James has coached over 50 PGA & LPGA Tour players, Golf Digest top 50 instructor,Golf Magazine top 100 instructor. He operates the Shadow Ridge Golf Academy in Omaha, Nebraska.
Biggest flaw James sees (6:40): People get on the course and start thinking about their mechanics while they are trying to play.
Don’t tinker while you’re on the course. Just play.
Plateau Levels (8:00): Players should shoot for different plateau levels based on their skill. Using a 70 yard shot as an example:
If you’re a lower handicapped player, your plateau might be a 2 yard circle around the cup so you can make birdie.
If you’re a higher handicapper, your plateau might be within 10 yards so you can get down in two and avoid bogeys.
Realizing the standard that your short game needs to be at to achieve those plateaus is a BIG step in the improvement process.
Get down in 3 vs down in 5 and awareness (9:20):
First step is to create an awareness technically to compress the ball and hit the ball first so you’re not hitting in the bunker, etc.
A second problem is that players don’t typically train or practice at all for that type of shot (a five par or short 4 par)-they skip right over it.
Set up cones and work on hitting to a specific distance to help with this shot.
If you’re a mid to high handicapper (11):
You need to train, get your driver in play off the tee, get your wedges around the green, your light putter, and your distance wedges proficient to the point where you’re not wasting strokes.
If you can do those simple things, drive is decently, light putt, chip reasonably close to the hole, hit your wedges on the green, you’ll be shocked at how easy it would be to break 90 for example.
Wedges around the green (12:30):
Biggest area of trouble that James’ students have.
set up is critical: what’s optimal for 10 yards is horrible from 200 and vice versa.
You need to get a clear picture in your head of what you’re going to do, get in the right set up, and follow the correct sequence.
Chipping trajectories (16:30):
Once you’re hitting the ball consistently, there’s still skill involved.
You need to know what to hit what shot when, you need to pick the right trajectory, what club to play when, match your energy of the swing with the effect of loft-it all demands a certain demand of practice.
Training: take any club you would use around the green
Lob wedge: Hit your normal trajectory shot, a higher than normal shot, and a lower than normal.
Let’s take the same three trajectories with a 9-iron: normal, lower than normal, and higher than normal
You need to realize, in order to a hit a higher than normal shot, you lean the shaft less, you open the face more, the ball position would slide up, those elements create more effective loft and more effective bounce so when the club does hit the ground, it doesn’t stick.
Important putting skills (20:30)
Quiet your eye prior to your stroke-it has dramatic effect on your brain and your ability to focus and be calm.
Skills in putting:
How to assess yourself-see if you’re falling short in a certain area
Develop a plan of attack
Post Round Analysis (22)
Realize if you’re falling short in one area, find out what you’re going to do about it
Come back when you mess up to find out what you’re going to do about it; don’t just realize the mistake, do something about it, otherwise you’ll hit the same shot
Rapid Fire Round (23)
Favorite go-to drill
Right arm only finesse swings-take your lead arm off and swing with your trail arm only.
What’s the most fundamental part of the short-game?
Rhythm- the key issue as far as distance control. Keep everything together
What book would you recommend to a golfer?
Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin-it’s about learning and how hard work trumps talent
If you had only 24 hours to help your student prepare for that big important tournament, what are you going to spend that time working on?
Get them to be well rested-always number one. Be well-hydrated and do some visualization -see themselves walk up to the tee calm and confident.
Goal setting can be broken into two components - Long range goals and short range or round specific goals
These should be as specific as possible and shared with friends and family to help create some accountability on your part..
Example: 50% of greens in regulation (be realistic though, pros on hit 70% of greens)
Example: Scheduled practices on focused areas of your game
Going into each round you should avoid thinking about a specific number and instead be looking to set smaller easier to achieve goals that will add up to that number
Set percentages of fairways hit, GIR, and up & downs you want to accomplish throughout the round. Focusing on these smaller tasks takes your mind off of the bigger target and lets you achieve on a more consistent basis.
PRO TIP - Don’t be afraid to blackout par on your scorecard with a marker. This will help keep you focused on each shot rather the result of the hole.
The reason I wanted to talk about building rhythm in your golf swing is the fact that rhythm should be the only thing in your head as you're getting ready to make your shot. There are some fairly obvious pros to having a good rhythm like:
A good rhythm will help eliminate tension
A good rhythm builds consistency
A good rhythm will help build confidence
Before we can eliminate tension we need to know exactly how much we have in our swing. For this reason we’re going to do the tension drill. Take your setup position (no ball) and slowly start flexing every muscle in your body. That’s a 10 on the tension scale.
