Category Archives: Tips

Aside

Perception vs Reality

Reality is Not “Reality” to most folks. Perception is Their “Reality.”

Many people say, “I’ve played lots of sports but golf is too hard, it’s just not natural.” However, no one says tennis, badminton, or volleyball, are unnatural, even though those sports require high shots, low shots, backhand shots, forehand shots, all while running here and there. Not to mention keeping an eye on your opponent at the same time! In baseball, as a fielder, you need to catch and throw the ball from all sorts of different angles and locations. As a batter, you need to deal with curve balls, fastballs, screwballs, and a strike zone that varies from umpire to umpire. For those you know baseball well, you know that when the hit and run is on, the batter must mentally increase the strike zone to protect the runner. Do you believe all these in other sports consist of natural movements but still feel golf is unnatural? Read on!

The only thing unnatural with golf is that are no lines of orientation as there are with other sports. Baseball has foul lines, base lines, and the warning track and so on. Football has the goal line, side line, and yard lines. Tennis has a well-defined court as does badminton. Even at the family picnic volley ball game we set up a net (a line) and use paper plates or whatever is handy to define the corner of the court (side lines). Golf on the other hand provides none of this orientation.

All better golf shots begin behind the target line of play. You stand behind the ball, eyes level as you look at your distant target. When you address the ball, set your posture and swivel your head to look at your target, your eyes are no longer level due to your head being tilted. This causes an optical illusion; even though your shoulders, hips, and feet are parallel to the target line, you feel as though you are aligned left or right. This illusion will vary with the shapes of the trees, the lay of the land, hazards, bunkers, and so on (golf course designers do this on purpose!). Many times we adjust to this “looks like” target line. Instead you should back off and look again from behind. Pick an intermediate target, two or three feet in front of the ball, which lies on the target line. It can be a small leaf, a piece of grass, whatever. Then, draw an Imaginary Target Line (ITL) in your mind’s eye from the ball, through the intermediate target and on to the final target. When you address the ball, use the intermediate target for aiming. This will remove the optical illusion mentioned before. Then, trust your ITL and swing with confidence. You’ll play better golf more often.

Golf is as “natural” as any other sport. Use your ITL and your perception of golf will change!

Jerry J. Alldredge, PGA Professional

Play Where you Practice, Practice Where you Play

Golf is different from other sports.  In other sports we practice where we play and we play where we practice.  In basketball we practice on the court. In baseball and football we practice on the field.  It might be a “practice field” but it is just like where we play the game.  This isn’t so with golf.  With golf, we have the “practice tee” which bears no resemblance to the actual course!  Have you ever heard anyone say, “I hit it great on the range but can’t take it to the course.”?  We all have! To overcome this situation, we need to learn to practice on the golf course and play on the range.  It’s critical to remember, we don’t keep score while practicing other sports, the same should hold true for golf.  Keep score only during the actual game, not during practice.  How can we do all this?  Read on.

Practice where you play:  First, be aware of others and never hold up play!  On the golf course, ask yourself, “What club should I hit from here?”  Drop a ball or two and hit different clubs to find out!  Or, “How should I chip from this side of the green, or that side of the green?”  Drop balls and try different shots.  Use the same approach for tee shots.  Should I really use a driver all the time?  Would a three wood put me in better position? Hit your driver, then your 3 wood and see which works out best. Put yourself on side hill lies, uphill lies, in the rough, in the trees.  Learn how to handle the shots you will actually encounter when you play. This is practicing where we play without the pressure of keeping score.  Save score keeping for your actual game!

Play where you practice:  On the practice range (after warming up) play 9 or 18 holes by visualizing the various shots and aiming at different targets on the range.  For instance, visualize the width of the #1 fairway, tee off and picture where the ball landed.  Create that lie, visualize your next shot, pick a target down range and hit the shot.  Repeat this process, including chip shots until you are “on the green.”  Then go on to the next “hole.”  Visualize the tee shot; pick another target, etc. etc.  Don’t hit each shot down the center of the range.  Constantly vary your target line. Do this for the entire 9 or 18 holes. By using the method you move from club to club, target to target and “play where you practice.”

Practice where you play and play where you practice and watch your scores drop!

Jerry J. Alldredge, PGA Professional

Perception vs Reality

Perception vs. RealityPerception

Getting perception and reality to be one in the same is a hard task because we only know what we know.   What we know is built on variables that become misunderstood, misapplied and/or overemphasized.  For instance: How many balls wide is the putting cup?  …The minimum is 8!  Why?  Well, you see only about 1/2 inch of the ball is actually touching the grass.  The cup is 4.25 inches wide. Taking all that into account, the cup becomes 8 balls wide with no overlapping of the 1/2 inch tracks the ball travels on!

When you shoot a rifle the barrel is bigger than the projectile, the sights are smaller than the projectile and you aim at the bulls-eye of the target- not the whole target.  In golf, you should aim at the spot on the rim of the cup where you want the ball to enter the hole, not the whole cup! A line on the ball is your “sights,” the 1/2 inch track of the ball is the projectile and the ball itself is the barrel. When you aim the “sights” at the “whole” cup it becomes easier to miss.  Just as with a rifle, aiming at the whole target will reduce your hits on the bulls-eye.  Your aim should focus on the bulls-eye with a rifle. Your aim should focus on a point on the rim of the cup when putting.

All great Marksmen of pistols, rifles, shotguns, archery etc. aim at the middle.  They lead the middle of a target when it is moving.  With putting, aim at the middle on a level putt and lead the middle when it is breaking.

“Reality” is often a perception you have convinced yourself is real.  It can take some time to cast off those old perceptions, but when the light bulb comes on you will get more “ounce to the bounce” from your work and practice!

Come see us at Southern Gayles to clear up more perceptions on this game we all love playing.
Jerry J. Alldredge, PGA Professional