Golf Strategy School Podcast

Golf Strategy School Podcast: Where 18+ handicaps come to learn how to break 90.
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Apr 15, 2016
Alright {!firstname_fix} are you ready to ditch the tension from your swing?
Week 2 of the challenge starts now!
This time around we're focusing on the ability to make tension free swings.  A tension free swing makes for better shot making, more consistent performance, and even more distance!  Here's your Work Book to track your progress for this week.
Practice #1: Think Box/ Play Box
Tension manifests itself in many different ways.  If we think about it chronologically, the first place it shows up in your journey as a golfer is with bad decisions, which a lot of times really the product of indecision.  For most people that's the indecision about which shot, club, or target should be picked.  This results in taking more time over the ball, and the longer we spend over the ball, the more the tension builds.
These situations tend to occur for people more while they're actually playing, so you may consider trying this during a practice but it can certainly be done on a driving range as well.
The Think Box/Play Box idea comes from Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson, both multi time Golf Digest Top 50 teachers.  When practicing, and even more importantly while playing, this drill helps you commit to your shots - a major weakness of most amateurs.
Here's how it works.  While behind the ball picking your target you are in the Think Box.  Here you can analyze and visualize your shot, but once you've left the Think Box and transition into the Play Box (standing over the ball) you have to be 100% committed to the shot you've chosen.  No more changing your mind.
Think of it like occupying two actual physical boxes (hence the name!).  Check out this picture for a more clear representation.
Once you've left the Think Box no more changes can be made.

There's two ways to measure your progress here.  The first one is the more basic of the two.  Simply tracking whether or not you stayed committed to your shot.  
It's pretty straight forward if you're actually on the course.  Just think about the last shot and check to see if you stayed committed to your target and swing.  The easiest way to track this is just add that line on your scorecard, I like to call it EXECUTE.  Did I execute my Think Box plan?
If you're on the driving range I would track this 10 shots at a time.
  • Pre-select 10 different targets
  • On each shot add the Think Box & Play Box to your pre-shot routine
  • Track to see if you stayed committed and executed the plan with each shot
I think it's important to mention here that when I ask if you're staying committed, I'm not asking if you hit your target, or if the shot was even good.  I'm asking Did you stay committed to your Think Box plan?
  • Did you waffle on your club decision?
  • Did you change your target midway through your pre-shot routine?
If you answered yes to either of these questions (or anything similar) then you didn't execute the plan.  Work on going through your whole routine, making an achievable plan, and executing it!
Another way you can do some really solid self analysis is to weigh your expectation vs the outcome on these 10 shots.  If you are finding that your expectation never matches up with the outcome it's probably time to start picking more conservative targets more in line with your abilities.
Practice #2: The Tension Scale
A huge key to several different areas of golf is awareness.  Whether it's reading the breeze to see how much extra club you should take, or being aware that you are getting upset about a shot and not letting it bleed into later swings and potentially into later holes.
The specific spot we're talking about today is, you guessed it, TENSION!
Lot's of people don't realize that they may be gripping the club really hard, I mean white knuckling it.  One way to test this is the exercise from Iain Highfield, Director of Mental Training at Bishops Gate Golf Academy.
The Tension Scale is a 0-10 scale measuring the tension in your hands, arms, and body.  A 0 on the Tension Scale is super loose, barely able to stand up.  Almost like your body is made out of cooked spaghetti noodles.  A 10 on the Tension Scale looks, frankly, like the Hulk.  Super stiff body, white knuckles on the club, probably a clenched jaw too!  Here's how the drill  works:
  • While in your Think Box try to sense your current number on the Tension Scale.  Say it out loud.
  • Let go of your club bend slightly at the waist and shake all your tension out so you're at 0.
  • Now count up to 10 slowly increasing your tension along the way until you max out.
  • Hold that 10 on the Tension Scale for at least 5 seconds.
  • Then slowly count back from 10 relaxing and work your way back down to 0 shaking out any remaining tension.
  • Repeat that process once more.
  • Now pick up your club and notice what your tension level is (should be a 1 or 2)
  • Quickly move into your Play Box and execute your shot (should take 7 seconds or less).
Just like in Practice #1 I want you to pick out 10 targets and do this before each individual shot.  To measure your progress here I want you to note on which shot (out of 10) you feel like you are able to consistently start swinging at a 1 or a 2 on the Tension Scale.
Here's a video of Iain working with one of his students on the this very drill. 
So now you know how to practice swinging tension free, and how to approach your shots with a logical thought process to hopefully circumvent the tension in the first place, but what happens if you're stuck in the moment?
In past episodes Debbie O'Connell, former LPGA National Professional of the Year, has shared her strategies on how we can properly breathe to slow our heart rate and ditch some of that tension.
When you breathe in try to do it while you slowly count to 5 in your head.  Then when you exhale try to exhale while slowly counting to 6.  The idea is this slow paced breathing gets you calmed back down so you can perform in your normal conditions.

