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06.01.2019
Coach Dave
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Find the Golfer Inside One day, golfing with my Grandfather, I grabbed a club walked to my ball and prepared to hit a safe lay-up shot short of the water protecting a huge green. My Graps asked what I was doing and why. He knew I could easily reach the hole with a 6 or even a 7 iron and wondered aloud about my reasoning for taking a safe, albeit, boring shot with the shorter club. I told him I just didn’t feel confident with my longer iron and was afraid to hit into the water. He asked, “Dave, if you weren’t afraid and did feel confident, what club what you use?” My response was of course I would hit the 7 iron. He told me to grab the 7 iron, act like I had confidence and was without fear and put the ball on the green. That was maybe the first time I found the golfer inside. For the rest of my life when I was faced with Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt I would strive to find the fearless, confident or certain person inside. Did it always work, did I always find that person? No, of course not. But it did and does work most of the time. When I have chosen to find and draw out the person inside, I have never, ever, lost anything more valuable than a golf ball. I have always found much more value than I had risked. How did my grandfather know that the golfer inside me could make that shot that day to that green? He knew because I had spent hours on the practice tee executing shots just like that. He knew because he had spent hours teaching me what a good swing would feel and look like. He knew because he had spent years teaching me to act bravely and do what needed to be done. He knew what I did not yet know, that a golfer inside me could and would make that shot. Choosing to act without mental recognition of failure or defeat is what he taught me. Preparing for whatever hazards that lie in wait, so they end up as just pretty ponds, is what he taught me. To find the golfer inside, you must put a golfer inside. I love to listen to the dialogue between a world class golfer and her caddie. Often the last words from the caddie are, “Alright, you’ve got this!” I imagine the final words or thoughts of the brain surgeon, just before raising the scalpel, are, “I’ve got this!” I am certain that every remarkable achievement has followed the unshakeable belief that ‘I’ve got this’. They have all earned the right to say and believe without doubt, “I have got this!” This is not to say that somehow every ordinary human being can miraculously rise to the occasion at hand without adequate preparation. As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s gotta know his limits.” This is about becoming the golfer you want to be. Is that golfer you want to be; a club champion, a bogie golfer, the best short game player in the group or the week-end duffer that has the best time? Defining the golfer, you want to put inside is the first step. Take a few minutes to describe, on paper, the golfer you want to be. The more detail the better. How will others describe you? What will your golfer epitaph be? Ok, so it will probably take more than a few minutes, and will most likely be a work in progress. Describe the swing, the attitude, the style, the skill level of that golfer inside you. Jot down a few role models. Are you an Arnie or a Phil? Maybe your inner golfer is Bryson Dechambeu or Moe Norman. I like to see my inner golfer being as cool as Freddie Couples and as tough as Tiger Woods. Hey, it’s my imagination and my inner golfer. I get to pick! Building the golfer inside. Now that you have a mental and physical description of that golfer inside you, your inner golf self, it’s time to build him and begin using him. Step One: Learn all you can learn. Imagine all you can imagine. Figure out how to do it. You need to learn because learning means understanding what somebody else already imagined. No one taught Pythagoras the Pythagorean Theory. Did someone teach Einstein that E=MC2 ? Before they could imagine those keys to everything someone must have taught them something. Do you know what causes a ball to slice? Someone does. Bernoulli perhaps, or a good golf instructor. When you know what causes a ball to slice, then maybe you can imagine a swing that will cause a ball to draw. You have imagined a swing that draws the ball, now how do you execute that swing? Use everything you have learned, every bit of your imagination to clearly visualize the sequence of events that will create a motion that executes a swing that will draw the ball. Now go out and try to swing the club like you imagined the swing to look. This is learning, not practice. Learn until you know exactly what you must do to draw the ball. Use video, an observer or an instructor to help you learn to execute a swing that draws the ball. It might take a few minutes or several months to learn the swing that gets the specific result you are looking for. Learning means failure. Do you know how many different attempts it took for Edison to finally get a light bulb to light? Things a great golfer learns: How to hit high, low, short, far, straight, curving, stopping, rolling, long swing, short swing, hit the sweet spot, hit on the toe, hit on the heel, hit on the back of the club, hit it thin, hit it fat, tee it high, tee it low, know when to hold ‘em know when to fold ‘em. Step Two: Practice what you know you should do. Practice until you can do what you know you should do. Practice until your inner golfer is as good as the inner golfer you intended to create. Practice with a singular purpose, to learn to execute the motion of the swing. You don’t learn to draw the ball, you learn to execute a motion that draws the ball. I often hear from my students that the swing doesn’t work because the ball didn’t do what they wanted. The ball can only react to the motion of the swing, can never react to your intentions. If the ball didn’t do what you wanted, it is most likely not the design of the swing but the execution of the design. Practice never ends. You change over time, your body changes, your mind changes, you get older! Practice helps you maintain your expectations and abilities, even increase them, as time goes inexorably by. As my Graps said, “You are either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” Practice builds skills and until it is a skill you are still learning. Step Three: Test yourself in a real-world scenario. When you believe you have practiced enough to have developed the skills needed to execute the swing motion regularly and consistently it is time to test it. Kind of like a dress rehearsal for a play. Now is the time to judge everything based on what the ball does. If you have been learning and practicing a high flop, the ball better do a high flop. This is a real world, on the golf course as it lies, golf shot. Hopefully you have a friendly course where you can go try some shots from various locations to see if you can execute the shot at a moment’s notice. During a friendly round put the new shot into play. Put a wager on the shot to create a little pressure. If your goal is to win the club championship, you better practice this new motion countless times. When asked how much training and practice a runner needed to run in a marathon, the coach said about 2000 miles worth, “But not all on the weekend before the race!” This doesn’t mean you don’t run in any races, just don’t run in the big one. As a golfer try out your new swing in skins games or league play, understanding that it is just a rehearsal swing. . .its not the main event. The day of reckoning! Today is the reason you did all the work. Today is opening day on Broadway, the biggest skins game of the year, the Club Championship, the day that is the first day you start using your inner golfer. Step One: Review what you know. Think about it! Step Two: Practice with a purpose. Step Three: Rehearse. Step four: Act with confidence. Breathe in Breathe out go to the next shot.
