Average Golf Score Still 100? How Can That Be?

Hard to believe but according to a 2014 National Golf Foundation report the average golf score is STILL 100 and has been about the same for decades! How is this possible?

The modern game is replete with advanced clubs and balls, better playing conditions, better fitness and nutrition, more and supposedly better information, lesson videos on the internet, the Golf Channel, and the like.  With all these so-called advances it just doesn’t make sense that the average player can’t break 100! Something is clearly wrong.

Not only does the average score remain high, player data from the most prestigious golf organizations including the National Golf Foundation (NGF), the PGA of America, and the USGA also indicate high rates of attrition.

Player attrition is blamed on many aspects, the most common being:

  • Game takes too much time
  • It’s too expensive
  • Game is too difficult

These are all viable points BUT I believe that the main issue lies within the world of traditional golf instruction – I mean what else is left to consider? The insane and readily accepted orthodox doctrine of head down, left arm straight, make a shoulder turn, right elbow in, weight shift, etc. is just too hard and frustrates new and experienced players alike!

If the game is too difficult then it’s that way because it’s been made to BE that way through so-called traditional golf instruction.  If traditional instruction is as large a part of attrition as I think it is, instructors, teachers and coaches need to wake up, do some real work on how people learn physical motion, then apply that education so their students can improve. It isn’t easy to do.

Whether a teacher or a player, breaking through orthodox doctrine is exceptionally difficult and requires an understanding that some think harkens back to a different era – the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s when fundamentals meant something different and swinging a golf club was a physical event that came from athletic intuition. A time before re-treaded how-to magazine articles, You Tube, Golf Channel and the internet.

If it’s true that all things old become new again, then today is the day when you’ll be allowed to just use your hands and arms to swing a club and hit the ball!  Go ahead, just do that. I dare ya’.!!!  When you do, you’ll be pissed about all that time you wasted trying to figure out what to do with your lower body!!

This is much like golf was taught in the 30’s and 40’s when most teachers were also excellent players. They used a different language than is used today today but it was effective.  Back then, it was a learning language composed of sense, feel, intuition and an emotional awareness that got players around the course and back home again.

Harry Vardon refers to the “low man” in one of his books. Who was the low man? He was a player who was a 20 handicap or less amateur! How can it be that a score of 92 was so highly respected back then!  The answer is Arnie’s Army and television!

Television ruined amateur golf! Television has made average players think that they’re supposed to be better than they could ever be!  How can it be that today – even with all of our technology – most players tend to use statistics and swing technique intended for professional use – not for the daily-fee and/or club player. Television. Kostis talking about width and NOT SAYING  “don’t try this at home” is ridiculous! Less than 1% of my students can accomplish such a feat! Television makes the rest think otherwise.  Listen up people: 340 yard drives ARE NOT NORMAL. Even the low man need not entertain such fantasies.

At this juncture, it’s important to realize that the Old-School Golf Professional (where I learned how to play) was looked up to and respected.  There was no internet, Golf Channel, or 1,000 magazine articles on how to swing. Placing trust in and relying on the Professional was without question.  Today, golf instructors in general are seen as snake-oil salesman.  Is it true?

I unfortunately have to say yes.  The business of teaching golf has changed from a viable means to an end to something that needs to be scrutinized at every step.  Television, general technology and the internet haven’t made things any better.  Understanding what “keeping the head still” REALLY MEANS has been replaced with angle of descent, hand plane, power angles, launch angle, and a hundred other data points. What happens? Keeping the head still means nothing at all – and if it does, it’s so difficult to understand that the average player just gives up, accepts mediocrity, and trudges along doing the same ol’ crap until they die.

Many instructors are victims of traditional doctrine themselves. They don’t continually research and evaluate their profession, continue their professional education, or taken any additional college courses. They are stuck, just like a player gets stuck.  Except for a cookie-cutter approach, they don’t know what to teach, when to teach it, or even why they are teaching.

If you’re looking for something different and you like to think different than the rest, we would be a good combination. If you need a traditional language approach, then you should look for another golf instructor.  I would not be your guy.

Average Golf Score Still 100? How Can That Be?