In my own research I came across a really great article from Dr. Robert Duff about managing anxiety.  Dr. Duff uses a really slick breathing exercise that goes a long with an animation.  It's really easy, as the shape grows breathe in, as it shrinks exhale!
The practice routine I want you to do is going to help you learn this breathing pattern, because it's something really easy to take with you on the course.
Practice #3: Breathing
Again like drill #1 we are going to pick 10 predetermined targets to hit to.
  • While standing in your Think Box breathe along with the animation once.
  • While in the Play Box breathe along with the animation once (again)
  • After the swing write down what your tension level was during your swing.
What i want you to notice is the calm after having gone through this breathing exercise twice before your shot.  This will help you eliminate any remaining tension left before your shots.  The other nice thing about this is that you can actually download this GIF on your phone and use it while walking between shots if you're ever feeling over stressed.
That's all we have for this week!  next week we will be working on confidence building practices for the full swing.  Don't forget to share your progress, and thoughts with the Facebook community
Apr 8, 2016
Glad to see that you're back for the practice routines for week 2!  Now please excuse the upcoming bold font, but this is a crucial part to any practice you're doing and it will be a theme that's applied through the rest of the 30 day challenge.
Your success rate MUST be between 30% - 70% to be experiencing improvement.
So keep that in mind when you are doing these practice routines.  If you are able to do them with better than a 70% success rate you need to make it harder and vice versa if that success rate is below 30%.
So on to the good stuff!
This week we are going to look at some short game practice routines. Let's start with the flat stick.
Practice #1 Putting
Here's the thing, just about every instructor is going to look at your alignment first so let's get that out of the way right now.
Step 1: Pick a putt that's straight, about 10 feet long.
Step 2: Set up
Check with your course to see if it's okay to put chalk on the practice green.  Then draw two lines, I like to use an actual builders chalk line.  Line #1 should be the intended starting line of your putt.  Line #2 should be a short line that runs perpendicular to that line and should be at the very beginning of line one forming an uppercase T.  (See the picture below)
Use line number #2 to align your putter face throughout this drill. Go through your entire preshot routine and hit a few warm up putts.  Monitor if your putts roll down line #1.  If they do, then you know your path is good!
The real test comes from The Gate Drill.
  • Place two tees slightly wider than a golf ball about three feet away from your starting point.
  • Try to hit the putts so they go between the tees.
    • After 10 putts see if you are in that 30%-70% range.  If so, then you are still learning.  Repeat the drill two more times.
      • If you are under 30% widen the tees making it a touch easier and repeat the drill two more times.
      • If you are over 70% move the tees a little closer to the hole, (away from you) and do the drill two more times.
Our second practice routine is called the Putting Ladder Drill.  This one builds the confidence to make those knee knockers and other pressure putts.  This is going to start sounding repetitive but always make sure you go through your complete preshot routine when hitting any shot, even these practice drills.  Anyway, here's how we do the Putting Ladder:
  • Find a fairly straight putt that's about 30 feet long and set a ball down every six feet (6', 12', 18', 24', 30') all on the same line.
  • Set an extra club (or towel, or flag, anything works) about three feet behind the hole. 
  • Hit each putt making sure the ball reaches the hole but DOES NOT hit extra club laid behind it.
    • This means you don't actually have to drain it, just make sure you stop it in that zone between the cup and the club.
  • If you leave the putt short of the hole or go too far and hit the stick, then you have to start over.
Again, we do this drill 10 times to see if we are in that 30%-70% success zone.  If you make it all the way through the five putts without starting over that's a win!  If you miss one and have to start over, that's a missed attempt (it counts toward your 10 reps).  
This is a pretty tough drill for most people starting out so don't be surprised if you have to tone down the difficulty.  If you are under 30% success and need to make it easier just shorten the distance between each ball to about 3 feet.  (Make sure you keep track of the new distance between each putt!)
If you need to make it harder (over 70% success) you can add another ball at 36' or even just increase the distance between the ones you have (7' instead of 6').
The real beauty of this drill is that it gets us familiar with experiencing failure.  That way when we are out there on the course standing over a really tough putt, we've already experienced that emotion and taught ourselves how to handle it.  Which helps to eliminate fear in the moment.
Here's a quick little video from LPGA professional Katie Detlefsen that gives you the general idea for set up and execution. - Please remember to go through your entire pre shot routing before every putt though!
  Ladder Drill - School of Golf | Golf Channel
Our second structured practice is for chipping.

