What Are Your Goals For This Season


We have survived a record-breaking winter and have finally stopped shoveling snow. Now it’s time to shovel some mulch and we are very happy to do so! Why? Because mulch equals Spring which equals golf courses are open and ready for play! In order to welcome in the long awaited golf season, I thought I would share a piece I wrote a while back on setting goals for the season. Enjoy the read!

When I get together with my students at the start of the season, one of the first questions I ask besides, “What do you think of this weather?” is “what would you like to achieve this season?” The conversation usually unfolds with a reflection of the previous year, the goals that were set, what went well, what could have gone better, if the goals were met or surpassed and how we can springboard from the success’ of the previous year and continue the trend of whole game improvement.  Once we know the game plan, we’re ready to go!

Goal setting is a key component to framing your season and getting started on the right foot. It takes some thought and it also requires honest consideration of the amount of time you have to spend on your game for both practice and play.

This leads me to a follow-up question to goal setting, “how much time do you have to spend on golf and how does golf fit into your life?”  This is an interesting question and I think at times, a tough one to answer, but it helps us set goals that are both realistic and achievable. I’m a firm believer of realistic goal setting with the caveat that we can always raise the bar during the process!

Realistic goal setting is important for success and achieving your goals is based on the time and effort you have to give. Imagine if the response to the question went something like this,  “I love the game, I love to play, and I work crazy hours and only get to play on the weekends and the occasional 9 holes after work. I don’t have time to practice because I’d rather play…I want to go from a 32 handicap to a 20 this year..oh, and I’m playing in a big company event soon..”   This is a very busy person who obviously loves the game and wants to improve but has set a very lofty goal. Considering the time they have available for golf, reframing their goal is key to helping them improve and enjoy the game even more.

What do you want golf to be for you? It’s worth taking some time to consider what you want to achieve  for the season, where you see your golf game going and how you plan to get there. Do your best to be as honest as you can with yourself regarding the time you’re willing to spend practicing golf, getting lessons and working on your goal. Golf is a fantastic game and everyone at every skill level can improve and play better. If you have a specific goal in mind, you can achieve it with a good plan. Whatever you do and however you do it, you want to have fun and enjoy the process. Isn’t that what life is all about any way? So, set some goals for the season and enjoy the journey!

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The Current Trend Talk ~ What Is Up With Tiger?

well struck driveWhen there are tournaments happening around the world and there’s great golf to watch on The Golf Channel, I always look for something in which golfers can relate. This weekend had lots to offer! My twitter feed was buzzing during and after the Waste Management Phoenix Open. If you watched any golf this past weekend and you are on any form of social media, then you know that the “Trend de La Trend” was all about Tiger.

The much-anticipated return of the former number one player in the world had everyone expecting to see the Tiger of old. The talk on the street was that all was going as planned with his swing and he was excited to get back into the ring. So of course, the expectations were of better tee shots, more greens in regulation and if not, there’s the extraordinary short game that Tiger was known for. That was the talk anyway. Then the tournament began and Tiger had trouble right from the start. He pulled it together to post a 73 on the first day, but disaster struck on the second and final day of his tournament debut. Six bogeys, 2 double bogeys and a triple bogey marred his scorecard. Where he use to get up and down with ease, he instead launched balls over greens and had low running chips screaming past the hole. His game was out of sorts and some analysts even ventured to say it was “lost.” I have to say, I don’t believe he’s lost or that he’ll never be back at the top of his game. I believe he’ll find his way back to better play, it’ll just take a little more time.

Haven’t we all been here before? I know I have. I can remember it like it was yesterday and it was a long time ago! I had started working with a new instructor about 2 months prior to a tournament. We had made a few tweaks to my swing in order to give me better ball control off the tee and to improve my overall delivery of the club head at impact. These were great changes for the long-term and would definitely help me hit more fairways and greens. At the time, my goal was to play on the LPGA Tour so long-term gains were key. I was a dedicated practicer and things were coming along rather quickly. I was seeing my teacher, George Kelnhofer, every week and we were making great strides. I had signed up for an event a few months before and although we were working on some changes, the thought of canceling was totally out of the question. I was going! Things were going so well at the range, why wouldn’t I go? It was going to be awesome! I might even win the thing!