Golf Tips Revised

Pretty sure I’ve done this before but just in case here are some really general tips about playing golf:

  • SETTING UP
    Lower hands are better than higher hands
    Narrower stance is better than too far apart
    Slightly closed to the target line is better than open (square to the path)
    Favoring the right side is better than favoring the left
    Right elbow down and in is better than right arm straight
    Ball more forward for longer clubs (hit on slight upswing)
    Head up is better than head down (it’s OK, you’ll still be able to see the ball)
  • IN SWING
    Let your hands and arms strike the ball from BEHIND your center line
    Allow backswing to finish BEFORE starting towards the ball
    Fire right side into back of ball (Ballard)
    Swinging any club behind you is better than lifting it straight up (radial)
    You can only REALLY keep your head still if it’s BEHIND YOUR CENTER THE WHOLE TIME
  • SHORT GAME
    Chips go low and run out (7-8-9 iron)
    Pitches go high and stop (pw-sw-60-etc.) Using these everywhere around the green is a dumb idea.
    Higher hands work better than lower hands
    Weaker grip works better than stronger grip
    Try PW or 9 iron out of sand – you’ll be surprised
    The closer you get the harder the game gets – be calm around the greens
  • PUTTING
    Open to the line stance means you can see better
    Try slicing your putts onto your line – you’ll be surprised (Vardon)
    Be tall on long putts
    Be short on short putts
    Look all around you for gravity’s effect. Course designer is trying to make you just look at the green! It’s a trick!
    Pushing the ball with the right arm is easier than pulling with the left wrist (just sayin’)
  • MENTAL
    Find high targets off the tee and swing there. Looking at the fairway (ground) will make you swing down.
    Deep, slow breathing actually works (brain needs oxygen)
    Feel club in you fingers for better “shot sense”
    If you suck on the front and not on the back, or vice-versa, divide 18 by 3. Now you have 6 hole increments and no front or back!
    If you’re having a hard time – just think about time. As in  “…in twenty minutes this isn’t going to be happening like this.”
    To relax, make fists as tight as possible for as long as possible – then let go.  You’ll be surprised
  • STAYING FULED
    Eat small bits all day
    Drink small bits all day
    No burgers or dogs at “the turn”

HAVE FUN WITH YOUR FRIENDS!

Golf Tips Revised

Jack & Tiger

In case ya’ll didn’t know….

The reason Jack continues to say that Tiger “will figure it out” is because JACK KNOWS that saying “TW CAN’T DO IT” simply means that TW WILL.

I’m no Jack, I’m not famous – nor do I want to be – I’m not on Golf Channel. I’m not known as a coach with any influence. I don’t sell grips or training aids and I don’t do articles for magazines. I don’t share much about my time on TOUR with players who have won out there. That’s because I’ve never hit a shot in a PGA TOUR event.

What I am is a dude that’s been teaching for over thirty years – in the weirdest of ways – and I say to you TW……YOU SIMPLY CAN NOT DO IT ANYMORE…..

  • PLAYERS WIN BECAUSE THEY WANT IT! 
  • PLAYERS WIN BECAUSE THEY LOVE BEING CHAMPIONS!
  • PLAYERS WIN BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT “BRINGING IT” IS WHAT MATTERS!
  • I JUST DON’T KNOW IF YOU WANT IT ANYMORE…

When players EXTRICATE THEMSELVES from the DARK ABYSS it’s because of who THEY ARE and NOT how well OR HOW POORLY they may have been coached.

YOU NEED TO FIGURE THIS OUT ALL BY YOURSELF…..JUST LIKE A BIG BOY!

I FOR ONE, THE UNKNOW CAT THAT I AM, JUST AREN’T CONVINCED THAT YOU CAN DO THIS ANYMORE…

I FOR ONE, WISH YOU COULD……AND WOULD.

Jack & Tiger

Times Have Changed!

I recieved my 2014/2015 TOUR Credential a couple of weeks ago. (yes – it’s STILL very cool to have one of these.)  I received my first credential in 2001, then continued working on TOUR in 2002.  Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced those credentials but, as you can see, 2003 is here for your observation.

2003PGA-Credential 2015 Credential 2I’m bringing this up because:

Those of us who are fortunate enough to work with the best players in the world ARE NO LONGER REFERRED TO AS INSTRUCTORS.  

WE ARE NOW PLAYER SUPPORT…

Although not within the cadre of all players, many players have a veritable entourage of “specialists.”  It is not uncommon for a player to enlist professional assistance from sports-psychologists, strength and flexibility trainers, life-coaches, and even nutritionists.

Additionally, when it comes to the the actual action of golf, it isn’t unusual for players to employ a full swing coach, a short game coach, a putting coach, etc.  I personally and professionaly hope that an “8-iron coach” is not waiting in the wings!

