2008-05-02 / Sports

Golf Instruction: The Importance of Mental Preparation

By Joel Garyn

(Garyn is a U.S.G.F.T. golf professional. You can contact him for lessons at 347-404-3751.)

During the past few months, we have covered many aspects of the golf swing. Hopefully you have taken some of my instruction and worked it into your game. When you play on the course we play by feel, rhythm- - and target.

I believe strongly that the mind is the place to start building a golf game. Without the right concepts and mindset, a person will flounder around, mixing good shots and bad without any understanding of what caused which. A repeating swing is likely asback-toback aces.

Practice does not make perfect - it makes permanent - only you as individuals will determine how much effort and time you want to put into your game.

Practice ranges can lull you into false confidence. No out-of bounds left, no trees right, just pull another ball from the pile and take another wake…

This is very important- - always have a target while practicing… visualize the ball going to the target you have selected and that's the only thought you should have in your head before taking the club away from the ball.

Work conscientiously on three things: posture, grip pressure, and alignment. If you stand straight but not rigid, then bend first at the hips, and then slightly flex the knees, allowing your weight to balance the balls of your feet; if you hold the club with the appropriate Grip Pressure (Fingers secure, arms relaxed); and if you set up parallel left of the target you are going to hit fewer disaster shots…

Two constants that must be worked on immediately: your aim and grip pressure. If you do that, you have the building blocks on which to base you swing.

Most people go to the range and pull out their driver. I recommend starting with a 6 or 7 iron. Your more likely to make a long swing with a idle iron, plus you will get some feedback regarding your ball flight.

If your average score is ninety, then approximately 60-70 percent of your shots on the golf course are made from inside one hundred yards. So allocate you practice time accordingly. The tour player spends 50 percent of his practice time-or more- working on his short game. The average golfer spends 75 percent of his time ignoring it.

This will be my last lesson column for a few months. We will resume in the following fall months … I certainly hope that you have come a long way from these weekly articles a more informed golfer and that I have helped you in some way.

My cell phone is 347-404-3751 if you would like to contact me. Please stop by the Brooklyn Golf Center on Flatbush Avenue and say hello. Private and group lessons are available.

Thank you and have a great summer.

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