It is fair to say that feedback from contact helps shape our golf swing. I don’t know about you, but my great hits do not happen as often as I hope. But, I still keep swinging away hoping that the percentage of great contact continues improve. To do this, I will have to continue swinging and swinging with the intent to get better. Before you start yelling at me and calling me names for stating the obvious, I think if you sit back and think about it, how often do golfers hit their ball with intent.
I realize that the topic of intent and how it applies to golf is kind of fuzzy logic for most golfers. There are many obvious instances where intent will shape the ball like with a draw, fade or even hitting it straight. There are other instances where intent determines results. It is during those instances where many golfers only hit their ball with the hope that something good happens. This is where many rounds derail and confusion ensues.
Using the image on the left, I will walk you through the number of times I used intent in this shot.
First you can see my ball is a fluffy lie. This is the start of what kind of shot I want to make. Knowing that my ball is sitting up, I needed slightly less loft make the ball travel to just on the first cut of the green. This was my first intent, to hit the ball solid with a lower lofted club so it would travel the distance I needed it to so it would release to the pin.
My second intent (and the one that actually shapes my entire shot) is where I plan to land the ball. Picking this spot is critical to a successful golf shot. I am currently 15 yards from the landing point and the pin is 10 yards from the same spot. So my intent is to hit a medium height shot the spot that will produce the best results.
Lastly, my intent (actually make sure), at the very least, is to ensure my ball makes on the green regardless of how far it finishes from the hole. I say this because on shots like this, trying to play the ball too cute usually ends up with me chipping again. I would rather be left with a 30 foot putt than a 15 yard chip.
As you read through my list of intents, you are probably thinking that I exchanged the word intent with decision. That could be said, but I would suggest that at each point, I determined a specific goal that would result in my best shot.
Additionally, by using the word intent, I am telling my mind that I am about to do something intentional. This mental approach to shot making helps focus and narrow my thoughts. This inturn helps with my execution. I found that over the years that if I use this process, I am a better player.
When I do not use my intent technique, I find that I hit many shots where I hope something good happens. Something good does happen from time to time, but generally it just costs me more strokes. Generally, I am lax on intent when playing a friendly where I am not really focused on anything but enjoying my time on the links.
Next time you are playing, try focusing on your intent for the different parts of your shots. You might be surprised at the results.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!