Category Archives: Course Management

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…..

Too Good not to Post

I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately… Haven’t been hugely successful, but I’m excited that my mind is going in that direction…..

Having said that, it’s been a few days since I’ve been to my site, and it’s too bad, because that means this post is a few days later than I wish!  The sooner most of us can learn this lesson, the better (or for many of us, it’s not learning, it’s just finally listening!!!)
Anyway, here’s a quick story told by Tony Daniel (thank you for sending it along, by the way!), Beth Daniel’s, (yes, THE Beth Daniel) brother*: 
I was caddying for Beth in an LPGA event and she hooked her ball into the woods. I got to the ball before she did and studied the situation. She had a small opening through some trees and if she hit it just right and a tree is really 90% air she might be able to hit the green. When she arrived she said give me the 6 iron. I thought, well that is too much club. Before I could say anything she chipped the ball to the middle of the fairway. She then hit a 9 iron about a foot away tapped in for par and we went to the next hole. On the way I said there was a small opening through the trees why did you not try that. She said the key was to avoid the big number. Take your medicine and go on. In this case there was no medicine as she still made par. Big brother learned a good lesson. I just have to remember it. Glad you are back with the blogs.

If you said to yourself, “who is Beth Daniel?” please click on the link and take a look.  And don’t tell me you didn’t know!  Every golfer reading my blog should know about one of the true greats in the sport!  Especially a Charleston native….  
Now go Play Golf! Stop thinking golf swing!

Back at It- The Comeback….

It’s been a while since you’ve played golf.  Life gets in the way….  So what’s the best way to get your game in shape? 

Well, if you are still in the middle of ‘life’, and just get the infrequent chance to get out to play- the answer is a little different. 

In that case, it’s best to keep the expectations low, enjoy being out on the course, enjoy swinging the club, and simply have the intention of making good swing.  Do your best to play smart golf, and try not to judge yourself too harshly…. 

Hopefully, you are ready to dig in and get your game back.  In that case, it’s important to have realistic expectations and a game plan for your comeback.

First- understand that if you’ve spent more than a few weeks away from your golf swing, chances are good that your body won’t fully cooperate at first.  Understand that your ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ might be a little off….  One of your primary goals is to limber up the body in the full swing, and practice ‘awareness’ in your short shots.

On the range, while hitting full shots, the best thing to do is to work IN THE GRAVITY DRILLS! The drills will more quickly get you swinging in compliance with the laws of physics, and keep you from falling into any bad habits as you get back going.   In the drills (or not, if you either don’t know them, or simply want to prolong the process of your comeback….), really, really, really, work on building and expanding your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED FOLLOWTHRU!  This will most quickly get the body into golf swing shape!

While practicing your chipping and putting…. Be aware.  Notice how each shot feels, and think about the distance the ball travels….  Feel your swing as it relates to the distance of your shots or putts…. By staying aware, you’ll more quickly regain your touch!  Stay aware while you train, and there’s a great chance you soon be chipping and putting better than ever!!

Give yourself time to get back into the swing of things.  Play up a tee box.  Hit more safe shots on the course.  If you train consistently and systematically.  If you remain patient and enjoy the process of improvement during your comeback… The experience will be enjoyable. 

Winter Golf is Weakness Exposing

The great news is that the weather has been great this year for winter golf!  Compared to last year, most of us have way more golf in late 2011 and early 2012….  Isn’t that fantastic?

Except for the fact that I’ve heard several people grumbling about giving up the game this past week…. 

Tis the season. 

Let me explain: 

We are now deep into the winter months.  The weather’s been great, but even still most of us aren’t playing and practicing quite like we do in the spring summer months….  That has a small effect on your game….

The winter’s been great, but the temps here in New Bern, NC haven’t been in the mid 70’s. I’m not complaining!  55-65 degree days have been the norm and that’s awesome for the winter!!!!  HURRAY! 

Except for the fact that those temperatures are cool enough (especially if you start in the a.m. when the temps are mid ci….) for the ball to fly shorter distances, and the clothes you are wearing to tighten up your turn.   Even at 60 degrees, golfers are not sweating and really loosey goosey.  This has a larger effect on the game.  One that can’t be dismissed. 

But the above reasons aren’t the primary cause of the winter golf blues…..  