Then go the other direction. Get so loose you can barely stand up. That’s a 0 on the tension scale.
Go back and forth two or three times then try to hit your shot from a 2 or 3 on that tensions scale. You will immediately start to feel more smooth throughout your golf swing. Here's Iain himself with an example:
If you’re nice and loose through your big muscles but are still holding on too tightly to the club try taking (very) small swings with just the last three fingers of your left hand on the club (for righties). This will show you what it should feel like to effortlessly release the club through impact.
Learn to develop your own rhythm by humming while your swing. If you can keep the pitch of the hum consistent throughout (with a little spike at impact) you will find you rhythm in no time!
The last little tip I have is to keep your mouth open while you swing. People tend to bite down when they hit AT the ball rather than smoothly swinging through it. So by keeping your mouth slightly open you can give yourself that extra little edge.
Last week we looked at the four fundamental principals to making your pre shot routine solid and reliable. This week Will Robins, a PGA instructor based in California shares some excellent ideas on how to actually improve your game by changing how you practice
It’s important not to focus on the bad parts of a round. If you doubled 16 and shot 73 your instinct would be to dwell on that one thing that held you back. Well flip the script - If you doubled the first hole but managed to shoot 73 you would be riding a wave of confidence about your comeback. So make sure your analysis is objective.
How to analyze (statistically): Did you give yourself 18 opportunities to score? After that did you give yourself 18 opportunities to get down in two?
Why GIR isn’t always helpful as you think: If the best player in the world can only hit a green in regulation 70% of the time from 180 yards (with a 7 iron and you’re using a hybrid) why are you tracking a stat that you can’t be great at. - You’ve got to track the stats that will help improve your score
How to analyze (mentally): Measure your tipping points. Did you stick to routine & process on a tough up and down? Did you get frustrated with a result and let it cloud your next shot too? This is how you remain objective with your mental analysis.
Who were you being when you made the error:
· Were you fully committed to it? – Well then you just hit a bad shot. Leave it behind and focus on the next one.
· No I wasn’t committed – Well, then why would you be mad? You weren’t committed to it!
Most people play golf with a lot of tension, fear, trying not to miss, and thinking a lot. If you do anything like that you’re not going to be overly successful, so why would golf be any different?
What would happen to a marathon runner who had trained for four years to be in the Olympics then gets a last minute letter saying he’ in the 110 meter high hurdles? They would be a train wreck! That’s essentially what you’re asking your body to do with that type of driving range practice.
Write down on a piece of paper what you’d like to do on the golf course. What’s on your list?
· Commit to your shots?
· Trust your swing?
· Stick with decisions?
Alright, start doing that on the golf course. It’s all about what you practice. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Day have all spent time practicing confidence and commitment. That’s why they don’t get tripped up over these things as much as most amateurs.
There are two types of practice – drills and performance.
· Drills are where you learn the skill and do the repetitive practice.
· Performance practice is testing yourself. Give yourself a target and see how many times out of 10 you can hit it. Write down the result. Tomorrow when you practice again go through your drills again and give yourself that performance test. You should see incremental gains each time.
This is how you build emotional muscle and become a reactional golfer!
The Nutter Game: Play your worst golf ever, but do it on purpose. This is probably one of the most counterintuitive things you’ve ever heard. Just give Will a chance and give it a try though. He explains it best and the explanation starts right at the 26 minute mark.
Last week we covered how you can get more confident when putting and part of that was the pre shot routine. Today we are going to take a deeper dive and look at 4 steps you can take to develop your own solid pre shot routine.
This is the part that most people are familiar with. Actually getting comfortable over the ball. This is important and should be done the same way every time, because if you don’t have consistent preparation you can’t have consistent execution.
The first and most important part is to make a plan and STICK TO IT! You’ve got to remember that if you waffle in your decision making you send mixed signals to your body. That creates inconsistency as to which signal should be followed.
It doesn’t have to be a truly visual process, you just have to know what you want it to do. An easy ways to teach yourself the process is to think about how you read breaking putts. This is exactly how you would visualize a regular shot too.
