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The Formula for Winning at Golf

Visualize the shot.develop a consistent pre-shot routine.write out your strategy. All of the golfing greats have visualized their shots and putts before actually making the stroke. Visualizing helps the golfer to commit to a target and flight path to that target.

This in turn, sends information to the muscles to condition or prime the body for what it is about to do. Image the ball landing at your target and what the ball is going to do. Then back up following the line of flight and imagine yourself making the swing.

How did it feel, including the tempo, the impact, and the follow-through? It is amazing how the mind and body works. Once you have the shot in your mind you are ready to believe you will make it happen. The pre-shot routine which often includes visualizing the shot is the habit that you develop to get yourself mentally prepared to execute the shot. It helps you to relax and get focused on the shot at hand.

The difference between professionals and amateurs is in the quality and consistency of their routines. A pre-shot routine is very similar to hypnosis in that you are attempting within a very short period of time, just before the shot, to basically clear your mind to focus on the task. Professionals practice their routines before every shot allowing them to put their minds to rest and assure them of eliminating negative thoughts. Too often amateurs think about the possibilities which open the door to fear.

Pre-shot routines can include adjusting the golf glove to make sure it is secure; holding the golf club at an angle to place your hands on the grip and make sure the club face is open; stepping behind the ball to pick out your target and locate a spot 3 to 4 feet in front of the ball to focus on while setting your feet accordingly for the target and the ball; making sure you are balanced then taking a smooth practice swing before hitting the ball. (This is just one example. The key is developing something that is easily repeatable and something that helps you to get focused on the task at hand.) Finally, we come to having a written strategy that we can refer to on every tee as to what we intend to do on each hole. Remember something; 60-70% of all strokes are taken within 100 yards of the hole.

If you are to make measurable improvement in your game, you must get a handle on the short game regardless of what you do off the tee. And yet amateur golfers continue to lose strokes around the green. In visualizing the shots, I mentioned imaging what the ball is going to do around the target. The only way you can do that is to understand what the ball is going to do at impact and then how that ball action is going to affect what happens when it lands. This takes not only knowledge of your swing but knowledge of how the lie conditions will affect the ball with that swing.

And although we can see the fairway from the tee and have a pretty good idea of where we want to place the shot, we don't usually understand all of the subtleties from 100 yards in. Ben Hogan was well known for walking the course the evening before a tournament to observe the subtleties of the course - Like he would say "to observe the tricks and traps". He wanted to understand what the ball would do where and what he needed to avoid - I think that 37 wins between 1945 and 1949 says he must have known something.

Visualizing the shot, developing a consistent pre-shot routine and writing out a solid strategy works and it can work for you.

Article by Jeff Gustafson - Pocket Pro http://www.the-sixth-man.com http://www.pocketproonline.com

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