Golf Made Simple Blog

Does A Better PLAN or Better Ball Striking Produce Better Scores?

Why is it that on the first tee you can always tell who’s a Player and who’s struggling with inconsistency. I mean even before this Golfer swings to hit the golf ball – you can tell how good a shot they’re going to make. The Player just has this look about him/her – they reek of confidence that tells you that they’re a Player that’s going to hit a beautiful shot – to the point that even if you’re not in this Player’s group, you stop everything you’re doing just to watch them swing. Can you picture that scenario? And I’m not talking about how they dress. It has nothing to do with their clothes – but more to do with their actions.

So what are the actions of a Player versus a Monkey?

There are so many, yet if you start on the process of making a PLAN to implement these actions yourself, you will become more consistent on the golf course without even physically trying to improve your swing – i.e. pounding balls for hours and hours. Is that possible? Yes it is! Can it really be done? Yes it can! We see it every day.

And yet a lot of what the Monkeys are doing is learned by watching and listening to other Monkeys. And in a way it’s almost sad to think of it this way, but some Golfers are doing things exactly the way other Monkeys have told you to do it and it’s not helping and actually it could be contributing to your inconsistency.

For example – I was at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando a couple of years ago to see all the new stuff that was coming out this year. Coincedentally that year they added an Indoor Hitting area that allowed you try out all the new equipment. The best way to describe it is – I could’ve stayed there and hit balls all day trying out all the new equipment we had to choose from and then came back the next day and do it again!

I’m standing in the Sonartec Golf Club tent waiting to take my turn to hit one of their clubs and there was a Pro that had just finished hitting some golf balls. He comes back to the tent and says “I don’t care what anyone says, I like when the ball goes out on a line drive. The ball goes much farther when it goes out like that. That’s the only way to get more distance, not hitting it high like they’re telling us we should!”

Now to me that’s arrogance.

Why arrogance? Because it’s been proven by the club manufactors that the longer the ball can stay in the air, the farther it’s traveling. Yet, this Golf Pro doesn’t believe it – even though the results show it to be true – so guess what he’s probably teaching Golfers that are coming to him for Golf Lessons? He’s most likely teaching these eager Golfers how not to hit the golf ball as far as they have potential to hit it. To me that’s arrogance – meaning this Golf Pro believes he’s smarter than what’s been proven by all the Golf Club companies to be true – the longer the ball stays in the air, the farther it’s going. That’s why many of the PGA Tour Pros are putting away their 7 degree Drivers and replacing them with 9, 9.5 and 10 degree Drivers. But if you were friendly with this one Pro, you’d be going backwards!

I’m also disturbed because I just read an article that stated that you should never use your pitching wedge or sand wedge around the green. And that you need to get the ball on the ground and rolling as soon as you can. Again I find this to be disappointing because if this is true than Phil Mickelson and the other PGA and LPGA Tour Pro’s that play tournament golf for a living must be doing it all wrong – because let me tell you – these Touring Pro’s aren’t using their Sand Wedges and Lob Wedges just to get out of the sand.

Please, someone show me proof that everybody should get the ball on the ground as soon as possible. I know getting the ball on the ground ASAP is what everybody has heard they’re entire golfing life and I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the ball rolling if that’s “Your Best Shot”. But, there are many Golfers out there whose “Best Shot” is the High Shot. They can just picture the ball going up in the air and landing on the spot they pictured. And we’ve found many Golfers who have had better results with the Medium Shot. So to me, for this Pro to say that everybody should get the ball rolling as soon as possible – because this is the shot that this Pro plays when they’re on the golf course – is arrogant. To assume that every Golfer should play the exact same style as this Golf Pro plays themselves is wrong.

Play your best shot on the golf course – not my best shot!

My best shot is my best shot – it might not be yours. Trust me, if I had a choice to play my best shot or your best shot – I’d play mine. And if you have a choice to play your best shot or my best shot – you’d be better off playing yours!