03.09.2018
Coach Dave
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It is NOT hard to hit a golf ball with your driver. However, it is hard to hit the ball hard.  Working with hundreds of students over the past 10 years, it is clear to me that the driver is the most misunderstood, poorly used, ill fitted and ill-suited club in the average golfer’s bag. I cannot recall more than a few students that were satisfied with their driver or their ability to use it. In many a golfer’s bag you can find an assortment of irons, woods, wedges and putters that are often hand-me-downs or bargain purchases. Sitting in the midst of that hodgepodge is a very expensive driver. Most likely purchased because of its adjustability, its claims of being longer or straighter, or because it is used by the best golfers in the world. Often, I see a $300 driver in the bag with a $30 putter! The driver should be the easiest club in the bag to use. The ball sits high on a tee. The ground the golfer stands upon is almost always level and well manicured. The face of the driver is often two or three times larger than the face of any other club in the bag. So why is that club the source of such abundant frustration, anger, hype, hyperbole and mystery? Let me try to cure some of that for you. First let yourself believe that the “DRIVER” is not a required tool in your bag. Understand that the driver is the least likely club to lower your score and the most likely club to raise your score. Believe me when I tell you that the driver is not more important than any other club and has the same purpose as every other club. So, what is the purpose of the driver (and every other club)? The game of golf is all about going from A to B in the least number of shots, repeated 9 or 18 times. Logically then the first shot is intended to make it easier to get to B with the 2nd shot and so on and so on. If the first shot ends up making it more difficult to get to B, that first shot was a waste. Down the middle, down the middle, chip and a putt for par, next hole. Standing on the tee box of that tough par four it is very unlikely that the goal of your driver swing is to put the ball in the hole. Therefore, distance is not the issue unless and until you are within reach of the hole (B) with an easy shot. Direction is the key. I am not telling you to give up on your driver, I am suggesting that you use it like any other tool. Choose the tool to fit the job at hand. That is called course management. The likeliness of the average golfer discarding the driver for another more useful tool is remote. So let’s find a way to make your driver a better tool, and you a better craftsman with that tool. Just as not all hammers are the same, not all drivers are the same. Getting even more specific not all basic claw hammers are the same. They may all have the same basic design, look and functions but they can be so different. In the hands of a master craftsman the claw hammer is a tool of precision and grace. Gee, kind of like a driver! When buying a hammer ask a few questions: 1.      What is it going to be used for? 2.      Who is going to use it? 3.      How much will the hammer get used? 4.      How many and what kinds of other hammers and tools does the user have? 5.      What is the skill level of the user now and into the future? Same questions should be asked when buying a driver. Let me try to help you with your driver by focusing on just three key areas. 1.      What is the right driver for you. 2.      What is the correct technique for using the driver. 3.      What you can do to become more suited to using the driver. Step 1: Picking the right driver.  First understand that price should not be an issue. The most expensive and least expensive can be equally suited to you. My grandfather loved to work with wood, his favorite saw was a little jig saw that I had as a kid. He made the most beautiful little shapes with that “toy” saw. When choosing your driver look for certain key elements. ·         The built in design bias of the club. o   Loft o   Weight (the swing-weight of the club) o   Balance (rotational and longitudinal) o   Shaft stiffness o   Shaft length o   Grip o   Materials o   Quality and type of construction o   Adjustability (perhaps the least important) ·         The esthetics of the club. o   Shape o   Color o   Overall appearance (used clubs especially) o   Do you like looking at it? o   The sound it makes ·         Look at yourself o   Why do I want a different driver? o   What am I expecting the driver to do for me? o   What am I willing and able to do to be better with the driver? o   What do I know about drivers? With the first group of items; a good and honest fitter, golf instructor or sales person can help you. The second group is all about you. That third group can be tough. Use honest self-inspection and open curiosity to allow discovery. Just as a good carpenter is a student of hammers, you can become a student of drivers and all the other tools in your bag. Once you have taken the time to honestly and completely answer the questions I have listed earlier, it is time to make the decision. Prioritize the items and create your own personal “cut-line”. The driver you ultimately choose must fit the criteria in every question above the “cut-line”. Step 2: Your personal technique. With that shiny new driver in hand it is time to hone your technique. You do have a clearly defined technique you are trying to master, don’t you? Clear steps, written down, memorized, rehearsed and corroborated? Break your technique description into 6 steps Pre-shot.  Set-up.  Take away. Impact.  Follow through.  Finish Consistency comes from making each step easily repeatable. Just as the musician learns a song note-by-note so the song can be plaid as a unified tune, the golfer must learn the swing technique bit-by-bit to make the driver swing a unified single motion. Play the song not the notes. The good musician can practice by beginning at any point in the song, the golfer should be able to practice from and to any point in the swing. Below is a description of the technique for one my students. The list is just for one student. Each student creates their own unique and personal list. Words and phrases that mean something to one person may not ring true to another. Write your own list, it may be shorter or longer, it most assuredly will focus on different things than this golfer’s list. Make it personal, make it profound to you. Pre-shot: ·         Pick the target. ·         Pick the starting point. ·         Visualize the ball’s flight ·         Walk slowly to the ball and create the set-up.  Set-up: Head behind the ball, the longer the club the further behind the ball. Right foot 90' to the target line left foot slightly open. Stacked to attack little to no weight on the heels. Hands neutral for the short irons, progressively stronger for the longer clubs, palms parallel. Left arm higher than the right. Right elbow tucked into the body. Shoulders and hips slightly right of target line. Spine bent forward between 30o and 40o or 1 to 2 O’clock. Back swing: Stay connected. Keep the feet solidly planted. Take the club back by taking the left elbow straight back. Insure that the club head is staying outside the hands and target line. Begin setting the wrist hinge when the club is parallel to the ground and still in front of the toes. right wrist back left wrist up Turn the left shoulder down and past the golf ball. At the top the club should bisect the shoulder at the shirt's sleeve-shoulder seam. The wrist should be fully hinged (for a full shot) by having very relaxed forearms. The back of the left hand and wrist should be flat. Transition: Hesitate at the top to feel in balance, controlled, coiled and relaxed. Weight should be fully transferred to the inside of the right foot. Bump the left hip out by moving the left knee out over the toes. Feel a little bit like you're falling down to the left. Down Swing: Turn the hips left swing out to the right. Think left shoulder down a bit then up and back, drive the right shoulder to the ball. Keep the left foot solidly planted. Butt stays out (behind you), feel like you are doing a crunch shifting the butt to the left on the way down. Let right foot roll to the inside and turn onto the big toe Just prior to impact feel like you are throwing the head of the club out and through the ball to the right. Impact: At impact hips are open 30' shoulders square to the target line. Lead into the impact zone with the hands. Back of left hand to the ground. Club head lags behind. Shaft leaning forward. Do whatever it takes to get the weight moving to the lead side so 90% of weight is on left foot at impact. Right foot fully rotated onto the big toe. Rotate the right hand aggressively over the top of the left. Accelerate to a full finish. Finish: Finish in a balanced position with the head, right shoulder, right hip, and right knee stacked straight up and down. Finish with the right shoulder slightly lower than the left. At finish the club head is below the hands. Sound like a lot, but probably has fewer notes than even the “Minute Waltz”! Step 3: You! The engine of the swing. You are the source of power, precision, and grace in the golf swing. To be able to execute a wonderful golf swing the golfer must develop and marry certain mental and physical attributes. ·         Balance physical and emotional. ·         Concentration targeted and specific. ·         Strength of body and mind. ·         Courage to chance and fail. ·         Imagination for positive possibilities. ·         Forgiveness of self and circumstance. ·         Flexibility of body and choice. ·         Effort and desire to succeed. ·         Speed in motion. ·         Grace in winning and losing, success and failure. I seriously doubt than anyone has all of those traits in abundance and definitely never more than is needed. To be a great driver of the ball you must have enough of those traits, so you are noticed for them. You, alone, can never expect to develop into the type of person that exemplifies all of these virtues. You, with the help of friends and professionals, can expect to have a wonderful journey down the fairway.
