Golf is a game that requires skill, practice, and mental focus. There is a decisive difference between those who are good at golf and those who are not. It’s not about technology, experience, or management, but actually the difference between “thinking” and “not thinking.” Masayuki Kitano, who is well-versed in mentality and management, taught me how to “think” and hit.
Masayuki Kitano, a pro who is familiar with swing theory and management, said so. If you say such a thing, it seems that you can hear the voice of counterargument, “We are also thinking!”
According to Kitano, the faster players like professionals and advanced golfers are, the better the distance, wind strength and direction, the location of hazards, the hardness of the ground, the height of the ball, and the case of bending left and right. It is said that he thinks instantly about whether he can improve in hitting and the condition of his shots, and then makes decisions.
Kitano says that some amateurs don’t even know the yardage. Let alone the distance, some amateurs do not know the OB area or whether the hole they are playing is a par 4 or a par 5.
It sounds good when you say you’re concentrating on the shot in front of you, but you’re too focused on hitting it and not thinking about it.
You can see what you need to do by thinking it through. Kitano says that if you do that, your hesitation will disappear and you will be prepared. That is the key to being able to concentrate on the one shot in front of you. As a result, the score is summed up. Golf is a sport where you think with your head between your ears.
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When explaining the image of “thinking and hitting”, Kitano often tells a parable of cooking.
Professional Kitano says that amateurs only cook simple dishes such as grilling and boiling ingredients.
The only thing to watch out for is “overthinking”, not “overthinking”. According to Kitano, if the former means finding what you need to do, the latter means that your thoughts only lead to hesitation.
If you focus on bad things, your mind and body will atrophy, and you will not be able to play golf as they should. Kitano, who says that the important thing is the order in which you think, advises you to make this order a routine.
Another thing to consider is wind and lie conditions. The theory is to think in terms of the impact area, where the wind is ahead of the trajectory and the momentum of the ball decreases from where it hits. Immediately after impact, the initial speed is fast and it is not easily affected by the wind.
The lie on the second and third shots is also important. No matter how far you fly, the risk is high in a lie where the toes are difficult to fall. Carving on a flat surface makes it easier to collect scores. Finally, based on the condition of the day, draw a story of one shot.
Then, how should I think and hit in the actual round?
Kitano said as a major premise, “Let’s think of ‘nice miss’ rather than a nice shot.” What does that mean?
“For the tee shot, once you have decided on a target, such as left or right, the club will automatically be decided. If the front is the best, you don’t need to be a driver at all.
This is because a shot from the ground has a more severe angle of incidence than a teed ball. Let’s carefully assess the situation, such as how the ball floats and the density of the grass.
And the approach is to put it on the green first. After that, think about where the best place to hit the putt is. In this case, be aware of the line with few uphills or bends.
The starting point of thinking and hitting golf is to make your play easier. You can’t score with unreasonable play. I want you to collect information about where the ball is and where it will be easier to hit the next shot and hit a well-thought-out shot. Accumulating nice mistakes is directly linked to improving your score.”