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Golf Strategy School Podcast

Golf Strategy School Podcast: Where 18+ handicaps come to learn how to break 90.
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May 8, 2019

In this episode we're talking about 2 common faults that amateur golfers have with their putting.

 

If you haven't signed up for our Super Speed Golf Giveaway, make sure you visit GolfStrategySchool.com/Giveaway

 

The first issue is a routine.  Most amateur golfers don't have a preshot routine when it comes to putting (or their short game frankly).  Step 1 is get one!

 

The second issue is that most amateur golfers chronically under read the break.  There's a really detailed video that goes along with this and you can check it out at golfstrategyschool.com/PuttingGeometry

May 3, 2019

Hey everybody I just wanted to pass along a huge THANK YOU for the fantastic first month we've had since our relaunch.

We have shattered every previous month's download record (my about 3x!!!) with over 10,000 downloads in less than 30 days!

As part of that thank you I've connected with my show sponsor, SuperSpeed Golf, to give away 2 SuperSpeed Golf sets!!!

To learn more about the contest head over to www.golfstrategyschool.com/giveaway to check out the video I created detailing how to enter and how it works.

 

If you're ready to enter and you don't need any further details you can do so at the link posted below! 

https://kingsumo.com/g/8erbi0/pga-championship-superspeed-golf-giveaway/3qkwnzj?

 

Apr 25, 2019

I know that’s a pretty appealing headline, and if you’re struggling to achieve that there’s probably a healthy amount of skepticism flowing through your veins as you read this. The fact of the matter (emphasis on fact) is that people who struggle to break 100 a lot of similar issues and the majority of them fall into these three groups:

 

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Penalties (especially off the tee)
  • Poor short game

 

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

When it comes to golf, this might be one of the biggest issues that most people either don’t talk about or may not even know about.  When you look at your scorecard the first number that usually jumps out at you is what par is for the hole, right? Okay fine, it might be the distance or what the handicap is of the hole, but if par isn’t the first thing you look at, I guarantee you it’s second.

 

So let’s talk about it.  What is par? Go ahead, say it out loud or in your head.  Let me guess, you said something along the lines of “It’s what you should shoot on each hole”.  If you said that, you’ve got it half right. Par is what you should shoot on each hole… IF YOUR HANDICAP IS ZERO!

 

Now I’m not here to make you feel bad, but if you’re reading an article about breaking 100 on the golf course and you actually expect yourself to make par on each hole, you’re setting yourself up for a world of disappointment.  Here’s a fun fact to help illustrate my point: players on the PGA tour only hit about 12.5 greens in regulation out of 18. How many greens do you expect yourself to hit in regulation? Be honest now, is that a realistic expectation?  For someone who normally shoots 100 (a 28 handicap) they average between zero and 1 greens hit in regulation. Don’t put all this unnecessary pressure on yourself to do something that is a statistical anomaly.



Think of it this way, would you ever take $18,000 out of your bank account and bet that you’d hit every green in regulation?  OF COURSE NOT! Your financial guy would slap you across the face, your wife would divorce you, and you’d be left with a much lighter wallet.  So if you wouldn’t hold yourself fiscally accountable like that, why does the thought process change just because there’s not any money on the line?

 

Instead of thinking that you must get on the green in regulation, let’s move the finish line to something a little more achievable.  Let’s get MOST of the way to the green “in regulation”. So if you’re playing a par 5, your version of “on in regulation” should be to get within 100 yards of the green in three shots.  If it’s a par 4 you want to be inside 75 in 2 shots. If it’s a par 3 you want to be within 50 in 1 shot. This now removes SOOOOO much pressure from your game! Instead of feeling like you have to hit your driver off of every tee box, now you can achieve your new goal with a few easier to control shots that you’re much more confident hitting!  Do you think you  could hit two safe shots in a row that average about 135 each?  That would get you within 75 yards on a 350 yard par 4. You’ve got a lot better chance of doing that then just doing the standard spray and pray with your driver off of every tee box.  This will lead to much lower scores and a lot more confidence and consistency in your game.

 

PENALTIES

Any time I think of this topic I’m reminded of my interview with Craig Jones, the founder of Face First Golf, he said from the tee box “you should hit the shot you’re comfortable with”.  Sure, it’s not the shot that Golf Digest and the Golf Channel want to give you three quick tips on, but it will lead to a lot better scores because you won’t be spraying it two fairways over with your super unreliable driver.

 

Before every shot  I want you to determine a safe zone and a danger zone (cue Kenny Loggins).  The danger zone is pretty self explanatory. It’s going to be anything that would involve a potential lost ball or penalty stroke.  Is there water or out of bounds on the right? Then that’s the one place you can’t go, that’s the danger zone.

I know you’re probably thinking “but Marty, that's a negative thought.  Don’t we need to avoid those?” Yes that is a negative thought, but we need to get you making the correct decisions first before we can get to the impacts of positive and negative thoughts.  It doesn’t matter how positive you’re thinking is.  if you pull out a 4 hybrid and try to hit a shot over 240 yards of water you are about to get wet!

 

Our safe zone is essentially as far away as we can get from the danger zone.  Somewhere flat and unassuming where we have plenty of room to land the ball safely so we can have an easier next shot.

 

This comes into play with other shots too.  The real lesson here is don’t be a hero, you’re not going to win a tournament with one swing, but you sure can lose it with one.  Learn from your past experiences. Hell, learn from Kevin Costner in Tin Cup! Don’t take the risk, just hit the shot you know you make the majority of the time and continue from there.

 

This also means play away from other hazards like bunkers or trees.  Lastly, if you find yourself in trouble your only choice is to just punch out.  Don’t try to make the hero play and try to hit a low hook and roll it onto the green, JUST GET OUT!  This brings me back to another one of Craig’s quotes: “Don’t follow a bad shot with a dumb one.”

 

If you can eliminate penalties, both literal and mental, from your game you’ve just taken a monumental step towards breaking 100.

 

POOR SHORT GAME

This is a huge problem for people of all handicaps, but it’s even more impactful for people trying to break 100.  The fact of the matter (again, emphasis on fact) is that if you were a scratch golfer half of your shots are going to come on or around the green.  For a lot of people this is even as high as 60%-70%!

 

So what does this mean?  Well, it means you’re going to have to get real cozy with your flat stick.  Your putter is going to be your best friend. You’ll need to master lag putting as well as getting yourself comfortable and confident over your three and four footers.  Don’t worry though, we’ve got the perfect practice session to anchor your touch. [link to no 3 putts article]

 

The other part of the short game is all those chips you tend to chunk or skull across the green.  Let’s apply our same betting logic. You’re standing five feet off the green and the cup is 30 feet away, and the ball is in your hand.  If you had to bet $1,000 on yourself to get that ball within four feet of the hole, how would you throw it? Would you toss it high up in the air over your head like a jump shot in basketball?  No, Steph Curry wouldn’t even do that! You’d probably bend down a little bit and bowl it towards the cup.