24.07.2018
Coach Dave
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Golf is structured in two parts. I don't mean the front nine and the back nine. What I do mean is the long of it and the short of it. On your typical par 72 golf course there are 10 par-fours,  4 par-threes and 4 par-fives. Half of the strokes allotted to par are to get the ball to the green (the long of it). The other half of the strokes allotted to par are to get the ball in the hole (the short of it). Par-3: 1 shot to get it to the green, 2 more to get it in the hole. Par-4: 2 shots to get it to the green, 2 more to get it in the hole. Par-5: 3 shots to get it to the green. 2 more to get it to the hole. Unless you are either really good or very lucky the chances of getting the ball on the green in less than the allotted 36 strokes are very slim. The typical amateur golfer shooting in the 80's or 90's may never have fewer than 36 shots to reach the green. That same golfer may regularly have fewer than 36 putts. So you may ask, "What's the point?" As a golf coach not just a swing instructor it is important for me to get my student's to focus on the Short Half of Golf. Even so most of my students want to hit it farther. There is a reason most practice areas in the country are called DRIVING RANGES! Spend just an hour or so at a typical golf course driving range and you will see hardly anyone practicing out of the bunker, chipping onto the green or putting. You will see a lot of golfers slicing, hooking, topping and whiffing their driver in a vain attempt to hit it better and longer with the big stick. All to get more out of the 14 times they will use the big dog. Why aren't those same golfers trying to get better with the clubs they are going to use for the rest of the 70 or 80 shots they are going to attempt on the golf course? I am making the case here for making golf all short half. I do not mean that the game should only be short par threes, but that is a good place to practice. If you make the game all short half you can make your practice all short half. You can play an all short half game on the courses you now play! How long is the short half? The answer depends on the length of the golf course you play. The length of the course you play should not be much longer than 36 times the distance you hit your 5-iron or hybrid. PGA tournaments, played by the best golfers in the world, are usually played on courses shorter than the distance of a top pro's 5-iron times 36. Let's say you hit your 5 iron 140 yards including roll.  135X36 = 4860 yds. So any set of tees around 5000 yards gives you a chance to hit your best score ever. Providing you never use a club longer than your 5-iron. For your first time playing a 'short half round' with your friend, hole number 1 is a pretty tough 325 yard par-4. Your playing partner pulls out the driver hoping to stay out of trouble, slices the ball into the weeds and trees 170 yards off the tee into trouble. You grab the trusty 5-iron knowing you can't hit it far enough to reach trouble and strike a fearless shot 130 onto the fairway. For the second shot you are away so you hit first. Now a 6-iron struck pretty good but only 120 yards. Your friend has no choice but to hit it sideways to get it back to the short grass he muffs the shot out of the deep grass and gets to keep his turn to shoot. His third shot does reach the fairway. You are both on the fairway, you are 75 yards from the green in 2 and your friend is 125 out in 3. So even after his longer drive he is away.  His 4th shot comes up short, your 3rd shot is on the green! You have a pretty easy hit and run with a 9-iron onto the middle of the green. His 5th shot is a pretty good chip but he still 2 putts for a 7. You putt right up to the hole for a tap-in 5 and go one-up. Your thoughts heading to the next tee are, "Just a little better putt and I par the hole." His thoughts are, "I hate this game, now I have to hit another damn driver." Sitting in the bar after the round, settling up the wagers, you buy the drink because you took all three Nassau bets. He remarks, after sipping his losers scotch , "I can't believe you beat me hitting those dink shots off the tee, I out drove you on every hole!" Your response is a bit harsh, " I know. I just wish I would have chipped and putted a little better." Winners scotch does taste better. The next day you are both at the range. He is sweating and cursing, hitting a large bucket of balls with his driver, while you chip and putt after hitting a couple of dozen iron shots.
10.07.2018
Coach Dave
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Have you ever read the definition of play? How about this for a definition of play as a verb, borrowed for the internet; engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.  Is it possible to play golf that way? Have you ever seen anyone actually playing golf that way? As adults, maybe we take it all too serious, perhaps we have forgotten how to play. I think we know how to play. If you have ever spent time at a bowling alley during league play you have certainly seen adults playing. Ever watched adults playing softball, baseball, tavern pool, frisbee, or fishing? The list goes on and on. Why do we see so much joy during those activities and so little during golf?  Most of us wouldn't ever do those other activities if they weren't fun. So why do we golf? Certainly it is not for a 'Serious or Practical' purpose. My grandfather used to tell me that I couldn't choose to play golf well but I could and should choose to have fun while doing it. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to choose to have fun while I golf. It can be difficult to have fun when the play is slow, or when you are playing poorly. I remember playing with my grandfather when I was about 12 and having a horrid game. I was grumpy, angry and frustrated. Graps asked, "Why are you being such a #%$$?" My answer was because I was playing so bad. His response, as always, was brief and to the point, "Why be upset, you're just not that good!" I play those words in my head whenever I play poorly. I try to use it as motivation to get better. A reason to practice, a reason to have fun practicing. I did learn that even though I couldn't choose to play well I could choose to learn to play better. Oddly enough the more I strive to get better the more fun I have.  Now if I could only find a way to get the other golfers to play faster.  
