Does this shot keep you awake at night? The shot is hitting the ball over a bunker from a short 30-50 yard distance to the green. Most golfers have a very difficult time hitting this shot because every negative thought enters the golfers mind.
When giving a golf lesson I am always asking the student their thought patterns. The answers I receive are sometimes mind boggling if not troubling. Usually, I will hear “just not trying to put it in the bunker”, “hope I get it on the green”, “I don’t want to scull the ball”, and my favorite “don’t want to go to long and don’t want to be short.” Sometimes their are technical thoughts which will cause unneeded tension on the golf course.
These golfers just need a plan and a routine. You can always learn from the best players in the world and how they think. They are focused on routine and target. Never does a thought enter their mind of “I don’t or I can’t”. The player goes through a routine picking the correct club fitting the shot, taking practice swings with the target in mind, breathing properly. Executing the shot almost comes secondary to the routine.
My students always get an on-course routine to relax them before each shot. Each student is different but the most common routine is getting the yardage, picturing the shot and how it fly’s, picking the club, making a few practice swings to feel distance and executing what they pictured in their mind. This eliminates the doubt that can creep into the mind.
In the video below, I describe how Jack Nicklaus plays shots. Picturing the ball on green near the target, the ball landing on the green, the ball flying to the hole and then contact and lastly the swing. Nicklaus was known to picture the shot backwards from the hole. We can all get caught up in mechanics of the swing but most importantly we need to take the pressure off. Very little tension in the swing, make practice swings looking at the intended target and get all the positive thoughts in to the shot.