Every now and again I will hit a great straight shot. It is great except it went NOT where I planned. In reality, it went exactly where I aimed it. I am filled with mixed emotions of the joy of solid contact and beautiful flight path but dread from the coming shot from the rough or penalty stroke from lost ball. I just forgot to pick a good target. That is a mental error not checking my aiming point.
Jack Nicholas Golf Aiming Technique
From my childhood, I used the Jack Nicholas aiming method. I bet it was from a VHS tape my dad or grandpop forced me to watch. It is a simple technique:
- Stand behind the ball, about four or five feet.
- Extend your arm with the club and point at your target.
- Lower your arm straight down until it points ahead of the golf ball three feet.
- Find something on the ground you can identify as a target, a leaf, blade of grass, divot.
- Address the ball and aim the club to hit that target.
- Fire away.
Tom Watson wrote about this method for Golf Digest so it must be good, right?
So Why Did I Aim at the Wrong Target
I was playing the other Sunday and found myself under a tree. The branches blocked the use of a full swing so I chose a 5 hybrid with a nice punch shot swing. I was excited about the potential of this shot I pointed toward the green and swung hitting the ball WAY left. I watched in disbelief I ran through my mental checklist and realized I did not aim at all. The shot excited me so I neglected my swing process.
When most my errant shots fly straight off line, I find it is because the shot and its intended result and score distract me. I need to focus on the swing from stepping up to follow through. Birdies I have not made will sing a sweet song and lead me astray.