It really doesn’t matter what standard of golfer you are, how long have you been playing the game or how many lessons you’ve had, just about every golfer, at some stage, overthinks, which generally leads to a worse performance!
In this short article, I’m going to share with you a very powerful and simple exercise that will not only quieten your mind, but it’s also likely to improve your swing technique.
I first learnt about this exercise from Timothy Galway in his fantastic book The Inner Game of Golf. Through my coaching experience, I’ve slightly tweaked the drill, and I’ve now shared it with literally thousands of people around the world often to amazing results.
Don’t dismiss its simplicity, and equally don’t dismiss it, just because it may sound a little wacky. It really does work, and nobody needs to know you’re doing it!
Here is how it works …
I’m going to ask you to STOP thinking about literally everything that you would normally think about to try and hit the golf ball properly and, instead, I’m going to ask you to place all of your attention on the club head. You’re going to measure your own awareness of the club head at two points in the swing. The top of the backswing and at impact.
First, begin this drill to a tee peg only.
Go ahead and make your normal swing, don’t try and adjust the speed of it. Just go ahead and swing as normal.
When you believe your club head has completed its backswing, say the word “one”.
Ideally say this out loud, if you feel comfortable to do so. The reason saying out loud works is it creates greater commitment.
NB: You may want to consider doing this exercise with a friend who can help give you feedback. I have used this multiple times in seminars around the world, having people work together on it.
Anyway, back to the exercise … Just at the point where you think the club is striking the ball, say out loud the word “two”.
So, in summary, I’m simply asking you to be aware of the clubhead throughout the swing and, at the point it completes its backswing, say out loud the word “one”; at the point it meets the ball, say out loud the word “two”.
Your job is just to become aware of how accurate you are with saying those words at those two points in the swing. Stop trying to do everything else and get really aware of the swinging clubhead.
With a little practice, you will probably narrow the gap so that you can pretty much say those two words at the right time.
The next thing to become aware of is the tone of your voice. Has it become strained? Are the words screaming out louder than you expect?
You might even find you forget to say one or both of them. This will just show you how much your mind is wandering around on other things rather than staying focused on this simple task.
Once you have done this a few times to the tee peg, go ahead and introduce the ball.
Don’t worry about the flight of the ball at this stage of the contact, just see how well you can stay aware of the clubhead and reference it at these two points.
Try softening your voice to take the strain away and notice what impact this has on the rhythm and flow of your golf swing.
Once you feel like you’re making progress, then by all means say the words inside your own head but stay aware of how good your timing is with saying the words at these two points in the swing.
I have seen this exercise used in every area of the game. I’ve even worked with a Ryder Cup player using this precise exercise on his putting all the way through to his full swings; it really does work.
I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it helps you to clear your mind, relax your swing and enjoy your golf more.
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Scott Cranfield is a PGA Master Coach. For over 30 years, he has dedicated his life to helping golfers achieve their goals through a natural approach that embraces the true laws of how the human mind and body work. Scott’s unique approach has led to the creation of multiple training programmes, and the experience of coaching every standard of golfer from complete beginners through to Ryder Cup players. As well as enjoying a long TV career with Sky Sports and Setanta TV, in 2011 Scott was honoured with the award of PGA Master Professional and Coach.