10 Tips That Work For An Average Golfer

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Golf Tips for all Before I give tips about playing well as a golfer, let me introduce myself, and why I am “qualified” to give golfing tips since I have been golfing for less than 10 years, am past my 50’s and have not really taken any professional teaching per se. I live in Oregon, where it sunshine’s on the days I work, and rains on my days off.  I have used the official pro golf grip successfully when golfing, but not really wired for that grip. I was born when all people were right handed  (1950”s).   Left handed people did not exist. When I began golfing, my cross handed grip caused a minor stir, and I tried to adapt to the correct grip, but found it to be awkward .  I found out that there were a few cross-handed pro golfers, and they were good golfers, but never really acknowledged as such.  (BTW, Phil Michelson is right handed). After struggling for a couple of years trying to adapt to the correct grip, I found a pro golfer who encouraged golfers to grip the club anyway they wanted to. As he so well said, “the goal of golf is to move the ball from the tee box to the green and ultimately to the hole in the green in the fewest strokes as possible.”  I adapted that mind set, and am a happy golfer even when the ball doesn’t go exactly where I want it to go. Tip #1.  A golfer’s goal should be the least strokes, not how far you can hit the ball.  Too much money is being spent on buying the newest club, rather than learning on how to move the ball from tee to green in fewest strokes. Tip #2.  Leave the driver in the bag unless you can consistently move the ball forward and keep it in the fairway.  Digging the ball out of the rough costs strokes. Tip #3.  Find a good 3 wood or 4 wood and use it as your driver.  Played correctly, the distance between the 3 & 4 wood and the driver is not that far, and the ball is still in the fairway >75% of the time.  (I have a 3 wood that I can carry almost 250 yds, and the ball is in the fairway  >75%). Tip #4.  Stop spending money on expensive golf balls.  The average golfer does not swing fast enough to fully compress high-end golf balls.  Buy a 3 ball sleeve of several golf brands and play them.  Some give you more distance, some less spin (more control and straighter), some putt better.  (Also gives you more money to play golf.)  You will find golf balls that fit you perfectly. Tip #5.    Practice putting, practice putting, practice putting.  Of the 18 holes placed , “the perfect score is 72 strokes and 36 of them are putts. “  How many putts do you use? Tip #6.  Try different ways to putt.  At present time, after getting a sense of the greens contours, I set up and then focus on the hole, not the ball.  Relax, keep your eyes on the hole and stroke the ball.    Practice this for a while, and you will be making 20 foot 1 putts, no matter whether the green is flat or undulating.  Why does it work so well, I do not know, it just works.  (BTW I have a golfing partner who is scratching his head over this.) Tip#7.  “Remember this is a game.”  Remind yourself every time you golf that “this is a game”.  There is no reason to bend your clubs, scream and holler (feels good though), and have any other types of tantrums because the ball did not go where you wanted it to.  (Yes you can throw it into the pond, but that means you will have to buy more balls.)  Remember the goal is to use the same balls, every time you golf.  (They should be well trained about 4th time out). Tip#8.  Get rid of some of your irons,  #3, #4, #5 and maybe #6, and use hybrids instead.  Hybrids are easier to use, hybrids are easier to use, did I say hybrids are easier to use, and that means more distance and consistency.   Be careful of the loft you get.  Make sure the hybrid loft is either the same loft as or within 1 degree of the iron you are replacing.  Practice with them to find the normal distance.   (Hybrids also make good “chip & run “ clubs).  I have used hybrids for a number of years and do not regret taking irons out of my bag. Tip#9.   Take drinks, (Gatorade, not that other stuff), snacks, sandwich, cookies, nuts, and other snacks when golfing.  Keeps energy up and keeps game fun. Tip#10.  If […] Read more »

