Category Archives: Observations

I Had the ‘Nots’!!!!

“There’s an enormous gap between KNOWING and DOING.” -Some wise dude

Here’s a confession that might just help your game…..
Honestly, sometimes, when I’m practicing and feeling good about my game, I honestly have a difficult time relating to some of my students….  The gravity golf drills and my understanding of the swing make the game seem quite easy at times…..    
And then there’s the other 360 days of the year…….
These days, as most of you know, I’m so busy at work (and loving it!) that I don’t have a lot of time to practice and train.  My mechanics are fine.  My grip, stance and alignment are not going anywhere…. But sometimes my game can get a little chaotic!  It’s more frustrating now than in years past because I truly understand the swing.  There is no mystery to my bad shots, and yet at times this past year I have felt very little control over my shots…. It’s quite embarrassing and aggravating.
Today was no exception.  I got up extra early with the hopes of completing my ‘to do’ list in time to tee off with some friends at 9:30.  I was really excited and felt quite confident as I stepped on the first tee.  After 4 holes, I still felt like I could turn my game around, and I kept myself in the round with some good putts and ‘up and downs’….   It was on the 7th hole that my swing ‘bit me’.  Ugh, it was so bad… and it cost me 2 strokes.  
It was two more holes before I caught on to something…..   I HAD THE ‘NOTS’!!!!!!
You see, outwardly, or at least on the surface, I still felt confident and was trying to make full and free swings.  Just before my ‘ah ha’ moment, I really felt that I was doing the things necessary to produce quality shots.  It was really frustrating that almost every swing up to that point was not up to my standards….  really frustrating (can anyone relate so far?)
Then I thought about one shot that I did hit particularly well.  One that I seem to hit well most times on that particular hole.  It’s the 12th hole at Snee Farm, and it calls for a low hard draw to put yourself in the ‘A’ position.  It sets up perfect for me, and I get a GREAT IMAGE and GREAT FEELING EVERY TIME I step on that tee……..
………………………………………………………………..THAT’S IT!
That was the difference.  I swung with TOTAL confidence.  I SAW the exact shot I wanted to produce and truly swung with freedom and with purpose.   The rest of the shots that day, with very few exceptions… I was trying to NOT hit it right, or left, or short, etc…..  IT hit me like a ton of bricks!  As I quickly went through the holes that I had played in my head, I knew that I was trying harder to NOT hit the ball one way or the other, than I was trying to hit the ball the way I know I can.  
That’s what golf can do to us all.  A few wayward shots, a few tight holes, a few bad thoughts and it’s SO EASY to start thinking of where you do NOT want the ball to go, RATHER than thinking about exactly where you want the ball to go and how you want it to get there….  
I TALK about this in almost every lesson I give…..  BAM!  I had a bad case today…. 
Fortunately (and this is a feel good story!), I figured it out with enough holes left to play to really turn my round… well…. around!  I started to swing freely and with precise images of what I wanted on the second nine and was rewarded with some great shots and some solid play.  I stumbled around to a 38 on the first 9, and easily shot a 31 on the second 9*…… 
So here’s the lesson:  

YOU CAN NEVER GET GOOD AT MOVING THE BALL WHERE YOU WANT TO IF YOU ARE TRYING TO 
NOT HIT THE BALL WHERE YOU DO NOT WANT TO.  
****A TARGET creates A SWING****
If you have the Not’s as your target, you can pretty much guarantee inconsistent to bad results….
Moe Norman put it this way:  “Bad Thinking, bad golf.  Good thinking, good golf.”
So pay attention to THE BAD TARGETS in golf.  Catch yourself if you try to hard to hit at, to lift up, to steer or guide the ball….  Catch yourself if you too often try to NOT hit the ball right or left…. It makes sense…….. but……..say it with me…… “IT’S WRONG”!!
Now go PLAY GOLF!  Stop THINKING golf swing!   
Learn from the pro (who really mucked it up today!).  Best, 
*Results will vary.  There are no guarantees in golf.  Good thinking will just ‘up your odds’ of playing the type of golf you are capable of…..