Call me old school if you want – BUT – what’s happened in golf is a bit of a travesty. Players like Bubba, Henrik, Gainey, Cabrera, Jimenez and yes – even Fred Couples – are few and far between.

Bubba does whatever he wants to and there is no way he’ll have a “lesson” anytime soon.   Does that mean he hasn’t learned anything form other players?  Probably not.  I’m sure Bubba has heard a thing or two, which he translates into Bubba-Like understanding/implementation. He then just moves on.  He has his own way.

(btw, Bubba read the back-side of my business card a while back and he said “..that’s really cool.”)

A young, un-trusting TOUR player tends to have “rabbit ears”  that are almost impossible to shut down.  No matter the skill-level, what a player hears and where it comes from needs to “register” to them completely.  For example, “keep your head down” is full of ambiguity! What does that actually mean and what does that have to do with the shot you want to hit?

Competitive golf has no place for uncertainty. A player needs to know that what they do by instinct is very likely to work out OK.

In my view, if a player needs to have an entourage as I’ve been describing, that player is suffering from nothing more than a lack of confidence!  That player does not TRUST their intuition, their athletic instinct or even the most basic ways they think about golf!  And yes, I’ll even include TW as a player with “installed” confidence – rather than “natural” confidence.

If you shoot 92 – i.e. a 20 handicap more-or-less, all of this applies to you too! You just gotta’ use your head, prioritize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.  If your brain is working properly and you can make a realistic appraisal of your game, you could shoot 85! Seriously, you could shoot 85!

I don’t know what ever happened to that commercial, that was on a while back – the one where Arnie was encouraging everyone to “…do your own swing.”   For me, that was some of the very best advice I’ve ever heard!  I was hoping there would be more installments to that campaign but haven’t heard a peep since.  What a shame.

If you want to learn more about how YOU CAN PLAY YOUR BEST GOLF, click here and let’s hang out and have some fun!!!!

Times Have Changed!

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.

Hands or Big Muscles?

Hit More Greens and Play Faster

Tee it Forward!  Sorry for the trick but most men would not read this post if the title was Tee it Forward.  The fact is that there is a ton of research that supports the viability of the  Tee it Forward program.  You can see the basic reasoning here:

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-courses/2011-05/golf-barney-adams-forward-tees?currentPage=1

From there, you can go as deep as you like until you uncover the original work from Barney Adams.  When you’re watching golf on TV don’t go off into fantasy land! You and me CAN NOT hit golf shots like “they” do.  What you can do is hit more lofted clubs into greens and putt for your par much more often.

I whole-heartedly endorse the Tee It Forward program and I think you should too.  If it’s good enough for Jack, it’s good enough for me!

http://www.pgamediacenter.com/videos/2013_TeeItForward_JackNicklaus.cfm

Hit More Greens and Play Faster

Fix Your Improper Grip | PGA.com

(Hang on people – there’s a video link below so don’t stop reading. Thanks.)

Everybody’s heard how important the grip is but not many golfers have a great grip. Even fewer even attempt to get it right. The thought of a grip change or adjustment is horrifying to most players. I understand that a different feeling – especially in the hands – is the creepiest thing in golf and you just don’t want to change what you know best.  You think that you’ll never get used to a new feeling and you’re game will be ruined! Not so.

Here’s the truth: I’ve adjusted many students’ grips during a 30-45 minute session.  At the end of the session, and usually much sooner than that, students’ always say something like; “….this doesn’t feel too bad now.”

Getting used to a new or adjusted grip doesn’t take as long as you think. It does however require a little patience and diligence. You can’t quit working into a new feeling after just five minutes! But spend 30 minutes and it won’t be nearly as bad as you thought it would be.

Attaching your hands to the club correctly will get you a lot of really great things including:

  • Better distance
  • Better ball flight control (i.e. slicing, hooking, pushing, pulling)
  • Better distance control
  • More solid chips and pitches
  • Better bunker shots

Helping golfers understand how the grip affects almost everything is one of my favorite teaching sessions. I wish more student’s would be willing to go down that particular yellow brick road!

Click here Fix Your Improper Grip | PGA.com for a quick video from PGA Professional Eric Hogge. He does a nice job of presenting general advice on how to hold a golf club.. for a quick video from PGA Professional Eric Hogge. He does a nice job of presenting general advice on how to hold a golf club. 

Of course there is more to this than meets the eye. IF YOU ARE NOT TOO AFRAID and want to learn how your grip is impacting your game, please make an appointment or send me a text.

Hernandez, PGA

Video