03.07.2018
Coach Dave
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Back to Basics After several months working to get back to a low single digit handicapper and eventually to scratch, I seem to be moving backwards. I took some time to process the journey I have been travelling. Looking backwards I can see that the trip has not been a straight one. Like most of my students I allowed the desire for short term gains to influence the overall journey. In other words, I kept changing paths. For a while I was strictly conventional, then a bit of stack and tilt crept in, followed by a relapse into "natural golf". I ended up with a swing focusing on style rather than substance. Somehow, I forgot the purpose of the journey was to prove that the simple "Turn - Turn" swing could get a golfer to the best golf of their life. I spent a little time on the range the other day going back to the beginning. Neutral set-up, “Turn – Turn” swing, rhythm and tempo. Results were great. On the flag with my wedge and in flip flops too!  I think it is important to examine what caused me to alter my path. DISTANCE!!! Like everyone else I started looking for more distance instead of lower scores, disaster. I reread the early part of my book and remembered that distance was the last of the key outcomes.  1.   Smooth full turn around a fixed axis, creating powerful weight shift with the proper sequence of movement. 2.   Consistent rhythm and tempo 3.   Controlling the bottom of the swing arc. . .hitting the ground exactly where I want. 4.   Predicting and controlling the ball’s flight. 5.   Distance. Be long enough and just long enough. When the focus moves from the first four outcomes to the fifth outcome (distance) too early in the journey, those first four skills are not automated and habituated so they must begin to fail. That is what happened to me over a very frustrating and discouraging few months. Each outcome-skill must be developed and habituated in the correct sequence. This is a very valuable lesson for me as both a golfer and an instructor, I must be patient with myself and help my students be patient with themselves. Ups and downs My Grandfather would always tell me, "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly!" Of course, he didn't mean that one should keep doing it poorly, or even get better at doing it poorly, but to understand that greatness is always preceded by failure. He would also say that one of the most powerful impediments to greatness, is to be "pretty good".  The time, effort and money it takes to get from "pretty good" to great, can be overwhelming. Those truths are really hitting home on this quest to scratch. I am seeing glimmers of greatness but mostly is see myself getting better at doing it poorly. I can score better, but not actually play better. However, I do believe now that it is possible for the casual golfer to become a 0 handicap, and I believe I can be there before the end of summer. Following the direction of my own book, I have begun the mastery process on me, a pretty poor student. To get to the mythical place of the '0' handicap index I have some tough obstacles to overcome. 1. Time 2. Effort 3. Money Those are the key ingredients to any and every endeavor. I can commit plenty of #1 and #2 not so much #3 so my plan must fit that constraint. I am over 60 years old, not an obstacle, at least not one anyone can do anything about. I am overweight, that is an obstacle that effects performance a little, but since I ride it's not too big of a factor, still I want to lose 40 pounds. Physically fit???  Not bad, but I have limited flexibility in the lower back, that is an obstacle. Doing a lot of stretches, using my Pro-relax electrical stimulator. I have the strength for golf but not the flexibility. Ability. I have eagled every hole on my home course except 3 of the par 3's. Only one hole in one in my life. That means I have the ability to score low. Skill. I believe skill is the automatic habituated high-quality application of ability.  That only comes with repetitions, hitting lots of balls on purpose and with a purpose.  Lots of time in my hitting area in the garage.  Probably will still only play once a week, maybe twice on occasion.  The question is, "Can a casual golfer be a scratch golfer?" The answer is, "Why not?"
26.06.2018
Coach Dave
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One Trick Pony, is a song and a movie by Paul Simon, released in 1980. Until I heard that song I believed the term was a disparaging comment aimed at someone with limited talents and abilities. This song made me think otherwise. Perhaps it is better to have one trick that you can do very well than to have a multitude of ordinary lackluster abilities. What could this possibly have to do with golf? Let's look at the lyrics from the song: https://www.paulsimon.com/music/one-trick-pony/ Lyrics: He’s a one-trick pony One trick is all that horse can do He does one trick only It’s the principle source of his revenue And when he steps into the spotlight You can feel the heat of his heart Come rising through See how he dances See how he loops from side to side See how he prances The way his hooves just seem to glide He’s just a one-trick pony, that’s all he is But he turns that trick with pride He makes it look so easy He looks so clean He moves like God’s Immaculate machine He makes me think about All of these extra moves I make And all this herky-jerky motion And the bag of tricks it takes To get me through my working day One-trick pony He’s a one-trick pony He either fails or he succeeds He gives his testimony Then he relaxes in the weeds He’s got one trick to last a lifetime But that’s all a pony needs, that’s all he needs He looks so easy He looks so clean He moves like God’s Immaculate machine He makes me think about All of these extra moves I make And all this herky-jerky motion And the bag of tricks it takes To get me through my working day, One-trick pony One-trick pony One-trick pony, one-trick pony One-trick pony, take me for a ride One-trick pony © 1980 Words and Music by Paul Simon Whenever I watch a really good golfer, whether pro or amateur, I see one trick they all can do with grace. Oddly that trick is not hitting the golf ball! That golfer either fails or succeeds because of that one great trick and more importantly they accept that truth. They make it look so easy, they make it look so clean. They leave out all the extra moves that other golfers make, all that herky-jerky motion that is just not needed for that one great trick. I see that great golfer move from side to side, how their hands and feet just seem to glide. I can see their passion for that trick and the pride in their performance.  For the past several years I have tried to learn that trick and teach it to my students. It is very hard to learn and even harder to teach. Do more with less, think simple, be natural, understand nature's laws. I have successfully performed the trick on occasion, and have witnessed a student feel that wonderful moment when the trick worked. I still do not fully own the ability to perform the trick every time and probably never will. Moe Norman called it the "Moment of Greatness". I ask myself and my students to evaluate each swing not by what the ball did but rather how well was the trick performed. For me 'staying in the moment' means staying focused on performing that one trick and nothing else. That one trick that all golfers need is motion. A simple graceful balanced motion from side to side. A motion that begins from a quiet stationary balanced place and ends in a different quiet stationary balanced place. A smooth rhythmical rotating motion around the torso. A movement that starts from the feet and moves throughout the whole body. A movement that shifts the weight from both feet to one foot and then to the other foot.  https://www.golfperformancegroup.com/sequencing-swing-drill/
18.04.2018
Coach Dave
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23.08.2017
Coach Dave
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The Ball Flight Laws: Several factors influence the flight of the golf ball: Club Head Loft (Static and Dynamic) Club Head Path (Vertical and Horizontal) Club Head Face Direction Club Head Speed Club Head Mass Club Head Contact Point Club Head Grooves Ball Design (Dimples, Compression, Cover) Today's discussion is focusing on two factors: Club face direction at moment of impact Club head path through the ball relative to club face The image below shows what the ball flight will be with the 9 possible face and path combinations. While the laws of physics have been around forever, the golf world's understanding of these laws has been developing only recently. Books written by golfers that we have all watched on TV had some very egregious assumptions about the flight of ball.  One PGA Pro wrote in his book that the reason the Driver produces such a long flight was because the ball was struck with the club face on the way up causing top-spin. Probably made sense to him at the time just as the belief that the sun traveled around the earth made sense to people at one time. One of the most recognized golfers in the world maintained that he was able to curve the ball by keeping the ball on the face of the club as the club face was rotating to impart spin on the ball. It probably felt that way to him, but almost golf instructors know that "FEEL ISN'T REAL". While not all golfers and not all golf instructors will agree; science and scientists however do agree that the initial direction of the golf ball's flight is caused by the direction the club face is pointing at impact. The curve of the ball's flight is created by the path of the club relative to the club face direction. Why is this important for the golfer know? Golf is a game of  'Connect the Dots'. Get from Point A to Point B with the least number of shots and you win. Continually miss your intended target and you lose. If a golfer can patiently study their game and their ball flight tendencies they can apply the ball flight laws to improve. If we accept the fact that initial direction is always governed by the direction of the club's face at impact we begin our improvement process by getting a predictable initial direction By focusing on just one thing "The clubs face at the moment of impact" we can begin to predict with certainty the initial ball flight direction. If we know what our natural swing path is and the curve that path imparts on the ball we can adjust out initial aim point accordingly. Look at the chart above. Most everyone would assume the target is E. But if the majority of your swings produce a ball flight that curves to F you are missing your intended target. Simply change your initial direction to B and that same ball flight will land you at your target F.  It is simple physically but it is not easy mentally to adjust your initial aim point. Most golfers will struggle with the idea of hitting the ball away from the intended target, resulting in a swing that points the club back to the final target (E) and creating that big slice. Practice a lot, then practice more. Learn to return the face of the club square to the intended initial direction. Your natural swing path will take care of correcting the initial direction with a nice smooth curve to the target.
