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Focus on the target – not on the ball

I hit the best shots when I’m concentrating on the actual target somewhere on the fairway or the flag. It is not something that comes easily to me. I have to make a conscious effort to see the flag in the distance when I’m lifting the club. This is still hard to do, but it gets easier, and I am doing it more often now. Most importantly it is the best fix for over-the-top swing. A problem that 90% of amateur golfers experience, apparently. I am no exception.

I don’t know how to describe it, but i can feel the switch from seeing the ball to seeing the flag when I’m about to swing. It is an actual switch in my brain that I notice. Many years ago there were these pictures popular that showed a scene, but when we concentrate our vision in a certain way, a 3D image popped out from it. I don’t remember what they were called, but I remember that to see that 3D image I had to see through that image. Not see what’s on the surface of the picture, but see passt it and the 3D image appeared.

This same feeling I get when I see the green when I look at the ball. I am still looking at the ball, or behind it, or under it, but my mind is seeing the green in the distance. Or part of the fairway that I want my ball to land. I can feel that switch, but it’s still not something that pops in my mind on it’s own. I have to concentrate really hard to achieve that switch.

Perfect golf swing

I don’t think he is observing his sequence and angles

At the moment I am still struggling with body over-rotation which manifests itself by lifting my head. I am also rotating my hips way too much, which makes it very difficult to shift weight at downswing. Not to mention the dreaded over-the-top golf swing. These few things are mechanical and I’m slowly getting rid of them from my swing, but I really want to start working on my target.

When I hit a tennis ball I never think about the ball, I only imagine the spot I want that ball to land. It is so easy to do that in tennis, but with golf it’s a struggle and something that requires a lot of effort. Maybe it’s because with golf, we hit the ball that lies in an awkward position. We never do anything in our life that resembles a golf swing.

Also, maybe because the ball is just lying there, not moving, we have too much time to over-think the shot, while with tennis, with the ball rushing towards us at 100 miles per hour, we have a split second to execute the shot and our mind tells the body to do that almost subconsciously. Without us purposely stuffing it up. I’m not sure.

What I do know is that switching from seeing the ball as the target to seeing the green or the fairway as the target is possible. It happens to me when I concentrate on it, but in time, I can teach my mind to do that by default. And this is the best way to fix the over-the-top swing.

I study the swings of the current pros on GolfDigest but I wonder how many of them remember every single angle, sequence, etc when they go for the ball. I think they look at the ball, concentrate on the spot they want the ball to land and they whack the crap out of it. They sequence takes care of itself.

2 replies
  1. Jim Daniels
    Jim Daniels says:

    Great advice Jay. I have been golfing 50 years now and I just started using this technique recently. It has changed my ball striking. I am hitting more fairways and greens and having more fun. You are definitely on to a secret of golf that not many people learn, even in a lifetime of golf!

    • Jay
      Jay says:

      I find it sad that so many people got turned off golf because the instructions are just too complicated. I mean, what’s so hard about hitting a ball with a stick, right? NO!!! There are hundreds of things my “golf coach” told me that I have to remember when striking a ball, to achieve the desired handicap. I used 6 out of 10 of his lessons and thanked him. 🙂 What a waste of my time and money.


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