 

I’m certainly not the first person to have this idea, because I watched Tiger Woods do it with a three wood in the early 2000’s, but just make a putting stroke with a fairway wood or hybrid.  It will have just enough loft to get the ball up in the air and it will be much harder to chunk or skull than a sand wedge.

 

The moral of the story here is get the ball on the ground as soon as possible, and if you can keep it on the ground the whole way (putt it) then that’s the perfect scenario.

 

So the next time you play golf try to be a little proactive about these choices.  Let’s keep ourselves out of the danger zones (buzz off Kenny Loggins!), keep penalties off our cards, and have realistic expectations based on our abilities.  Let me know how it works for you!

 

Keep it in the short grass.

Cheers,
Marty

Apr 19, 2019

Our first 19th hole listener Q&A episode is here!  Our question comes from Kevin in Massachusetts.  He says I've found a huge disconnect between how my swing SHOULD look and actually getting it to happen.

Let's dive in!

Apr 13, 2019

In this episode we dive into some strategies I used with a client during a recent range session to help her build confidence in clubs that she had been avoiding.

Let's face it, we all have clubs we don't like to hit, but they have to be at the very least serviceable when their number is called.  Here we talk about how you can practice to make that possible!

Apr 5, 2019

Hey everyone, I know it's been a long time but I'm glad to be back!  To say in a few words what I could in a hundred - I think the net was cast too wide before just focusing on "the mental game".  A single digit handicap has different mental game issues than a 22 handicap.

So going forward we will be looking at how the high handicap golfer can improve their decision making process and play better golf.

Happy to be back!
Marty

Sep 7, 2017

I was playing golf with my father in law the other day and he was really dialed in to the pace of his putts, but he kept on missing them left and right.  He finally confessed that he’s never really had a good way of reading greens or the finer details in his putts.  This prompted me to share the strategy that I use with my daughter who’s eight years old.


At home during the Wisconsin winter we work on mechanics and how to make consistent contact in the middle of the putter face.  Once the spring thaw hits we go out to the greens and work on interpreting the line and path of each putt.  The best way I found to explain it was to break the putt down in sections.  When you have a putt that’s under 10 feet and you can’t quite decide which way it breaks try breaking it into halves.  Think about what would happen if you putted straight at the hole.  How much would it break?  Where would it end up?  What would it look like half way through?

*Pro tip* The first half of the putt will not break as much as the second half because the ball will be movin​g faster.

Once you know where the first half of the putt will stop you want to imagine what would happen as it runs the rest of the way out.  From there you simply look at how far below the hole the ball would’ve stopped.  This tells you exactly how far left or right you need to aim.

The longer the putt gets the more sections you need to break it down into.  For me I follow this handy guide.

10’ > read it in two stages

11’ – 30’ read it in three stages

30’ < read it in four stages

In the case of my father in law it was a blessing for him and a curse for me.  He started making putts left and right and I lost the round.  For my daughter it was an easy introduction to how things work around the green.  See how this works for you and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Aug 8, 2017

I’m back with more Golf Strategy School! I’ve got an interesting story that comes from a different sport, but it's still something we can use in our game to ensure we're prepared as possible.

 

The 2008 Olympic game in Beijing: Michael Phelps was going for the record of 7 gold medals at the butterfly race. At the turn, his goggles filled with water and he was swimming blind, but was still able to complete the the race, finished, and won the gold medal.

 

After the fact, Phelps mentioned in an interview that he manages to win and shared his views on preparation. He looks at everything that could go wrong, and finds a solution for all those different things. Let's say your goggles fill with water, you can't see the markings on the walls and you don't know how far you have to go. Phelps' solution to this was to count the number of strokes to go from one side to the other, so he knew how many strokes he needed to complete the race.

 

This translates directly to golf. When I practiced, my Dad thought of worst-case situations and applied them to their practice. They spent a lot of time around the greens to improve short game and putting since that's what is used most often. I's Dad stood on one side of the green, threw a ball over the green, usually towards a bunker, and I had to play it wherever it stopped.

 

I developed a familiarity with these "goofy" shots and could even hit golf balls out of the trees, so I knew how to recover. They practiced in different conditions (i.e. steep downhill bunker shots) and with different tools (various clubs). Start looking at consistent outcomes in games. For example, if I missed, it's always left, so there's no need to practice for anything on the right side of the green. However, if the pin is on the left side and I was trying to hit the ball into it, there's a chance that I could work the ball too much.

 

I was thinking about a particular hole where I had to learn very vertical steep sand shots. Have that passing familiarity so you aren't caught off guard and have seen them before. Practice those weird downhill "rolling away from you" chip shots. Take the time to practice them a little bit to have that familiarity that translates to the T-box and allows you to make the most confident shot possible.

 

Shots that you aren't familiar with tend to creep into the back of your head, and that leads to you being focused on shots you want to miss as opposed to what you want to hit. Become familiar with your shots around the greens so they aren't completely foreign to you. You'll have increased confidence in shots leading up to that because you'll know you have a solution, just like Michael Phelps did in his race.

Apr 12, 2017

What an amazing Masters tournament!  I’ve been a Sergio fan since the scissor kick at Medinah.  He’s only a few years older than me and I’ve always related to him with my game.  We both have tons of lag coming into the ball which means timing is hugely important, and a fiery personality can lead to some very steep emotional, and statistical, highs and lows in a round.

 

When Sergio had the three shot lead on five everything seemed to be falling into place perfectly.  But as Justin Rose made his push followed by Sergio’s stumble at the turn everyone started talking about if he could “hold on”.  From what I had just watched during those first three holes of the back nine he absolutely could hold on.

One of my favorite quotes is “don’t follow a bad shot with a dumb one”, from Craig Jones of Face First Golf.  That’s exactly what Sergio had done in the past but he avoided today.  He was grinding out pars and not giving up while making bogeys.  He was smart, took his medicine (unplayable lie) on 13, and showed world class skill to save a par.  RIght then and there, you could feel the momentum switch.  This happens all the time in golf.  You just need one good shot, heck, sometimes just one good bounce and it’s like a switch goes off inside you where you know that from now on you WILL hit every shot flush and confidently.

 

Sergio goes on to keep his cool, even when the lead slipped away.  He knew his game, he knew his plan, and he stuck with it.  He didn’t let what was happening around him influence it at all.  That’s the biggest lesson we can learn from Sergio.  Make you plan and STICK WITH IT!

 

Too many times amateurs get one bad bounce, make one wrong decision, or take one bad swing and decide to scrap the entire plan for the round.  They never stop to think that golf is a game of averages and there’s a pretty decent chance that if they continue down the path they laid out ahead of time the good bounce, good swing, and great decision will come.  What would happen if every time you felt a bump in the road you pulled into an auto shop and had them check our your car?  You wouldn’t get anywhere!  Trust your plan, you made it for a reason.

 

The other thing that we can learn is from the low amateur, Stewart Hagestad, and his post tournament interview with Jim Nantz.  When asked about how he did it, he said played within himself and made very committed golf swings.  He stuck to his game plan and played great that week.  The other thing he said that I loved was that “Bogey’s won’t kill you, but doubles will.”

