I’ve played a lot of golf in my life since picking up the game when I was about 8 years old, including competitive junior, amateur and college golf. In recent years, though, since getting married, having two daughters and buying a little family skiff, my annual rounds of play have dropped to 5-10 rounds per year. Actually last year I only played 3 rounds, and they were all before the end of June. I suspect there are many golfers out there who can relate to this, so I wanted to share a couple tips that I’ve learned over the years for playing your best, and enjoying your golf, when you don’t practice and only play a few rounds a year. The only two swing thoughts I keep in mind are set-up and tempo.
To achieve a solid set-up, I pick a mark a few inches in front of the golf ball in line with my target, set my golf club perpendicular to the target line, and then align my legs, hips and shoulders “parallel left” of the target line. An analogy for this set-up I’ve heard in the past that stuck with me is to think of your body and your target line as railroad tracks.
When you are not practicing and playing only a few rounds a year, you can’t expect to do all the things in your swing that you do when you are playing frequently and well. However, I believe by focusing on your tempo, you can get away with a lot of bad things that would otherwise produce bad shots. Specifically, I focus my tempo on taking the golf club back very slowly, and pausing at the top of the backswing before transitioning to the downswing. The slow takeaway and pause at the top help me minimize the tendency that most golfers share, which is to go over the top on the downswing. A slow tempo and paused transition help me drop my hands on the downswing and keep my swing on-plane. Maybe these two simple thoughts will help other occasional golfers make the most of their golf.