How many times have you been out to the range with your children? They step up and just start pounding out shot after shot, emptying a bucket of balls in just 10 minutes or so. Every once in a while he or she probably hits a good shot, but they don’t stop to be excited or stop to assess what happened when they hit a bad one. They just keep on whacking at them, one after another.
Developing a mental and physical checklist before the swing is a great way for golfers, especially juniors, to prepare themselves for a good shot. Things to incorporate in the checklist should be foot and hand positioning, alignment, and most importantly, the target. These are important components to every setup and golf shot. Without them, something is bound to go array.
When it comes to the feet, the junior golfer needs their feet roughly shoulder width apart, with his or her toes pointing perpendicular to the golf ball. A child should have a natural arm hang that allows for them to move arms and shoulders freely (like an orangutan).This is where the most important part of the checklist comes in. What is their target, are they aiming for the fairway? Let’s pick something more specific. Have them focus on a single mower line, or a tree off in the distance. Exact targets give the mind a focal point and allow for the setup to be precise. Next, are they aligned parallel to the target? If a line is drawn from their toes, does it point just left of the target (for a right-handed golfer)?
If he or she takes time on the range to develop their checklist, it will become routine. Then when they hit the links, they will see more consistent results and everybody will be having more fun. That’s the ultimate goal for the junior golfer.
Patrick Walker is a PGA apprentice assistant professional at the Breckenridge Golf Club