Golf blog: Driver dilemmas and breaking down barriersMarch, 2014
How some much needed help gave me the tools to tackle my driver demons
I’ve played fairly well over the first nine holes and arrive at the 10th with a relatively positive outlook.
It’s a long par-5 and up until now I’ve been hitting my tried and trusted 5 iron from the tee, gaining a relative amount of all-important accuracy at the expense of some distance.
My playing partner for the day commented that I seemed to be hitting the ball nicely so should try the driver. Taking a ‘what could possibly go wrong’ approach, I rip the head cover off the longest club in my bag and address the ball.
Around three minutes later I was apologising profoundly for getting in the way of a particularly aggressive bunch of Americans on the adjacent fairway.
“Perhaps you should leave the driver in the bag today,” reflected my partner as I hacked my way back onto the hole we were playing.
Everyone has bad days where they feel like they can’t hit a certain club, but the problem for me was that this happened last July and I haven’t hit a driver on a golf course since.
It is, by my own admission, a serious golfing flaw. It’s one which has plagued me constantly and no matter how many balls I would try and whack down the range, nothing seemed to work. In the end I simply placed the club into retirement and have been working on coping strategies ever since.
"All I want you to do is forget everything you think you ever knew about hitting this club and we’ll start again from scratch." So you can imagine what went through my head when my new, and thoroughly unsuspecting coach, commented that I should try hitting a few drives during our lesson this week.
I didn’t mention my mental block and dutifully began to hack ball after ball along the floor before I decided to own up to the problem.
“That’s fine,” came the rather quick response. “All I want you to do is forget everything you think you ever knew about hitting this club and we’ll start again from scratch.”
Admittedly, forgetting everything wasn’t all that hard to do, but all of a sudden I felt like someone had given me a pair of armbands to stop me from drowning.
We began by breaking my swing down to its core components and then started to build a system which helped make the driver work for me. Scott explained that shifting weight onto my left hip at address will help me work the club around my body and create both power and loft.
Safe to say, this is the best hour I have ever had with a golf club in my hand.
Not only have we worked on getting my swing into a much better place than it was before, but I now have both the confidence and knowledge to take the driver out of retirement.
I want to hit the driver again. I like the driver again. I’m not afraid any more.
Of course it will take time to get right, and we all know that patience and perseverance brings progression. But I now have a starting point, which is more valuable than anything.
It really is amazing what can happen when you put your game in the hands of people in the know.
Scott Oxley is the head teaching professional at Moor Allerton in Leeds. For more information or to book a lesson visit www.jwgolf.co.uk