Why, oh why -- you may ask -- did yesterday's winning feeling not work today? Why, oh why, is it possible that today's great discovery will fail us tomorrow? The reason, I think, is that there's never just one factor operating in a successful swing. There are dozens. On the day when it all comes right every single factor is right too, although we may be aware only of one.
Then, while we are still thinking of this one factor, some other link somewhere else in the chain snaps without our knowing it. So the question is what to do about it. Is there a fail-safe mechanism?
Yes, there is. It lies in the realm of the warmup before playing. And if one hasn't time for a real warm-up on the practice ground, a quickie will do. But even a quickie warm-up should never be skimped.
1. Make three swings with your heaviest club -- or with two clubs held together -- savoring the feel of "swing" itself. Feel the weight of the clubhead. Fling it back. Drag it down. Sling it out.
2. Make three more swings concentrating this time on a full shoulder turn.
3. Then make another three concentrating on a still head -- or a still center for the swing.
4. Finally, make three more swings while thinking of correct alignments. Make sure your whole swing is aimed correctly and that you yourself are set up correctly. Try to feel that the clubface is precisely "square" in the impact zone.
That's a dozen practice swings, taking perhaps 90 seconds before you step onto the first tee. And whatever your gimmick or thought-for-the-day is I can almost guarantee that it will now "work" once more, just as it did before.