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What to Do if You Forgot How to Play Golf

There is terrible affliction that robs the golfer of all knowledge of how to hit and the physical coordination to strike a golf ball purely.  It robs them of years of technique, practice, and most importantly confidence. There are no tells of its approach and the only sign of its infection is a confused look on the face or repeated staring at your club after each terrible shot.  It is the Voldemort of golf and we dare to speak its name….the y!ps.

Wikipedia defines the y!ps as:

In golf, the y!ps is a movement disorder known to interfere with putting. The term y!ps is said to have been popularized by Tommy Armour—a golf champion and later golf teacher—to explain the difficulties that led him to abandon tournament play.[1] In describing the yips, golfers have used terms such as twitches, staggers, jitters and jerks. The yips affects between one-quarter and one-half of all mature golfers.[2] Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that 33% to 48% of all serious golfers have experienced the y!ps. Golfers who have played for more than 25 years appear most prone to the condition.

When I Lost my Golf Game

I fell victim to forgetting how to play golf about five years ago.  I was in St. Simmons Island on a golf education weekend of all things.  It consisted of two days of intense one of lessons each morning and afternoon and a teaching round.  After the pro and I completed our first morning lesson of shortening my pitching swing, I went to lunch to fuel up for an afternoon polishing my sand game.  I got back to the range to warm up before we started again.  To my shock and dismay, I could no longer hit a lofting pitch shot.  Each shot was worse and lower than the last.  Skulled shots, hozzles, toppers, missed, and the rest.  My blood went cold and I looked around to see if I had time to cure myself.  Luckily for me, the pro walked up and saw I was standing too close and corrected me.  Great relief washed over me.  Some golfers are not as lucky as I was.

Has this happened to you?  How long did it last?  Why did it occur?  Here are some tips to find your groove again and get rid of this terrible infection.

Find Your Golf Game Tip 1: Go back to the beginning

Remember the Princess Bride and do a Vizzini said,  “Go back to the beginning.”  For golf, this means going back to your grip.  Verify your grip and make sure it is solid and according to how Ben Hogan set it down.  Did you play with your grip by rolling this hand this way and that and now it no longer resembles a solid grip?  Next look at your back swing.  Then your downswing and then follow thru.  Rebuild yourself.

Find Your Golf Game Tip 2: Slow down

If you are playing like crap, distance is no longer a concern.  Your focus is now to make contact and the best way to improve contact that is to slow your swing down.  You may be swinging too fast to recognize a problem.  To help slow yourself down try practicing with a metronome to develop a smooth rhythm.

Find Your Golf Game Tip 3: Hit only your favorite club

There is one club you can always hit and it is your faithful old friend.  Go to that club and swing it nice and easy.  For most golfers it is the 7 iron.  It is the club we all start with and it is where we should go to find our groove.  If this club selection results in 150 yard shots, that still means you can still make most par 4 greens in 3 shots.

Find Your Golf Game Tip 4: Stay off YouTube

We all love YouTube and I admit to getting sucked in for hours looking video described to stop slices with a million views.  Those pros are offering good advise but it may not be the correct advice for your ills.  The tips and pointers may work temporarily beaus they are not the exact reason you are shanking.

Find Your Golf Game Tip 5: Seek professional help

Set up a lesson with your local pro ASAP.  Describe the situation and let them guide you.  Don’t fight their advice but allow them to mold you back into a confident golfer.  A good pro will use a video system to record your swing and show you your body positions.

Find Your Golf Game Tip 6:  Don’t Panic

Everyone remembers the number 42 from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy.  In this situation it is better to remember what is written on the book itself “Don’t Panic.”  You know how to play golf and you will again soon.  Relax and let the answer come with guidance and practice.

I do not wish this on my worst enemy unless we are playing for money.  This is a humbling experience but that is golf’s greatest lesson to teach each of us.  Golf giveth and golf taketh away.  I say golf is a game of Whack-o-Mole.  You can be good at certain parts be rarely at all aspects at once.

How did you cure latest case of the y!ps?

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