Club-buying tips. Avoid Rory McIlroy’s Equipment Problems

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Changing Golf Clubs? Learn from Rory McIlroy. (by Eddie Shackleford) Thinking about trading in your golf clubs for newer models? You might want to think twice before you make any major changes in equipment. Although the latest and greatest clubs on the market promise longer drives, a smoother swing and targeted aim, switching sticks can sometimes have a negative effect on your golf game. Just ask Rory McIlroy. After signing a major endorsement deal, Rory McIlroy switched from his trusty Titleists to a new set of Nike golf clubs. He made the switch at the tail end of the offseason, giving him limited time to break in his new clubs. The result? A less than stellar performance at some of the season’s opening PGA tournaments. He denied any equipment problems in the press, but the scorecard doesn’t lie. McIlroy saw big success in the 2012 golf season. He won the PGA championship by an astounding eight strokes and climbed to the No.2 spot in the World Golf Rankings. So it seems that the only thing that has really changed between this year and last year, is the golf clubs. We’ll see how his new clubs perform at this year’s Masters Tournament, and if he’ll be the next winner to host the Masters Champions Dinner . We can all learn from Rory McIlroy’s experience. If you are thinking about changing golf clubs, consider a few things before you make a big investment: Do your homework. 
Don’t walk into a golf store without doing a little research first. Sure, golf pros and sales people can be helpful, but it’s good to hear from other people who have purchased the same clubs. Read online reviews, or ask fellow golfers for club recommendations. Beware of the Brand Consider switching clubs, but staying within the same brand. If you are still playing pretty decent, and just want upgraded equipment, buying a newer model of the same brand of clubs is a good option. This will minimize any major changes in your swing. Swing before you buy a couple practice swings in the store won’t give you a true read. Ask to take the clubs out to the driving range. Hit a few balls with each club. You might find that the driver swings great, but the irons aren’t connecting as well.  In that case, you can always buy a single new club instead of a full set. Most golfers change out drivers and putters pretty regularly without seeing any major impact in their game. Purchase, Practice, Practice If you a buy a new set of clubs, take them for a test drive before you book a tee time. You don’t want to use a new set of clubs in a high stakes tournament without getting some good practice sessions in first. Start with the driving range, and then follow with a casual 18 holes. Most importantly, give yourself a little time to adjust – but not too much. Once you make the switch, set a deadline for the transition. It will take a few rounds to get used to the clubs. But if after a month or two you start to notice your scores getting higher – take a mulligan and try again! Eddie Shackleford is a Senior Editor at Cable.tv and writes about all entertainment related content. He put this infographic together on the last Master’s winners and the dinner they chose: http://www.cable.tv/masters-champions-dinner/ ************************ Craig’s note:  I bought new clubs last summer that are NOT big name, big advertising, big marketing. I am extremely happy to report that I am playing fantastic with them and have been very surprised at their performance.   I will be telling you more about this as I conclude my testing but so far, I am totally convinced that you DO NOT need to spend big money for great clubs.  I also learned from taking a tour of the manufacturing plant that most all clubheads from all the companies come from the same place overseas…  You can pay more for big name marketing, endorsements, and TV ads…or you can keep that money in your pocket and score lower…. tell you more later! Greens and fairways, Craig Read more »

Tiger Woods Comeback – What Did He CHANGE?

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Tiger Woods Comeback – How did he do it? That’s almost hilarious. There was never anything wrong with his swing or his physical game or talent. We all know exactly what happened to him. Nobody thinks it’s a total coincidence that his game went downhill after his personal problems.He has said in interviews that he rebuilt his swing and his game…blah blah blah… Awhile back, I wrote a post saying that Tiger Woods is not mentally tough. I got all kinds of flack for that from Tiger fans. But, I was just calling it exactly like it was at the time. He wasn’t. His personal life hurt his golf and he didn’t win for quite a long time.  That’s not even debatable. So what about today? Well, since I preach to all the teams and athletes I work with that mental toughness is 50% resilience, then yeah, I have to say that Tiger, having regained #1 world status again, has become mentally tough….and that’s not really debatable either. Whatever you think of Tiger Woods, his recovery in golf brings up an important point for your game…and your life. What did he change and how do you make CHANGE like that? Well, this is exactly what I do…help people CHANGE. If this weren’t the case, people could give up smoking easily, we wouldn’t have an obesity or drug and alcohol problem.  AND, this is the same functionality that creates problems with your golf swing or putting stroke. If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, you know that this is the core of everything I teach here.For starters, in order to make any kind of permanent or long-lasting CHANGE, it has to be done at the unconscious (subconscious) level of the mind. When you tighten up, you have a program at the unconscious level that needs to CHANGE. When you “yip” a putt, that’s your unconscious mind creating that problem. When you can’t stop all of that negative thinking and worrying on the course, that’s also your unconscious. You are in need of CHANGE. In fact, all of your problems out there can be traced to the unconscious mind…and so were Tiger’s.  There was never anything wrong with his game or swing. So…step 1 is just understanding that you have a conscious and an unconscious mind and that you must INTEND to make your CHANGE in the unconscious mind because this is what controls your emotions, and your emotions are the police force for your behaviors and performance. If you get to understanding this, you are 40% of the way to making your CHANGE. Step 2 – Find an antidote thought. This is something that “counters” or directly challenges the problem at it’s core. For instance, you might have the program:  “This hole always gets to me and I never do well on it.” The antidote could be:  “A golf hole is a golf hole no matter where I play and the fact that I know this hole makes it more likely that I can own it.” Do you see how this antidote is really specific to the problem? We’re not just doing a general “affirmation” like:  “I’m a great golfer”  which is supposed to overcome all of your problems. That kind of general antidote doesn’t have near the CHANGE power as one that is specific. You are now 60% of the way there. Step 3 – Mental repetition with INTENTION to go to the unconscious.  Think your antidote thought at least 10 times a day. Take a moment, stare off into space or close your eyes, take a deep breath and think your antidote thought.  Let the antidote thought integrate with the rest of your knowledge of the game and your other beliefs. Process it in. ( I could write a book on just this step but this is the basics) This is probably the most common and simple way to make CHANGE. If you do step 3 with INTENTION, you are basically doing hypnosis. Hypnosis is nothing more than communication with the unconscious mind. Another even more powerful way to make CHANGE is to take advantage of highly emotional states.  Whenever you are in high emotion, you have opened the gateway to the unconscious mind.  When that gateway is open, whatever you are thinking at the time has a very good opportunity of becoming your new program in the unconscious mind. So, going back to Tiger Woods comeback, I don’t know exactly how he rebuilt his mental toughness but somehow, he had to integrate what happened in his personal life with his beliefs as a world class golfer. Clearly he did that. Bravo for him for making this CHANGE. Sure would be nice to hear from the press about any positive changes he’s made in his personal life […] Read more »