 

These are all important keys to solid golf, especially for higher handicapped players.  Play within yourself means quit fantasizing about that one time you hit an 8 iron 184 yards.  It was probably down wind off a cliff, that’s not your normal game.  Play your averages and when in doubt, take extra club, because you swing will rarely be perfect.

 

When Stewart talked about making committed golf swings, he means picking a shot that you’re going to hit and sticking to that plan throughout the swing.  Essentially the micromanager version of what Sergio taught us.  This can be harder to do than you would think, but with the right kind of practice you can make it a part of your game.  For my money the Think Box, Play Box drill is best way to put this into action with your game.  If you’re having a hard time with that, try the seven second drill from Dave Heinen.  It will take away any time that you have to waffle over the ball!

Mar 15, 2017

This week's question comes from Ben about how he can work on staying mentally focused for an entire round of golf.  He says he's been experiencing a lot of hot and cold streaks within the same round and he just can't quite seem to shake them.

 

We talk about how you can get focused on the micro (each swing) rather than the macro (the score you want to shoot) and how one of our Golf Strategy Academy students was able to make this same leap with some fantastic results.

Feb 27, 2017

Today's episode is a listener question from McDivot on twitter.  He says :

@Golf_Strategy

struggling with impact position.caster, weight even or back. just got Swingtalk. Any new drills to use with? Thanks

What You'll Learn In Today's Episode

  • ​How different types of feedback can help influence your swing and lock in those changes quickly
  • How Bob Duncan uses the terrain around him​ to fix an over the top move
  • How the Step Change drill from Super Speed Golf can fix a reverse pivot
  • Golf Strategy Academy

Videos Referenced

Step change drill is at 3:02

 

Drill setup is at 2:00 

Here's a secret that pros do, but you don't.  THEY JOURNAL!  Get my FREE 5 Minute Golf Journal so you can learn to analyze like a pro!

Here's your Transcript!

Hey McDivot, thanks for reaching out with the question. So from the sounds of it this is the classic over the top move. Meaning as you come into impact the face of the golf club is open and you are cutting across the golf ball. Depending on how severe your motion is this could be a pull fade that lands you generally where you want to be or a giant slice that sends you three fairways over. No matter how severe the shape my favorite solution stays the same and it comes from Bob Duncan.


Now, I don’t think we actually covered this exact issue in our episode but the fundamentals of Bob’s process are certainly laid out for you to understand. Matter of fact, now that I think about this, I’m fairly certain I saw Bob respond to this question elsewhere online. Either way, it’s a simple solution.


For all of you listeners who don’t quite know my teaching style, I like to teach using as many different forms of feedback as possible. Physical, visual, heck, even auditory. And it should be in a form that is more extreme than your standard everyday fairway shot. That way when you’re no longer focusing on fixing the problem and your mind and body regress a little bit, they fall exactly where they should’ve been all along. Alright, enough delay, here’s what you do McDivot.


Go find a hill and hit off of the incline. So the ball should be positioned a few inches above your feet. This way if you do come over the top and cast a little bit you are going to get the physical feedback of slamming that club right into the side of the hill! Trust me, after that happens a few times your brain will start to fix the problem all on it’s own.


Now the other part of your question will probably be a little harder to fix, simply because it’s a much more noticeable feeling. If your weight is even or drifting back a little at impact I’m tempted to think that you’ve got a little bit of a reverse pivot going on. That, if you’re not aware, is when your upper body drifts towards the target on the backswing so when you follow through you’ve got no choice but to uncoil and finish with your weight middle or back in your stance. As you can imagine, this can be pretty costly in the distance department.


One drill that can help this, as well as add some extra yards, is one of the swing exercises from Super Speed Golf. It’s their step change of direction drill. Basically think Happy Gilmore without the running up to the ball. Here’s a clip from their YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Iq8ro0dGt6o?t=182


Doing this will help get that weight going forward through impact (which also helps fix the casting problem) and will leave you long and down the middle of the fairway. So I hope that helps you out McDivot. If you have a question feel free to reach out through Twitter, like McDivot, my handle is @golf_strategy

Feb 21, 2017

Bladed it, smiled it, chili dipper, chunk city, worm burner, gopher killer... if any of these describe your short game, then it's time to turn your ears on because this weeks' episode is here to help you get your short game under control!

What you'll learn in today's episode

Featured Videos

 
 
Wistia video thumbnail

No time to listen?  Here's the transcript so you can Ctrl + f to where you need to be!

Hey there, Golf Strategy School, Marty back with you here again and this episode's question comes from Chase. Chase is asking, his question reads, " Hey Marty, I was really burning a lot of strokes around the greens. Seems like I don't have a consistent low point in my chipping. Some are fat, some are thin, but really perfect. Any thoughts?" Well Chase, situations like this where you have inconsistent, I guess I'll say low point, it usually results from... At least with chipping, the fact that you're getting overly handsy in the actual action.

So a lot of people especially beginners or newer folks, they'll get into this mindset that the fingertips and the hands have all the feel, so that should be what's controlling all of the force that goes into the shot as well as kind of cutting out those bigger muscles. I see all the time where people just take their wrist and I kind of see them just chop right at the ball, and those ones are even less consistent then kind of what you're describing. At least you're getting a couple that do end up going on target, maybe not just on target but actually correct distance wise.

So the way we can kinda get around this, it's a really easy setup. If you have some water bottles this is a really easy thing to do. If you're on the course or if you are at your practice facility, heck, honestly you can do this at home. So you take two water bottles if you're at home they could be empty, and they should be empty. If you're on course then depending on how much when do you have, if you feel your empty water bottles are going to blow away, maybe put some water in them. But what you're going to do is you're going to take-two water bottles and you're going to set them up so one water bottle is about a foot behind the ball, the other water bottle is about a foot in front of the ball. So the idea is that these water bottles are going in the same direction as your feet, so actually perpendicular to your target line, but the idea here is that if you're flipping your club into that impact zone, you're not going to be able to consistently make your shot and not hit either one of those water bottles.

Again with that kind of two foot window, I forget where I heard it from but someone referred to this as "chipping jail." I thought that was kind of cool, but that's essentially what you're putting yourself in, is your setting these defined parameters from where you can actually hit the ball, and you're going to get this very real physical feedback if you don't correctly accommodate those restraints. So again you're flipping into the ball which means that we got a quiet down those hands.

I actually highly encourage you to go back and listen to Brandon Stooksbury's episode, and in that episode he talks about his book dealing with short game solutions, and Brandon's kind of a short game expert, and the idea is we want to remove as many variables as possible just like we want to do with everything. The less variable easier the solution becomes. So with shipping specifically if you're really getting wristy with it, that means that not just your arms and shoulders are moving, your wrist, what Brandon call them, "another hinge" and you want to remove as many of these hinges as possible because that allows you to be more consistent, the solution, in your chip shots. So like I said you can do this at home with probably a whiffle ball, I don't know if you would want to test the strength of your drywall or anything like that. But you just set down parameters, like I said about a foot in front and a foot behind.

