Clarification

I’ve received several comments pertaining to “What’s up with Golf” post. Allow me to further clarify:

It is not now nor has it ever been my job to tell anyone what they can or can’t do. This includes playing professional golf at the highest level. Let me be clear: In no way am I squashing the passion of a 2 handicap who’s greatest desire is to play of golf on TOUR. If that player can find a way to consistently play at a +5 level, said person COULD make money playing golf. It has happened before and will likely happen again. Google Ian Poulter and his obscure rise to the top via an outright lie about his playing ability!

Yes, the chances are slim but is professional golf a pipe dream? NOT 100% OF THE TIME…

What’s Up with Golf?

 

IF YOU THINK you should be a much better player than you are and are really frustrated with golf, please skip to the BEGIN HERE section of this post.

IF YOU UNDERSTAND that a combination of experience, personality, giftedness, knowledge, emotional/mental resiliency, fitness, strength and age are among the general topics that determine how good you’re gonna’ be, stop reading now and congratulate yourself – for you are a member of a rare breed – that small group of players who truly understand how the game is played. You readily accept the never-ending mysteries of the game and have not been trapped in an unsustainable, unrealistic view of your place in it.

BEGIN HERE:
footballI don’t know anyone who sits on the couch on Sunday, watches the NFL game of the week, and when it’s over say; ‘Dude, let’s go play some football.’  Or how about Formula 1 auto racing? I doubt anyone reading this would even know HOW TO GET IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT – let alone drive the thing.  BUT we all know how drive a car, so why shouldn’t we be able to drive this one? The list of comparisons are endless.  Just pick any professional sport and apply the same ridiculous comparisons to “themclaren-formula-1-182-1680x1050m” and the rest of us.

Logic tells us that we SHOULDN’T EXPECT to do what professionals do – and we normally don’t have those expectations – except in golf.  Why do we do that…watch the best golfers in the world and then imagine – or even FOOLISHLY EXPECT – we can actually do what they do –  and get overly-frustrated because we can’t.

Jack Nicklaus said it’s because every golfer hits a shot as good as a TOUR player every now and then.  OK, I can see that – I’ve watched students hit shots during playing lessons that could realistically be categorized as unbelievable. But every now and then is not all the time.

golfI don’t really get what players are expecting sometimes.
The anarchist in me says that modern media (i.e. first televised golf in ’56 or somewhere around there) is to blame; the psychologist in me says that it’s nothing more than ego and/or various insecurities and belief systems; the professional golf instructor in me says that golfers just aren’t taught correctly anymore and don’t know how the game goes.

There’s a prevalent, yet misplaced perception that goes something like this:  “If I could do that every time, I’d be happy.”  Ya’ think – who wouldn’t!  A multitude of variations exist within the “do it every time” idea.  Just look at any PGA TOUR statistic you can think of and you’ll quickly discover that NO PLAYER DOES “IT” EVERY TIME!!! You can find all the stats here.

‘ALL THE TIME’ DOES NOT EXIST IN LIFE AND ALL THE TIME DOES NOT EXIST IN ANY SPORT
– ESPECIALLY IN GOLF!  -

In very general terms, there is championship golf played by professionals and elite amateurs. And then there is recreational/golf. The most serious golf, which requires razor’s edge skill – in a variety of disciplines – is golf that feeds your family and pays your mortgage.  At any given moment, this kind of golf is something that only about 500 players in the world are capable of!

Then, there are the rest of us – including the club player with a 2 handicap. The millions who go play all the time, seeking pleasure, challenge, camaraderie, and just a few hours away from the office,

Now before everybody starts going all goofy and thinking that we’re all supposed to accept mediocrity, remember this:   We are supposed to be passionate and we are supposed to love the game, and we are supposed to try everything we can, and we are never to quit.  Yes indeed, we are all supposed to do whatever we are able to so we can play our best. And, we are EXPECTED to be realistic about the possibilities for our games.

What we’re NOT supposed to do is measure ourselves against those 500 freaks – who by the way – don’t hit every fairway every time and drive it 300 yards all the time..

Go ahead and analyze the stats here.  Really, do it now.  If you could achieve 50% of any given stat wouldn’t that be awesome!  You’d be able to tell your friends that you’re only half as good as a TOUR player!

Let’s remember who we are, why we are playing golf, and just enjoy the hell outta’ the game.

Don’t Use Your Hands!

Seriously?  If your HANDS ARE THE ONLY PART OF YOUR BODY THAT IS TOUCHING THE GOLF CLUB, how is it possible that you’re not supposed to use them?

The average player is supposed to be using their hands so they can learn what it feels like when the club face to strikes the ball.  That feeling of pure contact comes from your hands, not from your legs, or a better shoulder turn or clearing the hips.

There is a bit more to this hands/clubface idea but you can figure out a lot of it yourself – you know – like you usually do.

