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The best golf advice I ever received

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #18  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about breaking free from the slavery of all the tips out there.  Haha, yep, I am going to actually rip on myself with this tip and tell you to enjoy the irony. Golfers who want to improve are generally a very open-minded, coachable group.  You want to improve, you want to experience the joy of lowering your score and the feelings of accomplishment you get from applying yourself to a a goal.  Yeah, me too! The problem comes in when you start to realize that golf instructors contradict each other regularly!  Who are you supposed to listen to?  I’ve got great news for all golfers…what is good for a touring pro may not be good for you.  What is good for a beginner, may hurt your game.  What one instructor teaches and professes to get great results with for his students….could actually be the worst thing you can do for your game!  There is no one way to golf. There is no one way to think about golf. There is no one set of clubs that are best for all, or even most golfers.  You need to be your own coach and trust your instincts.  

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice?  Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/

18.   View all golf advice with skepticism

best golf advice

Not all golf advice is good for you!

Listen, golf instruction is sort of like religion. Everyone thinks their way is the best way and that they have figured out how all golfers should swing, putt, chip, etc.

The best instructors are the ones that have many tools and techniques in their bag and they have enough experience to sense what is most appropriate for a particular individual, and then tailor it to him or her.

You play a unique game, have a unique swing, have your own body style and ways of thinking and moving.

What makes you think a cookie-cutter system is going to work for you just because it worked for someone else?

“You can borrow, and you can steal, but don’t copy- that’s my tip for today. Take a little from here, a little from there, a little from everywhere. Then make it all your own. Fiddle with things until you get something that works for you. It has to be a natural movement for you or it won’t hold up when it counts.” – John Daly from Golf My Own Damn Way

best golf adviceI like John’s advice.  I haven’t taken a lesson in 17 years as of this writing and have been studying golf the whole time.

I stay away from most swing instruction AND I recognize that there is some great stuff out there to help you and so I will recommend it.

But you have to be the one to decide if it fits you.

I give you full permission to fully ignore, scoff at, or reject any golf instruction you run across (including mine here) and go with whatever strikes you that it will work for you.

Start to discriminate a lot more about what you will incorporate into your game and you will save strokes and frustration.

How To Make Practicing Your Game Fun and At Home

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #39  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about breaking out of the box that says that golf is only for a full-sized course in a pristine country club setting where we have to dress up and observe all the traditions.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for that and I enjoy that just as much.  However, let’s face it…we all play golf, ultimately, because it’s fun and enjoyable.  So, why don’t we give ourselves the opportunity to expand those possibilities with this awesome game?  I say we can.  

AND, we can also have fun while working on improving our game…to boot!  

After re-reading what I wrote in the book below, I found this guy who created a website to help you have fun and PLAY GOLF EVERYWHERE!  I hope you do it.  

http://golfeverywhere.com/

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

39.      Improving your short game is fun

Ok, let’s face it…the problem with practicing is that it’s not fun. If it were as fun as the game, then we would MAKE time to do it all the time. That’s the secret here!

One day in my teens, I’m home from school with an illness. I hear dogs barking in the neighborhood and look outside.  I see 2 guys chipping from lawn to lawn of the houses on our street. I go out to talk to them and they are having a blast playing what they call “street golf.” They are bouncing the ball off the street and everything else and they weren’t drinking!

Since then, I’ve found a whole society called Guerilla Golfers.

Not long after that, I go to a golfing buddy’s house to watch a sporting event and show up an hour early.

We started with our sand wedge and then injected difficulty into the game with having to chip with our hybrids and then onto other clubs where the starting lie dictated it.

The next day, I killed it on the course!

The thing about this is that we always put something at stake and THAT made it fun.

I used to play a putting game with my young son that had golf balls colored and numbered like billiards balls and you putted then into the holes just like a pool table.

Family time and great putting time all at once!

Are you getting the picture?

Get creative and find ways to make working on your game fun and then it’s not practice!

How to play a golf practice round for maximum game improvement

Tip #31  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceis about taking a typical thing that golfers do to help improve their game, hit 2 or more balls in a practice round,  and supercharging it using the power of the mind.  

