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Golf Tidbits

May 12, 2010

Make Pressure Packed Shots Seem Routine

Chris Carpenter
In my 30-plus years of playing and teaching golf, the mental side of the game has remained, at best, elusive and mysterious, and at worst hopelessly out of reach. Why do golfers play phenomenally one day and like a novice the next? The golf course just sits there each day presenting the same basic challenges as the day before.

Accomplished players separate themselves from the pack by having a strong mental game. The most important tool in the mental game of golf is the pre-shot routine. A sound pre-shot routine is of paramount importance, since every shot is different. Yet golfers try to execute the shot with the same repeated swing.

Swinging a club should be a subconscious repetition of a previously-learned move. Similarly, the pre-shot routine should be a series of mental and physical steps repeated in the exact same order, with the same cadence or timing for each shot.

Unfortunately, the address position is where golfers often deviate from or fail to repeat their routine. They omit steps, lengthen others and introduce totally new ones spur of the moment. For many golfers, the address position is often an ever-changing hodge-podge of "whatever works." This can only allow unfamiliarity and discomfort to create doubt during the swing, leading to a conscious effort to "steer" the swing, which is the opposite of what golfers should be trying to do.

A sound pre-shot routine is extremely important. Under pressure, the most difficult shot can be reduced to a simple series of pre-programmed steps. The little voice saying, “If I make this putt I am going to win" or "If I don't make a good shot I am going to shoot a 101" can be quieted by the pre-shot routine.

Chris Carpenter is an assistant golf professional at Hayfields Country Club in Hunt Valley, Md.

PGA Free Lesson Month

Join the millions of people who have improved their golf game the last 12 years by participating in PGA Free Lesson Month.

New for 2010, PGA Free Lesson Month has added free family golf clinics, giving families the opportunity to learn and participate in the game of golf together

PGA Free Lesson Month reaches new golfers and helps existing golfers improve their game with free, 10-minute golf lessons conducted by participating PGA and LPGA professionals throughout the month of May.

Mark Your Calendar

May 22
Pink on the Green Invitational
The Club at Patriot's Glen
Elkton, Md.

May 24
Rally For The Cure 9-Hole Tournament
The Golf Club at South River
Annapolis, Md.

May 28
Fourth Annual Harford County Deputy Sheriff's Union Golf Tournament
Mount Branch
Joppa, Md.

June 10-13
Men's Amateur Championship
Congressional Country Club - Gold
Bethesda, Md.

June 14
Ninth Annual FOP No. 91 Golf Tournament
Maryland National Golf Club
Middletwon, Md.

Issue 149: May 2010