Keep it simple, keep it fun

Tina Mickelson
Photo: Courtesy Tina Mickelson
Simplifying your swing thoughts and remembering to have fun will produce better golf.
Tina Mickelson, PGA

Problem Area: Fundamentals
Series: Instruction Feature

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | 3:46 p.m.

When I was in college I realized how rewarding it was to help someone with their golf swing and then see their face light up after hitting a good shot. I actually enjoyed it more than hitting a good shot myself. That is when I decided to pursue a career in teaching the game of golf. The game has been so good to my family and me and I want to do everything I can to help as many people as possible enjoy the same benefits and joy that we have experienced.

The game was meant to be fun but the amount of fun the player experiences quickly diminishes as soon as they make things more complicated for themselves. Whether you are an avid golfer, someone who is not able to play as often as you would like, or someone who is thinking about taking up the game, the key to enjoying the game on a higher level is: SIMPLIFY.

Tina Mickelson Golf Tips

Here are some quick and easy tips that will help make golf simpler and more fun for you

Simplifying your swing thoughts will not only help you improve your swing much faster, but it will improve your confidence and you will enjoy the game so much more. There are certain "roots" in the golf swing, or "check points" that are important. If you are in the proper position at these check points, then the rest of the swing is on track, as well. If you fix your position in these certain "roots" of the swing, it eliminates the need to think about the extra 5 swing thoughts along the way from Root A to Root B. This is why it is so important to ensure your teaching professional is a PGA Member. The understanding of the golf swing that comes with the amount of training that is involved ensures that your teaching professional is addressing the most important changes needed in your swing first. You should never have more than two swing thoughts at a time. By limiting your swing thoughts you are able to improve the mechanics of your golf swing while still being able to swing freely enough to incorporate a good tempo.

Many players are too quick to blame their golf swing for a shot not going where they want it to go. They immediately start changing things in their swing when the problem might actually be taking place before the swing even begins. If your shots are not going where you want them to, first check your grip, stance, and set up to ensure you are setting yourself up properly for a good shot. Many of my students come to me complaining that they are either hitting the ball consistently to the left or to the right of their target and as I watch them hit their shots it is clear that they are consistently aimed exactly where their ball is going. They don't realize they are not aimed at their target so when the ball does not go where they want it to, they automatically assume it is their golf swing that is off.

Another way to simplify the game and ultimately enjoy it more is to have realistic expectations. Since golf is a "game of misses", we need to expect that we will have some bad shots during our round. We are not going to hit every shot pure and it is important to keep that in mind as we make our club selection. Many of my students have complained that their approach shots are coming up short. The problem is, if they are faced with a 150 yard approach shot, they hit the club that goes 150 yards if they hit it perfectly. They swing as hard as they can and then wonder why their consistency suffers. Instead, choose your 155-160 yard club and swing a little easier. This will not only make it possible to incorporate proper swing mechanics and improve your consistency, but your odds are much better that your approach shot will actually reach the green. (Of course, you always want to assess any trouble that is surrounding the green. If there is water behind the green, you might want to stick with the shorter club just to be safe.)

Since "feel" is so important in both the full swing and short game, the less technical you can make things the easier it will be to incorporate good rhythm, timing, and tempo. I have included some of my favorite golf tips that have helped my students improve the mechanics of their full swing and short game while at the same time taking the focus of being too technical and putting that focus on feel and tempo.

The game of golf has so much to offer and we can enjoy the benefits of the game to the fullest if we just simplify our overall approach. 

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