I was surprised to hear that our brain and visual focus have a lot to do with the success of our golf shots. Jason Day and Jack Nicklaus visualize their shot but even more important they pick a target point to allow their brain to zero in on that point to make their planned shot. I was also surprised to see a video by Tom Stickney, a PGA Instructor on GOLF-INFO-GUIDE which highlighted the fact that your visual focus will actually allow your brain to unconsciously control the direction of your shot.
Jim McLean is shown here with a burning image around his target point and you should too.
Tom referred to a tip that he learned from one of his golf coaches. He recommended that you follow your normal setup routine and end your pre-shot routine with a last look at your target. The smaller the target is defined, the better your success will be in hitting that target.
I am only bring this tip to your attention as it’s exactly the same process that I have been using for my putting. If I choose the correct target point with my rehearsed swing speed for the right break, I sink my putt.
- If I pick a target point and focus on that point for at least 2 seconds before I return my head to focus on my ball, the target and distance are burned into my brain.
- It’s as if I have this laser image for the line that I need to hit for my putt.
- I feel the image in my brain even though I have moved my visual focus back to the ball.
- Hitting my ball on that “laser target line” is the only thing that my brain can visualize and “feel”. Swinging my putter directly up that line is all that my brain will allow me to do.
Hitting a drive or a fairway shot is easier than putting on a sloped green so the direction of my shot is all that counts. Start by planning for a draw or a fade (or a straight shot if you can count on it).
Spend your “FINAL FOCUS” when you prepare for each shot by choosing a specific target.
DO NOT LOOK at the hazard on the left or the trees on the right but focus your eyes on your chosen target. [If your last look is at the pond, that’s where your ball will end up.]
Your final focus will lock your brain into the shot that will drive your ball directly up your target line. Practice with GOLFSTR+ for your powerful straight arm shots on your target line. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com
PS. I look for these tips to help my game as much as I want to help yours. In my last round of golf, the rough was about 6 to 8 inches deep, so I really wanted to hit fairways and greens. I worked on my FINAL FOCUS and hit 16 out of 18. My playing partners kept taking free lifts out of the rough to survive the round.
Is it reasonable to think that you can just let go and make the shot? Many articles say that you can but if you don’t have the mental fortitude and proven skill-set, you really need to put a lot more effort into making every shot than “just letting it go”. I just watched a wonderful video: PGA Tour 2019 The Nicklaus Method presented by Nationwide. It presented the brilliance of Jack Nicklaus’ game and gave us the clues for success in our golf.
Before I saw this video, I was preparing a blog on how the brain affects our game. The left side of our brain is the analytical side where we may over analyze and mess up our shots. The right side controls our spatial thinking where we visualize our swing shape and direction to hit our target. So how are we supposed to control our brains to control our bodies to execute the perfect swing for every drive, fairway shot and putt? During Jack’s Memorial Tournament I was hoping to find the answers from Jack Nicklaus.
Jack’s straight arm down stroke is dropped to the inside (denoted by the RED lines). You can see his advanced hip turn, lagged wrists with a looped downswing.
Jack developed his golf skills and then developed a mental focus to create his success. During the 1970’s he won 38 of the 171 events that he entered. He won 20% of the time and he was in the top 10 for 65% of those tournaments. His record proves that his ideas are golden. Here are some of the key comments which were made by Jack and others on the video:
-Mindfulness: He did not consider the end point. He did not let his success or failure of his last shot district his thoughts on his next shot. His focus was shot to shot.
-Attitude: Be smart about what you do. Take the shot that will generate the best result for you.
-Emotional Control: Refocus on the shot. Be calm and focused with no emotion. Block out problems and decide to just make the shot.
-Posture: You can see his confidence in the way he walked and “the way he carried his shoulders”.
Know your Game: Learn from your mistakes and from your successes. Know what distance you hit with each club and then adjust for the wind, altitude, humidity and ground moisture.
Smart Solid Golf: The pros can take more chances as they have better control of each shot. Mid-range handicap players should accept their weaknesses and make the safe shot with confidence that they can make it. If you hit in a poor location (in the rough or behind trees) take your “penalty” and hit for the perfect position for your next approach shot. Just be happy to find your ball and prepare for your next great shot.
Mental Focus: He knew what he could do with each of his clubs (including his 1 iron) so all he had to focus on was a perfect swing. He blocked everything out of his mind and backed off any hit when he did not have a 100% commitment to his shot or his putt.
You can’t expect to “let go and make the shot”. Even the great Jack Nicklaus used his extreme focus on every shot to block out any mental interference. Know your ability and focus on the shots that you know you can make. Practice with GOLFSTR+ and put all of your focus on the shot that you remember making before. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com