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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just Close Your Eyes and Swing

I was so dismayed yesterday by my dismal drives and their incessant drifting to the right -- often far to the right -- that I appealed to my friend, Tony Schuster (the guy who taught me about Buzzard Shadows), who has the uncanny ability to look at my swing from across two fairways and give post-round corrective guidance.

Tony was going fishing today and wasn't available for a swing consult.  As an alternative, he emailed me a suggested a small drill:  "After you've warmed up on the range, put a tee down, close your eyes and swing at the tee.  You'll know internally what you're doing wrong."

So I tried it.  What did I have to lose?  I had completed my warm-up and was at the first tee with my play group.  We were all swinging our clubs and waiting from the foursome in front of us to clear the fairway, so I surreptitiously stuck a tee in the ground, lined up with my driver, closed my eyes, and took a swing.  I waited for a flash of insight.  It didn't come.  I waited for a golf epiphany.  It didn't come.  The group in front of us was making their approach shots.

I teed up my ball, stood behind it, envisioned my shot, picked my intermediate target, and let go.  The ball flew true!  It landed in the short grass, rolled forward, came to rest exactly where I'd planned.  Same results on the second tee, and even the third tee, where I always go right because both the tee box and the fairway have tricky slopes.  The round continued.  I didn't do anything spectacular, but I hit every fairway (par-3s excepted).

What an amazing drill.  Like many other "drills," I suspect the success of this one is more firmly rooted in my head than in my swing.  In other words, it's just a strategy to get me out of myself and chronic fear of failure into the round.  Just close your eyes and swing.  You'll know what you're doing wrong.