08.08.2017
Coach Dave
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The human brain is quite remarkable, it has the capacity to hold trillions of bits of data  yet can only hold a single thought at a time. The brain has the capacity to envision unlimited possibilities yet cannot conceive of a negative. The brain has an amazing ability to act rapidly on even the most minute current stimulus but cannot create a future action. The mind can create a lazer like pinpoint focus and the mind can wander. The brain takes care of our body without our input but requires our input to execute a planned action. Golf is perhaps a sport that requires the most and highest level of focus. Why? Because golf is a sport devoid of reaction. Golf is a sport of planning, decision making, and precise execution. Planning and decision making create confidence, focus creates precise execution.  I am not talking about thinking or awareness; most sports require much more thinking and awareness than golf. Can you imagine the amount of data the NFL Quarterback or the Indy 500 Driver must process every moment? Most sports require the athlete to develop a tremendous capacity for awareness. No other sport is played in the same unaware vacuum as golf. Golf requires the athlete to block out everything, the pain in the back, the birds chirping and that nagging self-doubt that they can actually execute the required shot. When the golfer suddenly looses that focus they stop play and start over again. Can you imagine the quarterback just stopping, because he lost focus? I can't either. Golfers who claim that outside noises and activity don't distract them are probably not very focused to begin with. I golf with a guy who claims noises don't distract but just whisper his name at the top of his back swing and he falls apart. If you are not focused you cannot loose focus, the more precisely you are focused the easier it may be to loose focus.  Remember the brain can only hold one thought at a time. If you are truly focused on contacting the back of the ball you cannot be wondering what that sound is coming from your playing partner's pocket. If you are truly focused on the task at hand you cannot be thinking up a retort to your cart mate's stupid comment. On what should the golfer focus? For sure the focus cannot include the word "not". Don't over swing Don't rush Don't hit it in the water Don't leave it short Don't top it again The brain cannot conceive of nothing or a negative so the word not or don't gets eliminated leaving as the focused thought the very thing you want to avoid. Make certain the swing focus is positive. The brain cannot create the future so why focus on the future? Focusing on the outcome forces away any thoughts about what you must actually do at this moment to get that outcome. I think the focus trigger must be simple yet meaningful. The word 'home' can create emotion, memory and much more. It might take you an hour to accurately describe your home, if I ask you to imagine your home it's all there; color, floor plan, furniture, people, memories and more. It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I think one word can create a meaningful picture. For me I believe focus is in two parts, Physical and mental. Physical focus takes place once the golfer is confidently set over the ball and the eyes are focused precisely on the exact tiny spot on the ball that will be struck by the club's face. (this is called "quiet eye"... more about that in a later blog entry.) Mental focus is when the mind is 100% in the current moment; calm cool and collected. At this point I am ready to swing and I use a two word key. "ONE TWO".  I even say it out loud. Each word has a meaning and is spoken in a meaningful way. They are spoken smoothly and slowly to match my desired tempo ONE creates in my mind a clear image of my back swing, an image created after hours, weeks, months and years of trying to understand my swing. I have watched hours of video of my swing and the swings of golfers I want to emulate. In my mind the word "ONE" has a clear and definite end point; the top of my back swing. PAUSE is the nothing between the words that is my transition, that moment when my upper body gives over control of the swing to my legs and torso. The pause between the words is never rushed. TWO is my down and through swing. When I say the word it is actually longer that the word one. It seems to me that twoooo gets drawn out a bit. I try to say the words with the same tone and inflection because I want my swing to feel balanced and symmetrical. I challenge you to create your swing thought mantra. The one that perfectly matches you.
06.08.2017
Coach Dave
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The golf ball is the most important piece of equipment in all of golf. Even the golf course is less important than the golf ball, a golfer can hit golf balls anywhere, but can't even get off the first tee without a golf ball.  The golf industry spends millions of dollars in research and marketing to convince the average golfer that their ball is the best one for them. Most of my students play the brand of golf ball known as "whatever is in my bag". Cheaper is better and the found ball is best of all. I used to play in a skins game with a golfer that was renowned for identifying his lost ball as whatever ball someone found. These same players will work so hard and spend so much money to find the right driver, the perfect pair of golf shoes, that perfect set of irons, sunglasses, shirts, golf bag, posture, swing thoughts, grip size, or whatever, but continue to play the ball that happens to be in the bag. Not all golf balls are the same! In some cases not all golf balls in the same box are the same, but that is improving. While all golf balls must conform to the same set of USGA rules, not all balls have the same personality. The built in personality of the ball is where the smart golfer looks to choose the correct ball for their style and ability. Pick a ball that has a personality that fits you. If every man or every woman looked identical you could still tell them apart by personality, and personality is what ultimately creates attraction.  I am not going to talk here about what technology in the design of the golf ball creates personality, their are plenty of places for you to research that. I am going to talk about what personalities are important, and how you can find the ones that are most to your liking. For me the personality traits I look for are: Consistency Feel Ball Flight Putting Short Game Action. CONSISTENCY: When I began golfing there was no one ball rule, play one ball tee to green then switch to a different ball for putting. Maybe play one ball off the tee of a par five but a different ball on a par three. I remember my grandfather and I sitting at the dining table sorting through a box or 2 of balls to cull out the imperfect ones. some balls were out of round and some were out of balance. Role a ball the length of the dining room table and you could actually see that is was not round. Float a ball in a tub of water with Epsom salt and you could see it had a definite heavy side. Sometimes half the balls in the box would be deemed unplayable! Today, if you play a major brand ball that lack of consistency is probably not an issue. Knowing your ball will react the same way every time is important. FEEL: The moment of contact, the moment of truth is when the ball meets the club's face. Is it a sound you like, a through the hands up the arms to the brain comfortable natural feel? Is it a satisfying, confidence boosting and visceral sensation. Most important is it truthful and accurate? Is that feeling there with every shot and every club from driver to putter? You wouldn't wear shoes that don't feel right, why play a ball that doesn't. BALL FLIGHT: For years club makers have been attempting to design and build clubs to match the swing traits of golfers. Slow swings, fast swings, smooth swings, choppy swings, solid strikers and golfers that it it all over the face of the club. For the most part the industry has been very successful and being fitted to the proper club for your swing can make a huge difference. Its only been in this century that a major manufacturer has been marketing balls with a variety of personalities to fit a variety of golfer traits, Bridgestone. However to this day Titleist claims that every golfer can successfully play their flagship ball the PRO V and the PRO V1. With a little research and some field work the average golfer can find the ball or balls that have the best chance of delivering the kind of ball flight they desire. Characteristics are engineered and built into the golf ball.  