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

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

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

Thinking and Analyzing

Lots of players complain that they’re fine on the driving range but can’t take their groovy swings and deft touch around the greens to the course.  The problem is a root misunderstanding of the differences between practice and play – both of which require thinking and analyzing. The trick is to know how, when, and where to do so.  Even though there are thousands of books that address this topic in mind-numbing detail, most of them address the general ideas and concepts.

I’m going to boil the topic down to its most basic ideas.  Be aware that though basic, many players find these ideas difficult to incorporate.  Here we go:

IDEA ONE: PRACTICING AND PLAYING ARE NOT THE SAME THING
What you’re training yourself to do on the practice area is not usually going to transfer to the course.  There are a million reasons for this but here’s my top five differences:

  1. You are using a different ball
  2. You don’t have the same lie all the time
  3. You are always looking at a different shot
  4. You are not using the same club over and over again
  5. You don’t know real carry distance

IDEA TWO: EXPERIENCE LEVELS DICTATE WHAT TO PRACTICE
MOST PLAYERS should be using the practice areas to either learn something new, or reinforce personally relevant physical actions and/or mechanical technique.  It’s my view that learning or monitoring the basics will provide the best foundation for on-going analysis.  Grip, set-up, and alignment are always key.  Without a clear understanding of how these basics apply to you, hitting real golf shots on the course will be almost impossible. There are far too many average players “practicing”  like advanced players!

FYI Advanced players generally use practice areas to burnish existing skills and/or experiment with an extensive array of ball-striking variations. Most of the variations will center around face/path/attack control. The resulting ball flights are observed and archived until recalled and executed during the course of play.  Advanced players are far more experienced at intentionally manipulating their bodies.  For example, when working on full-swing technique they are able to accurately sense positive physical pressures such as large muscle loading and resistance. 

IDEA THREE: ANALYTICAL TO PHYSICAL TRANSITION
Regardless of skill level, there must be a transition from thinking and analyzing to physical action. If a transition doesn’t occur, playing golf will rarely be rewarding and fun.  There are techniques that can help you make this critical transition. Here are just a few:

  • Understand that hitting a golf shot is a physical event, not a mental exercise
  • Be deeply engaged with your ultimate target instead of the ball
  • Hand-eye coordination is your best friend, especially around the greens
  • Correctly analyze your lie
  • Correctly locate specific landing zones

Well, that’s it in the proverbial nutshell. If you learn and implement just one of the ideas, an amazing door of opportunity will open for you. In the end, playing golf has very little to do with that crazy list of things you think you’re supposed to do. That’s just playing “golf swing” and “how do I do this?”,  neither of which I think we can watch on television.

Thinking and Analyzing

Myths and Facts

Lots of teachers have addressed a few of the common swing myths, including me.  The things that players perceive as absolutes is astounding!  Dennis Clark has done as good a job in describing the Big Three as anyone.  Getting past these myths can be very difficult for players and even some teachers.  OK readers, go ahead and click the link below and let the controversy begin!  Thank you Dennis for your article.

3 golf swing “myths” that can hurt your game – GolfWRX.

Myths and Facts

Attaining Perfection

Searching for it; working on it; dialing it in; figuring it out.  I do it, you do it.  It’s never-ending isn’t it? Looking for a way to make the magic continue is our quest.  “I want to be more consistent”  is what I’ve heard most from students when I ask them what they want to accomplish – except for maybe,  “If I could hit my driver farther I know I’d have a lower score”  (my tongue is in my cheek on that one.)

There are players who believe that mastering a certain thing – or group of things – will lead them to perfection.  What a load of hooey!  In its most severe scenarios, perfectionism and golf will create a downward spiral so vicious that a player becomes totally lost in the black abyss and can’t find their way back – ever.  Some players even quit the game because they just can’t accept realistic success percentages.  Depending on your outlook, playing golf is a nightmare waiting to happen or an immersive experience that brings together an exciting series of emotional and physical delights.

Only golfers who truly understand how the game works can be called players of the game.  True players of the game enjoy everything about it – the ebb and flow of the game and the ups and downs of physical/mechanical performance.  True players of the game exist at every skill level.  I know some 15 handicaps who are players and I know some professional golfers who are not.  The real difference is being able to accept how the game works and enjoy EVERYTHING the game offers – including going back to basics in order to sort out problems.

No player in history has understood this better than Jack Nicklaus.  Here is an excerpt from the introduction of his book,  “Play Better Golf”   Jack Nicklaus with Ken Bowden, Pocket Books, New York, N.Y. 1983.  Highlighted text is mine and for your consideration.

“One of the most frustrating – and fascinating – things about golf is its impermanence.  One day you “have it” and the next you don’t. This is true of every element of the game from driving the ball to holing it out.  The number one reason why no golfer can stay at his or her peak indefinitely is that human beings aren’t machines. Our ability to exactly repeat a certain set of actions is limited, and thus our abilities as shot-makers are bound to fluctuate, This is compounded by the tendency, present in all of us, to eventually overdo or exaggerate whatever we have found to be successful. In terms of the golf swing this tendency often creeps up on us subconsciously, but it is none the less destructive for that. And, when it has done its dirty work, reality has to be faced: if we want once more to play up to our maximum potential, the rebuilding or returning process must begin all over again.

Jack Nicklaus was clearly a true player. He knew what was possible and fully accepted the terms and conditions of the game.  He was humble in his approach and understanding.  He truly enjoyed EVERYTHING  the game had to offer.

Searching for it; working on it; dialing it in; figuring it out.  We all do it and it’s OK to work on stuff.  But, along the way we have to know that perfection is unattainable. We have to know when we’ve over-cooked something and lost our way.  And we have to know how to get back home.

Attaining Perfection