The course conditions really magnify any technical flaws in a swing. Winter course conditions expose any weakness in IMPACT SKILLS.  Very few courses overseed even the fairways these days…..  Almost no courses overseed wall to wall in the winter any more.  That means we are playing on thin, dormant grass.  Hard to get the ball to sit up at all in the fairway, and the rough around the greens…..  Forget about it!!!  In most cases, the ball is simply sitting on dirt.  In our case at Carolina Colours Golf club, the ball is often sitting on wet ground, dear I say m_^? (no, can’t say it!).

If your skills of impact aren’t high, your game may seem like it’s completely gone.  A quarter inch of cushion under your ball can really make that much difference! 

So what can you do? 

1.  Make gosh darn darn sure you are PREFERRING YOUR LIE in the fairway!  Spend time to find the nicest lie you can!  We are playing winter rules…. USE THEM! 

2.  Putt a lot more around the greens.  Impact with a lofted club is just too dicey for most golfers.  You’ll do better putting it through rough, etc…. in many cases. 

3.  If not a putt, use a 5 iron, 7 iron, or 8 iron to bump and run the ball onto the green. 

4.  Use strategy.  Do your best to position yourself so that you do not have to hit delicate shots over bunkers from the rough…..  

5.  Because #4 is way easier said than done,  if you are behind the bunker on a tight lie…. forget about the pin, try to move the ball to the fat of the green, or even just back in play….  Maybe even say a little prayer, cause these shots are just super tough! 

6.  Change your expectations.  It’s winter golf for Bobby Jones sake…..  If you are not going to train enough, if your skills just aren’t high enough….  just enjoy the wonderful winter weather!!!!  Have fun, work on your balance, take plenty of extra club, etc……

Winter golf is weakness exposing.  As you continue to train in the gravity drills…., as you continue to improve your skills of impact…, winter golf will effect you less and less!  Keep the faith!  Keep training! 

Play Fast, Have Fun

Most of my members recognize the title of this post.  I say it before I send off the LGA, MGA, and pretty much every tournament at my golf course. 

Why?  GOLF IS PLAYED TOO SLOWLY! 

This post idea came from reading an article on the PGA Tour web site.  It was a nice article about how Paul Tesori, a tour caddie who once played on tour himself, made such a big difference in Webb Simpson’s career. 

Golf articles, in general (unless discussing Tiger Woods) are almost always positive.  Unlike other sports and in politics, where every article descends into a childish name calling fest in the comment section below, golf pretty much stays above the fray…

that’s why I was inspired to write about slow play today.  I talk about it a lot.  I KNOW it’s a big problem for golf.  A significant percentage of people do not play golf, or limit their golf because of slow play…. A percentage in the high 90’s is unhappy when they get behind slow groups…..

Back to the nice article about Webb and Paul.  The comments were not typical comments you find after a golf article about a PGA tour player… Usually, most comments are from fans agreeing with the article, or wishing their players luck and success through the season… It’s actually pretty refreshing after reading the moronic statements posted after pretty much every Red Sox article on their web site (especially once a Yankee fan logs on….).

These comments were slamming Webb, Paul and the whole tour on SLOW PLAY! 

If even the nicest of fans turn negative, harsh, even vicious in their word, something is very wrong….  More so if the article had next to NOTHING to do with slow play. 

Slow play is such a bad subject in the game today, even an article highlighting the success of a young golfer with his experienced caddie can turn sour.  It’s a sure sign things need to change. 

Play fast.  Have fun.  And make sure YOU, yes YOU, can never be accused of slow play.  It’s the scarlet letter in golf. 

“I Don’t Understand….”

Words that I refuse to acknowledge as a golfer.  This game is so difficult, and there is SO much information out there that if a golfer has any doubt, they are cooked. 

The ball flight is lawful.  The golf swing is governed by the Laws of Physics.  The human mind, probably the greatest variable, has to a large degree, fairly predictable responses when left in the ‘unconscious’ mode…..

A golfer that understands a ‘PHYSICS COMPLIANT SWING’

A golfer that understands their own tendencies with their swing

A golfer that has a clear and certain MENTAL PRE SHOT ROUTINE and

A golfer that TRAINS consistently and systematically with high quality drills……. 

SHOULD always understand the inherent ups and downs of golf.

This golfer may not always hit great shots.  They may not always score great…. But they will outplay most (with or perhaps without their handicap strokes), improve over time, and have the peace of mind in UNDERSTANDING all the frustrating things that occur in this fascinating game! 