Every golfer knows the difference between how they feel approaching a shot in a practice round vs. how they feel in a competitive round.  If I had a dollar for every golfer who plays amazing in practice but can’t bring it to the course, I’d be rich. Overcoming this is one of the holy grails of golf, right?  

A typical tip given for this is to inject pressure into your practice and that helps… but what if you could inject your calm practice round swing/putting stroke into your competitive swing/stroke?  This would train your unconscious mind, through repetition, to come to some kind of mix of a pressured swing and a practice swing that would show up whether you are in practice or competition, just the same!  Hmmmm….Check it out:

 

31. Double your green fee golf value

Purposely schedule yourself a round when you know the course is uncrowded.

You want to do this in order to allow yourself to play 2 balls on the course.  But instead of the typical golfer who does this with a lackadaisical attitude and carefree swing, you want to do it with purpose and INTENTION.

What you want to do is play your first ball with the same intensity and pressure that you might have when playing the final round of the club championship.

I recommend putting a bet on it with a buddy and play strictly to the rules.

Do everything you can to put pressure on yourself with this ball.

With your second ball, you want to drop it in places where you need the most work such as in the rough, under a tree, behind an obstruction, with a bad lie, etc.

You will be alternating shots without fail.

 Notice how you take yourself from pressure to relaxed…pressure to relaxed….pressure to relaxed.  At some point, you will realize things about yourself that will give you the belief that you are in control of your state.

This is the magic for you!

And, you will be giving yourself a fabulous opportunity to work on the shots that you never work on while blurring the mental lines between pressure and relaxed.

If you go out and do this exercise with a blank mind, you won’t get much out of it.

This is what most golfers do when I see them playing 2 balls.

If you follow my advice, you will be improving your game WHILE still enjoying the challenge of shooting for a good score.

What You Can Use In Your Game From Watching The Pros

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #40  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about using what is USEFUL from watching the pros. We all know that we play a different game than the pros and shouldn’t be concerned with things like backing the ball up on an approach shot when we have multiple double and triple bogeys to let go of – first and foremost!

However, what most golfers DON’T know is that sometimes, their scoring problem on a particular hole or shot comes down to simply not taking every shot seriously and focusing on everything you need to do to make a successful shot or putt…

Especially, the pre-shot routine. Pros NEVER make that mistake. After your next round, ask yourself how many times you casually went up to a shot or putt, and it cost you? Golfers are famous for forgetting that but very good at thinking they missed the shot because of some mechanical problem. Often, that’s not it.  Start becoming aware and make some easy fixes to lowering your scores…

Below is a quick tip from the book along these lines. Use it! 

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice?  Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/

40. What you can copy and learn from the pros

 

Bernhard langer focusI recently attended the Senior U.S. Open Championship and watch some of the greats up close.  I was particularly looking for things that pros do that amateurs typically don’t, but could do.

The leader at the time and eventual winner, Bernhard Langer, really showed me how he sends the message to his unconscious mind as to where he wants the ball to go to.

From when he started his pre-shot routine through to the ball coming to a stop, he had the most powerful, steely-eyed stare at his target.

I intently watched his eyes the whole time and he only took them off the target for a short time when he had to to set up and then during the swing.

It was the most amazing thing to watch as I have never seen such a powerful intention on another golfer’s face as his.

golf putting set upIt was like there was nothing else but the target and the ball out there. No crowd, no noise from the other fairway, just him and the target. It was sort of like watching a kid play a video game.

Someone could have called his name and I’m sure he wouldn’t have heard it he was so focused on his target.

The other major noticeable difference between average players and pros is that they spend much more time and effort in reading a green.

They walk around and get different angles, they bend down and feel the grass with their hands, and they look so much more purposeful than amateurs.

You can do much of this while waiting your turn to putt so time is no excuse.

The only difference between a pro and you doing this and reaping the rewards…is effort.

Quick On-Course Tip For How To Fix A Hook In The Golf Swing

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #37  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about finding a quick fix on the course for when you have an uncontrollable hook or duck hook as they call it. I’ve got 3 fast tips in this chapter of the book below. Warning! These are not long term fixes for a bad swing. If you find yourself with a repeating bad pattern such as duck hooking it far too often, then you probably need a swing overhaul and want to see a good swing instructor.  Anyway, tip #37 can be pulled out of your pocket right when you need it most. Try it on the range before going out to the course to prove it to yourself. It works! 