Golf news now…what’s your opinion?

Golf is in the midst of some controversy these days and I want to know your opinion on the following 2 topics after I give you mine. Did you know that the International Olympic Committee just voted Golf to become an Olympic sport starting in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro? In my opinion, as much as I love golf, this is a ridiculous development for the Olympics. In order to make room for golf, it is eliminating wrestling as an Olympic sport! Wrestling has been an Olympic sport since the 19th century and man has been wrestling in competition since…well, since probably sporting competition began! Let’s face it, it is a privilege to play golf and only a small handful of athletes in rich countries have the opportunity to develop the talent. I work with wrestlers on their mental game in my office and I can tell you that wrestling is a tough sport to train and become good at. I feel for the wrestlers. By the way, in doing a little research, I found that golf was in the 1900 and 1904 Olympics. In 1900, 4 countries participated and in 1904, 2 countries sent teams. I’d like to know if you agree or disagree with me below and why. Banning anchored putting? I’m generally in favor of allowing anchored putting to continue as it has but the other side has some good points. Let’s go over them: “There is no compelling data” to prove anchoring helps, said the R&A’s chief executive Peter Dawson. “This is about defining what a golf stroke is.” If there is no evidence of an advantage, then what’s the big deal? And even if there is, anybody can use one so it’s fair for all. On the other side of the coin is Mike Davis, USGA executive director who said: “Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball, The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club. I think the tie-breaker for me is that many average golfers, especially older ones, enjoy the game just a little bit more when they can use a putter that helps them beat the shakes or the yips and that’s the promise of the anchored style. What do you think? Greens and fairways, Craig Read more »

