By Peter Harris – Special to the Valley News
Welcome to the final column of the season. It is so much fun writing golf instruction blurbs for you. I hope you enjoy them and find helpful, and here’s wishing to see you next year!
Playing better golf and making improvements in your swing is like planting and tending a garden. (It can be veggie or flower, but I’ll choose more of the flower analogy.) Once you plant a new flower, or make an improvement in your swing or learn a new part of the game, it takes some maintenance to nurture it and keep it growing.
I’m told you need to water a new plant early and often once planted in the ground so the roots will grow. The same holds true when learning a new golf shot or making a swing change.
Let’s say you got some help in the bunker and were told to keep the heel of the club ahead of the toe through impact, allowing you to utilize the bounce of the wedge so you can blast the sand and therefore carry the ball out of the bunker. That’s pretty heavy advice and would take some time to practice and to get a feel.
Plants dry out after a few days and need more water. If you want the bunker advice to improve your game, it’s probably best you get in a bunker again and again to keep working on it.
Just like a new plant that needs watering, new advice in golf needs some practice. Once the plant matures — or the motion sticks — watering every once in a while is all that’s required.
You plant bulbs in the ground each fall to grow gorgeous flowers the following spring. If there’s a part of your game you want to get a head start on for next year, begin working on it this fall.
For example, get a better grip. There is nothing more miserable than a grip change. It’s like weeding — necessary, but not fun at all.
To help make some of the longer-term improvements stick like the grip, make the change at the end of the season and play a few rounds with it. Then, over the winter, practice the grip in front of a mirror and in the comfort of your own home without ever hitting a golf ball. Just like that bulb in the ground, you’ll be ready in the spring.
You can take the same approach with golf fitness and flexibility. Assess your body’s needs in relation to your golf swing, work on it over the winter and it will germinate in the spring.
The point here is that improvements in golf take time, nurturing and the occasional tweak just like a flower garden does. Sometimes you have to plant something new and try a new technique. When you do, you must remember to do your maintenance, and it will bring your game to life.
Bye for now!