Saturday Morning Tip: Lorena's secrets for consistency
I noticed yesterday that Lorena Ochoa, the former world's No. 1 woman player, revealed that she's about nine weeks pregnant. I'm happy for her, and admire the fact that she always seems to have her life in proper perspective. At the height of her playing career, she approached the game the same way. I found an article that she wrote with her lifelong coach, Rafael Alarcon, for Golf Digest in April of 2007. Her advice still holds true today: It will help you be more consistent on the course, whether you're trying to Break 100, 90 or 80. Here's hoping you play your best this weekend, and remember you can follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.
Breaking 100: Get ready to play
Before the round: The morning of a competitive round, I do a series of stretches and yoga poses in my room for about an hour. At the course, I swing a club over my head several times before I start hitting balls. This loosens my arm and shoulder muscles, and keeps me from getting hurt.
*During the round: *When I'm hitting a shot, I focus 100 percent, but between shots, *
Breaking 90: Make time count at the range
Whenever you're practicing, have a drill or goal in mind. I like to hit nine balls with my 9-iron--three high, three low and three at my normal trajectory. I change targets every few swings to make sure I'm getting quality practice. *Editor's note: This is a great way to warm up before playing, because it gets you into a shotmaking mode, rather than thinking mechanically about your swing./rs
To hit a fade:* I make two adjustments to my setup, then make my normal swing. First, I aim as far left of the target as I want the ball to start. Second, I open the clubface, pointing it to where I want the ball to finish.
To hit a draw: My pre-shot adjustments are the opposite of those I make to hit a fade. First, I aim my body to the right, where I want the ball to start. Second, I close the clubface so it points where I want the ball to finish. I don't change my grip or my swing, and I don't swing any harder or easier.
Breaking 80: Regaining your rhythm
I do this practice drill when my rhythm is off, but it's equally useful to groove distance control. I drop nine practice balls on the ground, and using my 7-iron, start by hitting three balls softly. They go about 148 yards. Next, I hit three more balls, this time with medium speed, and figure them for 155 yards. Finally, I hit three balls as hard as I can (without losing my balance). By now I'm up to 162 yards. Try it. You'll learn that an easy 7-iron goes as far as a hard 8. *Editor's note: Lorena's distances are somewhat farther than an average male player's, but she's not exaggerating--I've been on photo-shoots with her! Check your ego at the door. The point here is finding how far your relative distances are, so you can be more consistent on the course./rs