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

 

37.         Emergency fix for duck hooking

Another one of the biggest problems with golfers is that they have too many mechanical thoughts going on about every shot.

Learning to trust and allow that unconscious swing will be key for overcoming that.  In my “break 80 without practice” program,  I detail the elements of how to train your mind to play automatic golf including an effective pre shot routine. 

duck hookingOne of those elements in the pre-shot routine is a “swing key” and that is something that ties up everything you want to have INTENTION for on this swing.

When you are struggling with a hook that comes out of nowhere, a simple fix focuses on keeping your dominant elbow (trailing elbow) next to your hip as you come down to the ball. It makes it nearly impossible to hook it when you do this.

You can do this a few times in your practice swing and then let this be your swing key that you think quickly about right before you actually take the club back.

duck hookingListen, I know what it feels like when you just can’t seem to shake a bad hook and it’s too late to work on your swing. In fact, you never want to tweak your swing on the course unless you have to to keep it in play.

If it’s not such a bad hook, then my best advice is to go with it and just adjust your aim accordingly.

Another quick fix, if it’s a practice round, is to find a downhill slope where the ball will be below your feet and hit a shot or two from there.

You could also take a couple practice swings while opening your stance way up; maybe even so much that you are facing the target.

Pay attention to the differing bodily sensations and movements, especially the wrists and hands.

#1 Golf Strategy Tip: Set Your Intention For Lower Score

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #3  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about overcoming all of the temptations golfers face on the course to do things that WILL NOT lower their score. For example, have you ever faced a shot from a difficult lie that would be a very low percentage chance of success and good strategy dictates that you should just pop it back out in the fairway and yet, you can’t resist and take your chances and end up with a blow up hole?  That’s just one example and there are hundreds like that. It’s time to make a real decision about your score and how that is the most important thing to you…unless it’s really not! 😉  

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

 


Here’s a common “secret of the pros:”
If you want to become as good a putter as a PGA Tour pro you should never practice improving your stroke on a putting green.
Here’s why…

Way # 3. Golfers don’t want to score lower

 

golf scoresWhat? How can I say that when golfers everywhere spend billions of dollars on this game chasing the lure of the great feelings of achievement they get when they improve?

The problem is that many amateurs are far more interested in things other than scoring lower such as:  big booming drives, making miracle shots, having a pretty swing (rather than an effective one), mimicking their pro idols, keeping up with their playing partner’s club choices, and/or just partying out on the course.

All of those outcomes are fine and dandy and I indulge in them too, but many times, they are directly opposed to you scoring lower! Wake up and smell the coffee! It’s time to make a decision that you are interested in lower scores and that you are going to do everything in your power to allow that to happen now- aren’t you?

Having said that, sometimes you might still want to go out on the course with the idea of just having some fun, or working on the concepts in this book and not caring about your score. Great! So long as that is your  INTENTION for the day.

INTENTION as regards your game. 

 

INTENTION simply means that you are going to make conscious decisions about what it is you are doing.  Decide right now that when you have the INTENTION to score lower, you are going to follow through with that.

golf swingJust so you know, INTENTION is my favorite word and I’m going to be using it and other important words in CAPS throughout the book because words have meanings beyond the obvious.  🙂

In summary, with everything you do, think or ask yourself out loud such questions as:

“Will this _____ help me to a lower score?”

“How can I turn this _____ into helping me lower my score?”

“What can I be doing right now that will lower my score?”

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

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

Tiger Woods Comeback – What Did He CHANGE?

Tiger Woods Comeback – How did he do it?

Tiger Woods Interview

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.

Tiger Woods Comeback SwingWhen 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.

8121786_xxlStep 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 3Mental 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.

Golf Mental Game TipsAnother 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 in addition to his game.

You can do the same thing with any problem for your golf game all on your own…or, you can get guidance with someone like me. Basically, coming up with antidotes is all I really do. Maybe you’ve picked up some by now!

