Category Archives: Mental Game

You Have Not ‘Lost It’….

From mid November thru sometime in February I hear golfers tell me that their game is gone….. 

  • “Worst game ever.”
  • “I have no idea how to play anymore….”
  • “I’ve completely lost it!”

 

On another day, I’ll write an article about the mental pitfalls of the above comments, but for now, let me just assure you that you have not lost ‘it’. 

You are simply not swinging with the laws of physics at the moment!  Your instincts are to lift, strike and steer…..  The colder weather restricts your turn….  and most likely, you have not been practicing as much and IN THE GRAVITY DRILLS as you were over the summer…. 

Basically, as Dr. Rick Jensen says so eloquently, “You’ve just gotten bad.”

The great news is that you are reading this blog!  The great news is that you understand THE GRAVITY GOLF SWING and how it works. 

If you are not hitting the ball well,  you KNOW that you are using your arms too much!  You KNOW that you are probably steering or striking (or both) and that will always cause the club path to be bumped off line….. 

You also KNOW how to get your swing back!   Get on the range and in the DRILLS!  HEAVE the tension out of the arms….  Let GRAVITY AND ROTATION create path integrity.  Allow the ball to get in the way of the swing!!!   Really work on Balance, core turn, and impact with the short shots! 

You no longer have the golfers age old excuse of ‘confusion’.  You are the few who KNOW. 

If you won’t get to the range (and I understand.  The weather is bad, the holidays, etc…..), then take a GRAVITY DRILL practice swing on the course….. 

And if you just aren’t motivated to train in the ‘off season’ because you need time to re-energize for next years training….. Then just try to finish in balance on every swing, enjoy the scenery and the company…. and be AT EASE. 

It’s all good. 

The Journey has Begun

Thanks for all the kind words and support going into my surgery.  I came out of it numbed up, drugged up and ready to heal!  My right knee was in pretty bad shape.  They went in athroscopically (small incision) and were able to stitch up and save my lateral meniscus and at least clean up my the torn edges of my medial meniscus.  Those repairs will make a world of difference once they are healed up in terms of walking, jogging, etc… with no pain!!!

The bigger procedure was replacing my ACL.  They took a bone patellar tendon bone allograph (that’s what they called it!? It’s a graph from a cadaver…Cool.) and inserted it through two drill holes…. First through the tibial tunnel, then through the femoral tunnel (basically, they slipped it through two holes that they drilled in my bones!) and it was attached with some really cool ‘bio bone’ screws….  
In the end, the knee should be better than ever once my rehab is finished up.  When I’m fully recovered from the ACL replacement, I should be able to be fully active in terms of GOLF, TENNIS, HIKING, etc…. I can’t wait! (oh yeah… PATIENCE….I can wait….)

I was blown away by the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Duke hospital.  I was amazed at how well they managed my pain (slightly bummed out that I didn’t need more brain altering drugs- you know, just for kicks…).  It was an experience in EXCELLENCE!

Now, I’m resting and beginning rehab.  It’s a long road ahead, but I’m fired up!  I’m considering it a challenge just like improving my golf game.  Here’s a great quote:  

I’m starting NOW!  I hope you are as well.  Make a goal to improve your putting, or your chipping, or to become fully trained in the GRAVITY GOLF DRILLS.  Next, create a workable plan and get started!  I know this rehab will teach me a ton about patience and persistence… Improving the golf game takes consistent and systematic training OVER TIME!  Let’s both get better. 

Need some guidance?  Send me a comment or email and I’ll be happy to get you on track! 

Putting Advice

“Thinking the way you have always thought will almost certainly assure that you will putt the way you have always putted.” -Dr. Bob Rotella

I made a decision in 1993 that I was a good putter.  Since then, I have been a good putter.  Even through a bout with the yips, I made a good deal of putts, and more importantly, my belief kept me putting with confidence and training in the very best ways. 

There is nothing much worse than listening to someone complain about their putting…  It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. 

Golfers should not seek lessons because their putting is bad. It almost never works, and more likely, they find new ways to convince themselves that they are not good putters…. 

They should train, research and take lessons to get better.  There is a huge difference in attitude between the two.  

The answer should always be; “My putting is getting better.” or “Next time the putts will go in.”

Poor training and Lack of training are about the only excuse for poor putting.  A bad mind set is too easy to change.  It should NEVER be the reason for putting poorly. 

Decide! 

The TIGER Effect….

Perhaps one of the great effects of the Tiger Woods era is that the younger generation, especially with him out of the equation at the moment, has developed an unbelievable will to win.  