Practice #2 Chipping
This practice routine is going to sound eerily familiar.  It's the big brother to the putting ladder, it's the chipping ladder!
The set up is similar pretty similar.
  • Pick a chip shot about 30 feet away
  • Draw a chalk circle (6' diameter) around the cup.
  • Set cones (or draw more chalk lines) every ten feet creating landing zones.
  • Take your golf balls just off of the fringe (no more than five feet).
From here we emulate the putting ladder.  
  • Starting with the zone closest to us we chip the ball trying to land it in that first landing zone
  • It must release and finish inside that six foot wide circle around the cup.
  • If you miss your landing zone or the circle you must start over.
If you hit your landing zone target and your stop the ball inside the circle then you get to move on to the next landing zone!

Remember your preshot routine each time, and don't be afraid to change clubs!
You can add or subtract landing zones as needed to maintain that 30%-70% success rate.
This drill helps eliminate fear, just like the putting ladder but it also adds some creativity to your game because you learn to alter you carry distance and ball flight around the greens.
Practice #3 Pitching
Here we are looking at the "fun" in between zones that a lot of people struggle with.  For this drill you will need to find a facility that has a designated pitching area or a random patch of grass where you can practice (about 80 yards).
  • Start at 20 yards away from your target and place five balls.  Continue every 10 ten yards until you are 80 yards out.
  • Hit each of the 5 balls to the target at each station tracking how many times you were withing 10 feet of the target (roughly).
  • Reset, this time with only three balls per station.
  • This time our goal is slightly different
    • 1st ball should land just beyond the target
    • 2nd ball should land just short of the target
    • 3rd ball should right on the target
  • Reset the stations again with only 3 balls and complete the exercise again (long/short/on target).
  • The fourth and final time we will reset the stations with our original 5 ball set up and try to hit the target exactly
    • Record your percentage within 10 feet again.  It should've gone up compared to the first time!
This drill is awesome because
A) It helps you practice distance control, which is crucial for scoring
B) It helps you separate the pin from your target because those two things are rarely the same!
Make sure to share you progress in the Golf Strategy School Facebook Group to get that added support!

I'll see you next Monday with the new set of practice routines.
Apr 1, 2016

Welcome to day #1 of the 30 Day Challenge!  We've got over 120 people participating so I want to see lots of conversation and community accountability.  

