Playing to Play Great on the PGA Tour

These guys continue to show just how incredibly talented they are.  Did you see yesterday’s tournament?  Matt McQuillan (who I have not yet heard of… how deep is the talent here?), Charles Howell and Zach Johnson all shoot super low on a Sunday.  I’m talking 64’s and 65’s, and not a bogie on any of their cards!!!  That doesn’t even get them close to the winner’s circle.  Kyle Stanley shoots a final round 66, and again, I don’t know him (yet. I’ve heard he’s quite an athlete)!!!

And all that pales compared to Steve Stricker’s birdie, birdie finish.  Check out the highlights of his 18th hole if you didn’t get a chance to see it.  First, notice the fantastic pivotal rotation out of that incredibly difficult bunker shot.  Awesome!

And the putt he made on 18, that’s great stuff. 

I just love when talent is put on display.  When the course is set up to showcase just how good these guys are.  Instead of playing to not screw up, this week these guys played to play great, and it’s a great thing to witness. 

A Quick Check Up

Just checking to make sure that a FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH continues to be one of your major goals while you train and play.  It’s not something that you ‘try’.  It’s not something that you should get to later…. 

A FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH needs to be right in the forefront of your thoughts (in all likely hood). 

If your balance is a solid and consistent as say, Rory McIlroy or Serio Garcia…..wait, I just heard both of them talk about how very often ALL they think about is finishing in balance….  OK, if your balance is as good as Freddy Couples or VJ Singh, maybe you can focus on something else.

FULLY ROTATED is so important because it’s the pivotal axis (forward leg) that slings the arms and club on a predictable path as it rotates.  If you are tight, or if there is tension that stops that rotation, you MUST make compensations to hit the ball (chaotic).  TRAIN YOUR ROTATION on the driving range and on the golf course (practice swings).

RELAXED is an indication that PHYSICS ruled the swing.  RELAXED is having all the weight on the forward leg, comfortable enough to hang out for a while with soft arms and shoulders.  TRAIN a more relaxed finish.  Hang out at the end of every swing and WORK at putting yourself into the correct position.  After time, your body will seek out that position.  YOU MUST BUILD THE SKILL OF A FULLY ROTATED RELAXED BALANCED FINISH. 

BALANCED FINISH that becomes more and more consistent over time.  As your BALANCE improves, the body complies more and more to GRAVITY AND ROTATION, offering you the potential for more CONSISTENCY!!!!

Balance is not a cure all, but it is a pre requisite to building a PHYSICS COMPLIANT golf swing.  If you are not FIGHTING to improve your balance, it will get worse. 

Final note:  If any of you are getting older, I highly recommend working very hard on your FULLY ROTATED, RELAXED BALANCED FINISH.  I am aging, so I’m constantly training a full finish so that I maintain and expand my rotation and balance.  If I didn’t fuss over it so much, my balance would diminish and my flexibility would deteriorate at a faster rate….Bad news for a golf swing.    

OK, enough of the lecture.  Go PLAY GOLF, Stop THINKING golf swing

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,

Maintaining a Mind Set

Some golfers see a high score as something that can’t be erased.  They either get down/frustrated or get more aggressive trying to grab a few shots back.  All levels of golfers can make this mistake, and I believe it is a unnecessary and often detrimental mind set.

Golfers that shoot 90 don’t make Eighteen 5’s, or eighteen bogies for that matter.  Par golfers don’t often make eighteen 4’s, or eighteen pars….

Most bogie golfers make several pars in a round of golf. Many even throw in a birdie on some rounds.  Understanding that dynamic can really keep you calm after a bad hole, or two.  Instead of changing your game, and beginning to play low percentage shots, just keep plugging along.  In all likelyhood, a few pars will offset the lousy hole and you will be back to or close to your usual round of golf.  You may not play great that day after making a big number or two, but if you just stay with your game plan, most likely, you will play close to your average

The key is to not compound the mistake. 

I watched KJ Choi over the weekend.  He is one of the most steady golfers on tour.  Remarkably, he made 4 bogies on Saturday.  KJ rarely changes his game plan or demeanor.  He knows his game.  He also made 5 birdies on Saturday for a decent round of 69.  

Knowing that you will make a few ‘birdies’, or shots that lower your score relative to your ‘par’ should help you continue to play SMART GOLF. That might be a 4 or a par for a bogie golfer, or even a 5 or a bogie for the golfer that shoots over 100.   Don’t get greedy, just keep plugging along.  Play smart on the holes where trouble lurks, be a little more aggressive when the hole is more forgiving.  Know your game.  PLAY IT.   

Nibbling Around the Edges…

The idea that the most efficient golf swing is based on GRAVITY and ROTATION has been around a long time.  Bobby Jones, Paul Runyon, and Ben Hogan talked about quiet hands and arms quite a bit.  Byron Nelson may have been the first of the great players to truly develop a GRAVITY GOLF SWING, but Bobby and Ben’s awareness of that potential made their swings better. 

“Note that the club is not lifted back, but the initial movement in the backswing of shifting and turning results in the club moving back”  -Paul Runyon

He’s describing THE HEAVE (one piece takeaway)

“The proper order of movement  is body, then arms, and last the club head” -Bobby Jones

“The action of the arms is motivated by the movements of the body, and the hands consciously do nothing but maintain a firm grip on the club” -Ben Hogan

“…. The arms become a connecting link, and nothing more, between the pivot point and the club head”-Paul Runyon

HEAVE THE TENSION OUT OF YOUR ARMS WITH YOUR CORE, THEN SLING THE ARMS AND CLUB ON A PREDICTABLE PATH WITH FULL ROTATION AROUND YOUR FORWARD PIVOTAL AXIS -Pete

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!