So, just for fun, here is my challenge to you:  The next time you go to the driving range, spend a good 15 minutes doing nothing but looking at and feeling your grip.

  • Is it firm or loose
  • do the palms and wrists have a non-fighting relationship to the face of the club
  • do you get a sense that you can control the clubface
  • do you feel any pressure on your fingers and thumbs

There are very few players who will actually spend 15 minutes doing nothing but seeing how the hands and wrists relate to the clubface.  Despite everything you already know, I dare you to try it.

You just might figure something out.

By Dan Hernandez, PGA Posted in How To's

Side Arm Golf Swing

I’ve noticed a lot of interest in my “side arm golf swing” post from I don’t know how long ago.  Relative to that post, I would like to remind everyone that “side arm” is the feeling that you’ll have when the clubhead is delivered to the ball from WAY behind you.

Please be smart enough to realize this:  the longer the club the more “behind and under the plane” the feeling will be.  If you deliver  a sand wedge “from underneath” you’ll learn how to shank it!

The general idea of “behind and underneath” works so JUST DO IT!

I know, a video would be good so I’ll do one for y’all! You’ll have it next week..

By Dan Hernandez, PGA Posted in How To's

Dan Hernandez Golfing Tips & Ideas

Golf is really hard sometimes huh? We have it then not so much. What the heck happens? Even after teaching and coaching golf since Lincoln was president, I’m comfortable saying I don’t know for sure. No one really does. That’s because it could be about a zillion things. I’m also not going to list a bunch of things having to do with why it gets hard – you probably know most of them anyway.

What I can do though is remind you that golf is in front of you and not on the ground. Golf shots mostly go up in the air so that’s where you should be looking. Nicklaus popularized the idea of “visualizing” a shot and I think he was mostly right.

Look, hitting a golf ball towards a target is a hand-eye thing. It’s not really visualizing, it’s a biological system that uses your senses to accomplish a task: kinda’ like when you play catch or ride a bike. You’re brain already has a great IDEA of what’s supposed to happen and you “just do it.” This is where the term “get out of your own way” came from.

When things go south I think the best idea is to stop looking at the ground and start looking in front of you because that’s where you want the ball to go! You’ll feel more free, make a better swing, and save a few shots along the way.

Fast & Easy Booking

If you need a reservation please use my on-line booking system. It’s way faster than you having to wait for me to return a call or text.  Just ask those who have been subjected to my ineptitude at administration type work!  I’m so busy on the lesson tee that it could be days before I can get back to everyone. Thank you all for your consideration and patience.

BOOK YOUR LESSON BY CLICKING HERE 

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By Dan Hernandez, PGA Posted in How To's

AFRAID OF GOLF LESSONS? YOU’RE NOT ALONE

Here are a couple of reasons why players often shy away from lessons:
First there’s the ‘lessons will mess up my game’ idea. It has three very common variations:

• My friend took lessons and got worse
• Lessons will mess up my swing
• Lessons are too expensive

Second there’s the ‘invasion’ idea. It’s a pretty unknown concept in golf that goes like this:

  • The thought of allowing anyone inside your personal space – let alone following their directions – can be difficult, nerve-wrecking or even scary. Generally, the invasion idea is true for both men and women. If you’ve ever been tortured by a “back-seat driver” or been told that “you’re not doing that right” you are familiar with the invasion idea.

REGARDLESS OF YOUR SKILL LEVEL or gender, the way YOU go about playing the game, how YOU swing, what YOU feel, and how YOU see yourself as a player, is EXTREMELY PERSONAL!

So, the thought of getting worse or otherwise being subjected to a teachers’ bland or hair-brained ideas isn’t very inviting. When you combine the ‘invasion’ and ‘getting worse’ ideas, pulling the trigger on a call to an instructor is about as likely as you shooting your career low round today.

In the end, an interesting dynamic is going on here. One that easily reinforces the above premise. Consider this:
You’re a passionate 28 handicapper and you want to improve your game. But you’re also worried that lessons will “mess up” your game! Seems kind of silly doesn’t it? Maybe not.

Even as a high-handicapper, you’ve probably worked pretty hard to get where you are. You hit practice balls; play fairly often; read magazine articles and books; watch the Golf Channel; scour the internet, and get tips from your friends. You feel like you’re in control of your game and in a sense, you are. You have “formed” your golf game and have come to learn that what you do even has a measure of predicability. Yes, you pretty much know what’s going to happen when you go play. You are comfortable and you don’t want some golf teacher kicking you out of your favorite chair!

Have golf games and swings gone bad because of lessons and/or teachers? Yes they have. If there wasn’t a measure of truth to the assertion that “golf lessons will mess up my game” the belief wouldn’t exist in the first place. It’s often been said that golf is the only game that has more teachers than players. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know. I do know that the general quality of instruction, as related to YOU, is in fact generally questionable. There are “factory” teachers and facilities, there are teachers who have been great players but don’t really know anything about how to teach, there are teachers who come from “learn to teach golf” schools and there are those who just have no business teaching at all.

