I’ve always been a great believer in making practice as difficult as possible so that when playing under tournament conditions the task appears easier to execute. Possibly the best example of this in sport is to play snooker for an hour and then go and play pool and very quickly, pool appears to be a very very simple sport.
Another great way of improving your strike when hitting the ball would be to consistently hit off tight sandy surfaces. This way if you do make a slightly substandard strike the consequences will be evident immediately. So if you were to practice a couple of hours a week off a tight hard surface or a sandy surface you will immediately improve your strike because that’s the very area that will be the most important. So what you’re going to see today here in the article is a really good putting drill which will improve your putting strike and your alignment almost immediately.
This really does tie in a couple of the lessons and articles that I’ve mentioned in the The Portugal News over the last two three weeks, because this one comes from the great Seve Ballesteros.
This drill immediately improves alignment and strike and keeps the body very still during the putting stroke.
So what you have to do is grip a pitching wedge or a sand iron, put the ball a little bit ahead of the middle of your stance, a little nearer your front foot and then strike the ball at the equator of the ball. If the ball becomes airborne it means you’ve hit below the equator and if you feel as if you topped the ball you’ve obviously hit it above the equator when the equator is the target area.
Seve used to do this drill every week, so that he stayed still over the ball and stayed very still whilst the ball was being struck and always putted to a tee peg stuck in a putting green. The reason he used to putt towards a tee peg was because again it’s a much smaller target so when he actually had a putter in his hand and was putting to a normal size golf hole, the hole seemed enormous.
Sportsmen in every sport want to train their skill level to a higher standard than necessary during game time. The reason being it’s great to hit a putt badly and it still go in the hole!
There are some great books written around this topic, my favourite book being The Pressure Principle by Dave Alred who was Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking coach and is currently Francisco Molinari’s performance coach.
When Dave Alred was working with Jonny Wilkinson he made sure that practice was extremely difficult and extremely difficult became the norm so that once game time came around everything appeared easier. One example is that Jonny Wilkinson would aim at one upright and use that as his target and would only count a successful kick if he hit the upright.
Meaning that when he was under the full pressure of a game he would change the target from being the upright and pick a seat or a piece of the stand and aim at that so that if he missed the seat or the piece of the stand he generally still scored three points.
Please have a go at this drill, it will be frustrating at the start but very soon you will start seeing that this is not beyond you, you definitely can do this, it will just take a little bit of practice .
Good luck and I will be back next week, take care and stay safe. From the Golf Integrated Academy at Villa Sol.