Take Your Medicine

I’m constantly amazed at the shots golfer try to pull off….  I’m not talking about Bubba Watson or Phil Mickelson.  They are two of the most talented golfers in the world, and I’m in awe of their talent and imagination….

No, I’m talking about the 10 handicap golfer that attempts to reach a par 5 in 2, even though water, woods and O.B. surround the green 240 yards away….. I’m talking about the once a week golfer that hits driver off every hole, costing them 7 shots a round…..  I’m talking about the guy faced with an impossible bunker shot that still aims right at the hole, even though the only possible out comes are staying in the bunker, or sailing over the green into the water or another bunker….  
Why?  
The excuse is often the fun of it.  I’d buy that if I didn’t see so many upset golfers day in and day out…. I’d buy that if we played pure match play each and every day and never posted a score for handicap purposes….   
Truth is, most of us play shots we have no business playing!  I’m also saying that if most of us chose a smarter route, golf would be far more enjoyable and most often scores would be lower!
Play to play great.  That means playing shots within your skill level.  That means thinking great around a golf course, and playing smart golf.  
Leave all that risk and reward to the pros, and those you are competing against.  The professionals have a better chance because of their skill and the repetition of their swings….  Your competitors can continue to play that way, and you’ll come out on the winning end more and more often!
Play smart.  Chip out, lay up, lag putt, TAKE YOUR MEDICINE….. And to really drive my point home…. Study this image
“Should have taken a drop”
            

GOLFER – SHOULD HAVE TAKEN A DROP  This happened on a desert golf course in the upper Scottsdale area, Arizona near Cave Creek.   He fell backwards into the cactus whilst attempting to play his ball.

It took paramedics 2 hours to pull the cactus needles out before he could go in an ambulance to the hospital.  

Target Observation

While driving around the golf course yesterday, I noticed in 2 groups something interesting in some pre shot routines….. 

The D player in an event would set up to the ball, then spend 10-20 seconds gauging where the ball was.  You could see in their waggle, they were attempting to find the ball in the downswing….  Their practice swing was their backswing down to the ball… NO FOLLOW THROUGH!  Watching 2 groups in a row hit a fairway shot to the green, the D player in both groups never looked at the green once they placed their feet into their stance.  The major part of the check list was preparing to strike the ball…..

The A players in both groups did something very different.  Their pre shot ritual was much more focused on the flagstick and green.  The practice swing of one A player had almost no backswing, and you could tell he was just focusing on ‘throwing’ the club out towards the target…. Their practice swing was basically the follow through…. The other A player just kept looking up and adjusting to what was out in front of them….

It’s an important lesson.  THE BALL IS UNIMPORTANT in the golf swing.  Prepare to throw the club and let the ball get in the way. 

Interesting…..

Belief in A Method

Find a method.  Believe in that method.  Spend your life training within that method. 

Committing to a teacher, or a golf swing system is powerful and liberating.  Most spend their golfing years searching, fixing, changing, fixing and searching……  in constant search of the magic swing.  These golfers never find ‘it’ specifically because of their training habits…. 

Commit and train within a system and your game will slowly but surely improve over time.  You will be a better, and most cases happier, golfer year after year. 

That’s a sure thing. 

Major Strategy

Atlantic Athletic Club is a 7500, par 70 beast.  No doubt you need raw power to play well at a course like that…. 

Or, you need to play a game that keeps you in play and have a good short game. 

After round 1, the leaders rank 116, 187, 130, 122, 180 in driving distance on the tour.  Jerry Kelly talked about hitting a 3-metal on a 470 yard par 4, something he never considered doing before (because he’s 187th in driving distance!).  He made par on that hole. 

On the flip side, other than Shaun Micheel, the top 5 golfers all rank inside the top 25 in SCRAMBLING (short game). 

Power is awesome.  Power is fun.  When power goes straight, power usually wins….  Then there’s the rest of us. 

