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Why you can't play golf and tips that may never help
In the beginning
It started soon after childbirth. Some zagged and some zigged when they should have zagged. It probably first started when you first picked up a bat or ball and made that first throw or swing. Your brain, either through lack of development of by pure chance started you down the wrong path. Since the difference in performance between Ziggers and Zaggers at this young age was minimal, there was no feedback telling you you needed to make corrections, go down another path, paint a different picture. By the time you were older and falling behind the Zaggers it was too late. A picture was burned into your brain that would continue to take you down the wrong path. One day, after T-ball, baseball, and other team sports were behind them, the Ziggers and Zaggers took up golf. Even the worst Zaggers quickly went from scoring over 100 to scoring under 90. The Ziggers spent most of their golf careers in the 100s. Most of those careers were very short since those without addiction problems quickly determined the game was no fun; at least the way they played it. Some got so frustrated that they walked off the course in the middle of a round telling their carpool friends to "find a ride home--I quit!" The other Ziggers who had become addicted tried everything--- read every tip, bought every training aid, purchased every video on golf, and invested in game improvement technology only to be left in the dust of the Zaggers. Some made enough compensation moves to their "natural" swing to be able to eventually shoot in the 90s. A fortunate few somehow figured a way to occasionally shoot in the 80s. It was not a pretty site to behold, since these compensating moves produced some of the ugliest, most awkward looking swings on earth. They were in constant motion in an attempt correct a wrong swing path produced by a bad picture in their brain. Some Zaggers were even overheard saying "I'd slash my wrist if I had a swing like that!". And these swings were at their limits in the 80s--- they would go no further. Any time off from rehearsing these complicated compensating maneuvers resulted in a quick return to the 100 range. So the question is, "can a Zigger ever become a Zagger?" Short of possibly a lobotomy and starting over from the opposite side (left-handed for righties), the answer probably no. A lifetime of wrong learning is hard to undo. So I will start you off with the very best tip or piece of advice I ever received. After someone who I asked for advice watched my swing I was told, "take a two week break from golf----and then quit!". Unfortunately, it was too late. I had drunk the Kool Aid and was addicted. I suspect you are too.
Tips for Ziggers
Zigger tip #1- Become Target Focused
Many Ziggers have become "clubhead focused" as a result of all the tips they have tried to employ in the past that dealt with swing plane and the correct clubhead position at various clock positions of the swing. They have developed a habit of following the clubhead on the take away and watching the clubhead out of their peripheral vision. As a result, their body and muscles react to what they are looking at and the body follows what the eyes see. This can result in a sway, a lift, a reverse pivot, or a release of the muscle tension needed to power the swing on the correct path. So lets take a test to see if you are "clubhead focused". First, set up like you normally do to make a shot, looking at the golf ball, and take a few of your normal practice swings. Do this some more and think about how your arms, legs, chest and rear end feels. Now, instead of looking at the ball, turn your head and look down the target line away from the target. For right handed golfers that would be looking to your right. Pick out some point to the right and look at it while you make some practice swings. Again, note the feeling in your legs, arms, chest and rear---how these muscles are tensed. Now do the opposite. Look to the left at the target you want to hit the ball towards. Make a few practice swings while looking at the target and note the feeling. Do not take your eyes off the target while you mentally envision striking the ball in an manner that will make to go towards the target. Which feels most like your normal swing---looking at the target or away from the target? Chances are if you are a clubhead follower, looking away from the target felt similar to your swing and looking at the target felt totally different with much more tension in your large core and leg muscles. You may feel that you take the club away in a different manner and that it feels like your hands stay closer to your torso rather than moving away from your body. The feelings you have when you are target focused are closer to what you want to experience in your golf swing. Before each golf shot, make a few practice swings while looking at your target and try to incorporate those feelings into your golf swing. Visualize the flight trajectory you want the ball to follow and pick a point down the target line along that trajectory and swing to that point. If you incorporate only one tip into your routine, being target focused is probably the most important. Note- a target focus is not limited to your full swing. Being target focused will help with chipping, putting and all aspects of your game.
Zigger tip #2- Visualize
If you can visualize what you need to do your subconscious will guide you to a proper swing. You do not need to worry about mechanics--in fact you cannot control your swing mechanics. They are a product of your swing concept and what you are visualizing. See the wrong picture--make a wrong swing. So we need to erase your current picture since it is obviously wrong and replace it with something that will guide you to make the correct moves. The first step is related to being target oriented mentioned above. You need to visualize where you want the ball to land, the trajectory it will take to get there and how the ball will start off the clubface after being struck. Pick out your landing point and see the ball leave the clubface and travel to that point. Close you eyes and take a few practice swings to that point. Make sure that at any point in you backswing you feel you can return the clubhead to the ball such that the ball will follow the trajectory you visualize. If you feel you would need to make corrections in your swing path on the downswing to get the ball to travel on the correct trajectory, then start over until you feel no correction in the path is required.
The next bit of visualization is where most Ziggers will get the greatest benefit. This involves the clubhead, how it is built and attached to the shaft, and how it is meant to strike the ball. The loft of the club can fool your brain into doing things completely opposite of what you need to do. Many are visualizing sliding the bottom edge of the club under the ball to be able to strike the ball with the face of the club or to get the ball up in the air. This will cause your arms and hands to either not rotate or even rotate opposite of the way they need to rotate. You do not want to visualize putting spin on the ball by striking down on the bottom half of the ball. To counteract this desire, you will need to visualize just the opposite. Visualize putting "topspin" on the ball by rolling the clubface across the top half of the ball. This visualization will get you hands and arms rotating counterclockwise (right handed golfers) through impact. In reality, this is not what will happen. As mentioned, the loft of the club confuses the brain and this is what you need to visualize. You will not put top spin on the ball but will still be creating backspin. As your hands rotate counterclockwise the top half of the clubface will actually be striking down on the top half of the back of the golf ball creating backspin. Use this visualization of rolling your hands like you are putting topspin on a tennis shot and you will find you will be hitting you irons crisper and longer with much more consistency.
So as you make your backswing you will be feeling what it will take to put topspin on the ball and make it travel along the trajectory you visualized. Your subconscious will do the rest.
Once you have incorporated these tips you will be on a continued improvement path. You will soon catch up to your Zagger friends and could even cross over to the other side and become a Zagger.
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