Kids and Golf

Golf should be fun first.
Young golfers that show interest in golf should first and foremost learn
the love the game!  I think Brian does a
fantastic job in his clinics… He’s got a ton of games and gadgets to get new
golfers laughing while swinging a club!
It just doesn’t get any better than that. 

I don’t think parents and teachers should push kids very
hard.  Give them a place to play.  Give them space to play.  Let them experience and adjust on their own
and your job should be to primarily facilitate fun. 

Now some kids just have that burning desire.  They just fall in love with everything golf
right from the start.  I content that
those kids don’t need to be overly structured either!  They already love it, and therefore are on
the range and course all day LEARNING.
Great! 

That’s the way it was for both Brian and myself.  Very little instruction and even less
disciplined practice.  We didn’t need
it.  We PLAYED a GAME called golf every
day and through that experience, became competent players.  

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?


Great Minds Think Alike

 It’s fascinating to me that 3
great influences in my life have massive disagreements with each other!  David Lee, the founder of Gravity Golf thinks
that Dave Pelz does a great disservice to golfers all over the world…  Gary Player thinks that David Lee has no idea
what he is talking about…. Dave Pelz is a former NASA Physicist whose concepts
completely clash with David Lee…

Yikes…. 

And yet they all agree on one
thing:  Lee Trevino is the best ball striker in the history of the game. 

Since David Lee’s concepts are
built upon the physics deep within Lee Trevino’s swing, I declare him the
champion!!!

Dave Pelz’s linear concepts fly
in the face of David Lee’s Gravity Golf principles…  The most efficient swing is an arc kept in
motion by gravity and centripetal force.  Linear forces collapse an arc and force a
golfer to use hand and arm manipulations to keep the putter on path.  It’s these linear forces that are the
predominant cause of the yips in both putting and chipping.  

 Gary Player is a great influence
in golf but not someone who truly understands the swing…..  His disagreements with David Lee are based on
his belief that the great Ben Hogan’s swing mechanics are the best ever.  Ironically, Gary has developed a Gravity Golf Swing (to
his utter dismay I’m sure) as he has progressed in his career…. 

 Fascinating

Bring Options

Pet peeve:  Golfers who want to improve, but only bring
one club with them when they walk to their ball (from the cart path). 

 You just can’t guarantee that
you will have the right club for any given shot!  Until you are at your ball, you can’t be sure
of the lie, the grass around it, the distance needed to carry the ball, and
other obstacles that will need to be processed…

It doesn’t take any more effort
to bring 3 clubs to your ball!  Having
options can make a huge difference over time, and it just takes a simple
discipline. 

 For me it’s easy…. I’m just not
good enough and or bright enough to know what shot I’m going to hit when I’m
20-30 yards away from the ball! 

 *Easy for me because I hate, hate, hate having to walk
back to the cart to grab another club. 

Pre-Shot Routine, Part III

It’s like a funnel of
concentration…. As you go through each step, your focus narrows.  As you go through the routine, extraneous
thoughts (doubt, fear, lack of concentration) are pushed outside of the
conscious.  Many great players talk about
routine as walking into a bubble, where only the shot and its execution are
available…. 

You’ve OBSERVED the situation
and DECIDED on the shot.  It’s now time
to really get into the thick of the routine!

SEE IT.  Say it
to your self!
  SEE the shot you want
to execute.  SEE the swing that will
produce it….  SEE IT!

You’ve chosen your club and now
stand behind the ball.  SEE the shot
vividly.  SEE the swing you will make….
Can’t see your swing?  SEE Ernie Els, SEE Tiger Woods… SEE what you want! 

You’ll be amazed at how you
improve at this step with repetition.  On
every shot, SEE the action, SEE the result. 

One of the critical results of
this part of the process is that while you are seeing what you want vividly,
you cannot (by definition) think about what can go wrong!  The entire routine puts you in a more
positive frame of mind (repetition of phrase on purpose)!

Pre-Shot Routine, Part II

DECIDE

 OBSERVE:  For example, you are 145 yards from the
pin.  The ball lies in the fairway.  The pin is tucked right with a bunker
guarding the front of the green.  The
wind is blowing 5mph from left to right.
It’s your second shot of the day and it’s early, so you are not full
warmed up.  You’re beginning to picture a
fade.  You’re beginning to consider an
easy 6 or a full 7…. 

If you’ve taken in all the
information needed, it’s now time to DECIDE.
I think back to my youth (and young adulthood) and realize that a great
portion of my bad shots were simply due to not deciding on a specific
shot.  I find that saying DECIDE each
time before I pull a club out of the bag is a great way to make a better
swing! 

 On almost all shots there are
several options for you to choose.  For
me, that was a big problem!  I was not
great a committing to a shot, and that is critical for long term success (long
term being 18 holes or 3 months, or more….). 

 Back to the shot described
above.  Since it’s early and the swing
isn’t as free as it will be later in the day, I’m going to DECIDE on the 6
iron.  I’m already more confident because
I’ve observed not only the lie of the ball, the position of the pin, and the
wind, but also the state of my body and my swing…. 

