I’ve been struggling with my confidence since the poor finish to the 2012 season and decided to pick up Bob Rotella’s Golf Is a Game of Confidence. Halfway through the read the message was clear: I needed to re-dedicate to my short game and regain some structure with my pre-shot routine, which admittedly I had slacked off on. I recalled the last few good rounds I had played and the common thread was an excellent short game practice session the day before. When I come away from a great session on the green I get an invincible feeling that transitions into confidence and relaxation in every aspect of my game.
Out at the short game area yesterday, I worked on a very methodical pre-shot routine for chipping, pitching, and putting and enjoyed some excellent feedback. 90% of the routine was my old routine, but I concentrated hard to repeat before every shot. The slight adjustment was to take a final look at the target, on all shots, and immediately pull the trigger. On my putts, I literally stared down my spot, moved my eyes back to the ball, and started the stroke in one motion. By not hesitating, I was trusting my feel, which was akin to a basketball player eying the basket, firing off a jumper, and letting his natural sense for calculating distance, arc, and force sink the shot. And it worked great.
I also used the landing point drill with three alignment sticks to frame a small box (open end towards the hole) where I wanted my chip or pitch to land. This got me focused exclusively on the target and freed up my sense of touch. At no time did I think any mechanical thoughts because I was totally focused on my landing spot and feeling the shot during my practice swings. The results were awesome, with plenty of crisp contact and dialed-in distance on the pitches and chips, and putts that were banged into the back of the cup. It’s funny how one small mental change can yield so much physical benefit.
So it’s the start of the work week, the weather has turned sour, and I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go. Has your season gotten off to a good start as well?