Keeping Your Eye On The Ball
How much does the golf ball matter? No, not what brand of golf ball you’re using – they’re all basically the same. It just depends on whose marketing plan sounds best to you when you choose which golf balls to play with. But, that’s something for another edition of Golf Improvement Weekly.
What I’m talking about is how much do you think about the golf ball during each shot you take? Think about it – When was the last time you stood over a golf ball and didn’t think about the golf ball? Meaning you weren’t worried about hitting it – you just made your PLAN and swung.
Is it possible to make a PLAN behind the golf ball, walk up to the ball, put your club down behind it and swing without focusing on the golf ball? With you just focused 100% on where you want the ball to land? Is it possible? Can you do it? Have you ever done it? Am I just speaking nonsense?
The most important aspect of hitting the golf ball is “keeping your eye on the golf ball” – correct? If you say “Yes” – then you’re not swinging the golf club as fluid and precise as you should. If you said “Yes” then you’re trying too hard to get underneath a small object that doesn’t have much room to get underneath. Though if you did say “Yes” don’t feel left out because you’re a member of an incredibly massive group of Monkeys who think the same way as you do. But unfortunately these Monkeys are also struggling with their swings – so it’s probably not the kind of group you want to be a member of.
And the harder you try to focus on the golf ball and guide it not to go in the direction you don’t want it to go (i.e. sand, trees and water) – the harder the game becomes for you.
Yet this is the sole intent of the Monkey! “Let me try to to think of the 52 things I need to do on each and every golf swing while I stare at the ball so I don’t lose sight of it!”
Though if keeping your eye on the golf ball is soooo important – then why is it that when you ask a Player after they hit another great shot, if they were looking at the golf ball – the answer is always, yes always – “I’m not sure, I just had my target in mind and swung the club.”
Yet, you ask a Monkey what they were thinking after a bad shot and the answer is always, well maybe not always, but almost always – “I was trying to hit the ball” – though if the previous answer wasn’t used the following most likely was said in disgust – “I don’t know. I was thinking of so many things. I just don’t know what I’m doing.”
It’s funny because I just received an email last night from a Player from Minnesota that has been to see us 4 years in a row – and who has continually improved throughout that timeframe – that went out and played the best 9-holes he’s ever played. Get this – he shot 34 from the back tees. Now get this – he had brought his young son with him on to the golf course. Now you think that having a young one out there would be a distraction. You know, making sure he stayed in the golf cart or wasn’t running around the golf course chasing geese or trying to drive the golf cart into the water and sand bunkers or ‘Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom’ or …..
Yet, this guy shot 34 – 2 under par from the back tees – his best score ever. Here’s a quote from the email – “I had my boy with me — so I could not over think any putt. I simply walked the putt off; read it with my feet and putted.”
Now this quote was about putting, though I’m sure if you ask Brian, he would tell you the same about every shot. That all he did was make his PLAN and swing. He would tell you that the ball wasn’t important. He would tell you that he was focused on himself and that if he moved his body (arms, legs, core) together – the ball would land in or around the area he was aiming for.
You know why I firmly believe this? Because of two reasons: One – I spoke with him on the telephone the day after he did it and that’s what he told me and Two – I know that Brian sometimes struggles out of the sand bunkers next to the green. And he wrote this in his email – “I made one mistake in a greenside trap — an admitted mental mistake — not thinking about where I wanted the ball to end up, but solely thinking just about the golf ball. That will not happen again.”
See even the best Players have “Brain Lapses” where they lose their focus. As opposed to not being worried about making mistakes and just letting it happen. And this is difficult (but not impossible to correct) when you have inconsistent to horrible success in the past with a particular aspect of your game.
To the struggling Golfer, the fear of missing the golf ball or hitting into the trees and messing up and looking silly is one of the top reasons for you not playing as consistent as you’d like.
It’s like the question we often hear – “Where should I be aiming on the golf ball?” Or a Monkey proclaiming that they’re trying to hit a certain section of the ball. Or the classic – “I try to stare at one dimple and hit it.”
Get liberated from the golf ball. Free yourself. Get away from the prison sentence that you’ve been handed by other Monkeys of having to keep close watch of your golf ball. Once you break the chains that are latched from your head onto the golf ball – you’ll start to experience the joys of golf. I’m not kidding around. I am serious when I say – When you finally get over the feeling that you need to “keep your head down”, “eye on the ball” and “there’s no way I’m going to lose sight of it” attitude – you’re going to feel a ton of weight come off your shoulders.
And if and when you finally do make the commitment to get away from the “I have to really look at the golf ball” syndrome – you’ll have so much more success than you currently are having.
And because I know I’m going to get at least 17 emails in the first 25 minutes after sending this Golf Improvement Weekly saying – “Yes Marc, I understand I shouldn’t stare at the ball, but I can’t stop. Because if I do, I’ll miss the golf ball. What can I do?” – There’s no easy answer here because if you don’t have a very good golf swing and you’re hitting the golf ball inconsistently, I can understand why you think you need to stare at it – even though it’s the worst thing you can do to your golf swing!
So I’d say that the first place you need to start is improving your golf swing. And fortunately this is where Golf Made Simple excels better than anyone!
Monkeys stare at the golf ball like someones going to steal it.
Players make a PLAN and swing.
Go ahead, be a Player.
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life