Yesterday, I played a round of golf at Fort Mill Golf Club in Fort Mill, SC. Although with the grass still in winter condition, the sunlight and temperature were enough to make an enjoyable day. This course features many tight greens that are elevated, which is not surprising given that Fort Mill GC was designed by Donald Ross.
In order to hit these kinds of greens, a player must be very accurate with the scoring clubs. This kind of skill is not found by ‘gripping and ripping’ like many modern golf clubs encourage you to do. Rather, the opposite approach of holding the club lightly, relaxing the shoulders, and using the natural rotation of the body will result in more consistent solid impact. As a golfer who has been playing for a long time, there are certain expectations that I place on myself as far as my ability to hit the golf ball. I notice that when I put too much pressure on myself, I try to force shots to happen by gripping harder, using my arms to swing, and using too much speed. This is the fallacy that I’m sure many other golfers face (Tiger Woods of recent play is a good example of this. With his weakened physical condition, there is no reason for him to swing like he used to).
Halfway through my round, I loosened up my grip, stopped trying to kill the ball, and let my body do its thing. I think this all boils down to trust in your own skills. Humans, by nature, want to take control of all situations possible. In golf, our hands are the most obvious and visible unit of control to hit the golf ball. That’s why we grip so hard and use our upper bodies so much rather than relying on the core and legs to drive the swing. Relying on the lower body to do the work must be trained and practiced in order to overcome this challenge.