Examples of some characteristics and some of their effects are: Trajectory  High flight for more carry Low flight for more roll Spin Low spin for straighter and lower Higher spin for more for more carry and curve Cover hardness Soft for more wedge bite Harder for more feedback Notice I did not include distance as a built in personality! I do not believe any manufacturer sets out to build a shorter golf ball. There are trade-offs caused by the laws of physics; if you want a higher flight you are going to get less roll. Does that mean you will go farther or shorter with the high flyer? It all depends on the personalty of the golf course. You choice of ball must include an understanding of the golf course.  PUTTING: Balls do behave differently off the putter face. Harder balls give more feedback and softer balls seem to roll better (at least for me). Since half of the shots allocated to par are putting, it is worthwhile to find which ball, from the ones you selected from for three previous trials, work the best for you on the putting surface. SHORT GAME ACTION: Oh my! This is all about personality and personal style. I frequently play with 2 very different golfers. Donny Bump and Run: Fly it low, land it short and let it run up. A 6 iron from 25 yards and in is not uncommon. Gary Grip It and Spin It: Get it in the air land it close and make it stop. A 6 iron, never from inside 155 yards. Is one way better than the other? Yes Donny's way is better for him and Gary's way is the only way for him. Ball choice? Well for this shot at least the ball choice doesn't seem to have much impact on Donny, however Gary better have a soft covered high spin ball. So how do you choose the right ball for you? Trial and error, repetition, asking friends, research and constant evaluation. For me I have narrowed it down to three balls: Titleist Pro V Bridgestone E6 Wilson Duo or Zip, they seem the same to me. When I am playing well and the weather conditions are good I will play the Pro V. The Titleist gives good control off the tee and awesome action around the green. If its windy or its a tight course I play the E6. This Bridgestone gives me a confidence boosting straight ball flight. Playing the E6 I have to remind my self not to try to get cute, just hit it straight to the traget. The ball is good around the green and has a very nice feel when putting. When I am not playing well I go back to the Wilson balls. Why? Well these are the softest balls I have ever hit and for me that just whispers softly, "Slow down, stupid." and wondrously my tempo relaxes and my rhythm returns. Also it is the best putting ball I have ever found. Let me know what you play and why you chose it.
02.11.2014
Coach Dave
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To develop a skill requires four steps.

1 knowing what to do 2 knowing how to do it 3 becoming able to do it 4 get to a high level of skill

The first three steps are learning steps,  the third is practice.

Let's say you want to learn how to hit a draw.

Going to the range and trying to hit a draw is NOT practice. It is a futile and frustrating exercise.

Do step one first.  Learn what must happen to create a draw.  What is the setup.  What is the club path. What is the face angle? What needs to happen to create a draw. Write it down on paper.  Draw it out if that works for you. Design the swing that creates a draw like an architect designs a building. Become an expert in describing the process of hitting a draw.

Now do step two. Take a moment to figure out how you can actually do what you have designed. Your body and your swing, dictates what you're capable of.  Learn how to do what must be done to hit a draw. Discover how to turn the description of hitting a draw into the actual motion of hitting a draw. Do it in slow motion.

Step 3 is knowing the skill you must aspire to and develop at least a modicum of ability to actually (at least occasionally) hit a draw. This is where you test the theory and design of your draw swing. Verify that it can actually work.

Congrats, you know what to do, you know how to do it and you have demonstrated that you can do it.  Now get good at...get skilled...become consistent.  That is practice.

Going Low Golf can be a very humbling, even humiliating, endeavor. Golfers must travel vast expanses of inhospitable land just to knock a tiny ball into a tiny hole that is hundreds of yards away. I have played thousands of rounds of golf with hundreds of different golfers of varying skill and each golfer has played with the same flawed sense of purpose. They all have played as if the idea of the sport was to hit the best shot possible every time to get them as close to that little hole as humanly possible. The results are often that the best shot possible was highly improbable and the actual shot did not accomplish the goal of getting as close to the hole as wished. I have played with great golfers, and, great people that were lousy golfers. They all played the same way. Let's change things up for the next few rounds you play. Let us see if we can discover a way that allows you to have more fun and lower your score. Lower your score a lot! You have never, or only rarely, broken 100. How about changing things up enough that you can actually score in the 80's quite easily! Let's change things up enough so that the 70's are a possibility every time you play. I am not talking about getting lessons or spending hours at the range or getting "custom fitted" to a new set of irons. You can score better with the equipment and skill that you already have. Four Strategies to Lower Scores. 1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TEES. How far do you hit your 5 iron? 100 yards? 160 yards? 200 yards? The question is not "how far can you hit your 5 iron?". Be honest. Remember that we are going to change things up so being honest with yourself is a good place to start. Let's say you hit your 5 iron 150 yards pretty much on average. Multiply 150 time 36 to get the total yardage  you should be playing. 5400 yards! Does that seem short? Well its actually a lot longer than the big hitters on the PGA tour play! The typical tour pro can hit his 5 iron maybe 220. That means they should play at 7920 yards. So the typical PGA tournament is played at several hundred yards shorter than the average player's potential. Now be confident enough in to play the tees that are the closest to your proper yardage. 2. REDESIGN THE GOLF COURSE. If none of the tees allow you to play the ideal length, change it up. Play some holes from the middle tees, some from all the way forward, maybe even some from the back if you are so inclined. If you want to create a new tee box up near the 200 yard marker or even further forward go ahead. After all tee locations are rather arbitrary, so "play it forward". As forward as you need. If on your best day you still wouldn't clear the water on your tee shot, tee off from somewhere else. 3. FEWER CLUBS. The rules say your can have no more then 14 clubs but nothing is said about carrying fewer clubs. Unless you can count on striking the ball cleanly most of the time with any given club, don't carry it! Most amateurs would play better without a driver and many would play better without most of their woods. Use only the clubs that you know you hit well, regardless of how far you feel you need to hit it. Now for the most important strategy of all! 4. RETHINK THE GAME.  While the goal remains, "shoot the lowest score possible", the game changes.  We are going to play 2 different games: Island Hopping and Capture the Flag.  Island Hopping is a fun and easy game with just enough risk and reward to make it exciting. Remember as a kid trying to cross a little stream without getting soaked? You knew where all the rocks were that you could step on to get across the the stream. It didn't matter if you could jump 6 feet if the rocks were only 4 feet apart.  We better just jump four feet or we're getting soaked.  This is how were are going to play golf. We stand on one side of the stream, the tee box, with the hope of getting to the other side, the green, without getting soaked. Now because we have picked the right tees we know that a 5 iron should be enough to get the ball across all 18 streams in 36 jumps. Maybe some holes will take only one jump and others might need 3, 4 or 5 jumps but we can cross them all in 36 jumps.But just to be realistic let's give ourselves a few more jumps.... 