Learning how to practice the inner game and golf focus is the key to playing better golf. After all, it’s your mind that controls your preparation and your swing, and it’s your mind that has to process the outcome of a shot. If you have strong fundamentals, golf is 90% a mind game. Good golf is about learning positive visualization and feel, and responding correctly to results, whatever they are. Being able to do this has a massive impact on your performance, whatever your handicap. This is easy to say, but how do we learn it?
Steps to Better Visualization, Feel, and Golf Focus
The first part is simple. Make your practice more about being creative, rather than learning new techniques and hitting to the same target. Learn the fundamentals of a good setup (grip, alignment, posture, ball position and stance) but at the same time Learn to heighten your senses and make a complete variety of golf shots part of your instinct. Introduce different shot shapes to your mind and make your body work to produce them. This will act to increase your power of visualization and ingrain those swings in your long-term muscle memory. Gary Player (arguably the most diligent golfer ever) said that practice should involve hitting as many shots as possible to different targets – hooks, slices, fades, draws, low and high shots. Enjoy the adventure of being creative. Tiger Woods says that creativity is the 15th club in his bag, and anyone that has seen him play knows this to be true. This is because he continually learns and practices positive visualization, golf focus, and feel, through hitting different shots. Most amateur golfers think they have mastered the game on the range, because they see the ball flying to the same target shot after shot. This is not the most effective way to practice. Your body puts that same shot in its short-term muscle memory and its repetition becomes subconscious. We need to use our minds to keep our body learning the feel of new shot shapes. This is what will make you a better player. On the golf course you are not going to be faced with same shot on a level lie, time after time. Every shot is different. Using the driving range to ingrain a variety of shots into your subconscious mind is the most effective way to practice and get closer to your best golf. Better players simply see and have more shots. Don’t be afraid to experiment – it will sharpen your senses and make you a better player.
Photo by Keith Allison