Like Tiger prior to the WM Phoenix Open, I had hit a gazillion golf balls and had spent hours working on it at the range. I mixed in 9 and 18 hole rounds here and there but most of my time was dedicated to working on the swing. The swing felt great. I was crushing it on the range and the practice round I had played a week before the event went pretty well. I marked up my yardage book, took notes on target lines, marked up the details for the greens…I was ready to go low!  Then I stepped up on the first tee the day of the event. With my pre-shot routine in tact, I eyed my target, stepped up to the ball and proceeded to launch a bomb of a drive that after about 150 yards, curved wildly left into someplace other than the center of the fairway. I was shocked! How could this be? I punched out for the second shot, missed the green for the third, did something else for the fourth and finally walked off with a double bogey. The next few holes weren’t much better. I was spraying it everywhere. By the time I arrived on the fifth tee box, I was shaken to the core. Nothing was working. I thought, “This is insane! I had been hitting it great for the past few weeks…how is this possible?” I tried to think about the things we had worked in hopes that somehow it would right the ship. It didn’t. It felt like the ship was taking on water and on the verge of sinking! On that particular day, my putting and short game kept the whole thing from going under. When I saw George a few days later he was surprised I had gone ahead and played.

He knew I hadn’t had enough “play” time with the new changes in place. It was clear that we were headed in the right direction with my swing changes given my driving range results. I just hadn’t had enough time on the course in a “real game” environment for the changes to hold up as they weren’t fully engrained enough to do so.

In my opinion, this is where Tiger is right now. He’s had success in practice, believes in his coach and the changes they are making but hasn’t spent enough time in a competitive environment for his new skills to hold up. It’s just a matter of time before they do. If there is a takeaway here it’s the importance of incorporating pressure and stress more successfully while practicing. The practice and play environments have to sync up in order for the brain to associate good shots with the new technique. The more you practice like you play, the better you get at playing the game of golf.

I’d like to thank Tiger and the social media trend for the topic and the walk down memory lane! If there weren’t so much snow on the ground,  I’d go to the range right now, get a small bucket and picture that first hole once again…then I’d crush a drive right down the center of it! #practicelikeyouplay!







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What Does The Annual Pilgrimage To The PGA Show Mean?

IMG_3263IMG_3251It’s that time of year where I head down to Orlando to the PGA Show. The trade show where anything and everything golf is under one roof. It’s a place where I’ll spend a little time both as a student, attending educational seminars and as a player, when I sneak in a round or two at some of my favorite courses! I love going to “The Show.” Not only do I come back with interesting ideas and perhaps some cool new technology, but it also means we’re only 12 weeks away from a tee time here in New England!! Wahoo!

Twelve weeks certainly sounds a lot better than three months that’s for sure! I know many of you are hitting the slopes or strapping on skates and heading to rinks. A good way to keep in shape over the winter months. Some of you will be traveling to someplace sunny and warm with a plan to get in a few rounds golf. That’s a fantastic plan I must say! Well as you head down south or out west, remember that your game is in its semi-hibernation stage. It’s been resting, relaxing and enjoying a change of scenery and temperature.


So when you head out for the first day on the links, be sure to be very very kind to yourself. If it’s been a couple of months since you’ve picked up a club, be sure to stretch and warm up before your round. If you and your friends make a bee line for the driving range, start with some short irons and pitch shots. This will give you and your body a nice reintroduction to what you’re about to do. Focus mostly on your posture, balance and tempo. When you’ve found your golf posture and sense of swing with the pitch shots, move to a nine or eight iron and make some smooth balanced swings. Get into a great finish and hold it a few extra seconds. Feel your balance and posture there and reconnect with it. Move through a few more clubs to the driver.

The most important thing to do when you’re heading off to the first tee (after your relaxing and successful warm up session) is to reframe your expectations regarding performance. Enjoy the warm weather and the fact that you’re free to move around! You’re not wearing eight thousand layers of clothing just to keep your teeth from chattering away. You’re out in the sun! And yes, the sun is actually out!!  Remember, you’ve been doing holiday things, cold weather things and maybe taking a swing or two at an indoor range. You’re regular golf routine has been on the back burner.  So whatever happens…happens. Be your own best friend and say encouraging things to yourself when the ball doesn’t go exactly as planned. Spend some time thinking about what you’d like to get accomplished for the 2015 golf season while you’re riding down the cart path to the next tee. And without a doubt, enjoy all the good shots you make. Now for those shots that are, shall we say…”meh”…chalk it up to off-season rust…it’ll shake off for sure, especially if you have a few more tee times scheduled while you’re away!

