On The Green: Don’t Hang Those Clubs Up Just Yet

The leaves are turning colors.  The temperatures are starting to fall.  Football season on the high school, college and pro levels is in full swing.  And the Black Hawks are in the middle of their training camp, while the Bulls are ready to start their training camps for the 2017-2018 season.  For most golfers, these changes are a sure sign that it’s time to hang up the golf clubs for another season—or is it?  I suggest that you rethink when you put those clubs away for another golf season.  Fall is a fun time for playing golf, so go out and enjoy it.

Fall is a great time to play golf for a lot of reasons, including the blue skies, the cooler temperatures and the changing of the seasons.  For me, one of the most notable reasons for playing fall golf is that there are fewer players on the course, which means that the pace of play will certainly improve over mid-summer.  Say goodbye to those five- or six-hour rounds.

The fall golf season is also a great time to concentrate on the fundamentals of your golf game.  Work on eliminating tension from your golf swings.  Avoid the distractions that always seem to crop up in our golf games.  Fall is nice weather.  So, instead of letting the falling leaves bother you, enjoy their colors.  Instead of getting upset by the number of leaves on the putting surface, refocus on what’s important to the putting game—speed and aim.  I can’t tell you how many putts I’ve missed this year simply because I didn’t hit them with enough speed to go directly into the hole and they turned one way the other just as they were about to go into the hole.

One of the really important things to remember about our golf games is that they are 10-percent physical and 90-percent mental.  If we can hit one drive that goes 225 yards straight down the middle of the fairway, why can’t we hit them all that way?  If we hit one nine iron that lands five feet from the pin, why can’t we hit all our nine irons the same way?  I suggest to you that the answer lies in mastering the mental part of the game.

I’m not sure whether hitting good shots produces confidence or confidence produces good golf shots, but I can tell you that I and most amateurs lack confidence.  Instead of concentrating on hitting that good golf shot, we focus on variety of different thoughts, such as whether we are taking the club back low and slow; making a full shoulder turn, tucking the right elbow in so we can hit down and compress the ball, and following through.  Confidence erases all these and a myriad other negative thoughts.

When we are confident in hitting golf shots, we are not worried about slicing the shot to the right, pulling it to the left, hitting it thin or chunking it.  I also have to tell you that one of the big mysteries of golf involves what happens between driving range preparation and when we hit the first tee.  I often wonder how one person can hit practice iron shots on the driving range that soar through the air and land the correct distance, and then hit a skull or a pull hook on their first shots.  What happened between the practice range and the course?  It’s called reality and tension, and fall is a great time to turn practice into perfection.

To have fun with fall golf, remember that golf is not a game of perfect.  We won’t hit all of our shots perfectly, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the game.  We may have shot 86, 96 or 101, but somewhere along the way, we hit a good shot or putt or maybe even several of them.  Savor those good shots and don’t beat yourself up for those bad shots, those missed putts.  Concentrate on joys of golf and enjoy the cool weather, the wonders of nature, and the fall golfing season.

 

Jerry Koncel is a freelance writer and avid golfer. 

He welcomes your questions and comments.          

Please send your e-mail to:  jkgolf67@aol.com.

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