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Fighting Frustration
I have played in numerous professional events where winning money can mean the whole world and not winning can be the absolute pits. There is, however, one thought that has helped me in later years get better prepared for competition. The process that I often use is not unusual. I practice the day before I play and concentrate on a thought that allows me to make the best swing possible. The one improvement that I have made in this routine is trying not to get frustrated with my shots.

It is very easy to get down on yourself if you are not hitting good shots all the time. You get the feeling that tomorrow will be a disaster if you don't get it straightened out today. So, what happens is you spend hours beating balls, hitting harder and faster, and getting more and more frustrated. "I must work this out!" you cry to yourself, followed by "It's too late to get your entry fee back, you are just going to make a fool of yourself!" Well, obviously this type of thinking will create a disbelief in your ability from which you cannot possibly recover. After doing this a few times myself, and practically eliminating any chance I had at playing well, I realized a pattern that would reduce my chances of failure.

This is what I suggest to you: Start hitting three-quarter sand wedges or pitching wedges. The swing for a three-quarter sand wedge is nice and slow, quite a contrast from the fast, frustrated swing you were just chastising yourself over. This change in swing pattern will result in a change in swing thought as well as tempo. This will be your savior. Swing the driver, five iron and all the rest of your clubs with the same tempo that it takes to hit crisp pure shots with a pitching wedge.

The other half of this pattern is taking it to the course. The main thing is that when you line up, you don't pick targets that are a long way off in the distance. As a three-quarter wedge only goes 50 to 100 yards, your target should too. Obviously a driver will go further than your wedge, however a long distance target will only make you swing too fast. Keeping a nice steady swing with all of your clubs will improve your game and give you more confidence for your tournament tomorrow. Therefore, if you warm up with three-quarter wedge swings before you tee off in your event, you will be in better sync with your timing.


"The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight." -- Ben Hogan, offering his opinion on advances in modern equipment.

 ©1999 Craig Hocknull
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