If you're really, really struggling keep in mind our kind of butter zone for a practice success rate is between 30% and 70%. So if you have that foot behind the ball and foot in front of the ball and you still can't do it at least 30% of the time then you might want to consider 18 inches in front and behind, or some variation of that to make it a little easier on yourself. Because you need to experience success in order to actually improve and not just get discouraged at yourself. So, again 30% - 70% is that optimal zone.

Maybe this is an easy thing for you to do, okay I'm flipping my hands too much, I just need to rock my shoulders more. Well, then two feet might be too much room and you're able to do it every single time, well in that circumstance maybe pin it in 3 inches on each side. So then you're only dealing with an 18 inch span. You don't want to get it too small though because and you're really kind of chopping down at the ball, and that's going to take you and a negative direction in terms of your progress. But again your inconsistency at the bottom of that chip shot, it's a really small motion, we don't need a lot of hinges and things to add power, you're only moving the ball maybe 20, you mention green side. So even if your 10-20 yards off at the most you can still get away with it. The idea is that you want to get the ball on the ground as soon as possible because that removes variables. The longer the ball flies the more of a variables you have in that shot. Again Brandon talks about this in detail in his episode.

Also, check out the coaching replays on the membership site one of them is with Brandon and it deals with exactly with this topic, so that's about an hour discussion there. Feel free to check that out in the Golf Strategy Academy member site. That will definitely, definitely help you out.

The other thing that I might think help you a little bit is kind of learning a little touch around the greens. A lot of people, they run into the situation where one bad shot especially, not like a chunk, chip but when you kind of stuff it into thick grass, if the ball's sitting down and it's really hard to get out. I guess we can call it a chunk. So if you are in that situation or you've maybe had that one chunk shot, and now you feel like everything has to have all the this extra power just to get through it, remind yourself that this is one fluid motion. I saw this as a demo by Hale Irwin and to me it was just profoundly awesome. What he did, and I'll see if I can find the actual video (linked above), what he did if he's talking about chipping touch, specifically green side chipping touch like you are Chase, and he said, " Just take a ball, you stand you take your address like you're going to hit a shot and instead of swinging your club take a ball throw it at the cup." Try to "hit that shot", but you do it by throwing that ball. The idea here is that your hands with the club should move at that same pace. So you know maybe it takes you two or three balls to figure out what a good touch is in terms of tossing the ball, but that's an awesome way to kind of give yourself this different type of physical feedback, to maybe get your brain to grasp onto it a little bit better. And again just take that address throw the ball the cup and pay attention to how your hands are moving because that's all the after that they need to move during the chip shot as well.

So I hope that helps you out Chase, absolutely let me know how it works in the membership Facebook group. Also if any of you are interested in joining the golf strategy Academy you can do so, you can hear more about it at golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info and there you can hear my little video in terms of what academy all entails, but we've got like 30 days, more than 30 days worth of practice routines up on the website. I've got a specific order for you to follow, that will actually improve your game. This isn't swing tips this is how to practice to actually get better. So I'm giving you custom, focused, practice routines to do this. And one of the things I'm tacking on for new members, if you join at the annual subscription not only do you get two months free but I'll also toss in a free coaching call. So, until next time everybody thank you so much for listening, don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review podcast. If you want more info on the membership you can check it out again at golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info otherwise I'll catch y'all in the short grass. Cheers.

Feb 14, 2017

I know we've got a bunch of league golfers out there with their earbuds on and this episode is one that you'll want to save for sure!  Ian asks a pressing question that most people don't want to admit to, but they desperately need a solution to.  How do you warm up and get your head in the game if you're running late?

What You’ll Learn

· Marty’s preferred method of warming up (range, green, range)

· How a trick from Jeff Pelizarro can get you in rhythm quickly

· How Mike & Kyle of Super Speed Golf can get you hitting longer in the same day!

· Golf Strategy Academy

 
 

Don’t Have Time To Listen? Here’s The Transcript!

Ian’s question: I play in a couple of leagues and I always seem to be running short on time. I know my league is just for fun but I still want to play well, and I feel like this is starting to leak into my weekend rounds. How do I get my head in the game if I'm short on warm up time?

Hey Ian, glad to have your question for this week's episode. My first question would be what do you define as short on time? I know I like to have an hour or so at the course before each round for warm up and practice. So is short on time only 30 minutes, or is it I'm sprinting to the 1st tee to catch my group? Either way, I'll lay out my strategy for both.

If you've got 20-30 minutes to prep for your round of golf you've still got enough time to touch on most of your skills that you'll be using that day. I would break it down it 10 minute chunks.

  1. 1st 5-10 minutes would be physically warming up. Hit a few balls (10 tops) with a short iron or wedge. This will help you find a good rhythm with your scoring clubs and figure out what today's shot pattern looks like (draw, fade, etc).
  2. Head over to the green and set up the gate drill for a few putts (again, 10 tops). This will give you the confidence that you're square at impact and your putts are going where you want them to go. That should only take about 3 minutes. After that, set up the ladder drill. Take your time on this one because it's the most important of the bunch. See if you can work your way through it 5 times. If you go long on any drill, this is the one that deserves it.
  3. Step three would be to head back to the range and play a few sample holes in your head. Go through your whole routine and remember to play the ball flight that you determined in step 1 would be your shot for shape for the day.

This should get you in the right mindset for playing your game rather than trying to fix your swing on the course.

If you've got practically no time then I would skip straight to the ladder drill because that one club you'll have to use every time. When you get to the first tee, take a tip from Jeff Pelizzaro, and do some opposite direction swings. Often times swinging the wrong way can loosen you up a lot quicker and, at least for me, the awkward feeling of doing it backwards helps me get a nice fluid rhythm for swinging in the regular direction.

The other thing you can do, and I’m not sure if you purchased the Speed Sticks by Super Speed Golf before, is to work your way through all three sticks by swinging three times in both directions. This will really help because the different weights will get you loose really quickly and will help give your swing speed a little shot in the arm. So who knows, maybe you’ll impress everyone with a little extra UMPH off the first tee too!

Thanks again for the question Ian, I hope that helps. If you would like to learn more about the Golf Strategy Academy you can visit www.golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info. I’ve got a nice little video describing the membership and what you get as well as some examples of the science used to put together these custom, focused practice routines that will help make you a more confident and consistent golfer.

As always, I’ll catch you in the short grass.

Cheers!

Feb 7, 2017

If you're a Patriots fan, congratulations!  If you're a Falcons, my condolences.  If you're a fan of sport in general, WOW, did we get a game to watch!  The Super Bowl did not disappoint and neither did today's GSA Q&A question from Bob in San Francisco.  Bob wants to know why he's so inconsistent on his in between distances, and more importantly, how he can fix it.  This comes down to commitment to your golf swing and the plan you've set for that shot.

