Breaking 80: Use your imagination Created on 8/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Breaking 80 - Use Your Imagination
You're getting pretty good at this game if you're shooting in the low 80s. But if you want to break 80, try freeing your mind with creative visualization. Not only does it help get you out of mechanical swing-thought mode, it makes the simplest of shots more entertaining. Try these visuals.
Stay rooted on the putting green
All good putters keep the lower body and the head still during the putting stroke. Although I've found it easy to keep my head still, my lower body sometimes sways a little and makes me hit putts off-line. That's when I use this visualization: I pretend my legs have tree roots growing out of them (above). This keeps my lower body nice and still so I can take the putter back and through on the path I intended.
Launch your drives off the flight deck
Back when I was playing competitively, I performed my best when I entertained my mind with this thought: For tee shots I would visualize an F-15 fighter jet taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier (below). If I wanted to hit a draw, I would imagine the plane banking to the left after takeoff. If I wanted to hit a fade, I would imagine the plane banking right. Then I would try to make my ball take the same flight path. I got so into it, I would even hear the engines roaring. You're so focused, you forget all those paralyzing swing thoughts.
Watch and learn
Keep an eye on your playing partners. You can learn a lot about courseconditions and wind direction by watching their shots.
Make a break for it
When you have a curving putt, focus on playing as much break as you can. If you play the maximum amount of break, as the ball is slowing down it will be getting closer to the hole.
If you don't, when the putt misses below the hole, it will be getting farther away as it slows down.
To hit the shot where the ball is below your feet, widen your stance and then get into an address posture in which you feel like you're sitting on the edge of a barstool. When you swing, maintain this posture through impact. (See, all those happy hours can pay off.)
Golf Digest August 2003