Whatever your key thought is going into the swing it’s important to stay focused on that. Some common things I have focused on in the past are balance & rhythm.
if you stay over your shot too long you start adding risk & anxiety (or sometimes fear) to the mix. I always try look back to a time when I really performed this type of shot well. It keeps me positive & confident through the execution.
Do you have a hard time making the important putts or do you tend to psyche yourself out before you even address the ball? Try some of these practice drills and exercises to help you make your flat stick one of the strongest parts of your game.
For this week's episode I'm sharing with you the best strategies I've learned to help increase your confidence and ability to perform under pressure. This really comes from the fact that I've seen these few drills/exercises make HUGE strides for my students. It's something that I do myself all the time so I can sometimes forget how big of an impact this has on my game, but seeing the success my students have had by adapting these tips has definitely reinforced it's importance.
Rick is a Member of the PGA, Doctor of Applied Sports Psychology, author of Golf, The Ultimate Mind Game, Instructional Editor of Golf Tips Magazine and he stops by to share some of his keys to think your way around the course in the most efficient way possible.
Pressure means different things for different people. So don't get psyched out when you see someone drain a put for a million bucks on TV when you still struggle to make consecutive pars.
Awareness is a key component to learning the mental game. If you’re aware of your thoughts and how you’re reacting in specific situations that’s half the battle.
Be fair to yourself. If you hit a great shot, let yourself celebrate! Even if it’s just internally, take a second to give yourself props. You know that you will beat yourself up over every bad shot so let’s make sure we’re as balanced as possible.
Focus on what’s in your control, then think about cause and effect. It’s not always the mental game, sometimes it’s a bad swing!
If you can free yourself and just react to a target you can get some fantastic results – Try looking at the hole while you’re putting (just like Jordan Spieth).
Rick's Books - Golf: The Ultimate Mind Game
Rick's book for a golf - Mindset by Carol Dweck
Penny shares her extensive knowledge as a two time LPGA winner and former LPGA top 10 golfer in the world. Now Penny uses her specific focusing techniques to help everyone from athletes to people in the business world
Penny’s Roy McAvoy moment came at the age of 20 playing for her country during the Tasman Cup. Penny let fear drive her to a nasty case of the shanks around the greens.
Lesson learned: You have to stay present and not allow what just happened to influence what’s about to happen.
Elite players have systems in place to deal with every type of situation. This is what allows them to perform with consistency. You don’t have to “think” you just follow your mental system.
Penny has a free download outlining her 10 steps for smart decision making under the gun. You can get her free download here: http://pennypulz.com/ponderfocus/
For those of you who may be struggling with the visualization portion of your mental game Penny has this quick tip.
Penny’s go to practice drill: Slow, medium, fast, super fast swings to find you most natural tempo.
Penny’s book recomendation: Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book
There’s two important things to know about your golf game if you want to get better: what to improve and how to improve it.
While working with Wujitech Geoff has developed a proven system for consistent, successful adaptation of change. This system can be boiled down to three basic concepts: learn, train, then perform.
Learning is like studying - it’s about creating the right picture in your mind
Training is like taking quizzes - it’s about transferring that picture from your mind to a feeling in your body.
Performing is like taking a test - it’s about letting go of the focus on the feeling and just trusting the action.
The biggest hurdle people run into in the performance stage is that they learn by thinking of things so that’s how they assume they should perform. Thinking is great for learning but we want free, fluid, consistent results during our performance.
Thinking of positions in the swing is like looking at snapshots, you need to transition from focusing on pieces to focusing on a movement and then taking that movement to the target.
The opposite fix is a great way work your changes. EX: If you want to fix a slice, learn to hit a hook. Learning how to do the extreme opposite of your problem makes it much easier to find that middle ground and execute.
Roy MacAvoy Moment: In his senior year of highschool Sammy was coming into 18 at -4. After sticking his approach to about 7 feet frustration and a loss of focus caused a 5 PUTT!
Lesson Learned: Acceptance - You’re not going to make every birdie putt you look at but if you’re not careful you could compound the problem.
It’s important to be aware of how you react to your shots. Some people are so negative that even when they hit a good shot they’re not happy about it.
Don’t dwell on what you’re doing wrong. If the list of what you’re doing right is longer, make sure you recognize that. (ex: Are you being too hard on yourself???)
