Category: Mental Game

Tournament Summary 2012

What a great season! Thanks very much to the PGA of Alberta and the host courses for doing an excellent job this year! It is always very challenging, especially with our crazy Alberta weather, to set up and finish tournaments in a set time period. Many of us pros only have a small window to get out with the boys and compete, so thanks again to the PGA for their efforts. Also, thanks to all the competitors for bringing their best each time and making the events the most fun I’ve played in!

 

Tournament Date Venue Score Finish Points
Tour Championship Sep 04, 2012 Blackhawk Golf Club 148 T8 24
Assistants Championship Aug 13, 2012 Lewis Estates GC 152 19 15
PGA of Alberta Championship Jul 11, 2012 Calgary Elks Lodge GC 142 2 30
Players Tour – Silver Springs Jun 26, 2012 Silver Springs G&CC 154 15 12
Professional Series – Turner Valley Jun 11, 2012 Turner Valley GC 76 18 0
Players Tour – Sturgeon Valley May 16, 2012 Sturgeon Valley GC 147 T6 21
Match Play Championship Apr 30, 2012 Red Deer G&CC  2nd 2 30

 

So there it is. Oh, and the Alberta Open at Carnmoney (not part of the APGA Events) where I played well in the wind and finished 3rd. Wes Hefernan won the tournament and my training partner at The Athlete Factory, Scott Stiles, finished 2nd.

My goal to “do less” when planning and hitting each golf shot worked wonders. While I did play close to 50 rounds (which served as my practice), there was not much done on the practice green or the driving range at all. By far the least I’ve practiced in my career. I knew this was going to be the case, so I developed a simpler routine.

I made sure to not think at all about the next shot, until I saw the lie from 3 feet away. I made sure to take a very close look at the ball/lie before allowing any ‘thinking’ or ‘planning’ to occur. First step was lie analysis, then ideal carry yardage, and a target line, then a real practice swing holding the finish, then a final decision and commitment, then the swing to the finish. My post shot routine was simply saying, good balance Todd (or similar) and putting my clubs away. From the moment I look down at the golf ball, to the moment I put my clubs away, I did my best to have the emotion of gratitude. To sum up, I tried as hard as I could on every shot, but only for 45-60 seconds and then moved on.

While I did have some solid finishes (2 in the Match Play, 2nd in the PGA Championship and 3rd at the Alberta Open), my goals next year will require more discipline and practice.

Thanks Dr. Rick Jensen for this line “golf is only stressful if your expectations exceed your skill”, as I had the most fun golfing that I’ve had in years!

Thanks for reading and following!

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!

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