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!

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

Tip of the Week

Before I direct you to the tip here is a little background:

“Jack Nicklause’s Playing Lessons” is my all time favorite book. I used it extensively and it helped me understand how to play tournament golf.  I even went back to the lessons when I was struggling to pass my PGA Playing Ability Test (PAT).

There is nothing mechanical in the book, just lessons on how to play, how to think, and how to stay in the game.  In researching this week’s tip I somehow stumbled across Jack’s book on Amazon. Turns out that the book is now a collector’s item with a top price of $160!  Darn……my copy disappeared long ago – loaned to someone or lost in a move.  Especially troubling because my copy had Jack’s autograph in it – which I got because I took the thing to the L. A. Open one year – probably 1982 – and asked him to sign it for me.

I bring all this up this week because I found a wonderful site that reminded me so much of Jack’s book – Greg Norman’s Golf Tips.   On Greg’s site he has combined an excellent set of mechanical and non-mechanical tips – much like in Jack’s book. There are 100 “Instant Lessons” with drawings and a very brief description of each lesson.  There is additional content there as well from Norman’s golf manual called “Shark Attack!”

I wasn’t able to review all of the lessons but I did look at quite a number of them and didn’t find anything objectionable.  I was even pleased to see one about aiming the club-face first and another having to do with high targets. Both of these are common points during my own lessons that I have been teaching for a very long time.  OK, finally – click on the link below and I hope you find the information useful! Let me know if you have questions or comments.

http://www.shark.com/sharkwatch/instruction/

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Golf Tip of the Week

There are a few ways to hold a golf club.  When you click on the link below you’ll be taked to a really simple presentation on how to place your hands on the club.  I particularly like the 6th tab probably because I want almost all beginners to hold the club that way.  Naturally I see a few things in the article that I don’t completely agree with but  anyone following the general presentation will do fine.

There is no perfect grip for everyone and the way you end up holding it will eventually become a style preference. That said, the most critical component is:

1.  The hands work best when the palms are generally facing each other. In my first book I referred to this idea as a “NON-FIGHTING”  position.

2. Look for “gaps and spaces” in your grip during all phases of your swing – of course you can only do this in slow motion or in real time using a high speed camera.

If you have any questions about any part of your game, come and visit me at the Valencia Country Club driving range.

BBC SPORT | Golf | Skills | Need some help with your grip?

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