 DECIDE clearly and confidently
on each shot and it will pay off in the long run.  I would much rather DECIDE and be wrong, then
be wishy washy on any swing!  

Distance Control

Often, it’s the fear of 3
putting that causes distance problems with our putting.  You see, when your brain is focused on not
3 putting, or on the possibility of 3 putting, you are not learning how to putt
with good pace. 

Fear, indecision, and doubt keep
you from building your skills of distance control!

This isn’t a cure all, just a
step in developing into a better putter.
Focus on the possibility of great touch!
Focus on rolling the ball with perfect speed.  Now trust it!  

Pre-Shot Routine, Part I

This will be a saga blog (I may
have just coined a new phrase!) that will likely last for some time.  My intention is to lay out a simple and clear
cut mental pre-shot routine for you to use on the golf course. 

I developed the routine I use
about 18 years ago, after spending a day with Dr. David Cook.  The 3 simple phrases he uses to describe the
pre-shot routine are as follows:

 SEE IT – FEEL IT – TRUST IT

 Here’s my attempt to discuss how
I like to use his system. 

 Let’s begin, well, at the
beginning.  You step on the first
tee.  I want you to simply OBSERVE.  How does the hole look?  What is the architecture asking you to
do?  What are your tendencies as a golfer
(Slice? Hook? Pull?) What are your tendencies on the first tee?

I want you to notice the wind,
the largest area of the fairway, the hole location…  I want you to observe the level of the tee
box! 

Most importantly, take all the
information in, rather than just grabbing your driver and teeing up randomly.

I want you to really observe on
each and every shot!  Notice the lay of
the land, and the lie of the ball.
Notice where the trouble is, and more importantly, notice where the best
place to put the ball is….  Notice if the
terrain is hard or soft, notice if you feel tight or really free and
loose. 

This one step will put your mind
in a positive mental frame.  This one
step will set up the rest of the routine!  

Practice Swings, Part III

It’s debatable just how
important a practice swing is with the full swing.  I don’t take one with any standard full
shot.  Since I know that a swing is a
swing is a swing, and my full swing with a 7 iron is the same as my full swing
with any other club, and since I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of full
swings….  I really don’t find it
necessary to take a rehearsal swing before I hit my shot. 

 I am fine with someone who does
take a practice swing. 

Now, I’m completely convinced
that rehearsal swings are EXTREMELY important when it comes to any shot that is
less than full, or any shot that has some variety to it.  All
short game shots should most definitely be rehearsed
.  Shots that are from strange lies, or demand
an exaggerated ball flight (high, low, hook, slice) also should be rehearsed…
The answer should be obvious.  Each one
of these shots is different.  The lies,
the trajectories, the distance, etc…  I
want to use the practice swing to learn and prepare. 

 Watch Tiger and Phil on short
shots, especially from serious rough… They take gobs of practice swings!  I’ve seen Tiger take 13!  I’ve seen Phil take 8!  For just one shot! And they are perhaps the
best short game players in the history of the game!!!! (coincidence?)

With specialty shots, use the
practice swing to gauge the lie, to see and feel the shot you are about to
hit.  Use practice swings to build
confidence and gauge your distance.  Use
practice swings to create vivid pictures of exactly what you expect to happen. 

Any of you who have taken short
game lessons with me know that I’m a stickler in this area…. TAKE PRACTICE
SWINGS!  

Practice Swings, Part II

I often cringe when I seegolfers take practice swings on the golf course….  It’s what got me started on this subject acouple of days ago.  On the range it’simportant to rehearse or exaggerate a motion to help you learn faster…  On the course I think the practice swingshould have one of two purposes. 

 

  1. It mimics moves that you wish to produce in your real swing.  Most golf professionals take partial practice swings, focusing on a small area in their swing they wish to magnify.  Usually, the small practice swing emphasized the impact area of the swing.  Some golf professionals work on the transition of the swing, others on the backswing, and still others go ahead and just take a full swing to feel exactly what they wish to occur when they strike the ball…. 

 

*Most importantly, the practiceswing should enhance what you want to have happen in your swing, not what youdon’t want to happen!  Yup, far toooften I see golfers take practice swings that pretty much teach them to lift up andslap at the ball with their hands and arms…The worst of the worst is when golfers take practice swings with thefocus of KEEPING THEIR HEADS DOWN.  It’sthe most destructive thing I see on the course.This rehearsal completely destroys rotational motion of the body and allbut guarantees a bad golf swing!!!!  Thisrehearsal swing also cuts off one of the most important parts of the swing:  THE FOLLOWTHRU!!!!  

 

  1. If practice swings on the course aren’t mimicking what you want to happen, they should be exaggerating what you want to happen.  I call it “feel it and forget it” , and you can read more about it in a previous blog! 

 

Bottom line:  Make sure your practice swings are making youbetter!  Please, please don’t focus onkeeping your head down!  Please, pleaselet your body and arms flow into the followthru!