24 for each 9 holes for an extra 12 jumps. Now the first jump is always the easiest. Our feet are dry and on stable dry land and we only have to get to that first rock. No pressure!  Once we are in the middle of the stream the pressure can build, but all we have to remember is; the goal is to get to the next rock.The last jump can be tricky because the bank might be slippery and we could slide right back down into the creek. Sploosh! But where are the rocks on the golf course? Wherever you decide they are. Lay out a path that allows for 1 or more easy jumps to get from tee to green. On a 350 yard par 4 the first rock might be 165 yards away so we hit a solid 4 iron or 7 wood and we are safely on the rock. Wow! We are still a long 185 yards from the island, but we are only 100 yards to the next rock...an easy 9 iron! Cool! Only 85 left and a wedge to the middle of the island and we are safe and dry. On the green in three! And we never had to hit a hard shot. This is fun! Let's do it again.... 17 more times. The most important shot was not the tee shot. It was the shortest shot that got us onto the island. If you have time to practice it is best to practice what's important. All those 85 yard and shorter jumps. Capture the Flag is the game we played where we tried to capture the opponents flag without getting caught. To capture the flag on the island we just landed on all we have to do is knock the ball into the hole. This is easy because no one is there to defend the flag. Just roll the ball up near the hole and tap it in. Now we change things up a bit, again. Rethink the club you are going to use to roll that ball up close to the hole.Putter? No! Maybe the 5 wood or 3 iron or maybe this is the best place to finally use that massive headed driver. Driver to putt with? Why not? It's got a huge head and very little loft, its very light and should be able to easily roll the ball the required 20, 30, 50 feet or more with little effort. If you're more than 10 feet from the hole decide that the target is really 4 feet wide and you just want to get it inside that. Tap the resulting 2 footer in and go to the next tee box. Your goal is to capture the flag in as few shots as possible, 2 or fewer would be the best. The most important putt was not the 25 footer but the 2 foot tap in! If you practice what's important, short putts, you will get better. At the end of the round we discover that it really took only 45 shots tee to green, not the 48 we anticipated, and because we putted pretty well it only took 34 putts for an easy 79! Try changing things up for a few rounds and let me know how it worked for you.
16.12.2012
Coach Dave
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There are a few things that I am asked about quite frequently; Where should my feet be?  In your shoes and on the ground. Where should I look? Before, during or after your swing? What should I think about?  Hard to come up with a smart-alec answer to that one. Swing thoughts have been baffling and befuddling golfers since golf began. Head down, knees flexed, relax, turn, beverage cart, hit it hard, swing soft, why is he jingling his change, don't put it in the water. All reasonable thoughts and not a swing thought among them. I think a quality swing thought is all about confidence, belief, tempo, timing, movement and energy. Most swing thoughts are all about mechanics, fear, uncertainty and doubt.  The more clearly you can visualize your golf swing, the more completely you understand your golf swing the simpler the swing thought. Sit back for a moment, close your eyes and think "Mona Lisa". Depending on how well you know the painting, the painter, the history of the piece, and even the model the more complete and complex your thought is. Two words can evoke visual images, emotion, admiration and a myriad of other senses. I like my golfers to pick two words that can create that same kind of image, but in this case it is the complete and complex image of the golf swing. Your ideal golf swing.  I use "turn turn" as my swing thought producing 2 word mantra. Two identical words with two distinct meanings in the context of my swing. I say the words softly and in the rhythm of my ideal swing. I say the words three times, with the third time being during my swing. I say the words out loud. I have golfers that use "tic toc" or "right left" even "Ernie Els". Some have used three words "top, drop, turn" or "swing, set, thru".  Find a simple little diddy that will work for you and think your way to a great round. Consistent thoughts produce consistent actions.
15.05.2012
Coach Dave
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Arnold Palmer once said that the most significant advancement in technology for the golfer was the modern greens mower. Watching some of the classic golf matches, like Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, makes a believer out of me. Those green were simply awful! I have played local golf courses that had tee-boxes better than those greens. Technology has made a significant impact on the amateur golfer, and for me. Video. When I first started teaching I purchased the best video diagnostic tool I could find for the golf swing. Multi-window, slowmo, golfer overlay, lines, angles, stop action, tempo, nearly everything could be analyzed. It cost me a princely sum. Now (FOR FREE) you can have all that tech and then some on your smartphone or tablet, Mac or PC. Yes free! Look on your app market or browse for v1golf, several thousand dollars worth of tech for FREE! GPS. Remember yardage books? I actually took the time to create one for my home course, Sunnybreeze. Very detailed, good artistic overview of the hole, it was great until Hurricane Charley blew all the trees away. As far as I know the only surviving copy is in the hands of my Canadian friend Sparky Kelterborne. Now, you can get all that detail at your fingertips. And its FREE! FreeCaddie, and GolfLogix are 2 great examples of how you can have all the numbers the pros have, right on your smart phone! The only thing missing from the GPS yardage books is the Pro's description of how you should play the hole. Take advantage of these 21st century aids to the ancient game of golf. Next time I'll chat a bit about the technology in golf clubs, shirts, shoes, tees, balls, grips, or food.
29.04.2012
Coach Dave
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The other day I spent a large portion of my afternoon watching the Golf Channel. I started paying special attention to the commercials and full length programs touting products, swing types, videos, books, schools programs and websites that all claimed to take strokes off your game. It was truly amazing. Apparently all I needed to do was buy a few books, a half a dozen training aids, take some pills watch an Englishman and a rather loud golf instructor, go to a couple of websites, and watch some DVDs get fitted for new clubs and new balls and suddenly I will be setting scores below that of the best touring pros. I actually added up all the claims to lower my score by 3 strokes, 2 strokes, or even more! The total I could shave was a remarkable 34 strokes. For an investment of just under $5000 I could be shooting in the 50s for 18 holes. Fame and fortune would certainly be mine! I doubt it. In reality lowering your average score or handicap index by even one stroke is quite an accomplishment. Any one should be capable, through commitment, of taking several stroke off their handicap over the period of a year or so.  I restate emphatically. "through commitment!"  A wise man once said to me, that if he knew where I spent my time, effort and money he could tell me what I was committed to. So maybe all those training aids and programs are really best at keeping us committed. Will swinging  the latest triple jointed speed enhanced whippy wonder stick make you have a better swing? Yes! So will swinging the trusty old 5 iron you have your golf bag right now. We get better with repetition, spaced-repetition. Do it over and over again over a long period of time and even the worst swing will produce better results. There are no shortcuts. All the aids, lesson, books and TV shows will help you stay committed but YOU have to swing the stick.
27.04.2012
Coach Dave
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What are swing thoughts, how many should you have? Good questions.  To fully understand "swing thoughts", let's figure what they are actually for, because in reality they are not necessarily thoughts you have while you swing! I believe you should break down the swing thoughts into three segments. preparation execution focus 1. PREPARATION These are the thoughts that take place while you are deciding what you want to do. What club do I choose? What is my target? What distance do I have to carry it? What ball flight am I expecting? Wind, terrain, stance, pin location, lie, and a myriad of other factors come into play while you are in the preparation phase of your swing thought. Before you move on to execution thoughts, you must be totally committed and totally confident that the choices you made during preparation are complete and are the right choices. You must believe that the the choices you made will result in a swing that you know you can do, and do it well. 2. EXECUTION This is the golfer's version of the pilot's pre-flight checklist. Take an overall census of your swing fundamentals; grip, stance, alignment and relax!!  This is happening just before you take your stance over the ball. Finally remind your self to do those 2 or 3 things that you have been working on with your coach or on the practice tee and take one or two rehearsal swings to create the short term memory you need for confidence. Now you are ready to focus. 3. FOCUS This is where you create the confident state that generates the great swing. From a few feet behind the ball you begin your focus process. Focus on the target! Stare from the ball to the target, see the ball's intended line of flight, visualize the club's swing path and breath smooth and easily. Take your grip, lead hand first. Focus on the grip and get it exactly how you want it, based on the decisions you made earlier. Now add the trail hand precisely like you have practiced it. Calmly walk to the ball and place the club head behind the ball with the face of the club exactly on the target line, step into your stance with the trail foot first then the lead foot. Get into your well practiced and confident stance and mood. Focus on the ball! Pick the smallest spot on the ball that you can see and commit to strike the ball on that precise spot. Focus on the swing! Each golfer must find that one key thought that enables them to freely swing the club with confidence. It may be a tempo or rhythm thought. It might be all about swing path. Or perhaps you need to focus on the shoulder turn or the finish, the important thing is to hold that one thought vividly in your mind until the swing is completed. The brain can only hold one thought at a time, and it will always have a thought. Either the thought you put there or something random and not helpful that just creeps in. Like "get over the water", "don't chunk it", or "where's the beverage cart?". Practice those three steps, make them automatic. Until they are automatic create a cheat sheet, to remind you of the things you should be thinking about before every shot.
17.04.2012
Coach Dave
No comments
Played a leisurely round with Flip and shot a pretty easy 74. I was even par on the front with 2 bogies, both caused by mental errors, then on the back I repeated those same mental mistakes but without any birdies to offset. It seems the mistakes are caused by trying to get more out of a shot than I really need. Hit it further, stop it fayster, cut it or hook it more than I really can. We see Bubba, and we all want to work it. By trying to do more than I was capable of I took a below par round and wrecked it.  Like Clint says, "A man has to know his limits." So I spent some time reflecting back on past lives, as a baseball catcher, as a coach, as an employer, and I remembered that my success came from getting the best out of my teamates, my self and my employees. To get that very best performance I had to make sure I never set them or myself up for failure. Never ask them to do something that they might not able to do; unless I was sure that failure was not going to be catastrophic. In golf we just need to make decisions that will not create a catastrophic failure if we can't pull the shot off. That means spending enough time on the range to know exactly what your safe limits are, and just how far you can push it if you need to.
11.04.2012
Coach Dave
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Near the end of the winter season. Last posted in September, right when my busy season was about to start. And start it did, I had a wonderful Snowbird season this year, worked with a lot of old friends and made several new ones. Did things a little different this year; added 2 several hour walk in clinics.  Tried to pattern them after a doctor's clinic, you come in anytime during clinic hours and I'll try to fix whatever ails your swing. The Saturday morning clinic at Longwood was expanded to 3 hours, plenty of time to work on several aspects of the game. We had short game areas, putting, and just about everything imaginable and of course everything was on video so the students could review later, good old YouTube! The Academy @ Sunnybreeze was a new addition this year, the clinic hours were Thursday mornings from 8 AM to Noon. That's four hours to hit as many balls as you want, or as you can. The setting at the Academy is really very nice, we have 2 putting greens and chipping areas, a huge grass tee-box and a massive range with targets every 25 yards. The Academy is the new permanent setting for my golf school campus, this allows for multiple video sessions, 2 launch monitors and a variety of training aids. Also we are located on a great Old Florida golf course with 18 holes of championship play, and a 9 hole par three course to sharpen those scoring skills. Well I suppose I have no excuse not to start working on my own game again. I did manage to end the winter season with a single digit handicap index, maybe by the start of the next winter season I can cut it in half.
11.09.2011
Coach Dave
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After several months working to get back to a low single digit handicapper and eventually to scratch, I  seem to be moving backwards. So I took some time to process the journey I have been travelling. Looking backwards I can see that the trip has not been a straight one. Like most of my students I allowed the desire for short term gains to influence the overall journey. In other words I kept changing paths, for awhile I was strictly conventional, then a bit of stack and tilt crept in, followed by a relapse into "natural golf". I ended up with a swing focusing on style rather than substance. Some how I forgot the purpose of the journey was to prove that the simple "Turn - Turn" swing could get a golfer to the best golf of their life. I spent a little time on the range yesterday going back to the beginning. Neutral set-up, turn turn swing, rhythm and tempo. Results were great. On the flag with my wedge and in flip flops too! I think it is important to examine was caused me to alter my path. DISTANCE!!! Like everyone else I started looking for more distance instead of lower scores, disaster. So I reread the early part of my book, and remembered that distance was the last of the key outcomes. Smooth full turn around a fixed axis, creating powerful weight shift with the proper sequence of movement. Consistent rhythm and tempo Controlling the bottom of the swing arc. . .hitting the ground exactly where I want. Predicting and controlling the balls flight. Distance. Be long enough and just long enough. When the focus moves from the first four outcomes to the fifth outcome (distance) too early in the journey, those first four skills are not automated and habituated so they must begin to fail. That is what happened to me over a very frustrating and discouraging few months. Each outcome-skill must be developed and habituated in the correct sequence. This is a very valuable lesson for me as both a golfer and an instructor, I have to be patient with myself and help my students be patient with themselves. There are no short cuts.
25.07.2011
Coach Dave
No comments
Played pretty well both Saturday and Sunday, even in the oppressive heat. Shot 74 both days. Should have been lower but I am just not putting very well. That's not exactly the fact, I am rolling the ball very well, but I am horribly misreading the breaks. Going to play again today and use the electronic break reader. I guess what is concerning me the most is my lack of distance with my driver and woods. Short irons are fine, 120yds with my wedge is ok. I actually hit a few drives in the 170 yard range and shorter, I can actually hit my 3 iron farther than my driver! But the good news is that I am hitting fairways.

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Phone: +1 941 2863030+1 941 2863030
Email: dave@golfcoachdave.com

 

 

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