Posted on: 28 May
Ask any player, at any level, and a common goal is to become more consistent. Often our enjoyment of the game stems from hitting good shots with greater consistency. Let’s face it, there is nothing more frustrating and confidence destroying than following a great hole or a great shot with a hole or shot that looks like it was played by a totally different person. It’s almost enough for us to want to take up tennis or tiddlywinks!
Before I start every lesson, I ask the question “what goals are you trying to achieve in a lesson?”. 9 times out of 10 the answer is “consistency”. Whether it’s with the driver, long irons, approach shots or short game we all know that hitting the ball consistently well leads to higher enjoyment and hopefully lower scores.
However, we need to consider that consistency comes in two forms. 1. striking the ball consistently well, and 2. playing consistently well. This is an important distinction to make as it will help you to understand the area of your game you need to work on to take it to the next level.
Let me explain what I mean.
To strike the ball more consistently you will need to work on your personalised mechanics and make sure they match up to your body shape, size and motion. Understanding this will allow your swing to have a repeatable motion allowing you to make more consistent contact with the ball.
Balance – Having a balanced and athletic set up position will allow you to have a swing that delivers maximum power for effort.
Grip – There are a number of ways to grip the club but having a grip where your hands are working together and match your body movement will help maintain consistent pressure and power throughout the swing.
Alignment – Good alignment of the body or clubface means you don’t have to make adjustments mid swing. This assists you to achieve a more repetitive swing and more consistent ball striking.
Ball and stance width – Having a consistent stance width and ball position that matches your body movement (this may vary from the driver to the irons) is essential to having a good swing sequence leading to consistency.
Understanding your own personalised swing “blueprint” where your clubface, club movement and swing shape match up, the less you have to try. The swing then become less about hard work and more about consistency and enjoyment.
However, if consistent scoring is what you want to achieve then you may require a focus on different areas. This is where a playing lesson can really help. Having a solid understanding of course management can bring about lower scores as much as any swing change. It’s about developing trust and good habits that lead to consistently lower scores.
Warm up – Give yourself time to warm up properly and get a feeling for your game. Having a routine where you are able to hit irons, drivers, chip and putt will help settle your nerves before you get to the first tee. This will help develop a consistency to your game without you thinking about it.
Pre Shot Routine – It is impossible to concentrate for 4 ½ hours and keep your intensity level consistent for every shot. A pre-shot routine will not only help you focus and commit fully to the shot but it develops rhythm, calmness, and confidence. Learning to swap focus is a way of building consistency.
Swing thoughts – Once you understand your personalised movements and swing patterns, it is far easier to develop simple swing thoughts. Having one swing thought leads to consistency of focus.
Play and love your own game – Don’t try to play like your competitors or idols. A consistent golfer is someone who keeps it simple and doesn’t try to be someone they are not. As Clint Eastwood said in his Dirty Harry films “a man has got to know his limitations”.
Improve your short game – We all make mistakes on the golf course and having a solid short game is easiest way to improve consistency of scoring.
Recovery shots – We all get out of position from time to time. In the trees, in the rough, up against the water fountain! Knowing how to navigate this situation both mentally and physically will take double bogeys off your scorecard.
By combining practice and playing, you can develop a consistent level of golf. You will ingrain consistent habits that will lead to consistent ball striking and golf scores and ultimately a lowering of your handicap.
If you would like to develop a consistent game and lower your scores book a lesson at michaellonggolf.com.