|Golf Article - Eye On The Ball
Everywhere I go to
play golf, people say to keep your eye on the ball. I read in one of your
articles that keeping your eye on the ball is bad. If you dont think I
should look at the ball, where should I look?
Well Cody, I know what you are saying. As you set-up to the
ball, your eyes are pointing at the ball. As you swing the club back, your eyes
continue to point at the ball. At impact your eyes are still pointing at the
ball. But, I say you should not try to keep your eyes on the ball. Does that
make sense? Too a lot of golfers, it does not.
If you ask a great player what they see when they set-up to
the ball, you will not hear the statement I am looking at the ball.
The great player isnt focused on the ball; they are focused on the
target. The ball is the least important part of golf. Obviously you
couldnt play without a ball, but it shouldnt be the most important
thought on your mind when you are going to play a shot. If you are staring at
the ball, you are too fixated on it.
The most important thoughts in your head (pre-swing and
in-swing) should be the target, the golf swing and confidence in your ability.
The thought of the golf ball can only give you more tension than you already
have before trying to hit a golf shot.
Just think of your practice swings. There isnt a ball
you are trying to hit. Therefore the ball isnt in your thoughts. How
great does your practice swing usually feel? The comment often heard around the
golf course is I wish my regular swing could feel as fantastic as my
practice swing. My practice swings seem so fluid. Then I put the ball there and
it all falls apart.
Well, what causes a regular swing to be a lot less effective
than a practice swing? The obvious answer is the golf ball. So the obvious
answer is to forget the golf ball is there. Easier said than done, but it can
be done. We need to take your mind off the ball. We need to get you thinking of
the swing. Just like when you take those effortless practice swings. They are
so free flowing.
When a player like Jack Nicklaus sets up to the ball, his
eyes are pointing at the ball. His minds eye sees the target. It
remembers what the target looked like. It pictures the golf ball landing next
to the target. But the mind never thinks of hitting the ball. It may picture
the ball in flight, but it doesnt see the club hit the ball. If you ever
get the chance to speak with some of the top players in the world, that is what
you will hear.
The best drill I can give you to conquer the habit of
keeping your eyes on the ball is to practice hitting tees with your eyes
closed. The next time you go to practice (after you have stretched) start your
practice session by sticking a tee into the ground. Push the tee in enough so
that the top is the same height as the middle of a golf ball. Do this with 5
tees that are about 6 inches apart.
Now start at the first tee and make a golf swing trying to
clip the tee out of the ground. Without stopping the motion of the swing take a
step forward to clip out the next tee. Continue this until all the tees are out
of the ground. The key to this drill is not to stop between swings. Keep the
motion going back and forth.
By continuing the motion you are taking your mind off the
tees and focusing on the movements of the swing. What you will learn is you
didnt need to keep your eyes fixated on the tee. You were
able to hit them out of the ground and up in the air without staring at them.
So why if it is easily accomplished with tees cant you do it with a golf
ball. Think about that for a few seconds before continuing reading. Read this
paragraph again if you need too before continuing.
Try this drill a few more times. Then when your confidence
is bursting through, try it again with your eyes closed. It probably will feel
very different at first. It might even take two or three attempts to
successfully accomplish the task. When your eyes are closed you are developing
the sense of feel for your golf swing. You are feeling your golf
swing. Hopefully you are learning how to see your golf swing in your minds eye.
If that is happening you are successfully taking your mind off that
The real test now comes when you tee up a golf ball and
close your eyes. Take a swing at it. What do you have to lose? You might even
hit it pretty good. I guarantee that by your 6th attempt you will hit the ball
perfectly on the sweet spot. I suggest trying this using a 7 iron.
The golf tips that are passed down from generation to
generation are like the game we played in grade school called Telephone.
Telephone was when every kid in the class stood in a single file line. The
teacher told the first kid a message and he/she told the next kid in line that
same message. This kept going till the end of the line and the last kid would
tell everybody what the message was. The message was never close to the
Well, that is what has happened with keeping your eyes
on the ball. What started as a well-intentioned tip has been converted to
a golf swing killing epidemic. That saying (and many others like
it) are over taught and misinterpreted. That is one of the main focuses of this
column and my golf school. We debunk the myths and give you solutions.
Do you have the desire to improve your golf
Marc Solomon, PGA, is the Director of The Hampton Golf
School at The Golf Club at North Hampton in Amelia Island, Florida
www.Golfmadesimple.com. He has been named as a
Top 10 Instructor in America under 40 and is regarded as the
Top Instructor in North Florida. The Hampton Golf School provides
golf instruction that is more beneficial than your ordinary golf lesson. If you
have the desire to improve, checkout his web site at www.Golfmadesimple.com.