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Fall Golf…Free It Up A Bit And Make It Fun!

10th holeFall golf in New England is beautiful. The golf course gets green again, the colors surrounding the fairways are vibrant and bursting with oranges, reds and yellows. It is my favorite time of year to play golf. Yes, it is true, the fall foliage indicates the golf season is coming to a close up here but that doesn’t mean the time we have left can’t be meaningful AND fun! You’ve played golf all season, perhaps taken some lessons and worked on your game and even lowered your handicap! Why not go out and put your seasoned skills to a different challenge, one that offers the opportunity for a little fun and creativity!

My favorite thing to do this time of year is to grab my super small carry bag, throw 4 clubs in it and head for the first tee. Ahh….the freedom of it all! Believe it or not, you take the pressure off yourself because you have a limited number of clubs to choose from therefore, you have to make different shots. So, why does it take the pressure off you ask? Here’s an example. When I ventured into my fall 4 club round, my club selection included a 3 hybrid, 7 iron, 52 degree wedge and a putter. The first hole at my club is a challenging sneaky up hill par 4 that always plays longer than the yardage on the card. There’s water on the right and a fairway bunker on the left. The green is well guarded with bunkers all around and it is almost always into the wind! Normally, I would use my driver off the tee in order to have a chance at getting to the green in two shots. Now, with my limited club selection, I had to use my 3 hybrid. With no pressure to “bomb” it off the tee and knowing that I’ll very likely arrive at the green in three shots rather than two, I hit a smooth 3 hybrid that landed in the middle of the fairway. The next club to have a turn was the seven iron. That shot landed in front of the green. I followed it up with a pitch shot using the 52 degree wedge and the ball found it’s way right up onto the green!

So go ahead, the next time you go out to play 9 holes, grab four clubs, a lightweight carry bag some balls and a few tees. It’s a nice walk on the course (the bag gets really light with only four clubs!) and shot creativity rises to the top when you play with a limited number of clubs. You’ll be surprised at how enjoyable it is to try different shots on the course, especially if it is a course you play on a regular basis. You might even be pleasantly surprised at your score!

red scorecard

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Why Does Your Score Go Up In Competition?

scorecardYou play great with your friends on the weekend,  yet when the club championship rolls around your score seems to sky-rocket higher than a NASA shuttle. Does this sound like you? When the round of golf you are about to play suddenly means something, your nerves get jumpy and your tension increases ten fold. You’ve played the opening hole at your club a million times. Up to the tee box you go, driver in hand and you hit your first tee shot in a place you’ve never been before! You chunk your second shot because you’re trying to make up for a very short and very wayward tee shot. Now, you finally hit a pretty good shot up the fairway but you are still 40 yards away from the green. Wanting to pitch it really close, you jump on it a bit, hit it a little thin and it goes racing to the back of the green. Three putts later, you head to the second tee thanking the golf gods that the first hole is finally over! If this sounds like you or one of your golfing friends, you are not alone. We’ve all been there. I remember back in my mini-tour days, my golf coach telling me that under the stress of competition, I could easily shoot a score  4-6 shots higher than my “weekend” average. Do you find this to be true? Is it more than 6 shots? I can say that in the beginning of my mini-tour days, the 4-6 shot addition was very true!

So what changes when you show up on the first day of a club championship, local amateur event or even the tryouts for the golf team? Do your skills change? Do you lose your swing? The answer is No. Your skills are there and your swing is never lost. There is an ancient Chinese proverb from the book, The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton that sums it up rather nicely.

The Need To Win

When an archer is shooting for nothing, he has all his skill.

If he shoots for a brass buckle, he is already nervous.

If he shoots for a prize of gold, he goes blind, or sees two targets – He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him.

He cares.

He thinks more of winning than of shooting – and the need to win,

Drains him of his power.

