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Playing Golf - How Difficult Can It Be?

May 8, 2008
An outsider watches the game. How hard can it be to hit a stationary ball? After all, major league baseball players hit balls traveling at high speeds all the time. With that in mind, the outsider decides to take up golf. Must be relaxing, since it takes so little effort, right?

Think again.

Most outsiders give up on the game before they even understand the dynamics of hitting that stationary ball. It makes sense that an iron club could knock a little ball hundreds of yards. Yet when the new golfer takes his first swing, there is often little movement at all and sometimes no movement (or worse, backward movement!).

There is a lot more to hitting that little ball than meets the eye.

Human nature is to use the iron to cup it under the ball to send the ball sailing. Look at the club. It is angled back, not at all designed to cup beneath the ball. So, when a golfer tries to scoop up the ball, he or she is really trapping it between the angled face of the club and the ground. That is why the ball sometimes either does not move or moves backwards just a little bit.

Instead of trying to hit up, it is best to learn to hit downward. By hitting down, the angled club will do the work for you. When you hit down, the angle will bump your golf ball forward. It is that simple.

Putting power behind that little punt takes some practice. It takes as much practice to resist the temptation to swing big and hard as it does to learn to hit the ball! Once you have trained yourself against upward swinging, you will see your hitting start to improve.

Now you will begin to understand why there are so many different golf clubs. Once you determine how far you want the ball to go, you will need to pick your club based on the angle of the face of the club.

If practicing does not seem to be strengthening your game, ask for help. Your golf course should have an attendant on hand who could give you some pointers. Maybe you could take some private lessons. The course pro shop should have suggestions for area teachers. Or just ask another golfer how he or she does it and if they have any tips for hitting the ball. You may think you sound silly, but everyone has a first time tale!

With those tips in mind and maybe even a few lessons behind you, go back to practicing. It takes a while to train your mind to think about hitting downward instead of upward, and it takes a while to train your body to actually do it the way you have in mind. Do not give up. Remember: the game is all about relaxing, so do not stress too much over hitting the ball.
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