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Over time with every hobby, sport or game, we all develop special quirks or types of habits that just become the norm for us. However not all of these habits are the greatest thing to have, and often times a golfer can hit a wall before becoming better because they have to actually relearn to play in a new or slightly different way. This means, it is better to be able to start off on the right foot, and get the good golfing habits down when you are a beginner so you don’t have to worry about it later on.
Style Your Swing
As with anywhere, learning the basics of the game is crucial. You should make sure you know all the golf rules before you even step onto any green. Then once you start the swinging throw out everything you’ve ever seen or heard about how you are supposed to swing the golf club. Try a few times of swinging naturally to see what you end up with, and if you can record it so you can review it later. After you’ve tried some strokes, look at the way your initial stance is set up, then draw on the information like what a golf lesson might give you and adjust yourself. Try a few swings, and keep paying attention, if you adjust somewhere on your body, look at it, see if it’s hurting your swing or if it’s helping your swing.
By practicing this method repeatedly, you’ll learn what works best for your body, in combination with still keeping the basic stroke ideas in mind, so your swing isn’t just completely off and stays that way. Often times many golfers simply adopt the swing of the person who taught them, or they slowly slide into comfort habits with their stroke and never pay attention to correct them. It’s okay to have those comfort habits and special changes with your swing style, just make sure they aren’t making you worse at the game!
Feel the Flow
This one tends to fly over a lot of people, until they’ve gotten further in the game, but it’s actually a pretty basic one. The flow comes from a psychology term, which essentially means a very positive hyperfocus. It’s more than just keeping in the zone, or focusing on the ball. It’s a state of being that is supposed to put you in this sense of incredible and intense concentration.
It always surprises people when I tell them to take on a few habits from meditation for this. Before you start a swing, close your eyes, let all the thoughts out of your head, and focus slowly on your breathing. Once you feel calm and focused open your eyes, keep your attention on the ball and let the swing go. This kind of hyper focused state, will always serve you better, because it puts you in a state that you aren’t worried about what just happened with your wife five minutes ago, or about that one person talking near you. You are simply focused on the goal of achieving a great stroke, and that’s what matters.
Watch the Winners
If you want to be the best, you should be learning from the best. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and get yourself one of the greatest winners in golf history and make them train you. You can actually learn a lot from those winners by simply watching what they do. And you have plenty of opportunity to do that too, considering these days every major golfing event is recorded and probably even on Youtube. Pay attention to those winners, try out some of their strokes and if you see improvement, think about integrating that style into your own.
And it’s not just about your stroke style, mimicking things like the professionalism of the pros, which can make other golfers still want to play with you, even if you aren’t the greatest, because the way you play the game can often be more important than how well you do at it. And don’t just watch one or two and be done, keep watching a few here and there, and adjusting your stroke style or game-play. The variation will help you be a better player across the board and you are learning from the pros too!
Practice the Perfection
This is probably one of the things that has been drilled into enough people’s minds that most people won’t actually do it just because it annoys them to hear this! Which seems like it is completely the opposite of what happens, but practice truly is important, especially as a beginner in the game. You should get in the habit though from the beginning. If you start golfing with a set time of when you will practice, you are more likely to keep that time and keep at the practice, which means you develop an important habit to get better!
If you have some more habits that you wish you had started as a beginner doing, so you didn’t have to relearn something, let me know.