Category: Mental Game

2013 Tournament Summary

I must say this has been the strangest tournament season of my life. After the devastating floods on June 20, I hardly touched a club to practice all year. I was using new clubs and even at the end of the year they still look brand new.

With such a massive blow to my work lifestyle at the Golf Canada Centre, I had no idea what lay ahead. The 3 weeks after the flood were very difficult, and you can see the scoring suffered. The tournaments on July 8 and August 7/8, and even the PGA Championship, were basically practice for me. As I continued to play in these events, I continued to improve.

I led the the Canadian Assistants Championship by one shot on the last tee box, and a tiny misjudgement on club selection, wind and yardages led to a ball out of bounds, and a quadruple bogey. This is the only quadruple I’ve made in a tournament in 5 years. Tough break…

My caddy, JP Channa and I, made a significant change in the middle of August to my game. I promised myself I would keep my face calm and composed on every shot, and if I did that, good shots would follow. It worked. I ended up with the lowest scoring average for the year and that was one of my goals!

Hope you all had a great tournament season and look forward to helping you improve your game over the winter to make 2014 even better!!

 

Date Tournament Location Scores Total Results
2013 PGA of Alberta Match Play     T3  
May 27 Professional Series Lacombe GCC 69 -2 3rd
May 28 Professional Series Lynx Ridge GCC 67 -5 Win
June 10/11 Players Tour  Inglewood GCC 64-68 -10 Win
July 8 Professional Series Elbow Springs GCC 76 +4 T10
August 7/8 Assistants Championship Pine Hills Golf Course 74-74 +4 T10
August 19/20 PGA of Alberta Championship River Bend Golf Course 67-74 -3 T9
September 3/4 Players Tour Championship Canal at Delacour Golf Course 66-69 -9 2nd
September 9-12 Canadian Assistants Championship The Willows Golf Club 68-66-73 -9 5th

If your golf ball doesn’t care, neither should you.

I’ve spent the last few months working a lot more in the coaching realm, as opposed to general golf instruction. Many students, friends and fellow PGA of Canada professionals are curious to what I think about the mental game of golf, and especially how to improve the mental game. I’ve also noticed how so many players of all skill levels, are constantly looking for the cause and effect pattern. If I think this, the ball does this. If I lift these weights, the ball should go further. I warmed up well and hit balls before the round, so I should play well to start. I got a new driver. I got a belly putter.

However, one daunting truth remains. At the moment of impact, all the golf ball cares about is what information the club is passing along. Nothing else.

Every day I hear hundreds of reasons for poor play, or the expectation for better play. All of them are valid things that may or may not improve your chances to perform a golf shot better. I agree. That’s a part of my job, to educate and train my players to improve their skill and decision making on the golf course. Regardless, your golf ball doesn’t care. It’s a part of why I love golf so much, nothing else matters. Not confident? I don’t care perform anyways. Rental clubs? So what. Sore ankle? Don’t care.

I digress..

When a tournament starts, I believe that nothing matters except the shot, in that moment. The golf ball doesn’t care about anything else, so why should you? All of the millions and billions of possible events, emotions, factors that could be in play, really don’t matter. For example, it doesn’t matter if it started raining; you’re two down in a match; four up in a match; the wind is swirling; your back is sore; your feet are soaking wet; you’re hungry; you’re thirsty and so on and so forth. All of those things (and millions more) may or affect your mental, emotional and physical bodies. Your golf ball? It still doesn’t care one bit.

You can pay attention to these things, or you can pay attention to the shot at hand. The choice is yours.

Story Time

My name is Todd and I have a degree in Behavioral Psychology. I believe that your body language and behavior can greatly effect your performance. As the season approaches I have a challenge for all of you. But first, some background information for context…

I’ve played at the highest level in golf, the PGA Tour. I’ve also played at every level below that. One of the biggest differences I see as players progress to the next level (and in turn leave their fellow players in the dust), is how they talk over beers after the round. So often you’ll hear all the stories of the good shots, the bad shots, the penalty strokes, the slow play, the weather, the 3 putts the list goes on and on. When I hear this, my performance translater goes BLAH BLAH BLAH BS BLAH BLAH Whine Complain…I don’t want to hear it. I really don’t care if people pay me well to teach them golf, and that I’m obligated to spend that hour with them to improve their game. I’ll do my best to help this self talk, but I will not hesitate to let you find another instructor. I don’t babysit.

My goal is to help everyone improve, although I reserve the right to maintain my own personality and call people out, even students, if I think it’s in their best interest long term. This is one of those topics…

Since I’m a believer that your words and actions dictate your success and happiness (See http://www.humanpotentialunlimited.com/Summary-content.html ), let’s change the story you tell.

Here are some examples of things that I want you to PLAN to talk about after the round. Looking forward to feedback.