The three tasks I want you to complete are

  1. Answer these 4 questions
    1.  What are three things that worked really well last year?
    2.  What are three things that didn't work well last year?
    3.  What is one thing you learned from last year?
    4.  What is one thing you could do right away to improve?
  2. Write down your practice schedule or program it in your phone
  3. What is your goal and how will you measure it?

You can chat with the other participants at

Also you can still sign up and get most of the bonuses at:


Hope to see you there!



Mar 29, 2016

Join us for the LIVE 30 Day Game Improvement Challenge!  Sign up at


How it works:

When you sign up for the challenge you will receive three specific focused practice routines designed to rapidly improve different aspects of your game.  Each week we focus on a new part of your game; going from short game all the way to full swing and even on course performance.


If you commit to these practice routines and follow them through to the end of the challenge you can take your game to a whole new level, and the best part is that it's 100% FREE!

So sign up at



Mar 4, 2016

Debbie is back to share some details about an awesome event that she is teaching at in conjunction with Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar, as well as an easy addition to your pre shot routine that will help you hit your target more consistently.

Feb 20, 2016

This episode is a home show where I talk about some of the reasons why we need to have a post shot routine.  The strategy we cover here is from one of our past guests, Golf Digest Top 50 instructor James Sieckmann.  In his book Your Short Game Solution he actually covers a great and incredibly important part of the mental game, the post shot routine.


The three main components are to a good post shot routine:

  1. Taking ownership of your good shots
  2. Objectifying your bad shots
  3. Letting go of all your shots
Feb 5, 2016



Craig used to own five different golf tech learning centers. He has taught over 10,000 lessons, and he’s taken his expertise to the online world. Craig is now the creator of Face First Golf, which is a community that was born on Facebook, then brought even further onto the digital side of his own membership program. His programs focus on eliminating the common errors that plague 12+ handicap players.




  • The 12+ Handicapper and how to keep enjoying the game

    • Craig used to be the 12+ handicapper, so he knows what it feels like to be in that range and to want to be good so bad.

    • No need to make the bigger movements-Craig teaches how to keep a flatter left arm and wrist, and a little bit more about hip rotation

    • The Two T’s on the course are what you should be thinking about: target and tempo.

    • Remember the goal is to get your ball closer to the target, not to just hit the ball. Get the most out of imperfect swings. Changes aren’t instant.

    • Don’t worry about your ball flight when you’re trying to correct swing mechanics-focus on that target.

  • What to do when working on mechanics

    • Hit ten balls, then step away, and say you’re gonna go through your whole routine

    • Then hit the next three balls without any mechanical thoughts in your head.

    • Keep going back and forth between training and trusting mode-practice your trust mode in practice.

  • Common hurdles people have difficulty clearing

    • Too much random free golf advice available all over the internet

    • Commit to something and turn everything else off-follow one person’s advice, like Craig’s! Follow one course until success

  • Rapid Fire Round

    • Single best piece of advice ever given: don’t follow up a bad shot, with a dumb one. Get yourself back into position. Don’t hit the hero shot.

    • Favorite practice drill: The 9 o’clock drill

      • Players make a half-back swing so your left arm is parallel to the ground. Then from that stopped position, hit the shot. Players get immediately into a better impact position. They also swing more with the body, rather than their arms.

    • What’s the most fundamental component for higher handicappers to focus on?

      • Club face. The reason so many players swing over the top is because their club faces are open. If you don’t fix it, they’ll always swing over the top.

    • Book Recommendation:

    • How to prepare for a tournament in one day

  • Parting piece of guidance:

    • Pick something and stick with it and tune everything else out.




Jan 22, 2016


These two are part of a team in iGrow golf, and are also part of an amazing project called Operation 36. Both Ryan and Matt are PGA professionals and teach and coach in North Carolina. In 2009 they created a revolutionary junior golf coaching program. Operation 36 is a culmination of trial and error with golfers age 3-13, and its main goal is to get juniors to shoot 36 or better for nine holes.


Jan 8, 2016



Alison is one of only 11 women who have reached the level of PGA Master Professional.  She is also the 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year and with her degree in psychology, Alison gives unique insight into the game of golf.