Jan 31, 2017
 

Today's podcast is the first in our series: GSA Q&A where we take questions from our Golf Strategy Academy members and answer them on the podcast.  Today's question is from Josh in Las Vegas about how he can change his habit of spending too much time over the ball.

What you'll Learn

  • Coping techniques for an over active mind
  • Geoff Greig's go to method to help golfers ditch extra swing thoughts and focus on rhythm.
  • Dave Heinen's technique to prevent those thoughts from ever sinking in in the first place!
Here's a secret that pros do, but you don't.  THEY JOURNAL!  Get my FREE 5 Minute Golf Journal so you can learn to analyze like a pro!

No time to listen?  Here's the transcript!

Hey Golf Strategy School Marty back with you here again and today we're featuring a question from a Golf Strategy Academy member Joshua out of Las Vegas sent an email wondering, and I love this question because Joshua saying he's struggling with too many swing thoughts. He's noticing that he's taking too long over the ball. He mentions that, let's see here. Been playing well recently but run into problems where I stall over the shot. It's gotten to the point where my League members actually give me crap about how long I take over the ball. Any thoughts on how I could help move beyond this mental block?

The reason I chuckle is because I've been there, and I've been there with many other students. And the solution is actually rather easy.

Like you said, you actually just get caught up, for whatever reason just hung up over a shot. For most people it's a thousand different swing thoughts going through their head. You know I've got to keep my right arm tucked in, and my left arm straight, and I've got to go 9 o'clock, and my hips got to turn, and all these different things going on in your head. And because you've got a thousand different swing thoughts happening you don't officially execute any of them.

There's some really cool brain science that's been going on, one of our past guests, he actually went through, he uses a software called Wujitech where it actually measures brain wave, brain activity a lot like some of the other software that are out there during your golf swing. And what we've actually learn from this, and his name is Geoff Greig. What we've learned from this is that in those moments where you have a bunch of different thoughts going on, your brain can't focus on any one of them, and so like I said you end up doing nothing correct. So the cool thing that's been kind of discovered is that this crux of the problem is actually providing you your own solution. So you're trying to do all these different swing thoughts, trying to make that perfect swing, well when in reality you need to get out of your own way. And so it's kind of odd but what we're going to do here is we're going to fight fire with fire. So if you got all these thoughts going through your head and you can't make a good swing what we need to do is occupy your brain. And Geoff Greig like I said he's done a lot of research using Wujitech to find different solutions to this, and one of my personal favorites is his solution and it is to hum while you swing.

So just make a humming noise and from there what your brain has to do is it has to focus on making that noise, and so it gets all those swing thoughts out of your head. Another reason why I like this humming method so much is because it also gives you a really good sense of what type of rhythm you have for that individual swing. So, if you're doing a a nice even-toned hum throughout the swing that means you've got a real smooth pace, that means that you are right on top of where you need to be, you're not over-exerting yourself. If you noticed there is a sharp pitch change in your hum, well that tells me and it should indicate to you that maybe you're trying to put a little too much behind this, trying to hit the ball a little too hard. It's an awesome drill you can take directly onto the course when you play. Maybe you don't want to hum that loud if you're, or your buddies are giving you grief about taking too long with the ball maybe you want to keep your humming down and bit, or maybe you'll get your shot in first before everyone catches up with you. That's one of the things that is, and I hesitate to say revolutionary, but it's a big eye opener for a lot of people.

The other thing that we tend to see a lot of times is for people who struggle with all those different swing thoughts, maybe it's not a swing thought maybe it's an over analysis. You know you get into deciding 6-iron maybe 7-iron, is the wind too much in my face, is it a club worth of elevation, all of these things. These are the things that you should have already decided on and that's a commitment issue which we will talk about in a different episode, but when we get into these situations where our brains kind of overactive again finding another way to occupy it is crucial.

One of the other things I've seen a lot of people do, and this is something that Dave Heinen mentioned in past episodes is to actually give yourself a countdown. If you know exactly what you're pre-shot routine is, like for myself I take a practice swing, then I stand behind the ball, I pick out my target, I then address the ball, put the club-face to that target just directly in front of the ball, one more last look down the target line, and away we go. So I have about five steps in my pre-shot routine. From making that decision in terms of what club I'm going to hit to actually executing the swing, so if that were something I were struggling with I would verbally count it down. 5-4-3-2-1 each time I'm completing a stage of that initial process. That way my brain doesn't have time to leak in all these directions. I got to stick to my routine, and I got to say it out loud. So it really removes any of that extraneous thought. For me 5 is the practice swing, 4 stand behind the ball at the target, 3 addressing the ball, 2 last look down the fairway, 1 is that breath out, and then I swing. So that's another way depending on what your pre-shot routine is. It can be more it can be less. Really want to keep it the shorter the better that way you don't have any of that time to actually drift off into different thought patterns. Again counting down, out loud counting down can be a big benefit to just removing all of that extraneous thought and getting your head clear so you can actually perform up to your capabilities. Because the fact of the matter is Joshua that you've done this before. You know we've talked before about your game. You've got a lot of really good swings and you, you've shot a lot of really good numbers. You already have the proof your body and your brain know how to do this, you just need to get all that extra crap out of the way. And to do this use one of these two techniques. I personally like the hum because it helps me feel a little bit more in tune with my rhythm, but if the hums not working for you right away go to the countdown. Whether it's from 5 whether it's from 3 whatever you want to do go to your countdown with your pre-shot routine say it out loud and that's going to be something that can really, really elevate you're in-the-moment execution.

That's what we have for you today Golf Strategy School. Thank you so much for listening. Again, we're moving more towards these individual, I guess it's not truly a Q&A necessarily, but these user-submitted questions from the golf strategy academy, and we're making sure we get these answers out there to everybody. You can see what kind of treatment all our members get inside the Golf Strategy Academy. That's something you're looking to do if you really want to take your game seriously, and really get up to snuff this year you can always get more information by going to golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info. You can learn all about the Golf Strategy Academy there I've got a nice short video for you otherwise I encourage you to get out there, get whatever kind of practice you can, but make sure it's focused, make sure it's randomized, and make sure you're actually getting better. So if any of you have any questions members always come first, but feel free to shoot an email my way marty@golfstrategyschool.com and I will catch everybody out there in the short grass. Cheers.

Jan 9, 2017

Happy new year everyone! Hopefully you've had a good holiday and are ready to kick off your season right.

 

Today I wanted to talk about the three most impactful episodes of the podcast and how you can use them to maximize your off-season.

 

When most people think about the off-season their mind immediately goes to fitness. Mike and Kyle from super speed golf shared some incredible information about how to physically train for a more powerful swing. (Full episode here)

 

I know a lot of people don't like going to the gym (frankly, neither do I!). The coolest thing about the workout technique Mike & Kyle have developed is that it A) draws on proven science used in other sports and B) doesn't require you to go to the gym and lift heavy things!

