By Janie C. Farina, LPGA
“The most important words we’ll ever utter are those words we say to ourselves, about ourselves, when we’re by ourselves.” ~ Al Walker
What’s the conversation sound like when you’re playing or practicing “your” golf? Recently we witnessed professional golfer Sergio Garcia’s temper tantrum on TV during the last tournament, while hearing his Spanish slang spewing amidst the pommeling of the ground with his club. There was not a question what Sergio’s self talk was all about.
Club/ball contact sounds can be a critical component in playing and practicing. Hearing a “thud” on the ground before the ball is hit from the mat is a sure sign of improper impact, as opposed to the sound of a soft “smack” of a pure shot. A “whiff” sounds just like it sounds — no contact with the ball at all, and a high click represents hitting the ball thin, or in the belly of the ball, while a heavy “thunk” is a sign of hitting the ball fat, or scalping a dirt path before the ball.
In addition to the golf ball sound feedback, typical self talk conversations I hear a student mutter often when I’m giving golf lessons can be self-defeating: “That was terrible.” “Oh No!” “What did I do wrong?” “&^%$#@!” “Oh, you can do better than that!”
Not only what the sound of the contact of the ball tells us, the words we say out loud and to ourselves tell us a story as well.
“Ok, that was great direction, but could be better contact.” “Oh yes, felt great but could be more on the target line.” “Sounded like music to my ears, but balance was off at the finish.” “Great direction; next time club up with the wind.” This type of conversation not only minimizes the beating we give ourselves over miss hits, but educates us in the learning process.
So the next time you are playing or practicing golf, instead of giving yourself a tongue-lashing, practice productive golf sweet talking.
It won’t be long before your golf shots are whistling to the “Sound of Music.”
Speak happy thoughts; hit happy shots!
Janie C. Farina is a 28-year teaching professional.