We’ve all experienced this very thing. We suddenly care about the outcome and then get focused on just that. How often have you tripled the first hole only to say to yourself, “good…I’m glad THAT’S out of the way!” Now I can relax and play. We’ve all been to these stressful places and in some cases performed well and in others, not so much. I grew up playing a lot of sports and softball was a big one. I was selected to be on a traveling team and we were invited to play in competitions everywhere in the state. So that meant a lot of practices! We would work on practicing our skills, catching fly balls in the outfield, ground balls on the infield, batting and running plays. Then we would scrimmage. We would practice the art of playing the game. Skill building time was over, it was time to PLAY THE GAME!  I remember all too well my father saying to me, ” you do in a practice, what you do in a game.” That was code for, play the scrimmage like it’s a real game  that means something, otherwise if you play like it’s just a casual practice, then that’s how you’ll perform during the REAL game. That is how I remember practicing softball…and it was fun!

How does this relate to golf? When you decide you’re going to play in a competitive event, you have to practice “playing” in a similar environment. You have to practice playing under pressure and in an environment that more closely resembles competition. Here are a few ways to do just that for both the driving range when you’re practicing skill development and the course when practicing the art of competitive play.

On the range, after you’ve warmed up pick specific targets and hit shots to that target. Create a point system for success. With your irons, if your ball lands and stays on your target, give yourself a point. 3 shots for each target then move on to another target with a different club. Change targets and clubs at least 4 times. Feel free to do more if you are so inclined. With the driver, pick a landing area and boundaries both on the right and left side of your intended target. If it stays in the boundary, give yourself a point. If it hits your target, give yourself 2 points. Again, 3 shots to the target, then change targets. Create your own “Range Game” scenario and keep some of your stats. You can gauge your improvement once you have a baseline.

On the course, create a different environment that is a little out of your weekend comfort zone. Play with people you don’t know. Play with better players. Create your own personal goal for the round and stay focused on achieving it. If you’re playing with friends, play for a friendly wager…and that could be who buys the bagels and coffee at the end of the round. Practicing is key, both in skill development AND play development. Remember, golf is a GAME that is PLAYED on the course. In competition, it’s about playing with what you have for the day and then doing your best to get the ball in the hole in the fewest number of strokes. So next time you’re out on the range for a bit of practice or heading for the tee with your weekend regulars, “do in practice what you do in a game” and conjure up a competitive environment, you’ll be glad you did.

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If You Gained 20 Yards Off The Tee Would It Lower Your Score?

well struck driveWith all this talk about Royal Liverpool Golf Club being a course that demands strategic play rather than bombs away, we are very likely to see a lot of 2 and 3 irons used off the tee. Of course, the tour players hit the ball a long way so a tee shot with a 2 or 3 iron will undoubtedly travel quite a distance. They will plan their tee shots based on the side of the fairway that best suits the most ideal approach shots to the green. Then they’ll pick their club and off they’ll go! The driver may only come out a time or two throughout their round. In fact, in 2006 when Tiger won at this very location, he used his 2 iron almost exclusively throughout the tournament. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “a 2 Iron….they still make 2 Irons?!” “I thought the 2 Iron went out with the Mashie?!” You might also be thinking, “I’d hit a 2 Iron too if I could hit it 250 yards!” Yes, we all have to agree that the Tour Professional has a very different game when it comes to overall distance. They hit it miles!!

Many players would love to add some distance off the tee. If for nothing else, but to drive it past their weekend playing partners every once in a while. So what if you could add 10 -20 yards off the tee? What if you could be the longest hitter of your foursome? Would it lower your score? I believe in some cases, it would impact a player’s score rather quickly but only if the ball ended up at a yardage that was a “great” yardage for that player. What do I mean by that?  Well, we all have a club/yardage that we absolutely love. When we get to that particular yardage, we are happy. We grab our favorite club and all is right with the world. We absolutely know the ball we are about to hit is going onto the green on a par 4 or staying right in the middle of the fairway on a par 5.  We’re confident with the club, we hit it well and we have fantastic distance and dispersion control with it. In a case like this, it would certainly hedge the bet on a lower score.

There are times however where long bombing tee shots don’t automatically equal a lower score. Take for example this past week at the Women’s British Open. It was won by one of the shortest hitters on tour, Mo Martin! She didn’t have Michelle Wie length off the tee at all! She did however, have accuracy off  the tee (she’s ranked #1 in driving accuracy on tour.) She played her game and just went along hitting tee shot after tee shot down the middle and was most likely  out-driven for most of the tournament. It didn’t matter in this case at all. One of the shortest hitters on the LPGA Tour  won the Women’s British Open!

