While I’ve been playing pretty consistent golf, I have not been practicing my long game as much. I think one of the things that happens when you play a lot of golf without going to the driving range is that you can start to get into some bad habits. For me, it was with my setup. I noticed it yesterday in my first driving range session in a while.
The first thing I noticed was that my setup didn’t feel right. After a bit more careful thought I determined that it was my shoulder alignment. My shoulders were a bit open. I had to consciously set myself up properly and once I did that my shots straightened out bit and the ball would start either right on line, or slightly right of target and draw back in.
I think it’s important to know what our tendencies are and to try to develop better habits. My shoulders opening up at address is a tendency that I have and it creeps back in if I don’t watch my setup. It can also creep into my putting and send putts off line.
However knowing that it is a tendency allows me to be on the lookout for it and the place to make those changes is on the practice tee. If you build good habits on the practice tee you can take them to the course.
Often when you read about tour players going to see their instructors, you might notice that they talk about working on their fundamentals. Setup, grip, ball position, etc. Even tour players can let their own tendencies creep into their game and a good instructor will notice that happening and begin to correct them. I read recently that Kenny Perry was having some problems with his driving. He was getting stuck and had the club coming from too far inside and as a result he was losing distance. His ball position with the driver had slowly crept for forward. Once he recognized that, he was able to get his ball position back into a better place for him, and his driving improved.