Forward and in play combined with a ONE CHIP and TWO PUTT will almost always win the day. 

We can learn a lot from the day one leaderboard at the PGA Championship.  Play shots you have a higher percentage of pulling off and you will more often shoot lower scores. 

“But that’s no fun”, you say?…  Tell that to Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly, Shaun Micheel, and Scott Verplank.  Playing great golf IS fun.  Convince yourself of that, and BAM!!, You’re a better golfer. 

It’s Too Bad….

It’s too bad that any golfer would rather raise their handicaps in order to be competitive rather than work on their game…  It leaves a bad taste in my mouth that we have come to that. 

For the last decade, I’ve heard talk about getting the handicap up as a benefit more and more….  It is completely incomprehensible to me. 

I know we live in a ‘quick fix’ world, where people want a better swing NOW.  But most certainly we’ve taken it too far.  Now we don’t even need a better swing, we can just post a few high rounds and then we’re competitive again. 

Worst thing is that it hurts the few who really do work at improving.  The few who see the value in training. 

Those few may not win as many ‘bet’s/games’ as they should anymore, but I guess they can keep their pride. 

To all those who still want to lower their handicaps AND be competitive, you have my respect!  Keep at it! 

*Final thought:  By definition, golfers that read my blog are striving for improvement.  You KNOW it takes work.  Any time you may get one of those sarcastic thoughts (most always a bit of truth in sarcasm…) about getting your handicap UP, I hope you squash it and run to the DRIVING RANGE!  Best,

Get Er Done Before You Reach The Ball

Woody’s comment was so worthwhile, I’ll discuss one part in this blog in case you don’t look at the comment section on the blog: 

Lanny Wadkins stated that once he got to his ball, he had everything worked out with the input of the final element…distance.

I think Lanny was on to something very important.  Even riding in a cart, golfers have plenty of time to get a solid grip on the upcoming shot.   In most cases,you’ll know the hole you are playing.  You can most often see where the pin location is, you can feel the wind, and you probably have some idea as to the lie your ball is in.  Because you most likely know the hole, you know where the trouble is as well, you know what tendencies you have and therefore, should have a solid game plan in play.  Once you get the distance, it’s simply a matter of choosing a club.  

Now SEE IT. FEEL IT.  TRUST IT.  Done.  

***And as soon as you’ve pick your club, hopefully, the guy in the cart with you has taken off towards his ball, rather than sitting in the cart waiting!!!!  Or at least he’s gotten out, grab 2-3 clubs and has begun his walk out of your way and to his ball….

Anyway….

Pay attention next time your talking to a fast golfer while riding in your cart…. Chances are they are in conversation, but their eyes are also looking out towards the hole considering the elements of their next shot. 

Thanks for the comment, Woody!

Disturbing Trend….

Reading a book called:  The Return of the 4 Hour Round.  My friends down at Snee Farm are very fortunate that golf is still played in about 4 hours, because that is not true in many places anymore, and almost non existent in tournament play(even at ‘The Farm’….&nbsp

The author cited reports that over the last 4 decades, tournament golf has gone from just under 3 hours, to well over 5 hours, and sometimes 6 hours!!!!

*Would not have believed the 6 hour round if I had not witnessed it here at Carolina Colours Golf Club during an ETour event

Makes me shiver….   Golf can always be played in 4 hours or less, and it’s the responsibility of the golfers who are playing slow to make it happen (not the marshals!)

…. Maybe the disturbing trend is just how selfish slow golfers are.  They so often feel entitled to play at whatever damn pace they choose. 

Final note:  Polite golfers often take too much time in a new group.  Need help looking for your ball?  Who’s away? Who has honors? Should I mark that putt? etc…. It’s understandable, because golf is such a game of integrity and good sportsmanship.  Someone must speak out, however,  and make READY GOLF the priority!  Talk about etiquette and you’ll find almost everyone would rather play fast than with perfect etiquette. 

The slogan I’m trying to instill in my club members:   PLAY FAST, HAVE FUN.