By Mark Keating, Head PGA Golf Professional, OGA Golf Course
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This month we tackle the age-old question for many golfers: how can I execute the shot from the rough between two trees, but when I'm smack-dab in the middle of the fairway (a shot that is exponentially easier) I routinely leave it short or off target?
When only one “window” for a playable shot is available, it is natural for the mind to latch onto a detailed plan for the body to execute. That semi-obstructed shot must be perfect, and so you "file a flight plan" for the ball to reach the desired destination.
File a Flight Plan: When you are in the short grass and are looking at hitting a green in regulation, you often have every conceivable route to the target available to you. In this instance, most golfers find themselves sleepwalking through the process of filing a flight plan. They assume or hope for just a nice, straight shot.
The pre-shot “creation” should include a three-dimensional, start-to-finish image of what is about to happen. Included in this might be the height of the shot, the curve on the flight, the landing point and amount of roll. (add any additional imagery you like).
This creation will lead to a purposeful rehearsal swing, which in turn, allows for a relaxed "re-creation" of something you have already experience - even if it was only in you mind.
Listen closely to the tour players talking to their caddies on the television broadcast. You will hear them discussing landmarks in the distance as a starting point for their upcoming shot, like the television towers, the Goodyear blimp or a person with a brightly-colord shirt in the crowd. Those things are pre-defined for us when we are wedged between two trees with only one choice available.
One thing you will pick up on in these installments is that imagination is key when playing golf. If you are having a hard time with existing landmarks on the golf course you are playing, use your imagination and picture television towers, windows in the sky, blimps or whatever to make what you are up to more fascinating. Or even consider exploring alternative routes to the target: you may just be subconsciously bored.
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