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Progression of fixes

You come off a round and look at your scorecard and
don’t like what you see. You replay the holes in
your mind to try to figure out what went wrong.

We then do the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” thing…

“If only I woulda hit my drive in the fairway on the 8th,
(that went ob), and just bogeyed the hole at worst,
then I would have…blah blah blah”

Right? Sound familiar?

I do it after every round.

But then, I do something most golfers don’t.

I go through a progression of checks to find out what
really was the problem so I can fix it.

I start out by asking myself some questions to find out if there was a pattern that will lead me to the fixing most important thing that will give me the biggest stroke savings for the effort.  (The 80/20 rule – work on the 20% most important thing and you will be 80% effective)

For example, last week, after the round, I went over it in my mind and replayed my poor holes and came to the conclusion that I had far too many chunk shots. Hitting the ball too fat and the ball comes up short….sometimes WAY short.  I had other strokes lost on other things but this was the biggest problem and it stood out.chunking your golf irons

So, I ask myself, what was the difference between the shots I chunked and the ones I didn’t?  It turns out, the shots I didn’t chunk were always a much smoother downstroke.  The shots I chunked, I was swinging harder down on the ball.  “Why were you swinging harder down on the ball, Craig?” I asked myself.   The answer was, because I was at the upper end of the distance that I could hit that club and felt I needed to give it a “full swing.”

On my practice swings with the club, I would swing at about 70% speed and my swing would be smooth as silk. But when I went up to 90%, I would get this hard downward motion and sometimes pinch the ball perfectly, and other times, chunk it.

So, here’s the progression, in a nutshell… I keep asking the question of myself:  “Why do you do that?” until I get to the end.

THEN, I can fix the real problem.

My fix for this problem that crept into my game is that when I’m at the upper end for distance for a club, go with a longer club and swing smoothly and at 70%.  I did this during this week’s round and I didn’t have one chunk all day!!!

Now, here comes the kicker….

I asked myself the question again: “Why do you do that, Craig?”  about swinging harder on the downswing for a shot at the upper end of distance for that club.   Just to make sure I’ve covered my bases and got to the end.

Guess what I came up with…I’m so embarrassed…

I made a real honest assessment of myself when I answered my own question with: “Because I don’t want to admit that I am losing distance with my clubs.”

You see, I’ve been hitting my 8-iron 150 yards as long as I can remember.  But, now my aging body, and possibly my clubs losing some pop, have slowed me down some. I was having to force it to stay at that 150 yards.

So get this…I started out asking myself why I lost strokes today.  And I answered with: “Because I had a lot of chunks”

What would most golfers do to fix that problem? Go down to the range or practice facility and WORK on that….or take lessons. And they may improve on it that way, for sure.

But I want to encourage you to KEEP ASKING THE QUESTION:  “Why do I do that?”

and you might find a more efficient and effective way to solve your golf problems.

That’s the “No Practice” way.  🙂

Greens and Fairways,


4 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Wow – you could have been playing along side me, so-to-say. My biggest bug-a-boo comes when I try to “hit” the ball, swing too hard, rather than let the club do the work. If I am short by 10 or 15 yards, but I have advanced the ball, and I’m in the fairway, I avoid those balloon holes. One thing that can get me in trouble, some of my buddies hit their clubs much farther than I do, and I might try to replicate that. What I found works for me is I don’t say “I’m hitting a 7-iron, or a 6-iron”. Instead, I just say “I’m hitting my 140 yard club”. It takes the urge to hit my clubs farther than I realistically can. 70%, center contact, gets me there almost every time!

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Mark, I love the new perception of focusing on the yards and not the number of the club. I think I’ll borrow that for myself! Male ego is something we need to master if we are to perform our best!
      Greens and Fairways,


  2. Pelle says:

    This is a familiar problem. On our course which has very heavy soil, even clay on some fairways, the penalty for a fat shot is high. I too may have issues when trying ti hit too much but unfortunately swinging a bit easier can cause timing issues and the result is even less predictable. I do believe these occasional, but costly errors are more technical than mental.

    However, I have noticed one mental problem. These bad contact shots (mostly fat, but sometimes thin due to too much focus on avoiding fat shots) happen much more often on bare (or very wet) parts of the course. This must be mental, because on a perfect turf I normally hit it clean, even if there is pressure to get the full distance of the club. Technically the course surface should not matter if you hit the ball first, then take the divot. But a bad surface invites a bad shot… Any tips on not letting this affect you mentally?

    • Craig Sigl says:

      Thanks for comment Pelle, ask yourself the question: “Why do I have trouble on this type of surface when I don’t on perfect turf since surface should not matter?” Keep asking yourself that question as you go to bed at night and see what your unconscious mind comes up with for you the next day. 🙂
      Greens and Fairways,


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