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Golf: Simple advice from a golf coach, suitable for any player. Lesson 2:

Updated on November 16, 2010
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Today’s lesson is nothing to do with swing mechanics, technique or even tempo. This is a lesson about what to do before a shot. It’s all about picking a target. Some people far cleverer than me have worked out that the human body works far better when it has the smallest possible target to aim for. So aiming for ‘the fairway’ or ‘the green’, is not giving yourself the best chance to hit your best shot. Instead you should be doing what a lot, if not all, of the top pros do and pick the exact part of the green or fairway that you want to hit. I can hear the negativity oozing out of most of you already, replying something along the lines of ‘I’ll never be able to hit that.’ The thing is you’re greatly improving your chances of getting close to that target, if you’ve got a precise target in the first place, and there’s no need to get upset if you miss your target by a few yards. If your target was ‘the green’, and you missed that by a few yards, there’s no telling where you could be, sand, water, even out of bounds. I really don’t think, Phil Taylor, the great darts player, stands there and thinks ‘I’ll just throw it somewhere at the board.’ A classic bad example is the old ‘aim for a three foot circle’ around the whole on a long putt. For any putt your target should be to hole the putt, on a long putt like that you should be paying extra attention to exactly how hard you want to hit it, but if you miss your 3foot circle target by 2 feet, you’re left with a five footer, missing the hole by the same margin, leaves you a two footer, I know which putt I’d rather have.

Today’s lesson: next time you play or practice, pick the smallest target you can, but don’t let that tense you up, remember you are just giving yourself a better chance of getting the ball close to where you want it to go.

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