I’d love to see your comments or questions below.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Craig Sigl

The ‘I’ in team comes in the form of a driver

By Tom Logan

Employees often roll their eyes when they hear the phrase ‘team building’. For them it conjures up images of forced fun and a waste of time doing something they do not want to do in muddy fields or embarrassing situations. Whether they like it or not, team building is a huge part of any corporate culture and companies spend a fair chunk of cash on physical activities such as paintballing, assault courses or similar team-based activities.

Whilst it may give people a day out of the office, such team building activities can alienate certain people who are not as physically able or willing to partake in particular activities. That is why a driving range is a perfect place for a day of fun and gentle competition with colleagues. More relaxed and forgiving for new players, golf ranges are more accessible for a wider range of personality types and physical abilities.

Golf is usually seen as a somewhat exclusive community, with clubs that would not be willing to put up with a large group of people taking too long at each hole. Furthermore, time spent on a full-sized course can become frustrating for new players and may eventually lead to boredom.

Golf ranges are a better option as the games are quicker and more relaxed, allowing for larger groups to enjoy themselves with no pressure (apart from some gentle ribbing from co-workers of course). Modern ranges have state of the art simulations that allow users to partake in a selection of different games that everyone can get involved in such as target practice and score attacks.

Last, but certainly not least the facilities at driving ranges allow for further enjoyment after the games have ended. As things are all closer together, employees can enjoy food, drink and some down-time after an afternoon of gaming.

So, the next time you are considering taking out your workforce to a muddy day of paintballing, consider a driving range for a more relaxed and inclusive activity.

‘Tom Logan works for TopGolf, a driving range with several UK locations.

http://topgolf.com/surrey

How to get confidence in golf

Today, I want to discuss Confidence and whatever that means to you.  Recently, I interviewed a 20-year sports psychologist who had taken teams to the NCAA finals in his sport and had coached professionals for years.  I asked him about Confidence and how you get it.

I’m not kidding when I tell you he said: “I don’t know any other way to get confidence other than to have success. You get confidence from past successes. Maybe a hypnotist can do some things but that’s been my experience. (he did not know that I do hypnosis…hah!).”

Anyway, I began to think about that on my last round when my golfing partner mentioned that he always putts his best when he has confidence stepping up to the ball.  I agreed with him wholeheartedly that it seems that if you have the feeling like a ball is going in the hole, then that is the biggest factor in whether or not it goes in the hole or not, right?

Well, to take this further, I thought, well, I’ve made lots of putts when I DIDN’T have any confidence or I was just feeling nothing or neutral.

My brain always starts checking on my theories by taking them to the nth degree. In other words, a theory must hold up under extreme situations, it has to be taken to it’s logical end.

So, I tested this theory that you get confidence from having success… and it failed miserably. I thought about all the times I’ve had confidence with ever having any success AND, more importantly, I came to the conclusion that you DON’T EVEN NEED CONFIDENCE in order to have success!!!

Yes, confidence is a good thing. It certainly helps things…but it’s the cherry on cake! it’s not the cake!

Follow me here.  We were all babies at one time, right? And most of us learned to walk from scratch, right?  In other words, we learned to walk (got success) without ever having had any success at walking! Furthermore…we weren’t TAUGHT to walk.  We just learned it by trial and error and modeling grownup humans already walking.

Therefore, we created success without ANY previous success!  We had no confidence, just a DESIRE to walk and a willingness to get back up after we fall down. (maybe that’s all confidence really is)

I keep hearing from golfers saying that they lack confidence standing up there on the tee box about to hit an important drive.  Or that their last miss on the green was because of doubt. Or, that they lacked confidence about to speak or present to their team or boss at their job.

Sooooo, what’s the point of this article?  The punchline?

We don’t need confidence to do anything! The sooner you let go of that, the faster you will get confidence!

Really what happens when you do that, is you let go of some FEAR about whether or not you have confidence or not and can make this shot or not.  When you let go of the FEAR, that’s when you play to your natural potential.

The formula for success is:   Performance = Potential – Interference.

FEAR is the biggest interference in your golf game (and other areas of your life).

I’m going to get into this formula a lot in coming weeks. Stand by….

Greens and fairways,

Craig

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