Build a Bank Account of Good Swings

Good shots build confidence and free up a swing….  bad shots can often destroy confidence and lead to steering, guiding, trying, indecision, etc…  

I know most golfers would shoot lower scores, have more fun and build better golf swings if they played within themselves….  

Hit clubs and shots you are most likely to have successful outcomes with early in the round.  It might mean laying up or playing away from the pin, but if the shots come off more successfully, I am confident that you will play better golf in the long run. 

Golfers that constantly go for broke, that try to make up shots with miracle shots, that say golf is only fun if you go for it….   well, they don’t play good golf (there are a tiny few exceptions, and they can have at it) and they most certainly are not consistent. 

Bottom line.  Hit more shots that you have a higher percentage of pulling off.  Throughout 18 holes, and most certainly throughout a season, you golf swing will improve, your scores will be better (and more consistent), and that I have no doubt will translate into more enjoyment on the course. 

*Lay up with a 5 iron on a par 5 instead of trying to hit a perfect 3 wood to the green
*hit a hybrid or iron off a short par 4 instead of driver….

Why?  Simple, cause you can!  It’s an opportunity to build confidence with a club or shot you are more likely to pull off! 

Track and See

Tracking a few simple stats can be a great motivator to train.  Titleist has just launched a free and simple STAT’S TRACKER that I thought some of you might want to check out:

http://www.titleist.com/my-game/stats.aspx

My hope is that you’ll quickly see that some quality chipping, pitching and putting practice can have a shockingly positive effect on your scores!   1 chip.  2 putt.  Your scores will be lower.   

Nanook Goes Golfing

Nanook must do everything he can to continue to TURN his core in cold weather.  His arms and shoulders should not dominate, his arms and shoulders should be MOVED by his core! 

Nanook will need to take extra club to deal with several factors, including his 5 layers of clothing which restricts his turn…..  No problem,  he must still use his core to get the arms and shoulders into motion in the backswing. The turn won’t be as full, but it should be sufficient to get the arms and club moving on their own momentum.  If successful, he can maintain his path integrity on the downswing by slinging his arms and club through the ball with his forward turn around his right pivotal axis (you didn’t know that Nanook was a lefty?). 

Gravity meets rotation = Path integrity                 …..even at 40 degrees.

Advice for Your Pace of Play

Here’s my advice for slow
golfers:  Don’t be one!  Slow golfers
and slow golf are one of the biggest complaints in the game…. 

 If you are a new golfer, learn
to play fast.  If you have been playing
golf for some time and may be considered slow…. SPEED UP! 

I’ve yet to talk to a golfer who
enjoys to be slowed down by a slow golfer, either in their group, or in the
groups ahead. 

Most slow golfers are in
denial.  Many don’t think they are slow,
and the few that do admit to it have lots of reasons why they need to be…. 

My advice is to play faster!  You don’t have to
rush your shots.  Golfers need to play
ready golf, meaning that upfront you let it be known to your group that it is not
the U.S. Open we will play ready golf. 

If
you are a little ahead of you fellow-competitor but beat him to his ball, GO
AHEAD AND HIT!

My advice is to walk faster in
between shots!  If you are a rider and
are slow, most likely you are not ready when it’s your turn to hit!  My
advice is simple.  GET READY!
  Focus on what you need to do, and the shot
you are going to hit as soon as you approach your ball…  Decide!
Now you can watch the other person hit, but as soon as he/she makes
contact and you know it’s your turn… BEGIN YOUR ROUTINE. 

Another thing about riders…..  You don’t need to drive to your partner’s ball
and then just sit in the cart!!!  Either get
out (leaving the cart for him/her) and walk to your shot so you are ready
sooner, or drive over to your shot and pick him/her up after you’ve hit!  Let’s call it golf cart management!

For some, playing fast will feel
awkward for a while.  It’s like learning
anything.  Know that you can hit
attentive shots and play fast!  Give
yourself a chance. 

Here’s why I know in the long
run you’ll be happy.  Every group gets
behind sometimes…. When fast golfers are asked to speed up, it’s a no brainer
and easy to do… When there is a slow player in that group, he’s the one that
gets all messed up!  They will either just get mad at the messenger (ranger, pro-shop staff, or angry 4some stuck behind), or He/She will tend to
play awful and ruin a round in their attempt to get back on pace. 

By learning to play fast, you’ll
never be in that position again!  More
importantly, you won’t have the rest of the membership grumbling behind your
back!

 Don’t wear the Scarlett Letter “S” for slow!  

Is that clear enough?