  • 8:00: Let go of those bad shot moments.
    • If people hold on to their worst shot, that is going to delay their career moving forward.
  • 9:30: What’s the difference between sport psychology and clinical psychology?
    • A sports psychologist may work with a student on mental performance and breathing and visualization and emotional management and goal setting.
    • If a client starts to talk about having depressive symptoms or clinical anxiety that pervades them from being their best, that’s where a therapist or psychologist would come into play.
  • 13: Alison’s personal approach to teaching the mental side of golf:
    • She gets a thorough history from the student about what they know about the mental game.
    • Once Alison knows where they’re coming from, then she can start to infiltrate with her education about what might be helpful in their performance.
  • 14:30: Important things to consider when trying to improve your mental game:
    • Management of emotions.
    • Self-schemas - how do we talk to ourselves? Be motivational
    • You can add in some visualization and some relaxation techniques.
  • 16: How do we practice emotional management:
    • First identify what’s going on-what does it feel like? What does it look like? What are we going to call it? (i.e. are you feeling frustration?)
    • Use breathing or relaxation to take the intensity from one level to another.
    • Be able to repair. Get back to that motivational mental state.
  • 18: A common way to help recognize negative emotion and repair it:
    • A good mentor can see it in their student, and be able to call that negative energy out in the moment.
    • Talk about the physical aspect to what the student is feeling.
    • Take a deep breath, and breathe all the anger and frustration out, then go through the shot again to see if it’s any better.
  • 21: Be aware of yourself even while you are practicing:
    • Manage your emotions in life, and you’ll be able to transfer it on to the golf course.
    • If you can’t handle it in life, how are you supposed to be able to on the course?
  • 23: A general hurdle that many people have trouble getting over:
    • An incongruent level of expectation versus outcome.
    • If you don’t put any practice into the game, don’t expect to shoot a good game.
    • Match your goals to reality.
  • 24:20: How do we bring ourselves into reality then?
    • It’s different for each individual.
    • Consider how much time you are actually putting into golf, and see where your goals are at.
  • 26: Rapid Fire Round:
    • Best piece of advice: make an adjustment. Think differently.
    • Go-to method to work out of a slump: do something completely different than anything you have have done before. Get out of your routine.
    • Favorite practice drill: slow, tai-chi type swings. It gets you thinking in a different way. Try swinging in slow motion.
    • What is the most fundamental part of the mental game: emotional management. The game can be much more enjoyable.
    • Book recommendation: “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey. Just replace all of the tennis words with golf words.
    • How to prepare for the best round ever: sleep and nutrition are the top two things. Touch on all pieces of your game in a two hour time span. Don’t do it in large pieces. Focus on everything you’re doing really well.
  • 33: Parting piece of guidance:
    • If it’s not working, think differently.



Dec 4, 2015

How to Approach Your Short Game



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.

    • Training techniques:

      • 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?

    • 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.




Nov 27, 2015

Setting Goals the Right Way

Episode Highlights


Goal setting can be broken into two components - Long range goals and  short range or round specific goals


Long Range Goals:


These should be as specific as possible and shared with friends and family to help create some accountability on your part..


  • Build in a statistical component so you know you’re on track while you’re progressing.

Example: 50% of greens in regulation (be realistic though, pros on hit 70% of greens)


  • Define the process that will get you to that goal

Example: Scheduled practices on focused areas of your game

See Peter Malnati's fantastic example here


Short Range Goals:


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.

Nov 20, 2015

How to Build Rhythm in Your Golf Swing

Episode Highlights

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

How we can build good rhythm

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.

Links mentioned in the show

Dr. Rob Bell's Episode

Geoff Greig's Episode

Geoff’s Webinar

Nov 14, 2015

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

Episode Highlights

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?

Practice makes what? Perfect PERMANENT. What you do more of you get better at. So if you go to the driving range and pound 50 balls and have 15 different swing thoughts, never doing the same thing twice – you’re getting better at thinking a lot. This makes it incredibly difficult to replicate swing with any consistency on the course because you have been training to think a lot, not be target focused.

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.

Links mentioned in the show:

Oct 30, 2015

4 steps to a solid pre shot routine

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.


Physical Portion

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.


Mental Portion


Decision Making

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.


Visualize Your Plan

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.


Staying Focused

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.


Don’t Linger

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.

Oct 7, 2015

Putting with Confidence

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.

Oct 2, 2015

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.

Episode Highlights​

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).

Links and resources discussed in the show​


Rick's Books - Golf: The Ultimate Mind Game​

Rick's book for a golf - Mindset by Carol Dweck​

Sep 25, 2015

Penny Pulz, LPGA Champion & Focus Expert

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


Highlights from the interview


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:


For those of you who may be struggling with the visualization portion of your mental game Penny has this quick tip.

"Strategize the action you’re about to take and then walk yourself through it."
Click to Tweet


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


Links and resources mentioned in the show

Sep 18, 2015

Using brain monitoring to rapidly implement change in your swing.

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.

Sep 11, 2015

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.


Interview Highlights

  • 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.

  • Golf is not a game of perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella

  • 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:

Sammy Hanson on Facebook

(281) 608-6366 (Cell)

Sep 1, 2015


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.

Hydration/nutrition rules:

  • 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 -

Sites and Resources Mentioned in the Show:


Aug 24, 2015

Are you a golfer who struggles with consistency or getting/staying "in the zone"?  Steven Yellin has spent 30 years creating a systematic process to help all athletes achieve the flow state we desire.  Take a listen and maybe you can pick up some things that will help you get there quicker and stay there longer!

Consistency through brain science


Steven teaches at the David Leadbetter Academy at ChampionsGate in Orlando Florida and has a book called The Fluid Motion Factor. It really dives into the brain science and the motion behind that. It’s almost like the building blocks to the “in-the-zone performance.” Steven has dealt with 13 different sports including seven different professional teams.


  • Something happens in the mind that let’s the muscles be free and move the way how they know how to move.

  • What triggers this “experience” is that the mind starts to become very quiet.

  • Because every shot counts in golf, it creates a lot more drama and gets the hard-drive spinning in the brain because you know there’s not a second chance.

  • By asking a player to do something very specific, it instantly accesses this part of the mind that let’s something in the mind be free-this state is called the fluid motion factor.

  • The fluid motion factor is a neurological process in the mind.

  • What is setting one and how to create wholeness right before you pull the trigger.

  • Recognize if you feel the same way or not when you hit the ball without a target versus with a target.

  • Steven’s book recommendation: The 7 Secrets of World Class Athletes.

  • Once you develop muscle memory, it’s there; you don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to reinvent everything when you play.

  • Just know that you’ve hit enough good shots in your career that the shots are there, you just have to start simplifying.


Aug 13, 2015


Dr. Rob Bell was the assistant professor of sports psychology at Ball State. He has caddied on the PGA tour, so he obviously provides some expert insight that we haven’t had yet on the podcast. He is also a mental game coach; a mental toughness guy who works with PGA tours and PGA tour winners. Dr. Rob Bell actually worked with the 2013 USTA National Champion, which is the United States Tennis Association. This tenner player was the first unranked player to actually win a national championship. Dr. Rob has also even worked with the University of Notre Dame. He has three books out on Amazon right now: The Hinge; Mental Toughness; and No Fear. He’s currently working on a book coming out this fall called Don’t Should on your Kid.


  • How and why you should respond and not react in all aspects of life.

  • Dr. Rob’s favorite quotes: Be an athlete-don’t get all caught up

    • Confidence is king, and focus is queen

  • How Dr. Rob puts his clients under pressure at the beginning to see what type of person they are and how they play and what kind of mental toughness they have.

    • Learn what your demon is.

  • One of his favorite drills is to have clients start with making 100 3-footers in a row.

