It’s crucial that I can hit the ground running when my 2021 season finally gets going and, despite the courses still being shut, there are some basics that I can always turn to so I know that I’m on the right track. I keep these almost at a maintenance level so, when I’m back out hitting balls on the course, then I can think external and about hitting the shot and all the other factors that go into putting a score together
1 I have a Visio putting mat which is made by Phil Kenyon who is one of the leading putting coaches in the world. I have a 10-foot Huxley mat so I really concentrate on purely getting my start line right. The aid allows me to work on my stroke, the path of the putter and the face alignment, the end result being that I get my start line right. There are two things that we can control; how hard we hit it and where we start it and this gives me the best chance of holing more putts.
I’ll use a string line so that I know that my eyes are in the correct place so, from there, it is basically getting the posture right and getting the stroke dialled in. I can set up little breaks but the most important thing is to focus on the basics.
2 For the full swing I do a lot of mirror work with a video camera on a tripod to help me with my check list of things that I need to do on my swing. If I am stood over the ball my first check is my posture and I draw a vertical line from my armpit down to the floor and the line must go through my shoe laces – that means I’m in balance and, with the mirror and video, I can check that my swing is on point and that I’m moving in the right direction. Then it’s all about lots of drills and hitting balls.
I’ll do these in the garden by hitting into a net in the garden and, when I go back on the course, I’ll know that I’m striking the ball well. You can forget the hoopla of hitting it long, hitting it out the middle of the face is the key. Strike is king.
In the first two lockdowns I hammered the net and I came out hitting it really well. As I couldn’t see the outcome and ball flight I wasn’t emotionally attached to the ball flight so I could get internal with my swing, my feels and where things need to be to produce certain shots. Then I found that when I got to the course it was so engrained that I really knew my feels. So then it is just working out the distances and playing yardages.
Everyone can do this, your phone is good enough but just make sure you are videoing from the same spot each time. And concentrate on making sure that the rehearsal is good and on point and that is a great stepping stone to getting the actual swing right.
3 The final one is a bit more rudimentary. While the first two are my main focus the third is the cherry on top. I will simply hit the driver as hard as I can but I will only count it if it comes out the middle. I can borrow a launch monitor from my coach so I can check my ball speed, strike and spin but, even without a monitor, you can tell how you’ve hit it. Finding the middle of the face is crucial for straight, long drives.
So, when golf starts happening again and I see a bunker at 300 yards, hopefully the work that I’ve been doing will translate to me knocking it over it.