The importance of thought patterns. It’s easy to beat yourself over every little thing you do wrong, how often are you celebrating and drawing confidence from the good things that happen? It’s probably not an equal proportion. Did you make a birdie? - Celebrate! Take your buddy for $10? - Take that moment and allow yourself to draw confidence from it. Journaling is a great way to figure this out.
Preparation is a big problem for amateurs. Ask yourself: Were you honestly prepared for the circumstances you just experienced?
Start by hitting the shots you want on the range. Then hit them on the course (NOT FOR SCORE). Then hit them for a score. Then hit them for a score that matters. Build up your confidence one layer at a time and you’ll have a sturdy foundation.
If cost or time is a problem, hit up the course during the twilight hours. You can get your specific on course practice in, and a lot of times for a cheaper cost than the driving range!
One look go drill: Set balls up in lines of 10 about 1 ball apart. You’re trying to keep your body reacting on the fly. Only give yourself a split second to reset and just let your body react.
Rhythm/tempo/creativity are the most fundamental parts of the game for Sammy.
In the last 24 hours Sammy is going to focus on his skill shots (stingers, flop shots, all the hard ones) and putting.
Set short, mid, and long range goals. Make sure you can knock some out now
Find more from Sammy here:
(281) 608-6366 (Cell)
Roy McAvoy Moment:
From 2 up with 2 to play in a Ryder Cup format Jeff let his thoughts drift towards the negative end of the spectrum and it cost him a draw in his match.
Lesson learned: Focus on hitting the good shot rather than avoiding the negative.
“Done is better than perfect”
Where should we start looking to make improvements in our physical abilities?
Start by looking for limitations within your swing. Things like low flexibility in your back not allowing full rotation, or restriction in your hips that don’t let you get through the ball. If you can eliminate these (or improve them as much as possible) then it frees you up mentally knowing that you can make a good swing. (Then you don’t have to think and be so technical!)
How can we recover from our range time & workouts?
Swing backwards! If you start working the body in the opposite direction it helps you develop the proper neural pathways and motor skills to then swing the correct direction. Start with 20 swings focused on BASIC tempo & weight shifting.
Advanced: Try it with an aiming stick and try to get that same whistle backwards as forwards.
Take a pinch of sea salt to add to your water for better hydration and mineral replenitionment.
Last resort - dilute some Gatorade with water.
Proteins & fats - YES!!! (beef jerky, protein shake)
Carbs sugars - NO!!! (hotdogs & burgers at the turn)
If you’re starting to get hungry or thirsty you’ve waited too long.
A solid base and functional structure lead to the biggest gains:
Lots of times this is as easy as focusing on posture or learning how to do squats or lunges properly. Also, don’t skip leg day!
Jeff’s favorite exercise: A deadlift - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nal7h31Cs-A
Sites and Resources Mentioned in the Show:
Your short game is where 60% or more of your strokes come from on the golf course (and that's if you're really good). So it goes without saying that this skill has to be in top form. Brandon Stooksbury is back to teach us all how to build our short game in layers so we can take that aspect of our game and make it the strength it needs to be
EPISODE FEATURED GUEST: BRANDON STOOKSBURY
Brandon is back to talk about some research that he has done on the road to writing a brand new book that he’s got coming out called The Wedge Book: An Owner’s Manual for your Short Game. Brandon's always been good with his short game and he’s done a lot of research about it. Now he’s put it all together in an organized process on how to build a very strong short game from the foundation up.
IN THIS PODCAST EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN SHOW:
Are you struggling with the flat stick? Jared Shears gives us an absolute putting tutorial from how to read greens all the way to which eye is dominant. Take a listen and get your short game in order with Jared Shears.
EPISODE FEATURED GUEST: JARED SHEARS
Jared is the AimPoint and Five Simple Keys director of instruction for Wisconsin. He does AimPoint seminars around the country and If you follow him on Facebook you’ll see that he just went through US Open qualifying.
IN THIS PODCAST EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN SHOW:
Are you a beginner at golf who's struggling to put together good meaningful practice sessions under your belt? Well you're in luck. In this episode Rodd Slater shares his version of the perfect practice session along with foundation to which the perfect golf swing is built.
EPISODE FEATURED GUEST: RODD SLATER
Rodd is the head pro at Two Rivers Golf Club. He’s been the head pro there for 18 years. He was the 2009 President’s Council Member for Growing the Game of Golf, and a reformed banker who has made a career in golf (Heck yeah!).
IN THIS PODCAST EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN SHOW: