Over the years, I’ve seen players of all skill levels become obsessed with hitting the ball farther. And I can’t figure out why this is. PGA Tour stats continuously show no correlation between driving distance and scoring. As of this writing, of the current top 10 in PGA Driving Distance, only one shows up in the top 10 for scoring average. Every golfer says they want lower scores, but most continue to spend thousands on new equipment that promises a few extra yards, and practice greens all over are lonely, desolate places. A long drive does not guarantee a birdie.
It’s no secret that technology has greatly advanced in all aspects of golf—clubs, balls, agronomy and even shoes and apparel. It’s not surprising that golf instruction has also advanced in technology, and the website on which you’re reading this blog is an example of that. High speed video, sophisticated software models of swings, launch monitors, simulators, mobile apps and gadgets have all be used regularly by golf instructors. But how does this high-tech stuff help the average golfer who’s struggling to break 100?
Golf is a sport, right? Those who say it isn’t a sport, have no idea how much athleticism it takes to swing a club over 100mph (120+ for the elite players), and hit a very small ball into a very small hole that is a quarter mile away. Oh yeah, there are numerous obstacles in the way as well.
I often hear students tell me that their club, or shaft, or arms are “off-plane”, or “on-plane” at certain points during the swing. When I ask then what they mean by this, I get a variety of answers and almost none of which make any sense. People seem to be concerned with what position the club is in at a given point during the swing, and point this out on their videos. Does the ball know (or care) whether your club is laid off at the top? Or if you’re inside the plane on the downswing? Or if the plane of your left forearm is different from your shoulder plane? I’m confused just by reading this!
As my family is growing (daughter born 6/10/11, son born 3/30/08) I’ve started to think about how I’ll introduce them to the game. I’ve taught a lot of other people’s kids in the past, but never my own. Here are some of the best things I’ve learned about introducing kids to the game.
I attended the opening round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Aug. 12th, and every time I see a Tour event close up, I’m always amazed at how the best players in the world play the game. Note that I said “play the game” and not “hit the ball”. And while their ball-striking is extremely impressive and attention-getting, it’s how they manage the course, plan, overcome adversity, and take advantage of opportunities that truly separate the world class from the mere expert. I sat on the 7th hole most of the day and watched the best players in the world play a 230 yard par three with cliff and water to the right, and bunkers, and long rough to the left. Here are a few things that we can all learn from the tour pros, and implement into our own games, regardless of skill level.
www.FixYourGame.com was launched about a year ago, and since then I’ve had the “pleasure” of numerous technical issues to deal with. Prior to this, I had no experience whatsoever with web design / development. It’s safe to say that trying to diagnose and fix technical website problems has reintroduced the learning curve to me.
Rory McIlroy won the US Open a couple weeks ago with a 16 under par score, and there were 20 players who finished the tournament under par. This led to several commentators mention that the course was too easy, and that the USGA (the organization that runs the US Open) failed to “protect par”. What does this mean?
What are the goals for your golf game? Sounds like a simple question, but a huge percentage of golfers have no general goal in mind for their golf game, and no specific goals for each individual round or practice session. So what should your goals be?
Every player should have multiple goals for themselves, and these goals should be of varying scale and achievability. For example, let’s say you’re the “average golfer” who shoots around 100 for 18 holes, and has a handicap of 23. (The average USGA handicap is lower than this, but it doesn’t consider those who do not have official handicaps, and these players unquestionably are beginners / higher handicap players.) For this player, I would like to see several goals—both general and specific and include some “big picture” thinking. For example:
If you’ve played golf at all, you’ve encountered the scourge of slow play. It can be extremely frustrating to wait before playing every shot, and there’s nothing in the world more discouraging than making a birdie, long putt, great par save, etc., and then getting to the next tee to see two other groups waiting in front of you to play. So how can you effectively handle these situations without ruining your round?