Improve your game

By Anthony Barkley

As a NZPGA professional, one of my roles is to help people improve and enjoy their golf. To improve a person’s game we need to guide them down a road suitable to their needs. For a younger golfer the needs are different compared to a golfer that works full time and plays once a week so one tip or one method doesn’t fit all. TV and internet overload in regard to golf tips, drills and golf systems is now becoming more common. Information and understanding is great for any golfer so TV programmes such as The Golf Fix or even YouTube golf articles can be full of fantastic tips but to choose the correct drill etc is like pinning the tail on the donkey. You may get it right or look like the donkey that you are trying to pin. Prescribing the correct fixes are the role of a PGA professional as we are trained to look at the whole picture and with today’s technology such as FlightScope, at least checking with your local pro makes sense.

So with this in mind I want to pass on to you a drill I came across while working with one of my Rotorua Boys High students. We were working on the range on 50m pitch shots which was not his best shot. I thought about what we were doing and felt he was over thinking the shot.

So I set up a small cone on the landing spot of the 50m pitch. I then got the student to see the shot 7 times before hitting each pitch. Within 10 balls the target was hit on the full. Then I tried it for 30m shots, target was hit in 5 shots. This was a great result and to be honest was a little unexpected. The student was a single figure golfer but the concept of thinking of nothing but target and convincing the mind through repetitive positive images worked. There was no room for negative thoughts as he was too busy with seeing the shots. I even gave this drill a cheesy name “The Power of 7”.

So to adjust this drill for different level golfers just make the landing spot larger and if you do find 7 too many try 5. The 7 shots that you see starts from the time you walk up to your ball but takes some practice and doesn’t need to take too long. I would be very surprised if you don’t see an improvement in results quickly after practicing this, but if not then I suggest any of the following:

·       Have your pitching technique checked by a qualified NZPGA coach

·       Attend some clinics on short game

·       Join a practice group

·       If you don’t have a coach close by, film your swing on your phone or ipad and forward it to me ( For the ipad use the FREE programme called Hudi Technique or upload to Utube on a private setting. A fee will apply but I will send a video rundown to you.

So that’s a tip from me today that can work for anyone that takes the time to try it. Just remember that change takes time, so be patient with your golf and enjoy your time on the course.