Tom’s Featured Tip:
Walking It Across The Road
For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do!
“Walking it across the road” is a phrase used to denote taking your range practice success to the course when you play.
For example, in professional circles it’s said that David Duval has a tough time walking it across the road. King of the range, but not so during actual play.
This story is about a student that I’ve been working with for a couple of years, and it’s told with his permission.
This student is a very good player, he’s shown steady improvement in the time we’ve worked together.
However, he can’t walk his driver swing across the road, and we’re trying to figure out why.
I want to mention that this guy is very close to “owning” his swing, if he’s not actually there already, which makes the problem more perplexing to me.
We had a lesson a few weeks back, his first outdoor lesson of the year, and he was crushing the ball with his driver. He mentioned that he was going to get out and play, and – as I usually do – I asked him to text me and let me know how he played.
Got the text, and I was astounded by his message that he couldn’t get any distance with his driver.
We talked on the phone, and we both acknowledged that he was murdering the ball at the range – on a cool day with range balls no less.
When I asked him why he thought he wasn’t repeating on the course, he gave me an answer that is a first for me as a teacher.
He said that he thinks that when we are working at the range, he relaxes and swings freely under my watchful eye, because he knows that if he makes a mistake we’ll spot it and make corrections. When he’s on the course, he feels like he might be aiming his shots instead of swinging freely.
Now this was new to me, because 99.99% of my students tell me that they are initially nervous while I’m observing their swing, then they eventually loosen up and swing relatively naturally.
This student wants to do a playing lesson with me to see what we can come up with, and that will get done.
In the meantime, if anyone else has a tough time walking it across the road, here are a few thoughts that might help you get ‘er done:
For this particular student, until we meet and play I told him when he was on the tee, before he tees off, to take a few very fast swings with his driver held inverted, and to really try to generate a good swooshing sound. Don’t be afraid to do this over your ball on the tee, then grip it normally and let it rip.
Let it rip; swing fast and stay in balance. Notice that I didn’t say swing hard. Think “swing fast”. When you try to micro manage your swing while you are swinging, nothing good happens. In this particular case, I asked him about where he has trouble and it seems to be the same holes. So what’s the downside of letting it rip on those holes? If you’ve essentially been tanking on those holes repeatedly anyway, just loosen up and let it rip.
Thinking about mechanics is actually OK until you step into your shot. After that happens, all you should be thinking about is target, stay loose, and swing.
When I get out and play with this guy, we’ll probably develop some sort of mantra like “Target, Relax, Swing Fast, Finish” that I’ll have him say to himself before and after he steps into the shot, that usually works wonders.
If all else fails, this guy might just need to have me accompany him every time he plays (just kidding).
Love your practice, enjoy your golf,