Who has ever hit the ball into the woods, and then when chipping out of the woods, hit it across the fairway and into trouble on the other side?
Even though the results aren’t good for your score, it is a good sign that you were rewarded for the amount of energy you put into the shot. Most likely you were relaxed and not looking for too much distance, just let the club swing, and smack, the ball shot off like a rocket.
I find the difficult thing in golf is that when you are truly swinging well, it feels so simple that you feel like you are not giving it your all. You feel like you should be doing something more. There is no way it can be this easy. Surprise, it can be, and it should!
Recently I started getting letters from AARP, my facial hair is almost all gray, and unfortunately I cannot run as fast, jump as high, and I definitely can’t swing the club as fast as I used to. But the good thing is that I don’t think I have ever hit the ball more solid and consistently. After 40 plus years of golf I am finally learning to swing within my athletic ability, and to let the club do the work.
When I play now, I almost feel like I am hitting long pitch shots down the fairway. I swing my driver and my long irons with the same effort as I do when I am hitting a 75% wedge shot. Back and through with good rhythm and balance. I let the club swing and swoosh while I stay in control. Another benefit of swinging like this is that it doesn’t tire me out. It’s like taking a nice walk or a cart ride through the park.
So how do you learn to do this? Practice hitting long pitch shots. Start out with your 8 or 9 iron. They are easier to hit solid than your wedge because they have less loft. Start out hitting them about 30-40 yards. You will be amazed at how little effort it requires. On your backswing your hands will only need to go to about waist high, and you need to allow your wrists to naturally hinge. Don’t consciously try to hinge your wrist, and don’t try to keep them stiff. Just let the weight of the club head hinge your wrists. I almost feel my wrist hinge as I start my downswing and the momentum of the club head is still going back. As you practice this shot, you need to develop YOUR feel. Finally, when hitting these long pitch shots that roll down the fairway, you should feel your weight moving back and forth on your feet, following the momentum of the club. At the finish, your weight should be on your front foot toward the target, and your chest should be facing the target so you have a good view of your ball flying effortlessly towards the target.
As you progress and begin consistently hitting the ball solid, allow yourself to take the club back a little farther, letting the speed of your club naturally increase, hitting the ball farther. Please, progress slowly, be the tortoise not the hare. You want to slowly improve with good fundamentals. Swing with rhythm and finish in a balanced position. I look forward to seeing you at the course.