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Golf tips from a pro: Don’t get caught up in the mechanics!

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By Mark Wehrman EBS Contributor

Golf is a complex game that requires sound fundamentals, good mechanics and a certain amount of feel. Too often, golfers get caught up in the mechanics and lose the feel and imagination required to score well.

This problem starts with the best players in the world. We watch the touring professionals on TV and they’re constantly rehearsing their backswings, reading putts from all different angles around the hole, and grinding over their putting stroke when they miss. This trickles down to the rest of the golfing world and I watch it on the practice range every day. 

Amateurs will spend hours trying to perfect their swings, but when they go out on the course their shots end up nothing like what they’ve practiced over and over on the driving range. Then they come to me for a lesson and ask, “Why?”  It’s very simple, your objective has changed.

 When you’re on the range or the course and you make that “perfect” practice swing, you’re doing just that, practicing your swing. Once you put the golf ball in front of you, the objective has now changed from practicing your swing to trying to hit the ball. 

So, why don’t we just practice our swing and let the ball get in the way? In most cases golfers get too focused on the mechanics, for example: swing plane, takeaway, hinging your wrists, and the weight transfer. What gets forgotten about is the end result.

 This season I will be incorporating more “skill building” drills into the adult clinics at Big Sky Golf Course. The emphasis will be to get golfers thinking more about their target, and how they want the shot to look like to achieve the desired end result. This means focusing on the flight path, trajectory, spin, roll, launch angle, etc. 

Do you want to hit it high, low, left to right, right to left, with spin or without spin? All of this is easier to execute when we’re thinking about the target or end result, not where your hands are in the backswing, or if the club is swinging too far to the inside on the way back, or over the top on the downswing. Quite simply, we do not hit the ball in our backswing.

 So, when practicing on the driving range, let go of the notion that a perfect swing is the answer. Focus more of your attention on how you want to fly the ball toward your target, where you want to land the ball when approaching the green, or where you want your putt to end up if you miss the hole. Changing your focus from the mechanics to the target or end result will help you develop more feel.

 Mark Wehrman is the PGA Head Professional at the Big Sky Resort Golf Course.

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