Imagine this...

by Donald Crawley

Contributing Golf Writer and Director of Instruction for The Boulders Club Voted as a TOP 100 Teacher in Golf Magazine, and Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy, Carefree, AZ.

Donald Crawley Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) - Imagery is a very powerful tool that is not being utilized by many golfers. Maybe you are one of them. Visualization is a more popular term. You may have heard about "visualizing the shot," "see the shot," or as Chevy Chase's character in Caddyshack said, "Be the ball."

Think of the golfing greats over the years. Ben Hogan often froze over the ball on his putts, sometimes for as long as a minute, which we don't recommend. It was called the blind stare. Ben later confessed that he wouldn't stroke the putt until he could see the ball going into the hole.

Jack Nicklaus was perhaps the best at establishing a pre-shot routine. The first step of that procedure was to see the shot from start to finish.

Tiger Woods uses visualization, and imagines what his swing will do to produce the desired result.

I remember in the late eighties when I made the first of many video instruction tapes. At the time Al Geiberger, a known tour player with a beautiful rhythmic swing had a popular tape. His swing was shown on a tape loop, over and over in slow motion. Gentle hypnotic music played in the background. It was and supposed to put you to sleep. You would have dreams of that gracious smooth swing, and wake up seeing that image. Some swore by it.

You can help yourself by visualizing the enclosed image. Try to copy this post-impact position.

Post-impact means the split second after you have hit the ball. The Tour Professionals often refer to good impact as "getting on top of the ball." Here is a photo of that position post impact.

Yours truly (that means me, the good-looking, smooth-swinging model) is caught in action immediately after impact, post-impact. I am on top of the ball, or at least I was at the moment of truth, the impact.

You will see all the good ball strikers looking very similar. Let's point out several of the main positions. Pick one and try to improve your impact and ball striking.

Donald Crawley
Donald Crawley
  • Chest and shoulders only slightly open
  • Eyes down but chin out of chest
  • Left leg bracing to straight
  • Hips unwinding and clear
  • Weight on left side
  • Right heel barely off the ground
  • Right arm and shaft in a straight line
  • Left hand glove covered
  • Both forearms rotating
  • Club face closing to target but square to the arc
  • Wrists are not flipping
  • There is no left wrist visible or cupped
  • There is no chicken wing of the arms
  • The club head is accelerating on an arc
  • The club releases through impact

    If you have imagined, pictured, visualized, in your mind where you are trying to swing the club, the brain has a blueprint to draw from. The inner mind sees the plans and sends the appropriate signals from the brain to the outer limbs. You can change your hitting action, your swing and improve your contact and ball striking.

    Pick one of these features, and practice in front of a mirror trying to emulate this position. Ask yourself "how does it feel," then make a swing in motion duplicating that feel. Try to take that "feel" to the driving range and hopefully on the golf course.

    Donald Crawley
    Donald Crawley

    Donald Crawley, Director of Instruction at the Boulders Golf Academy at the Boulders Resort & Golden Door? Spa in Carefree, Ariz. Crawley, a veteran of 29 years of teaching experience, is the newest contributor to The Sports Network with regular features that range from tips on improving your game to etiquette at the course. He has established 40 golf school sites in the United States since 1980,previously as vice president and director of instruction at John Jacobs' Golf Schools, consultant to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, and presently at the Boulders Golf Resort in Arizona.

    Crawley is recognized among the "Top 100 Teachers in America" by Golf Magazine and one of the "Best Teachers in Arizona" by Golf Digest. As both a Class A U.S. PGA member and a British PGA member, Crawley has been recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities. In 2002, he won the Southwest Section PGA's Teacher of the Year Award. He also received the Horton Smith Award for education in 2000. In addition to teaching over 60,000 students, Crawley has co-authored video instruction tapes with John Jacobs and BBC/ABC golf telecaster Peter Alliss.

    Comments? Contact Donald Crawley at dcrawley@luxuryresorts.com.

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