I think maybe one of the ways to be less ball bound is to find ways to take pressure off. Under pressure, the body automatically does what it’s trained to do, even if that is not the best thing to do. It becomes difficult to change highly ingrained bad habits if we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. In a fantastic book by Raymond Floyd, “The Art of Scoring”, he starts out by saying to play comfortable. He would watch Jack Nicklaus, take a smooth swing off the first tee with a fairway wood or an iron. He would end up behind the other players. Then he would take a smooth iron to the fat part of the green, then he would lag his putt to tap in range, and tap in for par. Jack would continue to play like that. He said that it gave Nicklaus some additional freedom. Jack Nicklaus could score really well playing conservatively like that, but because he could do that, he would be able to turn it on and get more aggressive when he needed to.
If I can take the pressure off, then I end up playing much better. Today I played and I started off with some bad holes. I had put pressure early on to score well because I felt like I’ve been making some good progress, maybe I can pull off a really good round. After missing a bunch of fairways from holes 2 to 5, I realized I needed to do something about this. I needed to find a shot I could get in the fairway consistently even if it meant giving up distance. This would allow me to take some pressure off.
The thing I do when I need to hit it straighter is that I swing so that it feels like I have no wristcock. The swing becomes a bit more compact, and I will find the sweet spot if I’m out of sync. It’s not the prettiest swing, and I give up about 10% distance but I know where the shots are going to go.
For the remaining holes I used this on every shot except putting and I ended up turning the round around. Although I shot a 43 for the front 9, I followed it up with a 37 on the back nine for an 80. I didn’t have a great putting day, and my chipping was mediocre, but I ended up with a good score after all. So that is one way that I take pressure off.
I would like to find some additional ways to the pressure off when chipping/pitching.