If you want to improve you game, it’s your responsibility to do some homework and find out who the best teachers are in your area. Ask about their qualifications and experience. Don’t be shy. Any great teacher will be happy to have a phone conversation about your game. The very best will want to meet you in person at the course over lunch or coffee.

Not to be combative but I would presume this: if you’re not willing to do a little screening you’re probably not really serious about improving your game. Deciding what you want from your game is your responsibility. If you want to live and die by stereotypical beliefs, that’s up to you. There are great teachers out there who can really help you. You just gotta’ go do a little work. The hot tip that will fix all things is not realistic and no player should expect an instant cure from any instructor!

If golf is a big part of your life, AND you have an actual desire to improve your understanding of the game, then a qualified instructor should definitely be part of your team!

Having your game messed up because of lessons can, unfortunately be true. In elementary psychological terms, the fear of golf lessons is very real and is rooted in an idea called the Approach-Avoidance conflict. To learn the basic definition, click this URL. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approach-avoidance_conflict

By Dan Hernandez, PGA Posted in How To's

Hands or Big Muscles?

If you have taken lessons from me you know that I strongly advocate use of the hands, wrists and forearms during the golf swing.  Many have expressed dismay at my instruction because the “don’t use your hands” mantra has a pretty deep hold on today’s golfers and teachers.

For almost all recreational players and even active golf enthusiasts, big muscles should be used for stability,
not for speed or control.  I spend a lot of time trying to get players to settle down on the body motion so their hands can do what they need to do.  Why is this? Because most players are not professional golfers. Professional golfers are an elite group of players who have better strength, mobility, flexibility and a keen sense of where the ground is. They are able to engage and synchronize both the large and small muscle groups. Unless you have the physical awareness and sense of timing of an elite athlete, it’s best to use the parts of your body you know best – which for most people, men and women alike, are forearms, wrists, and hands.

I’m sure at this point everybody’s ready to argue and debate the “hands on” idea! Go ahead and debate and while your doing that make sure you watch “down the line” swings on the Konica Minolta Biz Hub Swing Vision Camera.  You’ll see for yourself what is happening down and through the swings – even from those who swear they are not using their forearms and wrists!

image

Hand, wrist, forearm action. Head down too long

Visit the link below for old debate from 2005.

2005: Big muscles don’t impress good-hands people | Golf News at Golfweek.

Want a Better Game?

Most players want to have a lower score but few are willing to spend any extra time on the range, putting green, golf course or working with a teacher. There’s certainly nothing wrong with getting out to play golf with your friends, have lunch, enjoy some frosty beverages and head back home; after all, that’s how most people participate in the game.  Other players are more serious and put in extra effort. Still others seriously study all parts of the game with diligence and passion.

DeGroofAnd then there’s Lucas. He usually rides his bike to his lesson and sometimes even walks, with his clubs, from TPC to Big V.  The best part? He doesn’t even think twice about it. That’s impressive to me but, as he explained, it’s just no big deal.  Lucas is from the Netherlands and here for school and golf at College of the Canyons. He tells me that back home almost everybody rides a bike or walks to get somewhere.

I could go on and on about our “right now” culture and hurrying here and there all the time and the probable damage created by “having no time.” Hell, I do it myself!  There are zillions of ways to get better at golf that ARE NOT very time consuming and can be done at home or in an office.

Most of us don’t, can’t, won’t find time for hardly anything, let alone consider riding a bike to the golf course. I mean that’s crazy right? Not to Lucas DeGroof.

By Dan Hernandez, PGA Posted in How To's

Par

I’ve been working with some new players, as in beginners.  One of my standard procedures with people new to golf is to show them the golf course,  explain what they’re looking at and relate what they see on course to the purpose of the scorecard and what the heck all those numbers and boxes are for. The formal definition of “par” is prerequisite during the session.

I have taken note, yet again, how the tiny but mighty word “par” damages the games of so many casual players.  Even among beginners (especially men who know the formal definition) struggle with the idea that par pertains to the expert player only and not to them. I am careful to also explain that it is very likely that they will score par on a hole from time to time, maybe even  several during a round, especially if they embrace the idea of how the holes are handicapped and then play strategically.

But alas, even with the simplest, common sense presentation, the persistence of attaining par on the wrong holes and more often than should be realistically expected remains.

The resulting damage? Higher scores on more holes more often than should be reasonably expected. No wonder the average score of 100 has held steady for seventy years.* Just sayin.

PS.  Formal definition of par provided below.  Go ahead,  look it up.

In golf, par is the pre-determined number of strokes that a scratch (or 0 handicap)[1] golfer should require to complete a hole, a round (the sum of the pars of the played holes), or a tournament (the sum of the pars of each round).

*National Golf Foundation, 2012

Maybe it’s not as difficult as it seems.

By Dan Hernandez, PGA Posted in How To's