On any given day, I will make a number of miss hits. This is not because I choose to hit the ball fat or thin, but it just happens. I think I set up the same way and follow my pre-shot routine as per normal, but every so often I hit a shot like I am a beginner. Regardless, I often wonder if my miss-hits are the result of a mental error vice a physical one.
It is a challenge not to dissect every poor shot. Sometimes it just happens, but I also wonder why that particular shot was so poor. A perfect example is happened yesterday.
As per our previous discussions, I was playing the 10th hole at Osprey Links. I was in the exact position as in previous posts off the tee and chose to hit my 5 iron to 90 yards from the green for my second shot. This was the proper course management decision, unlike the last time I was in the perfect position to attack the pin.
I set myself up with my gap wedge and sculled it over the green, lost the ball and finished with a double. Talk about a deflating start. I have been thinking about this shot since I hit it and wondered what went wrong. I actually think that this particular shot was purely a mental error. I went through the motions of hitting my approach shot, but that was it. I was not in the moment.
On several drives during the above round, I neglected to finish my follow through for some reason and my ball developed a minor slice that drives me crazy. The reason I hate this result so much is because I play for a straight shot and a slice just does not work for me. I know that in these cases, my failure to make my intended shot is purely physical – failing to finish properly.
There are times when my swing faults are mental and others are physical. The trick is to determine which is which. The real issue happens when my physical challenges are the result of my mental failures. These type of swing issues are the hardest to identify. When they happen, the are also the hardest to fix.
I am lucky because I have two friends, Blair and Rick, who I consider to be my swing coaches. They know my swing better than any because they have seen me hit the ball thousands of time. So they know when my tempo, aim or routine is out of wack. The good thing is that they are not shy to tell me my challenges and when I am consistently doing something different than my normal swing. It is up to me to determine if my swing is mental and physical.
Hitting a miss shot is a frustrating thing for sure. Understanding whether it is mental or physical is important. Physical swing hitches can be fixed at the range; mental ones….well we all have to find our own way.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “A Miss Hit in Golf – Mental or Physical?”
Jim, most bad swings are physical errors. The rate of physical vs mental decreases with more experience. For example, mishits by beginners are almost all physical. Mishits by pros are mostly physical but can be more mental. Our mishits are primarily physical; I know mine are. They are the hardest to control.
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Thanks Brian. Your logic makes sense. I wonder if we can trace the root cause for the physical mishit to something?
Practice, practice, practice. We never get enough practice. Practice is what puts those one-off bad swings to bed. Or at least keeps them away longer between appearances. I don’t know what the true cause is but suspect it’s a little of both most times. And practice is the solution that helps fix both the mental and physical errors. Practice enough, and it’s hard to miss. There’s no stress. It’s just another swing.
That reminds me, I should hit the range tomorrow. I really should try fine tuning the things I’ve worked on. Hitting a bucket of 7 irons ought to help.
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You are absolutely right! We all know this and should practice more, alas our playing season is so short, practice at this time of year can be a challenge. Have fun on the range.