We golfers are a weird lot. When we experience success on the golf course, we try to reverse engineer our process, thinking, mechanics, and whatever else happened during the round and attribute it to something we deliberately did. Then we have the secret sauce. Once captured, we simply replicate for every shot in every round and presto! We are a better player. So, here’s mine from today 😊
It started on the range last weekend. I had watched a lesson with Lee Trevino where he stood conventional wisdom on its head and recommended to the student to, “not aim at anything and just get a consistent ball flight. Once you see that, you can start aiming.” Have you seen this video circulating? I love the Merry Mex and tried this for about 10 balls before dispensing. That tip is for the birds. . .you should always be aiming at something. After a reset, I tried a visualization exercise in my pre-shot routine. From behind the ball, I tried to envision the exact ball flight I wanted. I held it in my mind’s eye, and astride in my setup, continued to visualize the ball flight. This was the only thing I was thinking of. As soon as I looked down at the ball, I pulled the trigger. Results were impressive. 11 GIR and a 4-over round after five straight weeks of not touching a club. I used this technique for full swings and all short game shots.
After the round, I thought about how relaxed I felt all day, and determined it’s related to swing thoughts. The number of swing thoughts you retain is directly proportional to the amount of tension in your body. Kill the swing thoughts; release the tension. It works.
Playing without swing thoughts is not easy and requires practice. Go hit a bucket using these simple techniques of shot visualization and practice your short game focusing only on the trajectory and landing point for your shots. See if that doesn’t free you up for some great golf. Let me know how it goes.
My dear friend and playing companion for the last 30 years, Jim Rush, passed away on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. Folks that knew and played with Jimmy recognized what a selfless, generous, kind, and devoted man he was. His family, friends, and the local golf community have endured a tremendous loss.
I first met Jim in the late 1980s at Needwood Golf Course. He used to work as a construction foreman for the organization that maintained the course and a handful of other municipal tracks in Montgomery County. Jim and another friend, Mike DeOrio, used to pick golf balls at the range and play together. I assimilated into their group and a lifelong friendship was born. Over the course of the next three plus decades, Jim and I played many weekend rounds and charity events together. We traveled annually to Myrtle Beach and played the RTJ Trail in Alabama, as well as the Boyne Resort in Michigan. Every Fall, Jim would come with me to my beach house in Bethany Beach, DE to winterize the place and play our little mini-Eastern Shore Tour. I will miss him.
Along with golf, Jim was an avid varmint hunter and would travel to Ohio, Nebraska, and shoot in the local farmlands of Maryland. Jim was fond of telling the same hunting stories more than once. I remember on long drives to out of town golf courses, he educated me over and over on the Coriolis’ effect (earth’s rotational effect on moving objects) and what this had on some of his long hunting shots. I am now an expert 🙂 Golf, hunting, travel, sports, politics, family life, his daily to-do list, and just about everything else was fair game for a discussion. I will miss him.
Jimmy was a man of many details. He always organized the annual Myrtle Beach trips, and even after everyone had cellphones and cars with GPS, showed up at our staging area with 10-page printed copies of directions, maps, and lists of tee times. Jimmy was late to the technology party but eventually got there. His laminated index card with 15-20 swing thoughts was legendary and was always in his bag. I will miss him.
Jimmy wasn’t shy and had the gift of gab. As readers of this blog know, I like to review golf courses and feel that the best reviews are done when the course is not aware they are being evaluated. One year, we rolled into Baywood Greens in Delaware, and I told him that I’d be reviewing the course and to keep it quiet. He strolled right up to the pro shop attendant and introduced me as a course reviewer from All About Golf and said that their course would be evaluated during our round. They welcomed us and immediately paired an assistant pro with us for our “enjoyment.” Thanks Jimmy – I will miss you.
Jimmy had fought and beat the scorn of cancer for many years. I won’t dwell on his illness or his courageous fight but watching him through the surgeries and treatments and to see him keep taking lessons and trying to improve was inspiring. We used to lovingly tease him that he was belting it past all the other one-kidney guys out there. Eventually his illness cut short his time on the course, and I believe the last time we played together was at Blue Mash in May.
Jim and I played together, practiced together, filmed each other’s swings, and compared lesson notes from each of our instructors. When he stopped playing, I felt the void and my game went downhill fast because I lacked the motivation Jimmy provided to improve. I’ve only played three rounds since the beginning of August and the last was over a month ago.