Don’t let Frustration Ruin your Golf Game

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Controlling Your Emotions on the Golf Course – Part 2 This is the kind of scenery us golfers get to recreate in. It could be the picturesque contrast of the desert against a bright green grass, or fairways lined with majestic pine trees, or wetlands with wildlife and plants that you rarely would get to see otherwise. Most of us would admit that it’s one of the reasons we love this game; that we love the beauty of the outdoors. Even on a mini course in the heart of the city it’s still a welcome break from the normally chaotic scenes we take in our vision on an average day. You’re there because you love it. You’re there because you want to be. It’s a release from our every day worries. It’s a respite from the pressures of our jobs. It’s a break from all those people who want a piece of you all day. It’s a time-out from stress and having to think hard to solve problems. And for some of us, it’s an opportunity to challenge ourselves when we don’t get enough of that to stimulate our brain as much as it needs to feel alive. On top of that, we get to do it with people of our choice, like-minded friends and friendly souls to exercise our social nature. Even those who are there for the hard-core competition and big money ultimately do it for those same reasons. What I’m trying to say right off here is that, we don’t deserve to get anger or frustration. What? No, we don’t.  But I just missed a 3 foot putt that cost me $100 and yes, I am angry about it and experiencing frustration! Go and reread the first paragraph again. Doesn’t it seem downright silly to be angry given all that? Just the fact that we have enough money to be able to spend some of it this way puts us in the top 5% of people on this planet that can even afford it!! Do you know how lucky we are to be able to even play golf? Billions of people don’t know where their next meal is coming from and so we have only the right to be thankful and grateful. And yes, even a duty to really enjoy everything about this game, even the times when we don’t play so well. The thought I hope comes to your head now is: “I never thought of it THAT way.” That’s called perspective. I know, I never thought of it that way either until recently. We take so many things for granted in our lives and I’m now going to make every effort to be grateful and thankful and those conscious-directed thoughts will not only keep my body’s natural balance in order, but I believe it will also do something for my spirit. I threw a club a few years ago !  It’s true! I was so angry with myself for missing a putt I thought I should have made. I winged my putter about 30 feet toward the next tee (didn’t want to have to do any extra walking you see- Hah!) You know, I wasn’t even so angry that I missed the putt as much as I was for not following all of my own advice that I’ve been giving out. I didn’t follow through and didn’t hold my finish and so the putt was a weak stab. I was angry for not living up to my own expectations. And how many times have I preached and written about not having expectations? And there I went and did it myself! What’s really ironic, is that the fact that I had expectations of myself to play the way I tell others, perfectly all of the time, is the exact reason why I didn’t play the way I tell others!  It’s the reason why I missed that putt! Had I put myself in the correct frame of mind BEFORE playing that day, and kept myself there, I would have given my unconscious the opportunity to consistently follow all the instrutions I’ve been giving it including making sure that I hold my finish on putts. It all goes back to internal representations, it always does. Frustration comes from you expecting something to happen and you can’t figure out why it doesn’t or how to prevent it. You get yourself wound up in this endless loop of “why me?” More confession time: That day that I threw the putter, I was on the 6th hole and that putt was about 4 feet for a birdie. I had parred all 5 holes prior to that. So even after missing that putt, I was still at par. So I tried to get ahold of myself because I knew there was lots of holes to play. But guess what, the chemicals in my body had already been released from my little tantrum. My limbic brain had already hijacked my neuron transmission processes. […] Read more »

Golf Practice in your head. Unconscious Golf Part 1

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You might be sitting down at your computer at your home or at your office. You may have caught a few minutes of the Golf Channel or a pro tournament on T.V. Your mind starts gearing up for golf! Yes, you haven’t played a round in what, a week has it been already? Your last round didn’t go so well and you almost vowed to give up the game. You could feel those arm muscles twitching as you walked by the last water hazard and that little voice inside your head said “go ahead, do it, throw ’em in there, you know you want to.” But, you resisted, and we’re glad you did because you know that those feelings always go away and you’ll be driven like some magnetic force to that great green playground we call a golf course. But wait! You surely don’t want to repeat last week’s fiasco and so you start calculating what you need to do to avoid that embarrassing score again. Your mind immediately comes up with the solution to get your butt down to the range and start hitting some balls and work those problems out there until your hands bleed. Yeah, that’s it! If it worked for Ben Hogan, it’ll work for me. At least that’s what we’re told. But then you start looking through your appointment book or planner to find some time and it’s filled. There just isn’t a free hour anywhere. What to do now? You surely don’t want to go out there and just die again in front of everyone. The answer is Golf Practice in your head! When big time pros like Phil Mickelson can come back from an injury and win a tournament when he spent hardly any time practicing before it, you know there’s something to it. Even when they ARE able to practice, they supplement it with golf practice in their head as much or more than on the range. Before we go into this, I need to expound on what you learned in lesson #2 about your unconscious mind. There have been many studies done to show that practicing in your head, while you sleep, or just daydreaming at your office for a few moments, is the same to the nervous system as actually playing. And it can sometimes be even much better because many golfers practice incorrectly or without a purpose and all they end up doing is ingraining bad habits! It can be very simple and I’d like to suggest that you have that intention while doing this. First off, you may have noticed that I use the terms “unconscious” and “subconscious” interchangeably. Yes, those terms mean exactly the same thing. I prefer “unconscious” but no matter. Bandler and Grinder, the originators of NLP, said: “the part of your functioning which is responsible for about 95% of your learning and skill is called your unconscious mind. Once the unconscious mind can accept an idea it begins to execute it, good and bad alike, it doesn’t matter what you put into it, if it accepts it, it will act on it and execute what you tell it to do.” So you have to watch what you think and say especially to yourself. Never use negatives like: “I’m a lousy putter”. Your unconscious mind will believe it and act on it. This is one of the most important ideas on how our unconscious mind works and it’s directly related to golf. Here’s some more: 1. It’s prime directive is to preserve the body ie survive and thrive. 2.Stores all memories and organizes them in a time order. 3. It is symbolic. It uses and reacts to symbols. 4. It always chooses the path of least resistance. This usually means, unfortunately for us, that it will choose to do it what it has always done that has given you comfort and no stress. Again, this is not all bad so long as we understand this, we can give our unconscious mind orders where the easiest choice for it to make will benefit us. 5. It needs repetition until a habit is installed. 6. It enjoys serving but must have crystal clear orders to follow. 7. Is the domain of all of our emotions. Wow, can you see the power here in learning how to work with our unconscious mind for golf in controlling our emotions? 8. It runs the body. 9. It contains the ability to transfer learned skills from one part of our body or mind to another. Here’s the big kicker concept for Mental Practice. This idea supports the contention that it is not 100% necessary to practice based on the old model of the brain that we “hard-wire” these abilities in our nervous system. That old model says that we “store” muscle […] Read more »

