By:  Todd Graves

Forever it makes me wonder the extent to which golf instruction has become so difficult that golfers now believe that good players hold some secret.   While the secret is nothing more than good solid mechanics.  There is no secret other than the secret is “get the club to impact in the easiest way possible”.  The golf swing is not rocket science.

I don’t play much golf anymore.  Today I played my fourth round for the year.  Here are my scores for this year – 74,66,73,68. I’m seven under for the year and I don’t practice, I don’t worry about it.  I just step up and play – occasionally.  I don’t hit it perfect, as a matter of fact here are today’s statistics: 11 Fairways, 13 Greens, 1 Sand Save, and 26 putts.  Golf is like riding a bike to me – it just comes back to me even when it don’t feel that well.  Sometimes I feel a bit quirky over a shot – but overall I manage to play well enough to have fun.  Here are some of my secrets to making the game low maintenance.

Learn how to “feel great” at address

The main way to play well is that once you have a swing, you must learn to use it.  The best way to do this is to learn how to feel really good at address when you aim at a target.  This is my key to playing well. If if feel good at address, then it is easy to pull the trigger.  If I don’t feel right at address, then thoughts can creep in.  When weird thoughts creep in, I find it difficult to pull the trigger and I lose confidence.  I practice on the range like I am playing because I am really practicing on how and when to pull the trigger.

Aim at targets as often as you can and be aggressive

Aiming at targets is the key to learning how to pull the trigger. When you aim at targets, you learn to eventually stop all thoughts and you develop the timing of “when” to pull.  This is the key to developing consistency and aggressiveness in your playing.  I hate not being aggressive in my ball-striking.  As a matter of fact, I rarely ever “ease up” on a shot.  If I need to hit a small 8 iron or take something down a notch, I will usually just choke down and still swing full.  I like aggressive swings, not tentative ones.

Have confidence (or act like you do) even if you don’t

Paradoxically, this is one of my keys to playing well even if I don’t feel like it.  Sometimes I don’t feel like I am playing that well or I haven’t played in awhile – say two or three months.  Usually I get invited to play at really great and hard golf courses so playing poorly is not fun.  So what I do is act as though I have been playing every day.  I act as though I am sharp and ready as though I just walked off of a major tournament and played well.  I act as if I am playing well.  By acting as if I am playing well, my physiology changes and I actually start believing it.  Then, when I hit a few good shots, my confidence builds and I start playing better and better.  If find that acting like I am playing well gets me playing well.  Just think of the alternative.  What if you act as though you are not playing well.  This prophecy fulfills itself and soon, after you hit a few bad shots, you start to make excuses.  Don’t make excuses, just act as though you are playing well.

Focus on the best outcomes for all shots

Another thing that keeps me playing well is that, other than feeling great at address, my only other conscious effort is to focus on the best outcome on every shot.  I constantly ask myself, “what do I want on this shot?” or “What would be a perfect shot here?”.  By focusing on the best outcome, I stay aggressive and positive.

Read em and Roll em

One of the places that is easy to get discouraged is on the greens – putting.  One way that I stay focused and positive on putting is what I call “read em and roll em”.  What I mean by this is that if I read the putt well, my only expectation is to roll it where I read it.  There is nothing else I can do.  Therefore, the key to putting well, for me, is to read the putt well.  Once I get a good read – let her roll.

Love every shot you hit

The final and toughest part of playing “part-time” is enjoying every shot even the bad ones.  But I think loving every shot you hit is one of the secrets to great golf.  If I hit a bad drive, I simply try to recall what the swing felt like.  Then, I attempt to recall what a good swing feels like and I can appreciate learning from the bad swing.  Just like that – I loved the bad swing too because I learned something from it.

These are just a few keys that I use to play well all the time – especially when I am not playing regularly.  They keep the game fun.