 

They use a process called over speed training to help golfers build their swing speed. It borrows from a technique in baseball where pitchers use balls that are different weights to not only build their muscles, but to train their brain and body to throw faster.

 

They have three weighted golf clubs, 2 lighter than a driver, 1 heavier, that you swing in order then finish with your actual driver. The brain science here is really cool. They've found that your brain will only let you swing the club as fast as you can safely STOP it. So by using the lighter clubs your brain learns that it actually swing fans stop faster. By swinging the heavier club your body gets used to moving a heavy more difficult object and when you switch back to your driver, the combination of the two lets you swing quicker. They've seen immediate gains of 5-7% swing speed just from the mental component.

 

This has been so successful for them that they have several PGA & LPGA pros using them. Here's a video from twitter of Billy Horschel getting his work in with super speed golf!  I even use super speed as part of my training. If you want to get your own you can get a 10% discount using our code: golfstrategy (all one word). As always I want to be totally transparent, I do receive an affiliate commission, but this is something that is a literal game changer, and it’s in my bag too!

 

The second most impactful podcast is that of Greg Liberto, the Head Coach. I use a lot of the things that Greg share in my mental game coaching. There are some truly foundational things that are extremely easy to do but for whatever reason, we neglect them. The biggest in my opinion is to have a POSTgame routine. (Full episode)

 

Greg’s big three questions are:

 

  1. Name 3 things that went well?
  2. Name 3 things that didn't go well?
  3. What's something you can do immediately to get better next time?

 

The first question gets you to think positively about your game. Too many people neglect to do positive reflection about their abilities. This can be a huge step to building confidence!

 

Question two gets into the self analysis part that people tend to either skip or not take seriously. This isn't something to get down on yourself about, rather use it to prepare for your next practice session.

 

Question three gets us right to the point of what’s next on the agenda.  Pick the low hanging fruit and get it fixed pronto!

 

If you make this part of your golf routine you start to manage your time better and you get to the things that need fixing quicker.  This will help you stack your success and become a better golfer.

 

Our third impactful podcast is the first interview with George Roy who not only shared some awesome practice routines but also taught us an all time great lesson in how to set goals. (Full episode)

 

George’s strategy is to not set a goal of a score, but rather a series of small achievements that will add up to that score.  If we wanted to shoot 79 we wouldn’t try to go 40-39 because if we get off to a bad start we could get discouraged and shoot 95!  On the flip side, if we were really setting the course on fire and went out in 35, it would be really easy to take our foot off the gas because we only need to shoot 44 on the back nine to meet our goal.  Be honest, would you be happy with a 79 is it was 35-44?  NO!  You probably would’ve wanted to stay at or below par.  So instead we would set our goal as a specific number of fairways, greens in regulation, and two putts.  When we follow George’s method of goal setting helps remove self these self limiting beliefs.

 

So if you’re new to the show or just feeling like taking golf more seriously this year those are the podcasts that I would review to really help get you going on the right foot.  Stay tuned for upcoming podcasts where I’ll be answering questions submitted by our Golf Strategy Academy members.  And hey, if you really want take your game seriously this year you can join me in the Golf Strategy Academy Membership

Nov 1, 2016

This week's guest is Coach Rebecca Smith of Complete Performance Coaching.  Rebecca specializes in athletes that play individual sports like gymnasts, swimmers, tennis players, and you guessed it - GOLFERS!

 

In this interview Rebecca shares how her introduction to visualization & imagery laid the foundation to how she teaches her students how to perform under pressure.

 

Make sure you check out some of the strategies Rebecca lays out on her blog over at completeperformancecoaching.com/blog/

Oct 13, 2016

Today's podcast is all about a new practice routine that will help you really master your distance control.  It's become one of my favorites and will be headed straight into the Golf Strategy Academy.

The Approach Ladder

This is a game that is intended to be done on the course, but you can probably make it work on a driving range too.  Please remember to always do your FULL PRE SHOT ROUTINE with every shot.  This is one of the most commonly overlooked things in all of golf!

The main idea here is that we practice from different distance intervals for a couple reasons.  We want to randomize our practice and make sure we are training our brain that it has to perform at it's max level on the first attempt.  The other thing we are doing is teaching ourselves not to be afraid of any shot in this series.  By experiencing tiny failures we learn how to handle them, that way when we are on the course​ it's not as intimidating and it's easier to let go of failures if they occur.

Starting at 30 yards simply drop a ball, play it as it lies and hit into the green.  If it stays on the green you move back 20 yards and do it again.  If you miss you move forward until you hit the green again.

  • If you stay on the green move back one spot (from 30 yards to 50 yards)
  • If you miss the green on any shot you move forward one spot (if you miss at 150 move up to 130)
Ian C.

I was skeptical that Marty was going to be able to help me without making any swing changes, but low and behold after working through a few of his structured practices I shot a new personal best!

 

Advanced Learners

If this practice turns out to be too easy for you you can mix it up a little bit with this extra rule.

  • If any shot stops within 20 feet move back two spots! (ex: 30 back to 70)
  • If any shot misses the green by more than 20 feet you move up two spots (ex: 150 to 110)

Adding this type of variable increases the pressure during the practice, which makes it even more effective when you take it out on to the course!

For more advanced rules on this drill, other practice routines, as well ​previously unreleased coaching interviews join the Golf Strategy Academy.  Use promo code podcast to save $10 per month until November 1st!

Oct 4, 2016

Holy smokes, I'm BACK!

In this podcast we talk about an article that I really like, written by Alison Curdt.  She tells us why it's important not to make that negative knee jerk reaction, and exactly how we can combat it!

Also featured in this episode is the announcement of the new Golf Strategy Academy which is a monthly membership that grants you access to custom practices that have been proven (over 300 test subjects!) to lower your scores.  

These are the same practices from the 30 Day Challenge (which is now permanently closed) that helped over 300 golfers rapidly improve and shoot a BUNCH of personal bests.

Sign up at this address (http://www.golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info) using promo code podcast to get in at the introductory rate of $39/month.  The code is only valid until November 1st when the prices increase WILL increase.

 

Until then I will see you in the short grass!

Oct 4, 2016

Holy smokes, I'm BACK!

In this podcast we talk about an article that I really like, written by Alison Curdt.  She tells us why it's important not to make that negative knee jerk reaction, and exactly how we can combat it!

Also featured in this episode is the announcement of the new Golf Strategy Academy which is a monthly membership that grants you access to custom practices that have been proven (over 300 test subjects!) to lower your scores.  

These are the same practices from the 30 Day Challenge (which is now permanently closed) that helped over 300 golfers rapidly improve and shoot a BUNCH of personal bests.

Sign up at this address (http://www.golfstrategyschool.com/membership-info) using promo code podcast to get in at the introductory rate of $39/month.  The code is only valid until November 1st when the prices increase WILL increase.

 

Until then I will see you in the short grass!

