After working as a coach with a holistic approach for over 25 years, I’ve gained a certain understanding of what is most crucial to succeed in this regard. I am pleased to share here 5 important tips to keep in mind.
It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to have the fundamentals of your swing in place, with the grip being the most crucial aspect. When you have a good grip with appropriate grip pressure, your chances of hitting straight and long increase significantly.
– Grip Tip 1: Ensure you have a neutral grip where you can see at least 2-3 knuckles on your left hand (for right-handed players) and at least 1 knuckle on your right hand.
– Grip Tip 2: Control your grip pressure to maintain consistent pressure throughout your swing. The most common grip pressure among professionals is about 3-4 on a scale of 5, where 5 is the strongest and 1 is the weakest. However, note that amateurs often grip too tightly with their right hand (for right-handed players), so I usually recommend a slightly looser grip with the right hand (around 2-3 on the scale).
Verify your distance to the ball and make sure you stand steadily. Someone should be able to nudge you from the front and sides without you losing balance. When you start with good balance, your mind will become calm and confident, allowing you to focus on where you want to hit the ball rather than worrying about falling during your swing.
I know that over 80% of all golfers aim incorrectly on the golf course. This makes it impossible to achieve your full potential in hitting straight and long. The common mistake is aiming too far to the right. Therefore, go through your alignment to ensure you learn to stand parallel to the target line with your feet. Standing correctly enables your body to swing through without hindrance, resulting in straight and clean ball strikes. It may go straight, but without the power from your major muscle groups.
When you take your aim, also be meticulous in choosing a clear target. It should be distinct, specific, and easy to see. It could be the flag, or perhaps a tree trunk on the extended target line. Develop a routine where you set up to the ball with proper alignment and then focus on the target. This provides a clear signal to your body and mind about what they should do—hit the ball straight and long toward the target.
Having a routine before each shot creates both confidence and calmness. Go through your routine and make it YOURS. You choose what you want to do, and then you repeat it on the driving range until it becomes second nature. This routine should include aspects such as grip, balance, and alignment. Then, bring your routine with you and perform it before every shot on the course. Note that the routine should take a maximum of 40 seconds to 1 minute, so feel free to time it during practice.
This is the foundational aspect of mental training and will support both you and your swing when you play, ensuring a round with straight and long shots.
1. Noticing when you become tense or stressed (rapid breathing, tense shoulders, for example).
2. Using your breath to calm down. You can use a 4-2-6 breathing pattern, where you inhale for 4 counts, hold for 2, and exhale for 6. When the exhale is longer than the inhale, it activates your calming system. Practice this regularly both on and off the golf course, and you’ll feel and swing better throughout the round.
In addition to these 5 tips, there are, of course, many more things you can do to hit straight and long, but this is a good starting point. During the fall and winter, you’ll receive more tips on how to become a prouder, stronger, and more confident golfer, including fitness training for golfers, and more.
See you soon, and good luck!
/ Jenny Hagman
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