Friday, July 13, 2018

Making Par vs. Saving Par and Pre-Shot Routine with George Gankas

Here's a video that I really liked from George Gankas on his new YouTube channel.  You can find his new YouTube channel at this link:

George Gankas YouTube Channel



In my lesson with GG back in April we discussed some statistical analytics in golf and a little bit of strategy. But, he didn't need much help as most of the stuff I have seen him discuss is on the same wavelength with what the data tends to show.

What I like about this video is the pre-shot routine analysis. Recently the European Tour did some analysis on pre-shot routines and the consistency and time it takes and its impact on performance.



My only issue with the RSM study is that the sample size (20 players over 8 rounds) is questionable at best. But, I do believe that with a more sufficient sample size the main conclusion would be the same.

I also like GG's solution for separating swing thoughts from your round of golf in order to get the golfer to 'play golf instead of playing golf swing.' 

I'm a firm believer in utilizing slow motion practice. Not only because it works well at ingraining mechanical movements in your swing. But, I have found that when I'm really in tune with slow motion practice I can get out on the course and play without using swing thoughts. In fact, it's almost like a weird out-of-body experience where I can stand behind the ball, visualize the shot and visualize myself hitting the shot before I actually hit the shot. Golf becomes automatic from there.

The issue is that if you're working on new mechanics and want to play it will take time to get to that level with slow motion practice. So, I really like GG's instruction of making the first practice swing with your swing thought and then 'turn that thought into a feel' on your 2nd practice swing.

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Having said that, to me it's not really a 'feel' as much as my braining SENSING how my body needs to move to hit the shot I want to hit.

I remember years ago reading an article and they asked Fred Couples on how he hits a draw on purpose (at that time he played a fade). Couples' response was that he simply visualized the ball drawing in his pre-shot routine and then he simply got up there and hit the ball and it would draw. I used to think that Fred was full of shit and that there had to be some type of actual swing thoughts and step-by-step instruction to do so. But about 20 years later I started to realize that Couples was telling the truth and he was simply sensing what his body had to do in order to produce a draw.

I relate this sensing to watching musicians play a song that they are not quite familiar with.  My sister was an accomplished violinist and occasionally would hear a popular song on the radio and play it with her violin.  She didn't need sheet music or think about what actual notes to play or how he was holding the violin, etc.  Instead, she could hear the music and her brain could sense that if she made a certain movement it would produce the sound she wanted.

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The concept of making par vs. saving par also reminds me a lot of what Jim Furyk once said in a Golf Channel Playing Lesson.  Furyk hit a poor drive on a hole and the host asked him what was going thru his mind.  Furyk's reply was there was no reason to get upset and instead he imagined that he was playing from the tee box from that location and it was a par-4 from there.  His goal was to hopefully make a faux 'birdie' (actually a par), but he didn't want to make anything more than a faux par (actual bogey).

In GG's case, saving the actual par was not overly difficult because he did have some semblance of a shot at the green and he didn't have a long ways to go.  But, the concept should stay the same.  Losing your cool on the golf course is understandable and even to a degree, acceptable.  But if it works against you being able to properly focus then it will be a detriment to your score.

One of the main concepts to come away from all of this is that data analytics and psychology in golf are often intertwined.  They operate in a vacuum in golf far less often than people think.  Things like confidence, etc. often produce 'good numbers' for golfers, but playing the odds correctly can often produce a healthy golfer from a psychological standpoint.  And we can use data analytics to measure how things like pre-shot routines can impact performance and then use neurological and psychological experts to give detail as to what occurred to produce those observed results.





3JACK

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