What to do when you can’t keep your ball on the planet off the tee
You’ve been looking forward to this round all week, and then when the time finally comes, it all goes wrong. You can’t keep the ball on the planet off the tee, and it’s ruining your round. What should you do next? GOLF.com’s resident low-handicappers are hear to help…
1. Stop and recharge
Dylan Dethier (+3.3 handicap): First, get recharged. Eat a granola bar. Drink some water. Take a deep breath. The first thing you should do is check out your alignment, so have someone else in your group see if your feet, hips, shoulders and clubface are all facing the target. That’s a great first step.
Then get back to the basics of your swing, too. When your round is going off the rails, things tend to move very fast, so slow them down — and think back to one very simple swing thought that has worked for you in the past. You’re not looking to find the perfect golf swing. You’re just trying to have a little more fun and get in to the clubhouse.
2. Get a go-to shot
Luke Kerr-Dineen (2.5 handicap): You can’t play golf without, occasionally, everything collapsing around you. It’s one of the less delightful parts of the game, but as DJ explains, it’s part of the game nevertheless. The best way to prepare for that eventuality is to spend a few shots each time you’re on the range perfecting a go-to shot. Something simple that you know you’ll work even on the worst of days. Maybe it’s a 50 percent driver swing, or a back-of-the-stance knockdown. Whatever it is, find it and use it.
3. Stay calm, stay positive
Ashley Mayo (3.1 handicap): First, take a deep breath and remember that all golfers hit poor shots and have bad rounds. Second, revisit the basics! Remember that your grip pressure should be light—if you imagine your grip being a tube of toothpaste, you shouldn’t squeeze any paste out when you swing. And S-L-O-W down—try to hit the ball half the distance you typically hit it, you’ll be amazed by how far the ball actually goes when you make a relaxed, slow swing. Also, try everything you can to keep your spirits up. Remind yourself that you DO know how to play golf and you DO know how to hit the ball. Your talents will emerge far faster if you stay positive during challenging moments.
4. Slower swing, better contact
Zephyr Melton (5.5 handicap): Slow down your swing and focus on solid contact. A lot of this game is figuring out a way to grind out a decent score when you don’t have your best stuff. Slowing down is the method I use when things go sideways.
5. Find your tempo
Josh Sens (6 handicap): My old approach was to curl into a fetal position and wallow in self pity. But that slowed down play and earned me few friends, so I switched to focusing on my tempo. And to reminding myself that it’s just a game, and that part of its beauty is its elusiveness. Corny as it sounds, the quest is what makes golf so compelling. Embrace it. To one degree or another, we’re all searching out there. Always. Don’t forget that.
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