Paradise in Ball Striking
An Article by PureGolf
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a person who spends time working on their golf game fairly regularly. It may sound crazy, but just go with me here…what if we actually trusted the work we did on our golf swings and the time we spent on this craft? Its so bizarre—in coaching golf, I’ve never met someone who didn’t trust their practice swing. Really think about it…
When you’re behind or beside that ball swinging at the air, there’s simply no consequences (unless you’re Zach Johnson at the Masters). There’s freedom, there’s grace, and there’s almost no tension in your body. Everything is free flowing, and it’s completely beautiful! And then…oh gosh, it happens. It’s the most dreadful move in golf to watch.
*Step* *Step* *Step*
You, now standing directly over the top ball, look down. And there it is-- the little, white ball that stares back at you, innocently, yet almost mockingly because it knows of your inconsistencies. It knows that it’s misbehaved for you in the past. Heck, it’s probably misbehaved for other golfers too because you’re just playing a ball you picked up that looked like it was in good shape. It’s got to know, right? You then sit there, mind running a million miles a minute, trying to perform that checklist of things so you can hit the ball perfectly. You can literally feel the muscles start clenching up. You ignore it—because that feeling of intense tension is completely normal for you. But it matters! Oh, it matters so much! The grip on the club that was once so perfectly light and fluffy that it could have held a bird inside and protected it with ease. But as the thoughts race, the grip starts to get tighter and tighter, leaving the bird gasping for air. The poor, little guy tries to whistle a light song to get your attention to lighten up a bit, but you can’t even hear him anymore. The thoughts are racing too quickly. You’re actually in a small form of panic over the ball as the muscles in the hands, forearms, arms, and shoulders all tense up greatly. And then, oh no…you’ve actually stopped breathing! Unconsciously, you’ve started holding in your breath because you’re feeling like it gives you more control. What should be you standing for 2 seconds and swinging freely has quickly turned into 30 seconds of thoughts, tension, and held breath that is followed by a swing that looks and performs nothing like the effortless practice swing you just performed. Then, comes the smack of the ball…on the bottom of the clubface, completely thinning the shot. The club is thrown. Obscene words are shouted. Aaaand your playing partners all judge you.
To clarify--no birds were harmed in the writing or imagining of this article.
It’s a golfer’s nightmare. You put so much work into your game, then you go out and hit some poor shots in front of family, friends, and even complete strangers that you’ve never seen on the driving range before. It’s this horrible feeling that leads to embarrassment as well as some guilt. Yet, it’s also just frustrating, isn’t it? You’ve seen yourself hit the ball just fine over some nice spans. You know it’s possible.
That’s what keeps us coming back. It’s the shots we know we can hit but don’t. But it’s also the challenge of making those bad shots better and more playable and less friendly with trees, squirrels, water, and fish.
Why can’t our practice swing be our real swing? Why is this stupid, little ball influencing so much?
Hear me out.
Have you ever stepped up to the ball and had zero thoughts and just…swung the club? Much like you do your practice swing. We've all dropped a second ball and hit a shot that did just fine, right? The putt that goes in the hole. The iron that's struck perfectly because there were no consequences?
Have you ever just set up behind the ball, breathed, stepped into the ball and just…swung with absolutely zero tension in your entire body? Your grip could almost become so light that it feels like the club may come out of your hands? Almost like you’re actually relaxing while playing the great game of golf?
Let’s be honest—the muscle clenching golf swing that’s trying to hit the ball as far as humanly possible isn’t working as well as you want it to. You rarely find the center of the face. You’re putting way too much stress and tension on yourself so that you aren’t even enjoying the round of golf like you want to be.
That’s what golf is all about, right? It’s supposed to be relaxing and getting a walk in and enjoying God’s beautiful creation. It’s getting some sunlight and some vitamin D in while you socialize with your friends. It shouldn’t cause stress and tension. And quite frankly, when it doesn’t, it’s more fun and more addicting and you’ll shoot lower scores more consistently.
If you can take away the tension and the thoughts over the golf ball, completely eliminating expectations of yourself and of the golf ball, golf actually becomes what it’s always meant to be—a great form of exercise; one that can be enjoyed by family, friends, and even strangers alike. One that can take you to some incredible scenery time and time again.
Golfers work hard on their swings at the driving range and warming up for a round. They do this across a span of years. So, why can’t you trust in that work that you’re doing? When it comes time to step up and hit the shot—do yourself a favor, let it all go. Trust your work and just relax. Bird's lives are at stake!