Golftown Journal

Deep Thoughts

A mind is a terrible thing to waste

By Lee Pace

I have a game Saturday morning with the regular guys. Shoes shined, clubs buffed, sunscreen in the bag. Now to work on my swing and my mental game through the week.

Today I’m going to hit a few balls with my bevy of training aids and gadgets I’ve collected over the years.

I have one device I pull over my left arm and elbow to keep them straight on the backswing. I have another that functions more as a sleeve and goes on the right arm to keep it from breaking down on pitch and chip shots. I have a strap that both arms are inserted into at elbow range to help me “stay connected.”

I have a special glove for my left wrist to keep it from cupping and a gizmo to put on my right wrist that will make an audible click if I hinge the joint properly.

I have one practice club with a tiny sweet spot and a thick flange that forces me to lean the shaft into impact with a descending blow, else the ball clunks off the bottom flange. I have another gadget that attaches to my driver and acts as a sail, using the wind resistance to improve my sequencing and strength.

Swing plane is ever so important. I have a laser light that attaches to the grip of the club and emits a light to show where the butt of the club is pointing at takeaway and throughout the swing. I have a maze of pool noodles mounted on alignment sticks stuck in the ground to provide landmarks on where the club should be on the backswing and then the downswing.

I have an impact bag (a canvas bag filled with towels) set on the ground to promote a strong left side upon ball contact. My metronome helps me develop a consistent tempo from start to finish — both full swing and putts. I have decals on my clubface that clearly show where the ball strikes the club — flush, high, low, heel or toe.

Finally, I have this cool rectangular board that sits on the ground, between my feet, and encourages proper foot pressure and movement throughout the swing.

(And don’t be silly. These gadgets are not a problem; I can stop anytime I’d like.)

My swing in proper fiddle, now I’ll work on my inventory of swing keys.

Flick your nose and go into a cool, dark room as you study your shot.

See the target.

Athletic posture.

Let your mouth relax (so says PGA Tour veteran
Keegan Bradley).

Flat back, beware of rounding.

Light grip pressure.

Left thumb on top of grip.

Let the arms hang.

Trust the hands (whatever that means, but it worked for
Tiger Woods).

Right shoulder low.

Chin up.

Splay the feet.

Watch the back of the ball.

A little forward press with the hands.

Low and slow.

Stand tall, stay down.

Tempo.

Swing easy, hit hard.

Hinge the wrists going back.

Stretch the right hand as far back
as possible.

Elbows close to the body (worked for Ben Hogan, at least).

Turn right shoulder behind.

Turn left shoulder under.

One, two, three back . . . one down.

The pause that refreshes at the top.

Let gravity begin the downswing.

Let arms just fall from top.

Get to my left side (once helped Adam Scott shoot 62 on the PGA Tour).

Pick a spot 12 inches in front of the ball and hit it hard (a Rory McIlroy favorite).

Keep right knee quiet.

Keep left heel on the ground. (Unless I’m feeling like Jack Nicklaus and will let that sucker fly.)

Stay behind the ball.

Turn in a barrel.

Back to the target.

Keep the elbows connected.

Drive left heel into ground on downswing (straight from the syrupy swing of Sam Snead).

Hit the ball with your right hip (i.e., fire the hips).

Put the right hand in pants pocket on way down (an old Byron Nelson trick to avoid the shank).

Compress the ball.

Belt buckle to the target.

High hands.

Hold the finish.

Come Saturday, if I want to shoot 77, I’ll pick one of those.

If I want to shoot 90 and lose 50 bucks, I’ll pick four of them and hone in on two on the backswing.  PS

Lee Pace has written ”Golftown Journal” for more than a decade and tries to focus on just one of those swing thoughts—the one from Tom Watson about “going into a cool, dark room” before hitting a shot. Results vary.

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