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In the golfing world, “Drive for show, putt for dough” is an old adage. However, the ability to hit long, accurate tee shots takes the pressure off other parts of your game and is undoubtedly an advantage. The driver is the longest club in the bag and, for many golfers, the most difficult to hit consistently. If you can master the driver, the better your chances of mastering all the other clubs in the bag as well.

The key to maximizing your distance from the tee is to swing your driver fast, not hard. Try to stay relaxed throughout your swing and stretch your arms outward to make a wide arc. Rotate your upper body to keep your left shoulder – if you`re right-handed – behind the ball during your backswing. Keep your head and upper body behind the ball, but let you hands turn over and release through impact to achieve maximum club head speed.

Of course, club head speed still counts for very little if the club face isn`t facing the target at impact. To achieve accuracy, you need to be aware of the path, or plane, your club head takes during your golf swing. Viewed from behind, if the ball is at the 6 o`clock position on an imaginary clock face, your hands should reach the 10 o`clock position at the top of your backswing if your swing plane is correct. If your golf swing is too shallow, akin to a baseball swing, you`re more likely to hit the ball to the right from the tee, in the form of a fade, slice or push. If your swing is too steep, on the other hand, you`re more likely to hit the ball to the left, in the form of a draw, hook or pull.

Rhythm is as important in golf as it is in other sports. You may have heard your favourite football tipster say that a certain side plays well if allowed to establish a rhythm and the same principle applies to your golf swing. Try to swing your driver smoothly without hesitation. Club head speed is important, but don`t consciously try to accelerate your downswing. If you swing smoothly, your downswing will naturally speed up as you rotate the club shaft through impact. With a little practice, you should be able to eliminate any natural tendency to try to hit the cover off the ball and consistently achieve longer, more accurate tee shots.

Hank Haney says don’t come up short with your club selection.

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GolfInYourHead

EWG 120x90

Edwin Watts Click if you like golf

My friend Roger wrote this for you.

To any golfer who plays to 20 or thereabouts, there is a bit of anxiety surrounding the breaking of 90 in a round. All targets should be just out of reach so that you have to really stretch yourself. Yet if you approach this goal in a practical manner and with a real sense of purpose it is perfectly attainable. In other words, if you have a smart approach, you can do it.

On most courses a gross score of 90 represents playing bogey golf – one shot per hole over par. That is perfectly reasonable and acceptable in club golf. But the mindset of most golfers is that of the ‘super-optimist’. Many of us have parred all the holes on the course but we have never achieved it all in the same round. So why do we expect to do exactly that? Similarly, there will be holes on the course that we have birdied – so we expect to birdie them every time we play them. How smart is that??

Let’s be realistic – a 20-handicap golfer will play some good shots interspersed with some bad ones. Accept this as fact and when you play a poor shot treat the next shot as a challenge to minimise damage. Don’t do what many golfers do – don’t beat yourself up and let one bad hole ruin a promising round. Lack of mind control is a major reason why many golfers never progress to reach their full potential in the game. Not only are they hard on themselves, they are also guilty of attempting incredible shots if they come off, but which usually don’t and only compound the misery. What I am saying is when you are in trouble look for the solution which will cost you the least number of shots.

Is it not smart at the beginning of the round to actually ‘take’ the shot you receive at every hole and play the hole accordingly? What I mean is treat the par 3s as par 4s, the par 4s as par 5s and the par 5s as par 6s. At the level of an 18+ handicap golfer you will be lucky to avoid at least one seven on your card. If you do that’s great, but be realistic. The worst feeling is the pressure you put on yourself by thinking that you MUST make a 3 at a par 3. Sometimes you will, but there will be times when you will get a 5 or maybe worse. So USE YOUR SHOTS and take the pressure off of yourself.

There is another option. You can help yourself reduce your handicap by practising your putting every day. Why? Look at the pros. Their best rounds come with the least number of putts. Logical really isn’t it?? But you don’t become a good putter through accident, it is by design and that entails practise. I suggest to my players that they spend at least 30 minutes per day putting on whatever surface they are near. Obviously grass is preferable but if you are in the office or at home then improvise using carpet for a slow green and wooden or tile flooring as ‘virtual’ fast greens. And practice 6-10 feet putts to a small coin. You will adjust to the speed of grass much quicker if you have experience of other surfaces. It may sound crazy but it works. The easiest way for a high handicap golfer to reduce his / her handicap is by improving their putting – FACT.

Here’s another fact – some days you will go out and play below your handicap and then you may get cut. There is no reason to change the strategy, only to move the goalposts a bit – if you get down to 18, then set a target of 15 and use your 15 shots where you receive a shot. If you still play to 18 then you have played to your handicap. Is that not simple to understand?? Does it not take some pressure off of you? When you then play to 15 you’ve actually played 3 shots below your handicap, so you get cut again. But isn’t that what the game is about?

