If the tips and swing thoughts that you rely on have past their sell-by date, then perhaps it’s time to try something new? Over the following pages, let me share with you some of the ideas that I have found successful among my students – in several cases simply a change of emphasis on a certain element of technique that helps you to marry mind and body and play a more intuitive game of golf. Any questions, fire them over. You can post them to me at my academy website www.scottcranfield.com
External focus: See the circles in your mind
I have always believed that the best way for a budding golfer to free his mind of technical thoughts is to focus on the bigger picture – literally in this case. Visualising the large circles (or elliptical shapes as may be more accurate) traced by the clubhead is a great way to enjoy an external focus that leaves your body free to work subconsciously on producing a swing.
So the next time you play or practice, forget all of the technical thoughts that get in the way of you making a good golf swing and focus purely on shapes. You are at the hub of this big circle. Put your focus on the clubhead tracing this large outer circle as you swing it back and through. This will leave your subconscious mind to move your body in perfect order as your club follows a wide arc away from the ball to the top, shallowing a fraction as it changes direction before joining that original arc once more approaching impact and through impact.
Target focused: Screen test reveals power of consistent thinking!
Finally, here’s something you can have a little fun with, both in practice and out on the course. The idea revolves around the fact that golf is a target sport – and the more clearly you define your target, and the type of shot that will enable you to find it (flight, trajectory, behaviour on landing, and so on), the greater the success you will enjoy. With your mind clearly focused, there’s every chance your subconscious will produce the bodily actions and control of the club to make that happen. I place a great store of value in this style of coaching for the simple reason it releases complicated swing thoughts and frees you up to play your best golf – plus, it’s always relevant, in every department of the game. Having rehearsed your pre-shot routine, as you settle over the ball I want you to imagine there is a computer sitting on a stand just a few feet from where you are playing, and that your mind is linked to the screen. Now, here’s the crux of the matter: everything that you think about, feel, say to yourself and visualise during the 1.5 seconds or so it takes to make a swing is going to appear on the screen – what would we be looking at?
Sentry Tournament of Champions R4
On first doing this you might realise that your mind jumps around a lot from shot to shot – and you don’t need me to tell you that this type of ‘monkey mind’ will not produce consistent golf! So use this exercise to train your mind to ONLY project onto the computer screen the target and the shot you want to hit. Learn to master this and you will experience a whole new way of playing the game.