Have you ever tried to hit a golf ball with your eyes closed? This might seem like a crazy question, but there is great value in trying. I tried this very thing two years ago and I can tell you that the first attempt was anything but successful. I did make contact, but the results were well below my expectations.
At the time, my game was in the toilet. I was at a loss on what to do next and considered taking a week or two off, but then something happened on the range to lead to a break through.
Let me set up what happened. I was struggling to make solid contact and no fix was in sight. I was hitting the ball off the heel and then off the toe. There was no consistency in my swing, weight shift, arm movements, or follow through. You name the swing challenge and it would find its way into my game.
So, I was on the range and had set up my practice time as per normal. I started with my 7 iron and started with half swings. As I progressed to full swings nothing worked and I hit many poor shots. I am sure you can sense my frustration.
With nowhere to turn, I placed a tee in the ground and pulled out my driver. At first, I starting swinging it with no intent to hit a ball. I started at the horizontal level like a baseball bat. As I moved my club back and forth, I slowing lowered it until I clipped the top of the tee.
I continued this process for a bit, continuing to clip the top of the tee. Then on a lark, I closed my eyes and the magical clicking sound of the club meeting the tee continue. Thinking this was cool, started to experiment by swinging harder; as I did, the clicking sound disappeared. I missed the tee or sent it flying; my swing was out of its normal tempo and plane. Slowing everything down, I started regaining my swing and the clicking sound was back. Remember, this was with my eyes closed.
Then I decided to try and hit a golf ball off a tee with my eyes closed1. At first, I hit some balls with my eyes open. I did not swing hard and focused on making contact. Now to build on success, I tried hitting a ball with my eyes closed. To my surprise, I was making solid contact. My swing, as long as I tried not to hit too hard, was back and my confidence was slowly starting to return. After about 10 balls, I felt the reason for my poor contact was eroding.
Feeling confident, I pulled out my 7 iron again. After going through the same process, I experienced the same results. Albeit, not as crisp at first because I hit the ground before the ball, but overall, I was very confident with how things were progressing. After a medium bucket of balls, I went back to the proshop and bought another bucket. When I returned to the range, I started my practice from scratch and was elated with the results.
Apparently my epiphany is not as profound as I thought. I found this David Leadbetter video that describes what I did on the range:
Additionally, I wish I had seen this drill of hitting the ball with eyes closed a few years ago (it is a wordy, but the concepts are very good):
There are many avenues open to improving our golf swing. I happened to stumble on hitting the ball with my eyes closed and now realize that this is nothing new. It was a new concept to me and I am happy to find that I was on the right track all along. Have you ever hit a golf ball with your eyes closed? If so, how did it work for you?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!