Many golfers complicate the game by thinking badly or not at all. Yet I’ve given you options to help you play well and reduce your handicap. Here are a few more items that will help you with your thinking.

* Nerves – We all get them, it is normal but learn to turn nervous energy into positive adrenalin. We all get excited when we play well and the adrenalin starts to rush. But we need an ‘edge’ so take some slow deep breaths to control the adrenalin rush and learn to play and especially putt with your nerves under the control of your head. Commentators talk about the swing holding up under pressure. It is the person who holds up under pressure and controls the swing, so let’s condition the mind.

* Focus – Play one shot at a time, stay in the present. This old adage is the best so learn to do it. Concentrate on your game and NEVER worry how others are doing. Just maximise your own talent.

* Pre-Shot Routine – If you don’t have one, create a simple one that you can replicate. Combine that with a game plan and stick to it – conservative strategy and cocky swing!!

* Practice Makes Perfect – Quality rather than quantity, focus on target and routine. Resist the temptation to analyze the bad shot in the middle of a round, leave that to the practise ground. Avoid all mechanical thoughts in competition and go with what you have.

* In Your Mind – See yourself shooting low rounds, winning an event.

* Have Fun – Golf is a game and is to be enjoyed. I know it can be annoying and frustrating but that’s largely due to the expectations you put on yourself and the pressure you put on yourself. So accept whatever shot you hit, enjoy the challenge, throw away your expectations and HAVE FUN.

You know what? Most of this information is pure common sense so if you don’t break 90 using these simple principles then you never will!!

Happy golfing

Golf Between The Ears Master Your Mental Game

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What is stopping you from playing the best golf you can?

Is it a lack of confidence in your own game?

Is it the memory of all the bad shots you’ve played before?

Is it the first tee shot that gives you such nightmares?

Do you feel like you are always just a few bad shots away from
beating yourself up?

I’m sure you agree…golf really shouldn’t be like that. What if
there was an easier way?

The folks I talked to over at Weekend Golfers have put together a new coaching program
called Play Golf: Between The Ears.

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It’s been created by Roger Manners, who has been a key component to
some of the most successful players on the PGA European Tour,

and in the course Roger shares with you some of the key areas that
golfers need to master, to be able to become the best player they can be.

I especially enjoyed Roger’s take on how to overcome first tee nerves.

Roger has issued 1/2 price coupons for
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I read a theory as I was attending management training about a fellow by the name of Dr Edwin Locke. He developed a method to obtaining just about anything you want to achieve by using a goal setting technique called SMART. I want you to try something over the next ten days and comment on how you did.

First Step:

Write down a goal for your self to achieve in the next 10 days. The goal must be SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and have a time limit.

Specific:

I will be able to chip the ball within 3 feet of the hole on 9 out of 10 chip shots from anywhere within 10 yards of the practice green in 10 days

Measurable:

I will hit 50 chip shots everyday for 10 days and try various methods and clubs to land the ball with in 3 feet of the hole


Achievable:

I will get within 3 feet of the flag, I know I can do it because chipping is very easy and will save me at least 5 strokes a round.

Realistic:

It is very realistic to get the ball within 3 feet of the flag on every chip because good golfers do it all the time and I can do it too. It doesn’t take strength to chip, only feel and accuracy.

Time:

In 10 days, I will hit 9 out of 10 chip shots within 3 feet of the cup everytime.

Summary:

If you set a goal for yourself and use the SMART method you can improve your chip shot and thus improve your golf score.

Try it and let me know how you did. If you need help read my article on practicing the chip shot.

Today let’s analyze your golf game and go for some true confession.

Out of the 18 holes on the golf course, you probably use your fairway metal woods off of 14 of them. Out of the 14 shots you use with the fairway metal woods, how many of these shots created problems in your round?

Now be honest, let’s see last round I had 14 shots of the tee that I needed a wood and 10 of them were in the rough, trees, or water. I had 4 good drives.

Ok, let’s say that was you. 10 shots you had to scramble and probably lost 2-4 strokes. That means you added at least 20 strokes to your round and probably more by not keeping it on the fairway.

In a round, if you shoot 95 and you can save 20 stroke, you just shot a 75. Now you see why it is important to keep your first shot in the fairway. Next time you are at the tee. Try going for accuracy off the tee. If you are not hitting your driver well, get out your 3 wood. If you are not getting your 3 wood in bounds, get out a utility club and keep it in play.

Until next round,

John

Visualize, Visualize, Visualize. This is one of the key pre-shot routine that you can do to improve your score. Picture the flight of the ball, see it land close to your target. Keep this image in your mind. Use these tips to give your golf swing the strength it needs from your mind.