Don’t include yourself in the “My Way or the Highway School of Teaching Golf” – it will only lead you down a path of inconsistency.

But, back to my point about being a Player.

It’s so easy to tell who’s going to hit the ball well before they hit it. The common theme I see with a Monkey that walks up to their golf ball to hit it off the first tee is that they tee the ball too low. Why, because they’ve probably popped up a few too many Drives and they were told by another Monkey that they need to tee the ball lower – and maybe they’ve also been told that they need to hit the ball on a line drive to get more distance? Then I see them stand next to the golf ball take a couple of Ornamental Practice Swings, take a step or two closer to the golf ball, stand over the ball for a couple seconds and then swing.

Ornamental Practice Swings? What’s that? An Ornamental Practice Swing is what most Golfers do before they hit the golf ball. What it means is that you’re taking practice swings for show, for no other reason than that everybody else does it that way. So you start to think – if everybody else does it, it must be what I need to do – which is equivalent to handing in your application for initiation into the Monkey Club.

On the other hand, you can usually spot the Player because they do it almost entirely different. What does it look like? Just watch on TV when the best Players in the world are playing.

Most Players start behind the golf ball and PLAN on where they want to hit the golf ball. They then take a Rehearsal Swing or two. A Rehearsal Swing differs from an Ornamental Practice Swing because it has a purpose. It’s used by the Player to say to himself or herself that this is what I need to feel on this swing. And the funny thing is that the Rehearsal Swings that the best Players in the world are doing before each shot are often not full swings and they’re swung slowly as opposed to the Ornamental Practice Swings the Monkey uses that are Full Swings that are swung with as much power as they’re going to use on their actual Drive.

Then the Player again looks at their target and walks to their ball while still looking at their target so they know how to aim their club face for the shot. They then put their club on the ground behind the ball – take another look at their target, take a deep breath and swing. Now, this isn’t to say that all Players do it exactly like this, because they don’t. But 9 out of 10 Monkeys do it very similar to the Golfer with the Ornamental Practice Swing and 9 out of 10 Players do it very similar to the Player with the Rehearsal Swing.

So what should you be focused on?

Well, when you can watch the difference between these two different Golfers’ – it’s huge! The Monkey is more focused on the golf ball. The Player is more focused on preparing their PLAN to hit to a target.

This may answer why the Monkey stands over the ball for what can seem like an eternity. This may answer why the Monkey is always battling tension while standing over the ball. This may answer why the Monkey has developed so much inconsistency. And this may be part of the answer why you can hit the ball so well on the practice range and so inconsistent on the golf course!

My question is – why does every lesson you take start with your grip and then move on to swing path or swing plane or this or that. My question is why does every lesson you take is based on hitting the golf ball better on the driving range. My question is why doesn’t all these Pro’s focus on establishing a PLAN before you even approach the ball. Because the difference of how these 2 Golfers (The Player and The Monkey) approach the ball is 180 Degrees different. My belief is that if you think that you first need to be able to hit the golf ball better before you need to establish a PLAN for each shot – you’re going to struggle with this game longer than you had hoped for. Sadly, many Golfer think they shouldn’t emulate the Pros until you can hit it like them. And because this is the method the Monkey is always taught – this is the method that the Monkey always uses!

I believe that you’ll never hit the ball like The Player if you don’t learn to establish a PLAN for your game like they do for theirs. You’ll be amazed how much simpler it is to learn to hit the golf ball better and most importantly take that ball striking from the Driving Range to the Golf Course, after you understand what having your PLAN is about.

Watch the Players and watch the Monkeys and you’ll see a big difference even before they start their swing. You’ll see an even bigger difference during their swings. And thus the biggest difference being how consistent they hit the golf ball!

The Monkey believes they need to hit the ball better before they need to establish a PLAN

The Player knows that they’ll never hit the ball better is they don’t first have their PLAN

Go ahead, Be a Player!

Regards,

Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life

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