Did you know good concentration techniques can save you five strokes per round? How many of you have setup to hit a golf shot and sensed something wasn’t right and pulled the trigger anyway? Did you hit a good shot? Doesn’t happen. That “not right” feeling is caused by either a breakdown in concentration or a faulty address. If we can eliminate both, we’ll drastically reduce our mistakes and improve our scores.
Address errors usually fall into two categories. Either your alignment is off or your posture is bad. The fix here is simple. Restart your pre-shot routine and get comfortable before you hit the shot. Of course, you can hit a bad shot from a completely comfortable starting point, but thinking that something is not correct before you swing is a sure fire way to misplay. Lately, I’ll find myself a little uncomfortable looking at the target and wondering if I’m slightly closed. This never results in a good shot and I need to work to reset.
Concentration errors come in many flavors. Anything that pressures you to deviate from your natural rhythm and cadence is an issue. In my last round, I was paired with two beginners. There were a lot of swings and misses from these two and I told myself early on to be very patient. But alas, the extra waiting between shots started to preoccupy my mind and my game suffered. Something as small as a playing partner stepping on your putting line or playing out of turn, or someone standing in the wrong place, can mess with you. If you are preparing to hit a shot and thinking about anything other than the specifics of the shot, you are susceptible to a concentration error. The situation with the beginners put me in a tough spot. Golf is a social game and I love meeting interesting and new players. The only measure of control I could have had was to schedule a game with a foursome I was comfortable playing with. Again, the best antidote is to pause, perish the negative distraction, and reset.
Physical errors are more easily excused because we are human. Concentration errors are tougher because they’re preventable. It takes discipline to reset if you’re not ready to swing and do so anyway because you don’t want to hold up play. It just takes a few seconds to reset and will be worth your while. Give it a try and watch the extra strokes disappear!