During the cooler temperatures, any miss hit can be felt throughout your body. In my case, the first indication that I hit the ball fat is a vibration that rides up my left arm and into my shoulder. It is not painful (most of the time), but it is obvious that I missed my mark. When this happens, I often wonder if I should react immediately or wait for a few more swings. Before reading on, what would you normally do?
Miss hitting a golf ball has its own distinct feel. If you hit it off the toe, I feel it in my right wrist (I play right handed); if I hit if off the heel, I feel it in my left wrist; if I hit it in the sweet spot, I feel nothing. There are many other indicators your body will tell you on a miss hit, you just need to pay attention to what it is say.
So, in my case, hitting the fat is indicated by a vibration felt up my left arm ending in my shoulder. For those who are curious, hitting the ball ‘fat’ means hitting behind the ball so the club head hits the ground first then the ball. The shock of hitting the ground first is a unique feeling that I hate and try to avoid at all costs!
The challenge with hitting a fat shot is that it generally comes out of nowhere! I mean, I could be hitting the ball perfectly for 35 shots, then suddenly I start digging a hole. It is something that I cannot explain, nor desire.
In many cases, the fat shots occur because of the many layers of clothing that I wear in the spring and especially in the fall. I do not generate the same shoulder rotation so my hands release early and I hit behind the ball! Thus, during these situations I make no adjustments to my swing because none are required. It is the nature of playing if very cool weather. However, during the other times when the weather is not a factor, I wonder if an adjustment is required……it really makes me think.
During a bright summer’s day and a fat shot decides to rear its ugly head, I quickly wonder if adjusts are required to prevent this dreaded shot from happening again. Well, actually, it is not the swing mechanics I worry about. It is the fear of negativity that claws its way into my mind; wondering if another fat shot is awaiting in the wings. Yes, fat shots during the middle of a great round are a mental nightmare.
Fear not, I have found a way to address this challenge and it is 99.9% successful. Are you ready? My simple approach is to forget the shot. Yup, it is that simple. I force the negative thoughts out of my mind by focusing in on one thing – a high follow through at my target. This simple thought seems to clear my mind enough to move on. It works flawlessly because I cannot remember when I hit 2 fat shots in a row or even in the same round for that matter.
Feeling a vibration up my left arm is a key indicator that I made a poor shot. Unlike most players, the fix is mental not physical. I find that this and most other challenges are fixed with the six inches of real estate between my ears. Golf is more of a mental game than most golfers realize!
What do you think? Is golf more mental or physical when correcting challenges?