Let’s face it we all want to improve our golf. There’s endless instructional video, information and books on improving and perfecting the swing. The idea of the game obviously is to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of shots.
So, the target is the hole ultimately. But before then we also have a target somewhere on the way to the hole and usually that is a spot in the distance, the fairway 200, 250 or 350 yards away depending on who you’re playing with!
You’ve heard the instructions “Pick your spot and let rip” and off you go to do as instructed.
Over the years there has been differing advice as to where we should be aiming or picking a spot. It has been suggested picking a spot just in front of your ball in a line directed to where you want your ball to go to keep your club and ball heading in that direction.
Like many things, it comes down to personal choice about what is comfortable and works for you.
Back in 2017 Golf Top 100 Teacher, Eric Alpenfels and Dr. Bob Christina, Emeritus Professor of Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studied 32 golfers with an average 12 handicap, to see what actually worked better.
After extensive testing using different methods, they discovered that the golfers who picked a wider target area in the distance, the width of the fairway for example, produced better results than when focusing on a smaller target on the fairway and not only that but gained an average overall of just over 6 yards.
Something most golfers would be happy with.
They concluded picking a wider target in the distance from the tee would produce the best results.
Now, new evidence has just come in that would appear to be even more interesting.
The same two guys, Eric Alpenfels and Dr. Bob Christina, did a recent study of 29 golfers of varying ability, where the golfers were asked to hit 6 shots each, aiming at three different directions.
1. Looking only at a distant target
2. Looking only at an intermediary target
3. Looking at a distant and intermediary target, which is considered to be the traditional method.
The results seem quite amazing really.
When measured, they showed that there was improvement over all the golfers when they forgot about the distant target.
Their accuracy was better, and their distance was the same when they focused on a point just in front of their golf ball!
I don’t have the all the figures available but if you are struggling to hit fairways off the tee and haven’t been able to fathom out why, try testing this out and see how you get on.
Focus is such an important part of the game, which is often undervalued by many golfers. The problem I believe in trying to focus on a spot in the distance and an intermediary spot doesn't work because the mind gets confused.
It can only focus on one thing at a time and when we 'try' to focus on the two different places, believing they are in alignment, it causes confusion and the body struggles to follow the instruction.
There’s no right or wrong way, we just have to find the way that: a) works for us and b) we are comfortable with and c) gets the best results. I believe that is to focus on one thing only and take it from there.
Otherwise it can drive you crazy with frustration, which will only have a negative effect on the rest of your game.
If you find you're not getting the results you want and would like to know more about improving your mental golf game, click here to get my 7 Keys to Improving Your Mental Golf.
Performance Coach & Trainer at Golfing minds