Saturday, June 7, 2008

Overcoming the Shanks

Tonight I was reminded the beauty of hitting golf balls in the evening. After a full day of running errands, the sun was still up, so I ran over to Cascades to hit a bucket of balls. I have been struggling with my golf game quite a bit lately, so in addition to the relaxing effect of hitting balls, I was hoping to get my game moving in the right direction. I stretched and hit the first few balls decently. I then proceeded to shank a couple of 8-irons. For those of you who do not know what it means to shank an 8-iron, feel free to check out this video.

Shanks, unlike its depiction in Tin Cup, is a lot less of a psychological problem as it is a slight movement of the head forward on the downswing. When your head moves forward, the club does as well, and instead of catching the ball on the clubface, you catch it on the hosel, and the result is quite despicable. Anyways, after shanking a couple, it became quite obvious that I was not keeping my head still. So for the next couple of shots, my swing thought was to see the ground after the ball had been struck. Simple enough, right? With that swing thought I was started buttering the ball. I do not think I have hit one shot all year as well as I hit some of the balls tonight.

When I got back in my car, I was pretty frustrated. This whole golf season, I have struggled to put together a decent round. I worked on my swing plane, adjusted my set-up, checked my shaft positions, and yet consistent ball-striking continued to elude me. All I had to do was focus on one simple thought that could be heard anywhere someone is learning to play golf: “keep your head down.” In fact, even people who just start golf give that advice to others who can not seem to make solid contact. And here I am, someone who shot 70 a couple times just last season, thinking that I am somehow above focusing on the most basic principle of good ball-striking. Funny thing is that one numerous occasions this year I have recognized head movement during my swing. Instead of focusing on redeveloping a good habit of keeping my head still, I just tried a quick fix that would always work for a shot or two, just long enough for me to think that I resolved the problem, and mis-attribute my next bad shot to something else.

Seems like in life Satan is pretty good at getting us to avoid the basics, and look beyond the mark. Instead of just focusing on faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, Satan gets us to be more concerned with irrelevant, and often times unanswerable questions. In the process, we miss the mark, stumble, and wonder how that can be when we are trying so hard. When we are finally able to see, we recognize the simplicity of the answer; and at least for me, the feeling is one of frustration at all the lost time when the solution was so simple. But seeing as life is a learning process, as long as we learn our lesson, it is not lost time, but valuable experience.


Quinn Garner said...

i've also found that when i forget the basics i'm often stopped in my progress. for example, without daily scripture study and prayer, simple decisions seem more complex and harder to make quickly.

Jennifer Nanci Lee said...

i agree with quinn. and you of course. makes me think of the farm gate analogy. that the small things at first don't seem to take you too far from the path.... but as you continue farther down the gate and as you start to forget the fundamentals you find yourself a great distance from your original destination.

Anonymous said...

Ah you found me! Heck no this isn't a one time thing! I plan on putting more stuff up! AHHHHHHHH im so ready for next week!

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to this...with the whole "boy" situation, i realized that ive just been freaking out way too much about it when I totally could have been investing my time into things that made more sense to me.