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Aim Small/Miss Small: Golf Aiming

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:

  1. Stand behind the ball, about four or five feet.
  2. Extend your arm with the club and point at your target.
  3. Lower your arm straight down until it points ahead of the golf ball three feet.
  4. Find something on the ground you can identify as a target, a leaf, blade of grass, divot.
  5. Address the ball and aim the club to hit that target.
  6. 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.

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