’m over this driver, it’s not working today. I’m going to use a shorter club for the rest of the round – when I hit my three-wood it goes almost as far as my driver anyway.
None of the above are complicated bits of golf instruction. They’re simple and won’t disrupt your game and will allow you to get on with playing golf (most important). Hopefully, you get a surge of confidence and make a freer and more natural swing. You’ll be able to hit your way out of a slice (coz you’re swinging like there’s no tomorrow) and save a few brain cells along the way (because you’re not spinning your wheels trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong).
So yes! If you’re struggling along with your game you probably need to do something different – just make sure to ask yourself a good question and don’t forget to keep playing the game.