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Palmetto Dunes Director of Golf Instruction Explains the Four Boxes to Better Golf

Tips from Our Pros
palmetto dunes golf instructor doug weaver in peach shirt and white hat putting in front of four boxes

Palmetto Dunes Director of Golf Instruction Doug Weaver is a former PGA Tour professional and a member of the Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame. The Hilton Head native regularly writes an instructional column for the monthly Island Events magazine, which provides a comprehensive view of what Hilton Head Island has to offer in the way of shopping, dining, activities and events.

In his latest Island Events column, Doug tells an anecdote about legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus and explains how the story relates to a golf drill he likes to incorporate called “The Four Boxes.” 

The Hilton Head Island Native, Doug Weaver, tells his story about Jack:

jack nicklaus watching golf ball fly in air along with sand

Photo Credit: golf.com

Jack Nicklaus is on the last hole of the PGA Tour event. If he birdies, he is in a playoff. If he eagles, he wins. He has a 3-wood over water requiring a fade to the pin. The enormous crowd watches in anticipation as he is preparing for the shot. He is staring at the area between the ball and the flag, his eyes are tracking along that area. 

Nicklaus approaches the ball, settles in, waggles and then suddenly backs away. He places the 3-wood in the bag and wipes his hands. Soon after he starts the routine again, staring at the area between the ball and the flag with his eyes tracking the imaginary flight of the ball. He approaches the ball and swings. 

The ball flies over the water fading to the pin and lands on the green bouncing down to the pin 5 feet away. He makes the putt to win. 

In the press room the media ask him: “What were you doing for so long before you hit the incredible shot?” 

Nicklaus replied, “I went to the movies.” 

“Please explain,” the media said. 

To which Nicklaus replied: “I was watching myself as if in a movie performing the shot correctly and the ball flying to the pin. When I do this my body responds by creating the feeling I need to hit the desired shot. The first time I lost the feeling therefore, I went back to the movies and found the feeling and I trusted it.”

The Four Boxes to Better Golf Drill

The Four Boxes is a pre-shot routine that organizes and simplifies our thoughts into a feel that we must trust:

  • Rest Box is the biggest box with many thoughts that we want to simplify. Here we begin breathing systematically, becoming aware of any tension and then eliminating it while making decisions.
  • Memory Box is a smaller box and here we choose to remember a successful similar shot. We dwell on this and it triggers positive emotions and feelings. A memory is a picture and a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Think Box is even smaller, where we consciously execute the moves in a practice swing required for the desired shot. We practice swing with the purpose of creating a feeling. The feeling is encouraging and simple. We take only the feeling into the Play Box.
  • Play Box is the smallest box, where we are focused on the feeling and are playful and trusting, allowing no other thoughts in.

Doug heads up the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, which is one of the most respected golf schools in the world. Featuring lessons, clinics and one-on-one golf instruction from professional instructors, the Academy offers a variety of programs for golfers of all ages and all skill levels. Doug has assembled a staff that not only makes instruction easy, but also incredibly fun.

Visit our golf instruction section or call (866) 455-6890 for more information. 


Brush up your skills or learn some new ones
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