One – You need to breathe on the golf course. “Breathe? I always breathe, if I didn’t breathe, I’d be dead!” Well, there’s a difference between the breathing that many flustered people have in stressful situations and the breathing that keeps the Player calm, cool and collected.
And to many, Golf is a stressful situation – especially if you have high expectations for yourself.
When’s the last time you breathed on the golf course? Well, in last week’s PGA Tournament in Houston, breathing was a big part of winner Johnson Wagner’s PLAN. As Wagner said – “Warming up on the range, I was very nervous, but still tried to stay calm and breathe all day.”
He won his first tournament by staying in control of his game, emotions and breathing. On the other hand, we see many Golfers on the golf course with the look as if they’re being chased by lions!
What happens to some Golfers on the golf course? Why do you stop breathing normally?
As you’re set-up over the golf ball, try to take a nice, cleansing, deep breath before you swing to clear out all the tension that your swing thoughts are causing. When you exhale, feel as if you’re pushing it all out as your body relaxes before you swing.
Two – Stop Fidding with your golf swing. Fiddling? What’s Fiddling? It means that you’re frequently trying something new in your swing when you go to practice or play on the golf course. All it takes for some Golfers is two or three bad shots and they abandon everything that’s worked in the past for some new swing tip they saw on the Golf Channel last night.
As opposed to staying with what has helped you hit good shots before. Everybody’s going to hit bad shots and everybody will hit two or three bad shots in a row – hopefully not often, but it’ll happen. When it does happen, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your golf swing. It doesn’t mean that the swing that helped you hit great drives on holes 3, 4 and 5 is lost because you hit a bad drive on hole 6.
For some people – after one or two bad shots you’ll see them off to the side working on something new. Yes, you should always strive to get better. You should always crave improvement in your golf swing. Though, there’s no truth to the saying – “The more you Fiddle, the better you get.”
Stick with what has given you Results in the past – even after two or three bad shots.
Three – Practice your putting. Seriously, and this may sound like a cliché to many, but for 7 out of 8 Golfers – the fastest way to lower scores is improved putting. Our Stat Of The Week in this Issue of Golf Improvement Weekly shows this to be true again. Read it – you’ll see that Joe Durant played much better off the tee than Johnson Wagner – though Durant didn’t make the cut and Wagner’s going to the Masters with $1,000,000 in his front left pocket.
As the 95 Golfer averages 41 putts per round – how difficult would it be for this Golfer to break 90 on a regular basis? All it would take is for you to go from 41 putts to 35 putts. That’s a lot simpler than going somewhere for a complete swing overhaul that’ll take months upon months to see Results – that’s if you ever do see improved Results from the overhaul!
Yes, everybody can learn to improve their golf swing – we do that every week with Golfers who travel to see GMS for 3-days. Though, if you improve your golf swing so that you hit 4 more fairways during a round, how many strokes will you improve? If anything, a maximum of 4 and most likely less because you’re not improving that many strokes by hitting out of the fairway as opposed to the rough on your missed fairways.
Yet, if you improved your putting by 5 strokes – you’ve improved your score by 5 strokes!
How can you improve your putting without practice becoming boring? What’s the best way to practice as opposed to the Monkey that just drops 3 golf balls and putts to one hole, then putts to another, then putts to another – accomplishing nothing except maybe reinforcing that putting practice is more boring than watching paint dry?
The Player uses Drills and Games to improve not just their putting stroke using specific Drills, but also allows the Player to experience a little bit of pressure as they practice specific Games. When’s the last time you practiced handling the pressure and anxiety of making an important putt for birdie or par?
At GMS, we use Drills and Games like the ‘Ball Behind Ball Drill’, ‘Eyes Closed Putting Drill’, ‘Toe Of The 5 Iron Drill’ (which is also on the GMS DVD), ‘The Uphill Downhill Drill’, along with the ‘Shrinking Boxes Drill’. And then our Level 2 Classes feature ‘The Tour Putting Square’.
When’s the last time you used these Drills and Games? Or are you too busy watching the Golf Channel for Ledbetter’s or Pelz’s next secret?
Four – Tiger Woods. Why Tiger? Because you’re able to watch first-hand a person that in the next generations will be thought of as a mythical figure just as Babe Ruth is to many of us. We’ve heard all about the Babe’s greatness and his records – but really have never seen him play. Well, 50 years from now, Tiger will be thought of as the same.
Tiger should be an inspiration to many struggling Golfers since you have the same type of game as Tiger. What do I mean by that? Like you, Tiger isn’t satisfied with his game and he still wants to improve. Tiger isn’t the longest hitter – in fact, there are many Golfers that hit the golf ball farther – he’s tied for 48th in Driving Distance this year. He isn’t the most accurate off the tee – in fact, he’s ranked 168th and only hitting between 7 and 8 fairways per round.
So how does Tiger do it? There’s a lot more involved to playing your best golf than the above. In 2004, he was ranked 47th in Greens in Regulation. Which wasn’t good enough, so he practiced his ballstriking. And in 2005, Tiger was ranked 6th. Which wasn’t good enough, so he practiced his ballstriking. And in 2006, 2007 and 2008 he’s been ranked 1st.
In 2006, Tiger was ranked 137th in putting. Which wasn’t good enough, so he practiced his putting. And in 2007, Tiger was ranked 48th. Which wasn’t good enough, so he practiced his putting. And in 2008, Tiger is ranked 11th. What do you think Tiger will work on after this year?
Tiger is always working on his Weaknesses to make them his Strengths. Tiger practices – he doesn’t go to the range to hit golf balls or to the putting green to stroke putts. He has a Practice PLAN – do you?
Though, there’s more to his ever improving game than just the ballstriking and putting. To see why he’s the most dominate athlete of our generation, more dominate than Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky or Pete Sampras – click the link below to watch a segment that he filmed for ESPN – http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=3331650
You may have seen the highlights of this interview, but do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing. Make sure you’re in a place that you can sit and watch in quiet so that you can listen to what he’s saying. So if this isn’t the time to watch, finish reading Golf Improvement Weekly and come back later to click through to this video – it’ll still be here and worth watching.
Five – The willingness to do things different than how they’ve always been taught to you. The ability to look at your golf game and to say that “I’ve been playing for __ years and I haven’t played up to my expectations. I do everything my Friends, the Golf Magazines, and even some Local Pro’s have told me to do – and I still haven’t improved as much as I feel I should’ve at this point.”
Maybe all the “Theories and Assumptions” you’ve been using aren’t what you should be working on. Are the things that you’re trying to do with your swing really the right things for your swing? How much has your swing improved over the last ___ years? The easiest way to answer that – How much have your scores improved?
We’ve found that for Golfers to improve, they must get away from the “Theories and Assumptions” approach of practicing swing positions in their golf swing. 99 out 100 Golfers are taught to keep their head down, left arm straight, shift their weight, turn their shoulders and hips, hold the angle of the club, blah, blah blah, blah. And these same Golfers end up practicing all these positions – yet never work on the motion of getting everything working together.
No wonder so many Golfers are struggling with their swing on the golf course. Move away from the struggling Golfer that’s only practicing positions. Become the Player that uses a “Results Based” approach of incorporating the swing motion into your Practice PLAN.
The Monkey looks at these 5 ideas on improving their game, blows them off and goes back to doing what they’ve been doing
The Player will watch and listen to what Tiger says as he speaks about what it means to use a Results Based Approach
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life