One of the hardest things about golf lessons is trying to remember every pearl of wisdom handed down by your coach. It's not just a question of remember ing what you are doing wrong, you must also remember the bits you got right! No matter how you are taught, the easiest way to recall all your coach's dos and don'ts is to draw up a mental list.
The entire action of hitting a ball (from takeaway to impact) takes less than two seconds on average, but there is a crowded sequence of events that must come together in perfect harmony if you want to produce the desired corker of a shot.
I don't pretend to be a professional (if only), but here is a typical list of the areas that coaches suggest you should keep an eye on during your swing:
In Chapter 2, you learnt how to memorize a list of ten items of shopping using images and a simple journey around your house. Treat this checklist in exactly the same way, except that I suggest you choose a route around your clubhouse. Allocate a different point to each stage: the car park covers your grip, for example the changing room covers your club-face the driving range covers ball position the video booth covers stance; and so on.
With a little imagination, you can store as much information as you want at each stage. Take the restaurant (fifth stage), for example, which covers posture. You might form an image of a waiter taking your order in a peculiar way: he is bending down from the waist slightiy, with the knees flexed and back fairly straight (or whatever posture your coach recommends). An outspoken manageress shouts across at you, 'Keep your head sull when you're having your order taken.' And so on.
Alternatively, you might prefer to stick with one simple association. For example, you could imagine that Fred Astpire is in the video booth (fourth stage); the camera is filming him tap dancing, focussing on his lightning quick feet. This reminds you to check your stance.
Every time you play a swing shot, you just have to run through your familiar journey, reminding yourself of all the points as you go. It doesn't take a moment - far less time than it takes to describe.
Using a journey gives you a better overall view of the shape and structure of your swing. It also gives you a solid framework of mental instructions that you can easily call upon during practice, allowing you to tweak and adjust every little aspect of your swing. After all, you arc trying to ensure that only the purest instructions make their way from the declarative memory into your reflexive memory.
Other aspects of your game can also be stored at various locations around the clubhouse. To remember what your coach said about playing a downhill lie, for example, you could imagine a scene on some stairs. Tips on drawing
2. Clubface aim
3. Ball position
7. Top of backswing
10. Follow through the ball could be broken down and visualized along the driveway. All advice on bunker shots could be stored in the cellar. Apply the principles you have already learnt: use instant associations to translate the information into memorable images. The more unusual they are, the better.
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