Target Focused Golf (7 Keys)

Too many golfers struggle with ball striking and accuracy control.

They step up to the shot and fear the poor strike or where the ball might fly to.

As a result, they become tense and end up making a poor swing, while trying to control every element of their swing.

What if there was a way to become more target focused or target oriented in the game of golf?

Would you like a method to play golf that doesn’t rely on the following:

  • Controlling every element of your swing.
  • Trying to hit all of the perfect positions in the golf swing.

The fun of the game is often taken away when we try to control every portion of the swings, more specifically when golfers are trying to hit certain positions in their backswing and at certain parts on their downswing.

Did you know that the golf swing only takes 1-1.3 seconds?  How much can you possibly control anyways?  At some point, the golfer needs to free his or her mind and to be able to load up and swing the golf club.

This is where target focused golf becomes such a great option!  I find my swing becoming ball focused at times or my mind starts wandering on where my club is in the swing.  Instead, I return to the target, draw the club back and swing towards the target.

Let’s dive further into the “how to” behind target focused golf.

On this shot I would pick the trees down the right edge of the hole. These trees are about 350 yards away.

How To Play Target Focused Golf

There are 7 keys to playing target focused golf:

  1. Decide the shot you want to play
  2. Select a target way off in the distance
  3. Set up properly
  4. Draw the club back in the right direction
  5. Swing towards the target
  6. Take the feedback and move on
  7. Stay committed to the target focused approach in golf

Key #1: Decide the shot you want to play

Some people always play a draw or always play a fade, while others will mix it up depending on what is the optimum shot for that golf shot.  For example if the hole curves to the left, they might prefer to play a draw.  The key here is to make a decision on your shot shape and stick with it. 

Once you have selected your shot shape, you can pick the target that will become your main focus during the golf swing.

Key #2: Select a target way off in the distance

Draw an imaginary line from your ball to your final destination and beyond to a target well beyond the final destination.  This will often be a tree or it might be a portion of a mountain, a cell phone tower, a telephone pole, a tv tower or anything that happens to be down that line.  This target becomes what your mind locks in on.

A golfer playing a draw, might use the cellular tower on the right edge of the green.

Key #3: Set up properly

Depending on your draw or a fade, you will want to have a slightly closed stance or open stance depending on what it takes for you to hit the shot.  We prefer to have it slightly closed for a draw and slightly open for a fade. 

We keep the target in mind and swing towards that target with a slightly adjusted stance.  The pre-set of the stance builds in the draw or fade as needed. 

Over time, you can make the adjustments as needed depending on the amount of curve you are playing.

Key #4: Draw the club back in the right direction

This key helps free up the swing.  With the target in mind and your setup ready to go, the next key is to draw the club back in the direction that you will want to swing towards the target.  Get the feel and the draw becomes liberating vs trying to hit key spots on the backswing as taught by many of the traditional golf instructors.  Draw it back and let it go towards the target.

The golfer might select a specific branch on a tree beyond the green on this 120 yard approach shot.

Key #5: Swing towards the target

Now that you have drawn the club back and are ready to fire, let it go and swing towards the target keeping quality arm speed through the shot and towards the target.  The release of the club happens pretty naturally, but some might need the feeling that they are throwing their club towards the target way off in the distance. 

During your backswing, keep the target in mind and the direction in which you want to fire the swing towards.  Keeping your mind focused on the target helps you stay free of some of the many swing thoughts that might creep in during the 1-1.3 seconds the swing takes.

Key #6: Take the feedback and move on

There are several things to consider after the shot:

  • Did you remain committed to the target and the shot plan?
  • Did you draw the club back in the direction you needed to?
  • Did you swing with little tension or did you lose focus and tighten up?

Take the feedback from the shot and continue to play tension free golf with the target in mind.

The golfer playing a draw might select the tallest tree down he right center on this tee shot.

Key #7: Stay committed to the target focused approach in golf

Practice at the range and see how it feels.  Give it a shot and stay committed throughout the process.  Maybe try for several rounds with a focus remaining on the target for the duration of the round.  Our favorite way to test it out or practice is at the driving range.  You can play the course game:

  • Picture a hole at your favorite course.
  • Set up imaginary boundaries on the range of the right side and left side of the hole.
  • Hit the shot.
  • Move onto the 2nd shot for that hole (typically an approach shot) and repeat the process of picking the left and right edges/barriers.
  • While going through this, make sure you are picking targets in the distance and going through the keys detailed above.

Who Teachers A Target Based Approach?

I would highly recommend Shawn Clement.  He has dedicated his entire career to teaching a different method than the one that has been taught by many other instructors.  His approach is refreshing and it works. 

He has an abundance of free videos on youtube that can get you going and then a membership site to take a deeper dive and to get into more of the specifics of this approach that is liberating for so many golfers!

Here are the top Shawn Clement videos that I find helpful!

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About four years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage.  I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.

This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer.  I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day.  I can practice or play rounds of golf.  I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.

It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.

Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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