Go Long


This edition’s swing tip requires zero practice as it’s a mental tip but, for you to reap the benefit, you’ll need to put it into play for at least a month.

Cast your mind back to your last round of golf and ask yourself …

  • How often did my approach shot miss the green short, left or right?
  • How many of my approach shots finished pin-high or beyond the hole?
  • How many approach shots went through the green?

I predict that your answers will be:

  • A number of my approach shots came up short of the green, and to the right or left.
  • Very few approach shots finished beyond the hole, with no more than a handful finishing pin-high.
  • Only one or two approach shots ended up through the green.

All golfers are obsessed with distance. Even those who deny this, secretly take great pleasure in squeezing a few extra metres out of any club. Unfortunately, this unhealthy obsession with distance inevitably will have an adverse effect on your scorecard.

So, picture this scenario. You have 150 metres to the pin – into a slight headwind. There are bunkers to the left and right of the green and a water hazard ten metres short of it.

Obsession with distance takes over and you experience brain fade … It goes something like this.

You know that it is possible for you to hit your seven iron 155 metres so that’s the club you go with.  Subconsciously, knowing that you need to hit it flush to achieve the desired distance makes you swing faster. You lose your normal swing tempo. The result? An off-balance strike which misses the sweetspot on your clubface.  Luckily, on this occasion the loss of distance isn’t too dramatic and your ball carries the water hazard short of the green. However, the forced out-to-in swingpath sends your ball into the bunker short and left of the green some twenty metres from the hole. After escaping the bunker, you three-putt and walk away with an unnecessary and frustrating double-bogey. Not a great result after having split the fairway from the tee.

With hindsight, you realise that a simple six-iron was the club!!!

Why? By selecting your seven-iron into a slight headwind, you put too much pressure on yourself to produce your Sunday best strike to hit the shot all the way to the hole.

When golfers select insufficient club they invariably end up swinging too fast. Attempting to squeeze that extra distance will inevitably throw you off-balance. When you are off balance, the quality of your strike suffers, your weight transfer into and through the ball will be out of sync and the contact of ball on clubface will be off-centre. All of these contribute to a loss of distance. When I see golfers attempting to achieve improbable distance, they frequently begin their downswings before they’ve completed their backswing. This aggressive ‘go-at-it-damn-hard’ impulse commonly results in an out-to-in swingpath and a shot that finishes to the left of the intended target.

You will have heard the golfing mantras ‘swing within yourself’ and ‘let the club do the work’.  Well, by consistently clubbing up and not down, it will be easier for you to live by those mantras while on the golf course.

I suggest that for the next three or four rounds of golf you ‘club up’ on every iron shot and ‘swing within yourself ’.  You will see the consistency of your ball striking improve and you will hit fewer pulls, hooks and slices.

Retaining your balance throughout your entire golf swing will result in hitting approach shots closer to the hole and lowering your golf score will take care of itself.