How many times have I tried to play the safe shot and failed. Knowing what the proper shot during a difficult situation is not that challenging, yet I seem to have a only a 50/50 chance of hitting a successful shot. Usually, my woes occur when I drop down to a 3 wood from my driver. For some reason, I swing poorly and pull the ball left. Sometimes, I mentally start to fail even before I start my pre-shot routine. Knowing I can physically hit the ball properly, I think my challenge is mental. What do you think?
When I drop down to any club on the tee, I generally have to change my mental approach to the shot. I know I am not supposed too, but in my case I need to remind myself not to overswing or at least swing the club with its natural swing. For some reason when I hit the ball off the tee, I feel I must go after distance instead of hitting my ball to the safe area that I am aiming to hit.
When I overswing, I generally pull my ball left and create more of a challenge for my next shot. Instead of swinging my normal tempo and speed with a 3 wood, hybrid or iron, I mentally breakdown and try to hit the ball farther than normal with these different clubs. Even as I write this article, I am shaking my head wondering why I do this mental error.
I use my pre-shot routine properly (most of the time), I select the proper target, I know the distance I want to hit, and I know what side of the fairway I want to finish. Everything is going well until I step over the ball and my mind goes blank and distance seems to be the only thing I am focused upon. It is the weirdest thing.
I have looked at many articles and watch a plethora of videos. Yet, I am unable to find that permanent fix that will allow me to hit a much high percentage on safe shots. I know this is all mental and for some reason I change my focus from positive things to the negative side. I do not execute this mental error with my driver and maybe that is why I hit it so often when another club is called for in challenging situations.
Two holes at Osprey Links cause me the most anxiety off the tee. Number 12 and number 6 require clubs less than a driver. Additionally they require a mental approach to allows me to swing away and not worry about missing my landing area.
Aim ↓ Point
This above image is of the 12th hole. This tee shot requires a 4 hybrid most of the time. I need to keep the ball right and with this club, my ball will land at the 150 yard marker and release forward. Anything on the right side and within 150 yards allows for the best approach shot to the green. Unfortunately, I pull the ball to the left center of the fairway as often as not. This mistake will focus a punch shot or some kind of miracle shot to get the ball close to the green. If I pull the ball too left fringe or more, I am likely in the hazard and fighting to make bogey. All I need to do is aim at the white sign on the right side of the fairway and my ball will end up in the perfect position. I know what to do, but execution is a challenge. Again….failure is all mental.
↓ Left side of water hazard.
The 6th hole tee shot, above, looks very easy. There is a bunker directly across the far left side of the water hazard that forms a shoot of sorts. That position is 125 yards to the green and 180 yards from the tee box. If we land in this position it is a very difficult approach shot to a long and narrow green. The best position is to be 80 yards out or 225 yards off the tee box. This is a natural 3 wood for me and it happens to hit into the widest landing area past the hazards. The challenge I have is pulling my ball left to land in the sand trap or worse, over the hill in deep rough. To manage my mental woes on this hole, I aim at the telephone pole in the distance and only focus on that target. If my mind wanders, then disasters ensues. This hole does not seem tough, but it sure can be especially when the wind blows from left to right.
Clubbing down for a tee shot is a challenge for my game. Mentally, I must be better prepared to execute the shot I have in mind in order to prevent pulling the ball left. The reason I am clubbing down for accuracy not distance…..that is a challenge I will work on this summer. For now, I have identified my mental error and will try to steps to rectify as soon as possible.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
5 thoughts on “Playing It Safe: A Failing In Golf”
To solve a mental issue we need to change how we think. Maybe trying a different shot shape will help you focus better.
With your first example maybe aim to that tree left of the white marker and try fading it back.
Sometimes small things like that are all we need.
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I have tried all aim points on that hole. The challenge is if I do not fade the ball when aiming left, I am in big trouble. If I fade a bit too much, I am in trouble on the right. This tee shot is the most difficult on the course. Mentally, I need to be stronger and I think that will cure my issues. It is a fun hole that keeps on challenging my skills.
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Maybe try a blindfold? 😂😂
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I like the speed/sound drill. You are correct that a ball is not needed. I have an orange whip that works very well for your drill. Thanks for adding to the article.