1. How many bunkers were on the golf course?
2. How many water hazards?
3. How many greens had tiers on them?
4. How many different teeboxes were potentially in use for the longer par 3’s?
5. What does your 15 minute post round practice session look like?
6. What would you do differently? *Do NOT mention how you actually played the situation, ONLY the new decision
7. Was the sand consistent throughout all bunkers? Did you test every one (for a practice round)?
8. How many drivers/3 woods/irons did you hit off the tee? (not where they went or how the swing was, just the decision)
9. Which green was the smallest? Largest? Most sloped? Were the speeds the same on every green?
10. Are there any areas where there may be some rules issues? ie. GUR, sight lines on lateral and water hazards, local rules (power lines, immovable obstructions, flower beds etc.)
11. Names and occupations of all playing partners.
12. Any new things you learned about your playing partners and their golf lives. You’d be surprised how much happiness and value you’ll get from conversing with the golfers in your group.
13. Anything funny or unexpected, but positive!

The point is, that there is so much other stuff to talk about, why waste your breath with verbal diarrhea?? Save your breath because nobody cares how many 3 putts you had.

Thanks guys for listening and learning!!

 

“I Just Want to be More Consistent”

Hello friends,

This blog is about the single most consistent question or goal from my students.

“How can I get more consistent?” or “I’d really like to get more consistent.”     

What does consistent mean? Does it mean your bad shots aren’t as bad? Your good shots are a bit better? Less big mistakes?

Lets take a look at the math behind this a little bit and talk about the Bell Curve!!! YAY STATS!!! For those that aren’t familiar with Normal Distribution or Standard Deviation, google it. Getting more consistent doesn’t really make sense. Do you want to get more average? You can’t have ‘more’ shots fall within one Standard Deviation from the Mean.

 

If you were to take a golfers collection of shots, grade them, rank them, rate them, measure them, whichever method you like, they will fall into this kind of distribution curve. Note that the outliers (the 1% usually), are thrown out (shanks!). Products like Trackman and Flightscope use radar to measure ball flight, and measure the distance to a target very accurately.

Let’s take a look at the TrackMan Combine. “The TrackMan Combine consists of 60 shots hit to selected distances. TrackMan scores each shot on a scale of 0-100 based on your accuracy.”

Consistently better scores come from a  consistently better shot dispersion (tighter), thereby lowering the average distance to the target. You don’t get more consistent, you get better or you get worse, with every shot. The Mean shifts left on the x-axis, or to the right, negative or positive, with every shot, you just don’t have the tools to measure it.

The ‘mean’ distance from your target fluctuates, each time the sample size increases. It either goes up, or down. It just depends on how many decimal places you include. #stats

Let’s also note that your golf scores will also follow this dispersion.

Get better or get worse, you choose.

*Edit

A student of mine sent me this graph to help clarify my point here.

So even though the pro does have a tighter dispersion, their mean also shifted to the left, or shifted to a lower handicap. You get more consistent by getting better.

Thanks y’all!

CONFIDENCE

“It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.”

Rene Descartes, ‘Meditations’



Confidence. What a topic. I’ve read a lot about it. I’ve studied it in university (BSc. Behavioural Psychology at UVIC). I’ve had it. I’ve lost it. I’ve gotten it back. I’ve seen other people have it, lose it and gain it back. Descartes tells us never to place confidence in something that deceived you. Have you ever striped a 7 iron only to watch it fly over the back of the green? I’ve hit shots that I thought were just perfect that turned out to be awful. You can swing beautifully all day and shoot 80. It can happen.

So what is confidence?

Here’s Websters definition

Confidence – a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances; faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.

Faith and belief. I’ve heard that before. So it’s a state of mind? A feeling? Seems pretty fleeting to me. So let me be productive here and shift a little. What can you be confident in?  I’d rather put my faith and confidence in tangible things that can be seen, touched, felt, observed and heard. I find it ignorant to put confidence in anything else. So what does this mean?

It means that I’ll put confidence in the following

– that I will walk tall and proudly all day regardless of what my golf ball does.

– that I will converse with my playing partners, my scorer, possibly spectators, caddies, and rules officials amongst others, in a positive way, to have fun.

– that I will write down how far every shot flew in my yardage book as a part of my post shot routine.

– that I will find low points on the green and map possible hole locations for future rounds, even if they may be YEARS from now.

– that I will, throughout the round, plan my 30 minute post round practice session.

– that I will be adequately prepared from a hydration and nutrition standpoint.

– that I will diligently study each shot and follow my pre shot plan as best as I can.

– that if I am playing with a veteran player, to learn about at least a few tips or experiences that he/she had that made them better.

– that I will be in a good mood after the round no matter what I shot, because give your head a shake it’s just a game.

– that I will properly assess my mistakes and appreciate that they are there to teach me. Without failure there is no learning.

– that I will probably crush a pint in the lounge after.

– that I will tell at least 3 jokes on the golf course, and definitely after a bogey.

Those are some ways that my confidence simply isn’t really that big of a factor in my golf game. None of those things have anything to do with my golf ball. I’ve hit too many great shots that wound up in the junk to let my golf ball affect my confidence. I’ll spin the driver and pick up the tee regardless if I stripe it or snap hook it.

The way I look at it, golf is so hard and takes so much work that you don’t have time to think about confidence. If you are, I’ve got some assignments for you to do.

I can help YOU learn how to apply this to your golf game, and improve your score, your enjoyment and your experience on the golf course. Call, email, tweet or text me anytime.

Cheers

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