• Welcome To ShotTalk.com!

    We are one of the oldest and largest Golf forums on the internet with golfers from around the world sharing tips, photos and planning golf outings.

    Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon!

The horrible feeling we have BEFORE a bad shot


Well-Known Member
Jun 24, 2006
Toledo Bend Lake, Louisiana
United States United States
If you think about it, I bet you have hit many bad shots after which you say, perhaps out loud with some added color, "I knew I was going to do that!" And yet you went on an swung anyway. Probably, you tried to get comfortable with the shot, but you still felt uncomfortable. Maybe you even summoned the strength to back away, and line up again, but the feeling remained, so you went on ahead and hit it with the horrible, confidence canceling feeling that something was not right.

Writing about "overly straight swings" resulted in some good insights from Dave. I had written that if one's alinement was OK, a push was probably the result of timing if you were feeling good with your swing. Dave wrote that in addition to alinement he would add POSTURE and GRIP. I could not agree with more. What do alinement, posture, and grip all have in common? They are things that you take care of CONSCIOUSLY before you turn the execution of the shot over to the SUBCONSCIOUS which can handle the things taking place with such rapidity thanks to not having to "think" in a formal language of words. You "just do it."

When you do not feel right before a bad shot, it is sort of a good thing in a way. It means you know what feels GOOD and does produce the good shot. Problem is you may not be able to pinpoint the problem. Well, it has to lie in something you have already done wrong. Alinement, ball positioning, posture, and grip certainly fall in that category. It might also be that you have chosen the wrong club, and subconsciously you know it, so you let up with the "too much club" or try to muscle the "too little club" thus throwing everything out of whack. So club selection is another item to get right before execution as well as the type of shot shape, target to aim at, lie considerations, wind considerations, etc.

All of these things you must take care of in your preshot routine.

But back to that feeling. The feeling I am talking about is one in which you know your body is not in position for making this particular shot.

Alinement. We all know about the railroad tracks, and having the feet parallel to the target line. The feet line must not aim at the target as the target line does because to do so will have you closing your stance. If you swing from this setup, you will probably come to the ball from outside the way you are lined up to be able to contact the ball and you will probably slice. Lining up right is the most common mistake of beginners. After a while you know of this tendencey and sometimes move to the other extreme, you have your railroad alinement down fine with your feet, but your shoulders are open! I have seen it written that this is one of the most common problems that enters into the swings of professionals who spend more time with alinement that just about any other problem. Everything, not just the feet, must be parallel to the target line when we are after the straight shot. (I know that many claim to never try to hit straight shots, but their shaped shots, right or left--low or high, are produced by modifying the set up for a straight shot. So even if you do not try to hit the shot straight, you need to know about straight shots. There are tight holes that demand straight shots!) It is more important to have the shoulders parallel to the target line than the feet. If you have an imaginary person ahead of you looking back at you from the target area, he will not be able to see your right arm IF your shoulders are parallel. If he sees your right arm to the left of your left arm from his point of view, your shoulders are open. If he sees your right arm to the right of your right arm from his point of view, your shoulders are closed. As I address the ball, I always hide my right arm from the imaginary down-the-line person with my left arm, and this has done the trick for me of keeping my shoulders parallel.

If you still do not feel right, see what rotating your grip a little does. I think a lot of folks, like Ben Hogan said, overlook the importance of the grip. Invariably, writers will say that you can use the interlocking, the Vardon, the baseball grip, or whatever, and this probably gets us to thinking it is not that big a deal. WRONG ANSWER! A very small rotation of the grip can make that horrible feeling disappear. If your shoulders have been open in the past, and you now have them parallel but feel wrong, see what happens if you rotate your grip just a tad to the right (stronger). I think you will be amazed. And other problems can be solved by the opposite grip rotation. "Da finger bone's connected to da hand bone. Da hand bone's connected to da wrist bone. Da wrist bone's connected to da arm bone. Da arm bone's connected to da shoulder bone!" The result is that the grip and the shoulders have to be in tune with one-another to FEEL right.

Posture. As usual there are two extremes, and we need to find the happy medium. We might lean over toward the ball too far getting our weight too much on our toes. We might have our weight too far back on our heels. Rock your weight back and forth, from toes to heel, etc. This alone might solve a posture problem. I know it sounds funny, but a lot of golfers will develop a much better athletic position, by just sticking their butts out more and allowing their arms to hang almost straight down. If you think this will make you look like a gorilla, what's wrong with that? Would you want to compete against a gorilla in basketball, football, boxing? Golf is no different. I hate to think the distance a gorilla, properly trained, could hit a golf ball. Sure they are strong and have the fast-twitch muscles, but that good foundation is what makes it all possible.

Conclusion: If you get that horrible feeling, check the things that are your responsibility to get right before the swing is executed. Other than the nature of the shot, these are the physical aspects of your body: Grip, Posture, Alinement.

Ball positioning? This is simple. Set the club behind the ball resting naturally on the sole of the club as it is designed to rest. Have the face square to the target line. The shaft will now have a pre-determined angle. Do not change that angle. Now, just stand to the club. The ball will be correctly positioned in your stance. The hands will be the right amount ahead of the ball. The angles in the wrists will be correct. This game is easy! Seriously, standing to a properly situated club does all of this. Of course, clubs must fit us, so have someone check the lie angles in your clubs. It is not that expensive and may help you much.

The very best to everyone with their games. Sincerely, Cypressperch


100 handicap and rising
Jan 17, 2006
Nice write-up. I'm going to be thinking of these things tonite on the course. Hopefully it'll help me some.:)

Latest posts