Now if you’re absolutely certain that an added 10-20 yards will give you the advantage you need to go low, try this the next time you’re out playing a casual 9 holes. Hit your tee shot and when you arrive at the ball, pick it up and walk 10-20 healthy steps toward the green. Drop the ball, play it in from there and see what you put on the scorecard when you walk off the green. Did it change your club selection or shot type? Did you find that you were now in a more challenging lie because the ball is on a slight downslope? Did it put you in-between clubs? Perhaps it put you at your “favorite club” yardage and you couldn’t wait to hit the shot!  You may discover that on some holes it helps and on other holes it hurts. Sometimes you discover that what would really help lower your score is the approach shot rather than the tee shot. Ultimately, you’ll learn something about your game through the process and it will give you better direction when you go out to practice.

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Be Creative When You Play



The Women’s British Open was dramatic and exciting to say the least! Lots of low running shots that raced to the green and some bunker shots that were pure works of art. I can only imagine we’ll see much the same for the upcoming Men’s British Open. Golfing across the pond has its own style of shot making and strategy. They say the American game of golf  is a game where the approach shots go up in the air and come down on the green. Across the pond however, the approach shots don’t always fly high in the air and land softly on the green. Shots often start low in the air, bounce a time or two then roll up onto the green. This type of shot making requires some creativity and imagination. When Phil Mickelson arrived a few weeks ago he practiced for the environment. I heard an interview with Phil just the other day and one of the questions they asked was about his preparation for the tournament. They wanted to know what he planned to focus on while preparing for The Open. His answer was very interesting. He spoke of the types of shots he thought he needed to know before the tournament. One of his plans was to go to the 150 yard marker with his 5 iron and hit shots into greens…but not the American way. He was going to hit shots that run up to the greens. He wanted to learn what was going to happen to the ball, how it was going to roll, and where it was going to end up when it finally came to rest.  We all know that Phil Mickelson’s 5 iron goes well beyond 150 yards but he chose to use that particular club to create the low running shots he’s going to need for the conditions. It’s likely to be very windy and probably include some rain which means the ball will need to stay low in order to arrive on the green successfully. He’s going to use his creativity and shot making skills to get the ball to the hole.

Now we all know that Phil is Phil. He has a great short game and is one of the best players in the world yet he’s practicing shot making. We could all do a little bit of that when we play and certainly when we practice. One of the things I work on with my students is the idea that you can use different clubs to accomplish the same goal. We want the ball to get to the green and there are many ways we can get it there. We shouldn’t feel like we have only one choice when it’s time to make a shot. It’s a great idea to practice a little shot making when you’re on the range so the next time you’re on the course, you have a few options to choose from. Besides, it’s fun to be creative! Try this shot making exercise the next time you’re hitting balls on the driving range. Pick a target that you can reach with a 7 or 8 iron with your normal full swing. Make some shots into that green until you feel like you’re hitting it well, then switch to a longer club. Your goal is still the same, you want the ball to end up on the green, but now it has to land short of the green and bounce a few times and roll up on the green. When you have the “long club”  shot dialed in, switch back to the original full swing club. Now alternate between the two clubs. Hit 3 shots with the full swing and 3 shots with the longer club. Practice this type of shot making on the range and the next time you get out on the course, you can tap in to your creative side and switch it up. It’s amazing how freeing it is to realize that you’re not relegated to only one club choice for each shot you make. I promise you that tapping into your creative side will bring a different level of enjoyment to you the next time you play.



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Stories You Hear On A Driving Range





I was meeting a couple of clients the other day for a semi-private session. They had come early to warm up and were hitting balls with other players on the range. As they finished their warm up, I could see they were chatting with a couple of members before heading my way. When they arrived, they were laughing and commenting about the dialog they just had with their fellow range mate. “So true” they were saying….”so true!”

I had to ask them to share what sage advice was “so true” that it had them nodding and chuckling all the way across the range. They told me that they had struck up a lovely conversation with the older gentleman. They were talking about their golfing adventures, places they’ve played and the shots they’ve hit. Then the older gentleman was prompted to share the story that made them laugh.

