HEAD DOWN • LEFT ARM STRAIGHT • YOU’RE KIDDING ME, RIGHT?

(First in a series about playing golf)

YEAH….HERE’S HOW YA’ PLAY GOLF…

head down, left arm straight, right elbow in , weight shift, make shoulder turn, V’s point here, weight on the inside of your feet, slow backswing, stay on plane, just like railroad tracks, square over the ball, fire the right side, clear the hips, belt buckle at target, make a divot, keep head still, keep eye on the ball, one-piece takeaway, don’t use the hands, swing in a barrel, follow through, grip like you’re holding a baby bird (one of my personal favorites), don’t swing too upright, don’t swing too flat, low backswing, accelerate through the ball, swing to right field, don’t chop at it, pause at the top, swing across your chest (unless boobs in the way – (ooopp-sie, I’m fired – and kicked out of the PGA )), hit down on the ball, stay connected, don’t swing too fast, don’t jerk the club back, shoulders should be square, and on and on forever…!!!

Until you drop dead on the 6th hole because this is how you think it’s supposed to go?!?!

How much more of this crap are you supposed to be able to process! Is it really possible that anyone thinks that “THE LIST” is what matters most about playing golf???

YES!! OF COURSE IT’S POSSIBLE! I MEAN REALLY??!!! – ISN’T THIS HOW MOST PLAYERS THINK GOLF IS PLAYED?
Don’t most players think that if they could MASTER “the golf swing” all would be right with the world?

If you just take a minute, use your head, and simply imagine the word GOLF – you will realize how large the game is. How amazing the game is, and how wonderfully simple the game can be.

If you REALLY BELIEVE that “mastering the golf swing” is the answer to all your golfing troubles, you should just stop playing. You should stop because you have the wrong idea about how the game goes. You’ll never be satisfied and you’ll never SURRENDER to the mystery of the game.

Something to think about…

HEAD DOWN • LEFT ARM STRAIGHT • YOU’RE KIDDING ME, RIGHT?

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?

Why We Watch Golf!

An older book I’ve studied on and off over the years is a tome named. “The New Golf Mind.”  Very early in the book we’re asked why we watch sports; what exactly is our vested interest?;  will the outcome of the game have any effect on our life?; why do we get so very excited and then so very disappointed?

It’s all just because we all want to see the players BRING IT! We can hardly wait for that GREAT MOMENT!

And man…what a great moment I saw!

I’m not sure what tournament I was watching yesterday (Saturday) – I think it was the WGC at Doral – or it might have been the Puerto Rico Open. Apologies for not knowing. I almost always turn off the sound and just watch the players play.

Golf was on and that’s all I really know. The other thing I know is that I saw two (2) HIO’s within 30 minutes. Not only were they on the same hole, the landing area of each ball and the ensuing hole-out were virtually identical!  Now that’s freaky and a great moment!

No wonder we simply watch…….. and wait.

U.S. Open Championship - Final Round

Aside

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!

Think Different? Uh..maybe not

Never venture away from the norm…something amazing might happen! (DH)

Thinking different is not for everybody!

If you like the status-quo, the safety in numbers, and the traditional golf doctrine, you should stay in the place you feel the best in.  Just don’t complain about your golf game…!

Please visit one of my peers at: http://www.mindmedicine.co.uk

P.S. for Grant:  You’re always first to me! I just got confused and did this one.  Takes a lot of guts to be us doesn’t it? Especially in America….

Think Different? Uh..maybe not

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 discover 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…

Clarification

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.

What’s Up with Golf?