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Checking in on your fundamentals is super important, says Top 100 Teacher Gale Peterson.
If you’re a high handicapper looking to improve your game, one place to start is to copy the practice habits of better players. But what is it that better players do that high handicappers should adopt?
It’s a question I posed to longtime Top 100 Teacher Gale Peterson at GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz., and she had an answer right away.
“Better players work on their fundamentals, like aim, all the time,” Peterson said. “It’s easy to aim when I’m looking down the shaft, but when the shaft gets further from my eyes, it gets difficult. So part of the practice needs to be kind of a check station, so you get your eyes to be able to realize when the clubface is aimed at the target.”
Peterson said better players will dial in on their aim and body position by laying a shaft or stick down on the target line and one underneath the shoulders to hit a few balls. This ensures that what they see and feel is spot-on.
Peterson also said that focusing on the alignment and aiming process helps better players develop that feel. That way, when the time comes to play, they’re not easily distracted from the task at hand, because the mind is already occupied by executing the process.
“Setting up to the ball, getting the clubface first, then the grip, and then measuring to the ground and walking into the ball, then step-stepping to widen my stance, that’s what occupies my mind,” she said. “So if I’m on the first tee and there’s 40 people waiting to tee off behind me, instead of me thinking about them, I’m thinking about the process, not the ‘don’ts’.”
For more tips from Gale Peterson, click here.
As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Issue, which debuted in February 2018. Her original interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.
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