We have all been there. Your last couple of rounds have been your best of the season. Then in just a moment’s notice and without cause, it all evaporates. You go from thinking about winning the Club Championship to feeling completely lost. It happens to all of us. Take for example Chesson Hadley yesterday at the Palmetto Championship.
Chesson had a four-stroke lead with just one round to play. He was in complete command of his game and virtually on cruise control. Then it happened. Just like all of us, he lost it on Sunday. The final round was a struggle. He only hit four of the eighteen greens in regulation. A statistic where he had excelled all week, Chesson was chasing it.
At the end of the day, golf is hard. And playing consistently is the hardest part. Chesson hit 74% of his greens through the first three rounds, but couldn’t trust his swing in those moments approaching the green in the final round— This relatable tale is a great teaching point.
How do you maintain some level of proficiency in your game when you feel completely lost?
Solid contact is a very valuable companion on the course. When your game goes awry, it’s time to make it simple and find the most efficient remedy. It’s very difficult to fix anything mid-round, but in order to get back into the clubhouse you have to try. Keep in mind, you were playing well. This discussion isn’t necessarily for a beginner golfer to tackle between holes.
If your game is slipping away, chances are you won’t be teeing off first on the next hole. Take these very precious moments and grab a seven iron and a tee from your bag. Off to the side and in a place where you won’t be a distraction, place the tee in the ground.
Address the tee like a regular shot and take the club back with no wrist, just turn the body away. The club will get a little above hip height. Once you reach that point, turn back and through the shot. Make sure you clip the tee and rotate your body through.
Setup again the same exact way and this time turn back and add a little wrist hinge. Swing through again and clip the tee using both the body and the wrists.
On swing three, setup again the same way and this time add a full shoulder turn along with the wrist hinge and body turn. Clip that tee again with a very well-balanced and complete follow-through.
By now it’s your turn on the tee box. Setup again, feel those three movements through one practice swing. Notice how feeling them separate helps you focus on what makes your swing successful. Rotate the body away, hinge the wrists and turn the shoulders. Build that backswing and then swing back down and through. Brush that grass beneath you. Address the ball and repeat those feelings in your shot.
Continue this rehearsal drill as often as you can throughout the remainder of your round. You can even make little swings when you have shorter shots. The most important element is to regain your contact certainty.
Chances are things went a little sideways because one of these three elements left your swing.
When that happens, we freeze up and our impact assurance goes away. Going through these three swinging motions will help you regain your complete swing and reliable contact with the ball. When the round is over, head to the practice range and continue this process. By breaking down the golf swing to these three key elements you now have an in-round remedy to refind your confidence.