Most golfers have a particular club that they are most comfortable with. That club just feels right and you know you will hit the ball well with it. Just the feel and sight of that club infuses you with confidence.
When you start out playing golf, most people begin by using just a couple of clubs. Inevitably these will become our first "go-to" golf clubs. You‚Äôve practiced more with them and so feel comfortable with them. But as time goes on and you become more skilled as a golfer you find that your favorite club changes every so often. You can find that you fall out with the very club that used to be your favorite.
In a similar way, you can find that your favorite aspects of the game also change. You might feel great about your drives for a long period of time, yet find that your short game is a little shaky. Then you work to improve your short game and lo and behold your long game starts to deteriorate. Frustrating, is it not?
Golfers dream of that time when all of their game is "on" at the same time. In reality this entails a whole lot of practice time that the majority of amateurs do not necessarily have.
You need to be able to drive the ball well off of the tee, and to hit fairways woods, hybrids and irons off the tee box, the fairway and all sorts of side sloping, downhill and uphill lies. A golfer needs to be able to adapt his or her clubs to hit high or low shots, or shape them around obstacles, not to mention hit off different types of ground conditions or play in differing weather conditions.
Then there's the short game that entails knowing how to hit a whole additional set of shots, as well as to be a confident putter. And all of these shots require you to first be good at course management, assessing what is the best percentage shot to play and having the mental strength to commit to it and not be fearful or distracted.
I have a hypothesis here that you might like to comment upon or at least think about. The more clubs you have the more things you have to become familiar with and remember. Each club in itself requires time to practice and become comfortable and confident in what you can achieve with it. The less clubs you play with the more familiar you can become with the application of those clubs as you spend a greater percentage of your time on them. In this sense, less is in fact more.
In reality golf requires you to be practiced, experienced, creative, adaptive and mentally strong. If you don't have very much time to practice then it's important to prioritize the things that are most important in your game.
1. The mental side applies to every shot in golf and takes the least time to work on. That probably should be number one on the list, but all too often it doesn't even get looked into.
2. Getting good at putting is the next easiest way in which to knock shots off your handicap. It's also easy in terms of technique and club manipulation. It's pretty straightforward.
3. Then you are probably always going to have to chip or pitch the ball more frequently in a round of golf than most other shots so this is the next essential one to get comfortable with. You may decide to go for one club to create several different shots or different clubs for different shots. It's up to you to decide the easiest way in which to achieve success in the least amount of time.
4. The feel and tempo that you learn and become familiar with in chipping provides a great groundwork for the longer shots. It is a basic necessity that you can build from when taking longer clubs into your hands. I would thus prioritize upwards from a mid iron to a useful hybrid to a fairway wood and then end up with work on the driver.
Do you do this I wonder? Most golfers tend to work upon their game in almost the opposite manner. Golfers tend to try to run before they can walk. They start out on the range with a driver in their hands and dash past the practice putting green in their haste to get to the tee.
Good course management dictates that you work back mentally from green to tee box and choose your clubs and shots from this perspective. The most efficient way in which to allocate your practice time accords with the same principles.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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