May 26, 2016

Have you ever heard of the concept of over speed training?  Neither had I!  It's training using different weighted clubs so you can let your body experience performing the golf swing at a faster speed.  By switching to slightly heaver clubs you can build up that swing speed for the times you're actually using your driver.  Mike & Kyle from Super Speed Golf take this concept to the next level.

EPISODE FEATURED GUEST: Michael Napoleon and Kyle Shay, creators of Super Speed Golf.

 

IN THIS PODCAST EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:

 

  • What is Super Speed Golf?

    • It’s an offshoot of Michael and Kyle’s other company Catalyst Golf Performance in Chicago.

    • It involves a concept called over speed training.

    • It increases swing speed (and therefore distance) by using a series of different weighted shafts.

  • Unique ways to get someone to their peak performance

    • In general, people don’t know how to practice; you need to have a plan.

    • When clients have a much more structured plan, it helps them improve at a faster rate, and also improves their confidence on the golf course.

    • Keep tabs of your statistics and progress. Always try to better your own personal scores. Be aware of how you’re doing.

    • Food journaling is also important-are there snacks in your bag? What are you eating before and after? What are you drinking on the course?

  • Benefits of overspeed training

    • Your body has a memory of how fast the muscular response is going to be when you run that motor pattern (throwing a ball, kicking, swinging a club etc) Your body is used to going at a certain speed.

    • Your body is actual capable of going much faster than that. Super Speed reprograms what your body thinks is normal speed so you can get a faster more efficient motor response.

    • They accomplish this by using lighter instruments compared to a golf club (three different clubs are used during training).

    • Flash memory is made when using these lighter clubs, and when you add the load of a heavier club, your body is used to going faster.

    • Once you get back to your normal club, there’s usually a 5-6% increase in your club speed.

    • It takes time for the permanency of this new speed to take hold, about 4-6 weeks afterwards.

  • Balancing out the body

    • A lot of people want to even out their body (using both the right and left sides)

    • It’s good to train the acceleration and deceleration of the swing.

    • You need to be able to stop your body faster in order to make it go faster.

      • If you’re body thinks it’s out of control it will automatically slow things down.

    • If you only play golf one way, a lot of imbalances will occur that can cause injury later on. This doesn’t mean you have to start playing opposite your dominant side, but it would be a good idea to start taking swings that way on a regular basis.

  • Levels of Super Speed

    • Everyone starts with the introduction protocol. It’s a good way to get the body acclimated.

    • After a couple of weeks, the level one program focuses on three different positions; kneeling, standing, and a step change in direction position where you take an extra step through the swing, really planting the lead foot when you swing.

    • Most clients are in level one for at least 4-6 weeks.

    • Around the three month mark is when the next level occurs. It’s basically increasing the intensity of the swings. They make everything a little bit faster with fewer reps.

  • Results

    • Clients are hitting the ball 30 yards farther than they were a year ago.

    • People are getting more efficient in their swings and are more stable.

    • Decrease in injuries occur because people learn how to move their bodies

    • As a personal testimonial, this interview was about a month ago. I’ve been doing over speed training since then and I’m starting to see some really impactful results. I’m a bigger hitter carrying around 250-60 averaging about 280 overall. Over the last two weeks my drives have been carrying, CARRYING, about 275 and I’m frequently getting out over 300 yards. Now I’ve been taking it pretty seriously and doing the drills about 4-5 times per week, but I can tell you that it’s really paying off.


LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN SHOW:

 

May 6, 2016

This week's episode is brought to you by the Golf Ball Locator App www.golfballlocatorapp.com.

 

Well the 30 Day Challenge has come and gone.  Now that it's over, what have we learned and what should be taken away from the whole process?

There are two main takeaways here: Shifting to an external focus rather than internal technical ones and what it takes to track progress.

 

Focus

People often get wrapped up in the technical aspects of golf, quickly drowning in a sea of swing thoughts and position.  The unifying theme that all of these practice sessions had was an external focus.

 

What does that even mean?  Well, it means that we don't really care about the technique you use to complete the practice, but that you learn how to do it your way and develop confidence in your way.

 

There have been multiple scientific studies done that have proven higher success rates using external focus vs internal (technical) focus.

 

Progress

For many people tracking stats is a very familiar thing.  They keep fairways, puts, and maybe greens in regulation on the bottom of their card.  That's a great start, but not nearly enough to fully leverage your abilities.

 

If you want to experience success on the course you have to make your practice more difficult than when you actually play.  To make sure that you follow a well thought out plan you need to track how well you perform under these different practice circumstances.

 

I encourage you to keep a small notepad in your bag or use a blank scorecard to note exactly how well you do each time you practice.  That way when you do a routine a 2nd or 3rd time, you'll know where to start to maximize your learning.

Apr 30, 2016
This is the last week of the challenge and we're going to be covering what we can do the day of our round to best prepare ourselves for success.  
 
Our first practice session has to do with determining what our shot pattern for the day will be.  This is important because we don't want to be working on our swing while we're playing.  You have to work with the shot pattern that you have that day.
 
Practice #1: DETERMINING OUR SHOT PATTERN
 

Once arriving at the driving range we have to build our practice station.  Place an alignment rod along your intended foot line, parallel to your target line.  To make the station even more effective, place another rod, perpendicular to the first to form a T.  This rod will represent your ball position.  

 

You can do this with club if you like or you can use alignment rods.  These are the ones I have.  There are three rubber grommets on one of the rods - two for foot position one for ball position, so then you won't need the extra rod forming a T.


This station is important because it will ensure that you consistently align yourself in a similar position during every portion of the upcoming exercise.

Now that the practice station is in place, let’s get to work.

5 Ball Iron Test


Using your practice station as a guide take out your PW and hit 5 balls at the same target.

 

***I know I don't normally advocate for repeatedly using the same target, but what we're trying to do is find a pattern, and realistically most people won't continually reset their practice station every time.  So for that reason we will work in blocks of 5 shots per target.***

 

DO NOT hit these shots rapid fire, this is still a no rake and fire zone.  Stand behind the golf ball before every shot and complete your pre-shot routine.

Repeat this 5 ball exercise with your 6, 7, 8, and 9 iron only changing targets when you change clubs.  When you change targets please make the necessary adjustments to your practice station.

The Driver

Now it’s time to bring out everyone's favorite weapon, the driver.  First I need you to visualize a fairway out on the driving range.  Clearly choosing targets that represent the left and right most edges of the fairway.  Now hit 10 shots at this fairway.  Don’t forget to take your time and go through that pre-shot routine before every swing.

Keep track of your shot pattern while you're completing this exercise.  This will tell you what pattern to play throughout your round that day.  Just like Vegas, I want you to play the odds.  When push comes to shove I want you to play the shot shape that you had from this exercise and don't try to fix it today.

Practice #2:  How to shoot the score you want

One of the best pieces of advice ever to come through the podcast was from PGA instructor George Roy, and it dealt with how to stay in the moment and not get overwhelmed by your score, whether it's good or bad.

George's advice was to create smaller goals that keep you focused on the task at hand, rather than looking too far down the road ahead.

