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Playing Golf

The Golf Bug
by Tim X. Wilkins

OK... so let's see if I've got this correct. You haven't touched your clubs since that last warm day last fall, and you really haven't "practiced" since who knows when, and now that the PGA Tour is making it's way from Hawaii to the west coast, YOU ARE GETTING THE GOLF BUG... AGAIN !

Now that you've started watching these guys on TV make playing the game look SO easy, you can't wait to get back out there yourself. Before you do anything rash... watch the pros carefully, see how "thoughtful" they are before they hit each shot. Then they stop thinking and go into "play the shot mode" which I am going to contend is a right brain function. That is when they are PLAYING well. Yes the emphasis is on PLAYING... not THINKING. Try to remember the last good round you had, not a par round necessarily, but a good round of golf for you. You were undoubtedly just enjoying the day or the company of your friends or the golf course, or all of the above. The point is you weren't TRYING to play well you just were. Golf, as well as life, is more about being present than it is about anything else. And patience is always a virtue.

We, as a species, tend to think way too much at the times we should just be executing the shot we wish to play. Think all you have to, to come to a decision as to how to make the shot you are playing. Think of the risks and the rewards. Think of the type of lie you have and how much wind you have to play for. Think about and be confident about your club selection...then take aim and fire away. When it's time to fire... stop thinking... just be aware.

Back to watching the "big boys". Notice that none of them are swinging HARD when they are playing well. Heck, you'll rarely see ANY of them EVER swing with what appears to be any effort. Tiger has been prone to "let 'er rip" way too frequently from my perspective over the last few seasons. Whether he was frustrated that his swing mechanics weren't in order yet from making changes, or his timing was just simply off, you had to be visually impaired to not notice how hard he was swinging at times. And at those times he was not scoring any where near his potential. Whenever he is playing his best and is lapping the field he has a more noticeable fluidity to his timing and tempo than when he is "off" his game. Except for the times that the pros ARE making a swing change, they are basically focusing on their timing and their tempo. Their swings don't really change from a Thursday to a Sunday. What may change and sometimes does very noticeably is the thought process of some players. When ANY of the pros on tour are scoring well they aren't focused on anything but the present. As simple as that sounds. It isn't necessarily that easy to do at times. Jack Nicklaus was the best of the best for the longest duration of time. His mind was the best "CLUB" in his bag, or should I

About the author

Tim X. Wilkins is a 25+ year member of PGA of America, has been Recognized by Golf Range Publication as one of the top 50 instructors in the country in 2003, 2004, currently a staff writer for Cincinnati Golf Course Guide and was the host of the popular "On The Tee" television show on The Golf Channel.


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