  • The difference between those that are successful and amateurs isn’t that they don’t mess up; it’s that they don’t let it bother them. They believe they’ll get that shot back.

  • It’s not about the setback, it’s about the comeback.

  • Choke in practice so you can familiarize yourself with the feeling so you don’t do it in actual play.

  • Get comfortable with what makes you uncomfortable

  • Dr. Rob’s book recommendation: Putting out of your Mind.

Aug 7, 2015

Part 2 with Shawn Stevenson

  • How to prepare nutritionally for a tournament so we have the ability to focus

    • Don’t just be ready, stay ready. If you wait until the last moment to get things right you can’t be ready at any time.

  • During a Physician's study, people were given a task, and then they were sleep deprived for just 24 hours. It took them 14x longer to complete that same task after being sleep deprived. You also just aren’t as smart.

  • Are there different foods to help brain performance? Foods to learn towards?

    • Carbs are energy, but are they efficient? They are very fast processing, so you’ll have to eat more often every day.  Therefore, not the best choice.

      Fat is a much denser source of energy and is more sustainable. (Winner Winner!)

    • All in all, lower your carb intake, increase your dietary fats. You won’t get fat from eating it.

  • The most important thing is to understand that you’re unique. Figure out what your goals are and find the right things that work for you.

  • About ⅓ to ½ of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables.

  • Health book recommendation: The Calorie Myth




The Calorie Myth:

Aug 1, 2015

This week we are featuring Amazon best selling author, Ted talker, and all around awesome guy Shawn Stevenson.  He shares his story about how a severe health issue lead him to be one of the leaders in the nutrition/fitness/health industries and how we can prepare ourselves for optimal performance by eating and sleeping right.

You should try to sleep like you're getting paid for it



Shawn Stevenson is a bestselling author and creator of The Model Health Show, featured as the #1 Nutrition and Fitness podcast in the world on iTunes. With a university background in biology and kinesiology, Shawn went on to be the founder of Advanced Integrative Health Alliance, a successful company that provides wellness services for both individuals and organizations worldwide. Shawn is also a dynamic keynote speaker who has spoken for TEDx, universities, and numerous organizations with outstanding reviews. To learn more about Shawn, visit


  • Shawn put a plan together to help with healing and vitality to live a healthier life:

    • Right nutrition

    • Movement (your body requires movement to heal itself; don’t sit still).

    • HIgh quality sleep (most changes happen while you’re asleep). Shawn lost 30 pounds over six weeks by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier.

  • Don’t let the nocebo effect rule your life. Get out of your own way and your body can do a lot to heal itself.

  • Always be honest with yourself about your ability. - A point I’ve been covering quite a bit lately :-)



The Calorie Myth:

Jul 24, 2015
    Do you need some straight talk about your mental game?  Well, Liam is here to bring the truth about how you can program your mind to eliminate mental interference.

      The language of the subconscious mind is images and feelings

          • Make sure you have no doubt in your mind when you take your shot.

          • Programming is when you’re trying to transfer something from you conscious mind, to the subconscious mind-get a clear image of the shot.

          • Liam’s favorite quote/statement: “Stick to the process, and let the results take care of themselves.”

          • Think Well, Play Great emphasizes the learning aspect-lots of lesson summaries.

          • Lessons that are covered in the program: to lessen mental interference; have a positive and constructive focus; what is an emotional state and how to help get into that state where you can execute better; then focus on developing your player image.

          • Don’t place limitations on yourself or have negative self-talk.

          • Analyze, program, allow: pre shot routine that Liam swears by.

          • In a slump? Maybe it’s just a simple fix. Don’t make any big swing changes.

          • Get technique correct before adding speed.

          • Liam’s book recommendation: “Zen Golf.”

          • Don’t get overwhelmed with new information and tips. Select the things that best apply to your game, and master those fundamentals.

          • SPECIAL OFFER!! - The first 20 people to use coupon code “Marty” will get 20% off!!!!

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