It’s getting to be the time of the year when many Golfers get ‘the itch’. It’s been 2 or 3 months of cold, gray weather that’s not conducive to playing golf – so you get ‘the itch’ for sunshine, warmth and green grass. Your golf group then makes plans for Arizona or Florida to play 36 holes a day for 3 or 4 days in a row.
You make it to your location ‘totally jacked-up’ about playing golf on some beautiful golf courses – if you were born pre-1960, you might not be familiar with the phrase ‘totally jacked-up’ – unless you still have teenagers in the house. You stay up late the night before your first round of golf because your blood is pumping and everyone is excited about playing great golf over the next few days.
That feeling lasts all the way to the driving range the next morning when you don’t just walk up to hit some shots to warm-up – you strut like you’re Tiger Woods. As the line of ‘totally jacked-up’ Golfers are pounding ball after ball as they satisfy ‘the itch’ that they haven’t had a chance to scratch in a few months – you pull out your wedge to start hitting balls because your tee time is in 45 minutes and you need to work on a few things!
After three pretty good wedge shots, you move onto your 7 iron without a care in the world – “this is paradise, I need to do this more often – I work hard, I deserve this.” On your third 7 iron shot, the ball starts to draw to the left a little and you say to yourself – “hey, that’s cool – I haven’t seen that happen very much”. On the fourth shot, the ball draws a little more to the left. And on the fifth shot, it starts to resemble a hook.
“What happened? Why is my ball going so far to the left? I must be turning too much.”
On the next shot when you try not to turn as much – you hit 3 inches behind the ball. Then on the next shot when you try to shift your weight, though without turning too much – you shank the ball. And on the next shot when you make sure that you don’t swing so much outside in (by trying to make a more inside to out swing), while shifting your weight and not turning too much …. Well, let’s just try to forget about that shot because it wasn’t pretty.
You look at your watch and see that you have 25 minutes until your tee time and you need to figure out what you’re doing wrong before you get to the 1st tee. So you make a desperate move and look for one of the guys in your group that’s also hitting golf balls to come over and help you. Hoping to spot Jimmy because he’s ‘the swing guru’ of the group – I mean he’s constantly talking about the golf swing, reads all the golf magazines and is always more than happy to give golf advice to anyone that will listen (along with giving advice to those that don’t want to listen).
There he is – “Jimmy, Jimmy – I need your help. Can you watch me hit a couple of shots?”
So as you set-up to hit a golf ball – Jimmy’s standing behind you with his legs crossed and leaning on a golf club like all the great teaching pros do so that they can look studious, yet relaxed at the same time. You hit another bad shot – and Jimmy says “hit one more, I think I know what you’re doing.” You hit yet another bad shot; and then look at Jimmy for his sage advice and hope he can help you get out of your funk.
Jimmy says – “Well, you’re doing the same thing I’m working on. On the way down, your right hand is taking over causing the club to flip. So you need to work on lagging the club – make sure that your hands stay in front of the club head till just before impact and then release it. That’s what Sergio does so well, I’m working on the same thing and I’ve almost got it!”
Now as I mentioned – Jimmy is considered the swing guru of the group, although he rarely breaks 90 – well let me put it out on the table for you: nobody in his group has ever seen Jimmy break 90, though he says he’s scored 78 a couple of times. In fact, Jimmy can be often heard saying – “I’m not playing well because I’m working on something new in my swing.”
But desperate times require desperate measures and Jimmy has a library of golf tips in his head and maybe he can give you a tip that will get you through the round. So with just 10 minutes left before your tee time and Billy yelling up to you – “We’re on the tee in 5 minutes” – Billy’s always in a hurry to get to the 1st tee, he’s often trying to gather everyone by the starter 30 minutes before your tee time in his quirky quest of always trying to tee off early – you try to ignore his plea so that you can work on Jimmy’s tip of taking the right hand out of the swing and lagging the club.
After hitting two or three more shots that have shown absolutely no sign of improvement, Jimmy saying to you after each shot – “that’s better, that’s much closer”, and Billy pleading to you that you’re on the tee – what you thought of as paradise just 40 minutes ago has turned into – ‘Maybe I won’t play tomorrow.”
At which time you say that you want to hit just one shot with your driver before going to the 1st tee. So you stand up to the ball with no expectations, saying to yourself – “forget about everything and just swing smooth” – and hit the best shot you’ve hit in 3 years. While Jimmy says – “See, I told you, that time you took your right hand out of the shot. Like I said, you need to lag the club. Now you need to think about that every shot today.”
And then you look at Jimmy knowing he tried his best, yet he’ll come in with his typical 76 – meaning the 76 times he’ll tell you over the 18 holes that “I’m not playing well because I’m working on something new in my swing” – and you say “Ok Jimmy, I’ll work on that”. Knowing that in reality you should just go out there, forget about all the swing tips, swing smooth and have fun.
The Monkey has a reputation for saying “I’m not playing well because I’m working on something new in my swing”
The Player knows that when they get in a little swing funk that they can often just focus on swinging smooth to get the funk out
Go Ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life