Here's what you do:

Set goals for the specific number fairways, greens you will hit from those fairways, and the number of up & downs you will make from the greens you missed.  Here's an example from George:

  • Hit 50% of your fairways = 7
  • Hit 60% of the greens (from the 50% of the fairways) = 4 (two putt pars)
  • Get up & down 70% of the time from the greens you've missed = 9

Add that all up and it equals 13 pars and 5 “others”. Assuming you can keep those “others” to bogeys you’ll be on a roll!  This does assume you two putt every hole (Yes, I realize how big of an assumption that is but this is for the sake of easy math we'll let it fly) you would shoot +5 over 18 holes.

 

You might wonder why shouldn't I pick a number?

 

There's two big reasons: pressure & limitations.

  1. Picking a specific number adds pressure as you progress through your round. Your subconscious golf mind will be aware of your position in relation to that score. If you get behind the pace needed to achieve that number, the pressure can mount quickly. Pressure leads to stress, stress often leads to tension, and everyone knows that tension leads to poor performance. (Insert your Star Wars dark side joke here) Even if you have successfully let go of all those issues you still are more likely to take overly aggressive risks that could lead to even more disastrous outcomes. (IE: going for sucker pins)
  2. Even if you’re doing great and you manage to stay ahead of the pace needed to achieve that goal, you’re more likely to rest on your laurels down the stretch. If my goal is to shoot par and I’m two under at the turn, it’s really easy for me to mentally take my foot off of the gas pedal and say “I can afford to shoot +2 on the back”. All of a sudden after the round is done I’m looking at missed opportunities that could’ve lead to a FANTASTIC round. My goal was even par or BETTER, not to just settle for even par and forgo anything surpassing that.
Practice #3: Following your A.V.E.nue to success.
 
There's three things that pros do drastically more often than the amateur golfer that leads to their mental success.  They Analyze, Visualize, and Execute every shot.  What do I mean?
  • Analyze
    • This is the step that most people do pretty well at.  Analyzing is taking in your surroundings and deciding what will affect the shot.  Wind on an approach shot, break on a green, cold temps that shorten ball flight, etc.
  • Visualize
    • Here is where people start to have difficulties.  Visualizing is a commonly skipped step that most people have trouble with or skip altogether.  If you don't know how to visualize your shot, verbally describe what your're trying to do.  Talk out exactly where you want the ball to land and how it would release.
  • Execute
    • This is where people REALLY struggle.  By execute, I mean staying committed to your shot.  This is exactly what we talked about with the Think Box/Play box drill.  Whatever decision you made in that Think Box you have to stay committed to it.  Staying committed to your shot is absolutely vital to consistently hitting the shots your want and therefore, executing your plan.
This is something that we're going to track too.  Every hole I want you to look at each shot and give yourself a point if you analyzed properly, give yourself a point if you visualized, and give yourself a point if you executed.  So if you had a 5 on a hole and you did all of your analysis correctly then you get 5 analysis points, f you properly visualized you would get 5 visualization points, and if you stayed committed to every shot then you would get 5 execution points.  Here's a spreadsheet a downloadable spreadsheet to help you track your progress.

That's all we have for this fourth and final week of our 30 day challenge.  Remember to share your results through the Facebook Group.  There will be a short survey coming out sometime soon just asking what you thought of the 30 Day Challenge.  This is the first iteration after all and I'd like to keep it rolling forward and improving.  As always, I'll see you in the short grass.
 
Cheers!
Apr 22, 2016
Week three of the 30 day challenge, coming at you!
 
This week we are looking at different practice routines that teach us how to perform in pressure situations.  Let's get right to it!
 
Practice #1: The Seven Second Drill
 
This drill comes from PGA instructor David Heinen, former coach of Vijay SIngh, and head instructor at the Kaizen Golf Academy and it's a really good one!
 
One of the biggest ways people stumble under pressure is how long they take while standing over the ball, in that pressure packed moment.  Think back to Dustin Johnson's three putt at the 2015 US Open.  Even the commentators noticed that he took a lot of extra time over those putts, essentially psyching himself out.
 
Last week we talked about the Think Box/Play Box technique.  This almost like the big brother of that drill, here's how it works:
  • Stand behind the ball (in your Think Box) and decide the plan for that shot.
  • Once you leave your Think Box (with your decision made) start counting out loud down from seven.
  • You MUST hit your shot before you get to zero.  If you don't, it's time to start over start over.
That's really all there is to it!  When working on the driving range I want you to write down how many repetitions it takes before you are feeling consistent, comfortable, and confident executing your shots within seven seconds.  Some clubs might take more reps than others, and that's okay, just make sure you keep track of it.
 
***For bonus points see if you can trim it down to five seconds!***
 
Here's how this drill really benefits the golfer.  By limiting our time to execute the shot, we simply don't have enough time to second guess ourselves.  It forces us to go with the gut feeling, regardless of whether or not it's the right one.  This always makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from Bernhard Langer.
 
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The second way we're going to learn how to better perform under pressure is to simulate it in our practice.  Go back to your last really pressure shot, what did it feel like?  Faster heart beat, tunnel vision, racing thoughts?  If we can simulate these feelings in our practice we will be much better prepared for those circumstances.  Here's how we do it:
 
Practice 2: Golf Suicides
 
In order to properly do this drill you have to elevate your heart rate.  You can do this through jumping jacks, burpees, or even running in place.
  • Pick 10 different targets
  • Hit to them going through your normal routine.  
  • Write down the number of times you hit your target.
  • Repeat the exercise with 10 new targets doing your exercise of choice for 10 reps (or at least 10 seconds) between each shot.
  • Record how many times you hit your target.
  • Continue to do this exercise until your success rate under pressure matches your normal success rate.
You should always try to make your practice harder than your actual play, so incorporating this style of practice can help several different parts of your game, putting included!
 
Practice 3: Handling Pressure In the Moment
 
If you haven't had a chance to work on the previous drills this one can help you on game day.  In an interview with Geoff Greig, PGA instructor and Amazon best selling author.  What Geoff has discovered is that if we hum while we swing we can interrupt the analytical side of our brain which is often responsible for over thinking.
 
By humming while you swing it lets your body just react rather than over processing the information while under then gun and succumbing to the pressure.
 
Here's what you do to get the maximum affect:
  • While swinging the club try to hum and keep a steady pitch.
  • The more steady the pitch during your swing, the smoother and more reactionary you've swung.
To measure our progress we're going to track the same things as the previous practice.
  • Pick 10 different targets
  • Hit to them going through your normal routine.  
  • Write down the number of times you hit your target.
  • Repeat the exercise with 10 new targets humming during each shot.
  • Record how many times you hit your target.
  • Continue to do this exercise until your success rate under pressure matches your normal success rate.
The great thing about this is that it is easily transfer to on course play!  It will help you get over the big moments on the course, by removing the analytical side of the brain, which is the one that amplifies the pressure.
 
That's all for this week, next up will be some game day mental strategies.
 
Cheers!
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