My home club has a lot of hills. For me, I think it is the most beautiful course I have ever seen, let alone had the privilege to play upon. Many others agree with me. There are people, though, who really do not like our course when they encounter it for the first time.
They do not dislike its beauty. Far from it. They find it tough to play, not because of distance, but rather because of the myriad of different lies that the golfer is forced to play off.
For me, this is absolutely a bonus. We, the members at our club, get to practice all sorts of what would no doubt otherwise be thought of as weird and wonderful golf shots. We joke about our “extreme lies” and “extreme shots”.
As is the case with most things that people fear in live, the root of the fear is individual to the person. When faced with uphill or downhill lies, I know that some golfers fear is that they quite simply aren’t used to them and then this can lead to one of two different issues.
The first is that the shot looks challenging to them. They simply don’t like the look of it. This is where practice is important. If you have practiced them, then you won’t find the look intimidating.
The second thing tis that they don’t know what to do with their set up to compensate or go with the flow of the hillside. In point of fact, this is where simply knowing what to do in your set up is a vital key. If you know what to do, then you will feel confident to swing freely and fluidly and not lose your balance.
Many golfers think in terms of changing their swings, yet surely it is simpler, and therefore easier to effect, to know to alter your set up and then swing in balance with the slope?
Fear may also come from a build up of past negative experiences. Every golfer can identify with this. You get to hole number whatever and a whole host of poor shots and high scores pop into your mind. That’s not a good place from which to prepare to swing. You have to be able to let go of that negativity, that fear, and focus clearly upon the shot in hand, whilst at the same time feeling confident in the outcome.
Golf is a very mental game. Lack of mental focus or emotional control is by far the biggest cause of poor shots than mechanical failure will ever be.
That said, if you are experiencing issues with uphill or downhill lies, the first thing I would do is look to the mechanical side. Do you know how to adjust your set up? Do you know what club to use to take account of the slope? Do you know where to finish your swing? Do you really know how to stay in balance?
It’s actually very easy to adjust yourself upon slopes. You just need to know what to do. Thus, once this issue has been taken care of, you can think about the other potential problems.
The first is that of focus. Do you have a good pre-shot routine that has become habitual? If not, get one! This is essential in good golf, for many reasons. Firstly you have a clear picture of the desired shot and swing. Secondly, it relaxes you and puts you “in the moment”, and this in itself removes fear from your mind.
This brings me to another point, that of the requirement of an equally robust post-shot routine. You need to be able to quickly and easily wipe bad shots and their negative energy from your mind and replace them with something that is a whole lot better feeling. You don’t want to allow that negative memory and energy to dig deep into your mind and lurk there, waiting to spring forth the next time you step into a similar spot on the course. And so, if you dont have a habitual post-shot routine, get one!
With a good mental attitude you will find yourself confidently swinging your clubs and hitting great shots on those formerly “pesky” uphill or downhill lies. Your mind can even assist you when the issue is lack of practice. Simply by visualizing great shots for a couple of minutes at a time, you are putting in very effective practice. This type of “armchair” visualization practice has been found to be just as effective as actual practice.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
P.S. Discover how to focus your golf mind and play winning golf through mental golf training. Check out my website now.