“I never hit a good shot if I am not competing for something.” This is a comment I heard on the practice tee this week from one of our junior academy members. What a powerful statement! The habit of going to the range and just hitting balls searching for that “good feeling” is common place in golf. However, having that good feeling and playing well are two different things. There will be days where everything feels right and days where it just does not. So where does consistency really come from?
At the beginning of 1945 Byron Nelson made a commitment to himself, that he would never hit a careless shot. He went on to win 18 tournaments that year including 11 in a row, both PGA Tour records. Mr. Nelson had realized that he was hitting too many careless shots that led to bogeys and thought that if he could merely approach each shot with intention he would play much better. I guess he was right! This kind of intention is not just for the course though, but for practice sessions as well. How can you reasonably expect to ingrain the habit of focus on a specific intention under the stress of competition if you don’t practice it in a lower stress environment first?
The moral of this story is do not underestimate the power of intention. You can search for the secret fix to your swing, the secret club, or the secret workout but if you do not practice having full intention on a specific target you will limit your progress in golf. Make a commitment to yourself to have full intention on a target even in practice and to focus on quality over quantity.