Archive: April, 2012

Start Strong and Finish Strong and have a Strong Middle Section too

A friend ( @walzygolf ) posed this topic for us.

“I would love to hear thoughts on staying mentally strong down the stretch. Lots of people fold when approaching a career round”. Well…considering yesterday I shot 33 – 41 at Canal, maybe not the best guy to ask….

Who’s ready for the cliche parade? Stay in the present  –  Stick to your game plan – Focus on your next shot  –  Use your Mental Strength*

Hmmmm…how about some practical things that actually work? Here are three LEGIT tips

1.  Always practice for 30 minutes after every round. Holing out on 18 is NOT your finish line folks. Not enough time for that? Play the front, practice for two hours while your buddies hack the back.

2.  Break up the round into 6 three hole segments. Wait….that sounds cliche…take it one step further…plan and execute an action to help you separate each segment. Bathroom, food, phone call, whatever…just something to hit the reset button. The scorecard can help you out here..tally up all your stats after holes 3, 6, 9 etc..

3.  And finally, take a tip from the trunk slam hustlers of the world…Show up 2 minutes before the tee time, and use the next 2 hours on the front 9 to prepare for the back 9, and use the back 9 for performance! For example, you could fire a shaky 44 on the front, practice and focus the whole time, shoot a smooth 32 on the back, win 12 skins on the carryover (and the two presses**) thanks for coming out! Then refer back to Tip #1.

 

*Mental Strength available by contacting TH directly via handwritten letter and blank cheque
**Press – When a golfer or team is down in a match, they can start a new match anytime by ‘pressing’ the existing match

Just another article about practice…

Here’s a blog post that will tell you everything about how to plan a practice!! or will it??

I believe that you can almost always be ‘practicing’. The theory of ‘10,000 hours’ basically says that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become world class. There are many interpretations of this 10,000 hours..is it focused practice? does it include workouts? does it account for the time between shots? the list goes on..my take is simply to utilize your time as best as you can. For example, visualizing a rehearsed and disciplined pre-shot and post-shot routine (more to come on this), all while sitting on the couch, can have a much stronger effect on your game than hitting balls aimlessly. I improved my public speaking skills, and my golf game improved. If you want to shoot lower scores, that implies that you play by the rules…do you know the rules? Pick up a Rule Book at the Golf Canada Centre and save shots!

In the book “Every Shot Must Have a Purpose”, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott discuss the benefits of focus on every shot.  I totally agree.  I like to take it further…every single thing you do with focus and purpose will improve. Sometimes actually hitting a golf ball is only 20% of my practice time for that day. It sometimes takes 30 minutes of warming up (perhaps some drills, one foot swings, one arm swings etc.), before I am truly focused and committed to hitting a full shot. Accept that there is so much practice to be done outside of the boundaries of the golf course.

Thirdly, now what? How do I plan a practice session? How is all this relevant to me as a bogey golfer who plays 20 rounds a year? Here’s a teaser…

Let’s start with off-season as courses are just now beginning to open here in Calgary. We have a great facility here at Golf Canada, although by springtime we’re all ready to get out on the real course and hit off grass!  I find that for each person there is a set of drills, thoughts and shots to hit on the driving range to maintain their rhythm and swing, and the winter is best spent on physical improvements, season preparation, equipment, and less on ball flight, shot making, and scoring. This is also a time where I believe it is best to research the game…learn what bounce means, learn ball flight laws, learn about impact and shaft deflection, learn how to read greens (cue AimPoint plug), read Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, gain posterior strength and increase power at the Athlete Factory…shall I go on? I could go on all day on this. It’s important to recharge and fire up the passion you have for the game, regardless of the level. The challenge for us is to prioritize. What is relevant to your game?? 

This is where I can help. What will YOUR off season practice session look like? What can you do during the commercials??

In season golf is a little different in my opinion. When you tee it up on #1, the objective changes. Score as low as possible! It’s important to implement different techniques in the way you practice or warm up, depending on the time of year and when your next/last game is. Say you’re a terrible lag putter…do you work on lag putting or work on approach shots to hit it closer? This is where golf gets fun, and where I really enjoy helping people improve. Personally, when I play golf, I like to think that I’m practicing the whole time between shots, always improving. Never give up and always build confidence throughout the round. Some examples are to practice your lie analysis, pre and post shot routines, shot selection and course management decisions, and of course much more short game! Slow group in front? Make it a goal to hit 15 chips with an extra ball while you wait. Many of my students play their best when they try less on the golf course. They have practiced their 1 minute routine for every shot so well, that when they go play it’s much more FUN!!!! They practice for 3 hours and compete for 1. That’s what it’s all about. No fretting, worrying, anger, frustration, nothing…just like you’re surfing..just pop up!

Golf Power Workshop April 7 10am

For the second blog post, why not make it an event announcement?

This Saturday (Yes Masters Saturday), come down to the Athlete Factory for a 90 minute presentation on power and speed. It starts at 10am, so you’ll have plenty of time to hit up the Farmers Market next door and watch the years most dramatic golf tournament, The Masters!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Todd