The key to playing better golf is learning how to miss it better. There are thousands of books, videos, blogs, etc. out there telling you how to hit it better, more solidly, never miss it again, etc., but apparently Ben Hogan was the only one that figured out that golf is about hitting good misses.
You will make mistakes, but you can make better mistakes. Here are some things to work on that will help you hit better misses and they are geared for the average golfer. There’s already too much instruction out there about how to become a tour player.
Dr. Bob Rotella eloquently explained it in the title of his book, “Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect”. Learning to hit the ball better is really just a matter of learning to miss it better.
Ball position at address is an example of how to hit better misses. If you can’t get it perfect every time, then make the mistake of having the ball too far back in your stance. Since catching the ball in a slightly descending blow is perfect, you will hit a much better miss from having the ball slightly too far back in your stance than you will with the ball too far forward. Also, with ball position, it is better to have it slightly too far away from you than too close. Reaching slightly hits much better misses than crowding.
If you can’t get it perfectly on plane on your back swing every time then it is better to have it below the plane than above. It is much easier recover from below the plane, than it is to recover from above it. Too flat produces much better misses than too upright.
When you are addressing the ball and aligning your body, always align the club square to the target and align yourself to the club. If you make a mistake in alignment, be sure to aim your body slightly left of target. This allows the club to swing through down the line freely. If you align your body straight at the target or slightly right of target you can’t get out of your own way on the down swing. Shoulder and hip alignment are far more important than foot alignment. Aligning too far left will produce a much better miss than too far right.
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Ideally the club will travel back as far as you can turn your shoulders, but, too short will produce better misses than too far. Once the club goes too far back it means something has broken down and the usual result is throwing or casting the club over the top.
The take away should be a smooth, wide path to the inside. Too much to the inside will produce a much better miss than too far to the outside. Outside causes the swing to become too steep or upright resulting in an over-the-top down swing. Remember that it is called a back swing – not an up swing. Get the club behind you – not above you.
I wish that Dr. Rotella had written his book much earlier than he did and I wish that I had the opportunity to talk to Ben Hogan much earlier than I did. Having him tell me the key to his success was his ability to miss it better than everyone else would have made me a much better player much quicker.
Read this and think it over and then the next time you go to the course, try to miss it better. You may be surprised how much easier that is than trying to hit it better. Assuming that you will miss the shot, at least slightly, will also help you with club selection.