He told them that long ago, he was playing with a buddy of his. A regular player in his foursome and someone he played all the time. And over the years, he watched him time and time again get pretty “steamed” when he’d start hitting bad shots. If it became a constant theme throughout their round together, he knew that it was only a matter of time before this guy would blow a gasket! This of course meant a litany of profanity with the very likelihood of a tossed club. Finally, the moment arrived…his buddy got crazy mad and started his rant. After the rant had finished, the gentleman, tired of seeing the same old tantrum, turned to his buddy and in a very thoughtful yet matter of fact tone said, “you know something? You’re not good enough to get THAT mad!” Telling the story to my clients made him chuckle too! They talked about how he told his pal it’s only a game and games are supposed to be fun!

The story reminded me of a time when I played with someone who like the player above was pretty even keel until shots started going this way and that. This guy was definitely a “club thrower!” He was a golfer in his early 30’s who when not golfing, was a pilot for a major airline. On this particular day, he was enjoying a round of golf with his dad.  It was his dad whom I knew and it was he who invited me to play. So we got a fourth player and we were all ready for a great day on the course. Everyone was pleasant and cordial and very happy to be playing golf. The day started perfectly. The lowest score had the honors on the next tee. We gladly offered compliments of “nice shot” or “nice putt” when applicable. A very pleasant round golf indeed!  It was the 5th hole, a par 5 slight dogleg to the right with water on the right side and trees on the left that the club tossing took place. After his tee shot, he decided to go for the green in two and promptly put it in the water. He dropped a ball then proceeded to do it again…then again. As I walked toward my ball, I saw out of the corner of my eye a shiny flash in the sky. I turned to see a club bouncing on the ground toward his golf bag. He had tossed it about 15 yards and it hit his bag before coming to rest. Yikes! Three holes later, we’re standing on a tee box and his Dad turns to me, points up to the tree to the right of the tee box and says, “see that tree there? Another guy at this club tossed his driver up there and it never came down.” “He had to send someone up there to get it!”  I figured it must be something in the air at this course that prompted people to throw their clubs!

The rest of the round was somewhat uneventful but I definitely played with a constant eye on the pilot. We never played together again and I always thought about what airline I would fly when I had to book a flight.

The moral of the story is….do your best to stay even keel. You’ll enjoy your round a bit more and so will the people playing with you. And…if you play golf with a pilot who gets crazy mad after hitting a ball or two in the water, then proceeds to throw his/her club…think twice about what airline to fly or enjoy the countryside and take a train!







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Michelle Wie’s Victory Equals One Shot At A Time

Michelle Wie Selfie via Twitter

The 2014 U.S. Women’s Open is in the books and what a chapter it was! Michelle Wie won in amazing style and grace. She has been under the microscope her entire career, so this is very well deserved. It was a hard-fought battle but she stayed the course, didn’t get riled when shots weren’t perfect and more importantly stayed amazingly present for each and every shot she made.

I can certainly say without hesitation that it was one of the best golf tournaments I’ve ever watched. I was glued to the set! Now, everyone knows that Michelle Wie can flat-out play the game of golf and it was just a matter of time before she hoisted the trophy from a major championship. She bombs it off the tee, can hit a 3 wood Stinger that rips down the fairway at breakneck speed and she bucks the system of the classic putting posture with her very own, “table top” style.

So what can we glean from this amazing victory? Perhaps it’s the idea that an unconventional putting stance is the way to fewer putts.  You could certainly go in that direction and what the heck, give it try! However, I think the most obvious takeaway from Michelle’s win, one that can be used by every golfer who plays this game, is that staying present is the most important thing you can do when you play. There were occasions, certainly during her final round, where it would have been very easy for her to get caught up in the “shot that went bad” or the “bad luck” of a bounce, or the putt that didn’t quite get there. She didn’t. She probably played the best “one shot at a time” golf she’s ever played in her life. It was certainly evident on the 16th hole when she almost lost her ball! The answer to that hole was a birdie on the next hole and a solid par on 18 to finish the tournament. She stayed present and focused on the shot she had to make.  She didn’t drift back to the past to agonize over what should have been, nor did she float to the future to figure out what “could” be if only “this” happens.

You may not be able to hit a 3 wood stinger, hit a three hundred yard drive or table top your way to a new putting stance, but you can certainly stay in the present, play one shot at a time and focus on the task at hand.

