My pupils sometimes tell me, after they've hit a bad shot, that they looked up. Frequently that wasn't the case. I have to remind them that they had their head down all the way but that they were obviously thinking about some fundamental of the swing rather than concentrating on making contact with the ball.
Because this is such a common experience, when I am giving lessons I use practice balls each of which has a big black spot painted on it. This black spot reinforces the idea that the ball is a target that must be struck cleanly and effectively. I advise my pupils to concentrate on hitting the spot and not the ball. This gets a golfer thinking in terms of hitting a target, a fundamental of the game often forgotten when golfers begin to think of technique and theory.
Some people point out that it is hard to put spot-on-the-ball practice into effect on a regular round since the tee shot is the only shot where the golfer may place the ball so that a spot—or the brand name—is correctly positioned to serve as a target. My feeling here is that practicing hitting a ball with a definite target area marked on it is bound to develop an instinctive concentration and that after a while, spot or no spot, a golfer will focus on that all-important action: the actual striking of the ball.
from GEORGE AULBACH, pro at Golfcrest Country Club, Houston, Texas
actual play (right)
NEXT WEEK'S PRO: MIKE TURNESA ON THE LEFT THUMB CHECK