We saw it again yesterday on the PGA tour.  Webb Simpson* birdied the last hole of regulation and then the first two holes of the playoff to win the event.  Fantastic play by several young players.  Add to the fact that this tournament is huge!  Not a major, but not far off, and in some ways, just as important for many of these guys as the FED EX CUP PLAYOFFS continues to grow in stature.  
They grew up watching ‘a man of steel’.  They grew up watching others falter mentally and physically as Tiger just seemed to will the ball into the hole….  They most likely imitated him, and as they improved, were drilled by the media, their coaches, etc… that they had to be that confident to play at the next level.  
This is fantastic for sport. These kids will take golf to another level, they will come one step closer to reaching the human potential and that is awesome!  
*Full disclosure:  When I wrote down Simpson’s name, I made a mental note to check the spelling, as he’s still somewhat new to me, like so many of the young guys today!  There are so many, and truth is, I’m still a bit stuck on the guys I grew up with…..  So anywho, when I finished writing, I clicked on the PGA Tour website and discovered that I didn’t just misspell Webb’s first name,  I originally wrote Will, not Webb….  The face of golf is changing, and even I’ve got to catch up! 

Times Have Changed

What a great finish to the PGA this weekend!  When was the last time you saw someone come back after a late bogie or double?  Almost never happens.  That one mistake late in the round usually sounds the bell for any and all golfers…. 

Keegan Bradley made a TRIPLE bogie on the 15th hole, and came right back with back to back birdies, and continued his great play in the playoff. 

The commentators were rationalizing like crazy all weekend!!!  They are trying to figure out how to ‘generalize’ the champions of 2011. 

On Saturday and Sunday they kept talking about how the experience of the veteran golfers always help down the stretch.  That wasn’t panning out, so they began to discuss the fact that rookies didn’t have the ‘baggage’ of bad breaks in a major, and that was a benefit….  Experience?  Baggage?  Yeah, they were pulling stuff out of their butts. 

Probably one of the better explanations came from Nick Faldo during Sunday’s broadcast.  He talked about ‘the Tiger effect’ on the younger golfers….   These kids have grown up watching the way Tiger won in the 2000’s.  They’ve emulated his ‘swagger’, they’ve imitated his tremendous confidence and perhaps become mentally tougher than the previous generations because of it…. 

Think about it.  Physically, young golfers began to bomb it a few short years after Tiger burst onto the seen.  The focus of attention was on how far he hit the ball, and golf became obsessed with distance again.  It’s perhaps taken a bit longer for the mental toughness to seep into the young golfers of today, but I like the explanation! 

Time to respect all the players that play on the PGA tour (even the Nationwide for that matter!).   They are fantastic! 

p.s.  And not a bad idea to emulate your favorite tour player’s ‘swagger’ in order to help YOU play with more confidence! 

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. 

Positive Addiction

Thanks for your comments on what drives you to play golf.  Please keep them coming! 

I began this morning looking up the definition of ‘addiction’.  It has a very 1-sided meaning….  Bad.  The meaning specifically details negative influences of being drawn to something that is harmful.

THAT’S NOT GOLF!

So, being the positive kind of guy I am, I goggled ‘POSITIVE ADDICTION’.  And there you have it!  It’s a psychological term created in 1976 and I am quite convinced golf can fall into the category of a ‘POSITIVE ADDICTION’

Positive addiction (PA) fulfills the seven following criteria:

  1. it is something noncompetitive that you choose to do and you can devote approximately forty-five minutes to an hour a day to;
  2. it is possible for you to do it easily, in the sense of organizing to do it, and it doesn’t take a great deal of mental effort to do it;
  3. you can do it alone (more rarely with others) – but independently of others – not depending on their presence or encouragement to continue;
  4. you believe it has some value (physical, mental, or spiritual) for you;
  5. you believe that if you persist at it you will improve but this is completely subjective – you need to be the only one who measures that improvement;
  6. the activity must be one you can perform without negatively criticizing yourself;
  7. it must be undertaken several times a week until you reach “the PA state”.

Not all golfers (very few actually) can be considered to have a ‘PA’ to golf.   Those who look at the above and say ‘yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, workin on it ,yep’…. I welcome you into the ‘GOLF NUT CLUB’. 

Final Thought:  2 golfers that commented to me about the drive to keep playing pointed out the ‘PA’ to shooting consistently good rounds.  It’s extremely difficult to do, but I agree that it drives me to keep playing!  I absolutely love the mental exercise before rounds, during rounds and in between rounds. I believe I can play to play great.  I strive to play great and fearless!  I aspire to play fearlessly and with full confidence.  Most amazingly, I have yet to play completely fearless golf over 18 holes…  But I’ll keep going for it!!    What makes you love this game? 

“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!