Gary Players golf driving for distance tips

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How one of golf’s greatest legends uses the driver ************************************************************ Golf DRIVING FOR DISTANCE by Gary Player Keeping in mind this American stress on the long ball, I hope my methods of adding distance will be helpful to the reader. First, I had all of my clubs made one-half inch longer than the standard length I had been using. Longer clubs naturally give a longer swing arc. If you have a longer arc I golf you’re automatically going to hit the ball farther. Also, with longer clubs it is possible to shorten your grip on the shaft if a shot calls for less distance; with a short club you don’t have enough shaft to grip farther up when you need extra length. A word of warning: the prospective club buyer who wants more length should consult his professional for advice before investing in longer shafts.   A second factor that helped me hit the ball farther was improvement of my weight shift. Like many golfers, I had a problem shifting my weight to my left foot on the downswing. I frequently fell back on my right leg, pulling away from the ball. Your weight should move slightly to the right foot on the backswing and then shift to the left foot immediately at the start of the downswing. ***The one thing I concentrate on during my swing is shifting my weight to the left foot in returning the clubhead to the ball. *** This weight shift to the left adds distance because it helps delay the uncocking of the wrists on the downswing. This delayed hit uncocks the wrists just before impact so that the speed of the clubhead really accelerates as it meets the ball. Too many golfers feel they add distance by swinging harder with hands and arms. They start the downswing with their hands and arms before shifting their weight to the left foot. As a result, they uncock their wrists too early, wasting clubhead speed. ***Uncocking the wrists with a delayed hit is the real secret of long drives***, but you shouldn’t be conscious of hands and arms in the golf swing. By immediately shifting your weight forward on the downswing, you will automatically delay unlocking your wrists. Your hands and arms will follow your hip turn naturally and whip the club through. A proper weight shift brings the big muscles into play and provides a delayed uncocking of the wrists on the downswing. You will find it can do wonders in adding distance. Paul Harney is an excellent example of a golfer who uses the proper weight shift. Paul is slight, weighing about 140 pounds. Yet, he is one of the longest hitters in golf. Here is how I achieve my weight shift on drives: I close my stance, which means my right foot is pulled back farther than my left from along the target line. In this stance, it is easier for me to get a full body turn on the backswing. By taking a full windup and by using big muscles of my body and legs, I add both rhythm and power to my swing. Golfers who start the club back with their hands and arms alone have a tendency to swing at the ball with their hands and arms before the weight has shifted forward. Thus, they never fully employ the back and leg muscles that provide maximum power in the golf swing. The legs are about four times as strong as the arms: why waste this potential by swinging solely with hands and arms? The closed stance also helps me take the club back well inside the line to the target. This prevents me from returning the clubhead to the ball from the outside, thus creating a sliced shot and consequent loss of distance. I also help my downswing weight shift to the left by addressing the ball with my left toe slightly pointed outward, toward the target. This makes it easier for me to turn my hips ahead of my hands on the downswing. Several other features of my address foster this proper weight shift and resulting delayed hit. I like to imagine my right elbow is against my side at address, although physically it isn’t. I want this elbow tucked into my side as soon as possible on the downswing so that what I’m doing at address is what I hope to duplicate at impact. This is also true of my right leg, which I bow slightly forward at address, pointing the knee a bit toward the target. As with the right elbow, this merely advances the position I want to be in when I hit the ball. These actions, the right elbow in tight, and kicking the right knee toward the target, help me transfer my weight to […] Read more »