Select Small Targets to Aim at

Jack Nicklaus never hit a shot without having a target to aim at and nor should you.
Once the target is clear in your mind, pick out a closer object close to you on that same target line. This could be a divot, a leaf, a spot on the course. The closer it is to you the easier it is to aim and align your target.

Commit 100 per cent to every shot

One of the key differences between a pro and the weekend golfer is that weekend golfers tend to let the previous shot affect this shot. Forget about it. You need to commit to each shot as if it was the most important shot of your life.

Focus on what you want to do

Never ever tell yourself I don’t want to go in the water or I don’t want to go into the hazard. I don’t want to top this drive, etc. Change your internal dialogue and tell yourself what you want to do and never what you don’t want to do.

Focus on the shot not the golf swing

One big mistake is for you to assume that to produce good shots you need a good swing. That is not always true. It is possible to hit great shots with poor swings. So what you should focus on is not your swing but your shot that you want to hit. The swing will improve as your shot making improves.

Hazards are to be noticed but not focused on

Water Hazards, Sand Traps, trees, rough are part of the course. You should never ignore that they exist but should be noticed so that you can decide on the correct club and strategy. Once your club is selected and your strategy is visualized focus on the shot and not the hazard.

Never dwell on anything negative during a round of golf

Sure you will make your share of bad shots, but once they are over you need to sweep it clear from your mind and focus on the next shot. Instead of focusing on the bad shots during a round, celebrate your great shots, even if it was only one. Remember the good shots and throw out the bad.

Until Next time
John

Now you have just warmed up and the starter calls you to the tee box. Everyone is watching you, it is your turn to hit. Your nervous because you want to hit a great tee shot to start your round. You don’t want the players your playing with to think your a duffer. What do you do to calm the nerves and hit that quality shot?

First thing you need to do is be positive when you stand on the tee with your driver, only visualize the perfect shot. Do not even think about the hazard or the trees. Just look straight down the fairway and pick the spot you want your shot to land. After all you have practiced and you know how to hit this shot, you’ve done it hundreds of time at the driving range and you know exactly how far down the fairway this shot will go.

Before you address the ball, try standing behind it and visualize the shot. When you stand over the ball only concentrate on where it will land nothing else.

To help with overcoming your first tee nerves, try doing some control breathing. Take long deep breathe and relax your body. Feel the relaxing feeling of the perfect swing. Tensing your muscles will only affect your rhythm and prevent you from releasing the club properly at impact.

Finally, swing with the perfect tempo, never try to kill the ball, swing with the tempo of the 7-iron and you will feel the driver striking the ball in the perfect spot sweeping it off the tee and down the center of the fairway, dead center perfect in the spot that you visualized it would land.

Until next time,

See you on the links,

John

Ok, imagine you are on the practice range and you can vision your golf shots traveling well over the 250 yard marker and straight as you never hit them before. You get out to the golf course and spray your first drive wide right and into the tree line. Don’t you hate when that happens? In this article, you will receive a few tips to convert your potential on the range into low scores on the course.

One of the first things you should do is warm-up. By this I mean stretching, and then hitting a few chip shots to sharpen you up mentally, then go over to the range and hit a few shots starting with pitching the ball and then gradually move up to power shots. Then slow down a bit and hit some more chips and finally stroke a few putts to get a feel for the greens. After your warm-up you are ready to face the first hole with confidence.

A good start to converting your potential to the course is a consistent pre-shot routine. Practice this pre-shot routine on the range and continue it on the course. Build a mental picture of the shot you want to hit, take a few practice strokes. Get behind the ball and visualize the way your shot will go. Address the ball and make sure your alignment is correct, waggle a few times to get comfortable and then hit your shot.

Pick out a pro on tv and watch how they prepare to hit a shot, see how they approach the ball.

Notice that if they are distracted, they start again with the pre-shot routine.

In the next few posts I will go over some of the strategy you can use off the tee.

Until next time, see you on the links

John

I want you to think back to the number of times you have followed a really poor shot with a fantastic one.  Probably the worst thing you could do on a hole is to quit after you hit a poor shot.  This tip will help you focus not on your last shot but on the shot your hitting now.

Be aware that missed tee shots are not as critical as they seem.
Mid-irons, short irons and the putter are your chance to save a poor drive.

Fight back from a disaster with a positive attitude and self respect.  Let’s say you hit one into the trees, focus on how to hit the shot in a position where you can score.  Never look back, always look at the pin on the green.  That is
where you need to hit the ball.

Focus on getting the ball forward in the best position to hit the green.  If that means punching it out to the middle of the fairway, do it.  You will be surprised how many times you can save a stroke just by thinking the correct strategy.

Never Quit on a hole!

See you on the links,

John