The next time you’re on the course and you start thinking about what you have to do on the next couple of holes in order to post a certain score, stop for just a second and come back to the now. If you’re standing on the 10th tee thinking about the previous nine holes and how the score could have been better if this happened or that happened, stop for just a second and come back to the now.

The only thing we have any control over is the present moment. Yes, it is true, we can learn from the past in order to improve our present. We can also improve our future by doing our very best in the present. We only have the moment we have, no more no less. Isn’t golf just like life? You never know when things are going to change so do your best, stay present and enjoy the moment!

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Native Areas and Random Bounces At The U.S. Women’s Open

The Women’s U.S. Open is well under way on the heals of the Men’s U.S. Open. The historic back-to-back Open events at the even more historic Pinehurst No. 2! A true test of the game. Donald Ross would be very happy seeing this course back in its original state. Watching the event prompted me to resurrect an article I wrote a while back. Golf balls are rolling off the fairway and into these Native Areas, taking wild bounces and coming to rest behind clumps of wire grass. They are landing perfectly on greens, only to roll slowly past the hole and as they pick up a bit of speed off the crowns of the greens, they meander into the broad sandy bunkers behind.  Enjoy the following post….it seems to be a perfect fit for this weekend!


Have you ever wondered why, after seven or eight successful tee shots, the ninth one duck hooks into the woods? It didn’t seem as though you did anything differently. Your set up was the same, your pre-shot routine was the same. So where did that shot come from? Or how about the iron shot. They’ve all been great until out of the blue, you top your 8 iron and it rolls along the fairway bouncing and skipping 50 yards short of where it should have gone. The truth of the matter is that the golf shots you hit are a collection of good shots, poor shots and average shots. You do your absolute best to make them all great shots, but statistics will show you that try as you might, they’re not all going to be great, they will be a mix of shots.  It doesn’t matter if you are a golf professional or a beginner, that’s the mix. The rough breakdown of those shots are 50% average, 25%  poor and yes, you guessed it, 25% of your shots will be GRRRRRRRREAT!  The kicker is, you don’t know when or where the poor shot will arrive or for that matter, the great shot. You just know that it will.  That’s what happened to Jim Furyk off the tee the day he snap hooked a ball into the woods. He seemed to do everything right, but then the randomness of golf happened.  He had a poor shot at a very bad time in the round. Don’t you think he would have rather had the poor shot earlier in the round? Sure, but random is random and that’s what makes golf so interesting. Did he lose the event because of one shot? You might think so, but I would bet that if you went over each and every shot of his final round, you would have found putts that were very long which he made (great shot) and chips that snuggled right up to the hole for his tap in putt.. (another great shot). Had any of THOSE shots been just average, he may have missed the long putt by 2 feet or chipped to 4 feet and missed the short come back putt. Had any of those scenarios materialized, and the snap hook drive (poor shot) was just an average drive, his outcome would have been exactly the same. In the end, he did his best to play his best.

So if you are doing your best and you too have your mix of average, poor and great shots, you have to consider that there is a randomness as to when they will appear. You may make a 30 foot putt on the hardest hole on the course, and then miss a simple 2 foot putt later on during the round. It all works out in the end to whatever it will be. However, we often go over each and every hole, and focus on the single 8 footer missed for par on the last hole, or the single tee shot on the 17th hole that went way right and into the deep rough. It’s decided then that those were the shots that prevented the best score of the season or the league win. Maybe so, but I can assure you, it is simple a case of “selective memory” for certain shots and the “forgetfulness” of others. How about the 30 foot putt back on the 8th hole that fell in after spinning around the rim of the cup then sitting on the edge for a second before dropping in the hole? Or the tee shot that hit the tree and by some miracle, bounced back into the center of the fairway? Golfers don’t always consider the positive effect those shots have on the score. The most common reflection on the round is to see the shots that “should have” or “could have” gone in.

I believe that golfers need to re-frame how they think about their shots and their scores. If we all considered the fact that randomness exists while we play and that all of the shots made are a collection of average, poor and great shots, then it wouldn’t seem like utter failure when there is a triple bogie on a hole. It just means that some of the poor shots happen to group together on that particular hole. The golf swing has not disappeared, nor is the round going to be terrible. It is just going to be. After all, “random is as random does.” If you do your best to play your best, then good shots will follow, I can assure you. You just don’t know when they are going to show up!

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