Monday, January 7, 2013

3Jack's 2013 Golf Resolutions

Greatly reduce the amount of toe-hits

I generally hit shots on the sweetspot or a dimple or two off the sweetspot very straight and at the target. In fact, once I switched to a 44-3/8” driver, that has increased as well. However, all bets are off with the toe shots. Usually it causes an over-draw. But sometimes it causes a bad miss left and occasionally it causes a bad miss right. It’s not like it’s a constant problem, but it’s just enough to make the ball flight and miss less predictable. Particularly if I’m hitting fades that day.

Putt every putt out, regardless of how casual the round of golf is.

I think it’s important to do this from the get-go instead of waiting a few weeks before a tournament. I feel becoming mentally tougher in all facets of the game is a top priority.

Poker face golf

One of my favorite documentaries in sports in the past 10 years is called ‘The Street Stops Here.’ The story of Bob Hurley, Sr. who coaches one of the very best high school basketball programs, St. Anthony’s in Jersey City.

You can watch the entire movie here.

One of the main things that Hurley preaches on the court is that his players keep a ‘poker face’ at all times. He does not want them to complain and pout when things are not going their way. Even if they screw up.

One scene Hurley talks about him suspending two starters in a game for slacking off in school as they go to play against Kobe Bryant’s high school. Trailing by 1 before the half, one of the backups replacing the suspended starters, steals the ball from Bryant and St. Anthony’s scores before the halftime buzzer. As Hurley puts it, Bryant has his head down while St. Anthony’s storms off the court. Then St. Anthony’s goes on to win by 15 points.

The point being is that body language and facial expression can sabotage performance. I got much better at those in 2012, but I still have a long ways to go.

Play more rounds of golf

I think it’s too easy to get caught up into practice. I think there is an important place for practice and an important place for playing golf. Part of my goal is to find a way to optimize the amount of practice and play I get. But, I think the best tournament players tend to play a lot more golf than just practicing.

Eliminate checking my swing mechanics mid-round

This is something I’ve given a bit of thought towards in the past year. If you watch the great ballstrikers of all time like Nicklaus, Snead, Hogan, etc., they never checked their swing mechanics in their practice swing. They simply got a feel for the club, loosened up a little, found the target and hit the shot. They didn’t check their takeaway or their position at the top of the swing, etc.

I think one of the problems with that and what is often called ‘playing the golf swing instead of playing golf’ is that your eyes are diverted by the mechanics when you are checking the mechanics. Then, when you take the swing you have created a habit of diverting your eyes to the mechanics mid-swing instead focusing the eyes on the ball and sensing the target.

Practice more short game shots with a long iron.

I think this is what made Seve so great at the Short Game

If you can hit bunker blasts and flops close with a 3-iron, you’ll be unstoppable with a wedge.

Better structured and focused practice sessions

I’ve been reading ‘Mental Toughness Training for Golf’ by Dr. Rob Bell and I really like it. I plan to finish reading the book and implementing it into my practice sessions. I think combining that with my practice drills that my instructor, George Hunt (, has given me…will not only improve my swing mechanics more rapidly, but be able to execute them under pressure better.

Discover new mathematical truths about the game

I discovered more mathematical truths and was able to identify strategies that work. These are discussed in 2012 Pro Golf Synopsis.

I think they helped me understand the game more. Going into the year I thought that the biggest key to the game for somebody like myself was Danger Zone play.

However, I was only half right. From studying players of all skill levels and looking at some Tour players that fell off dramatically like Mike Weir, I started to understand how the importance of driving fluctuates depending on skill level. I started to understand that for my game, driving is extremely important whereas the typical Tour player drives it better on their worse days than I drive it on a decent day (if I am driving it well, I can very well hit it better off the tee than a Tour player on their bad days).

I started to understand some things about putting and 'going low' (I will have a column on GolfWRX about 'going low' soon). I also understood some general concepts about a 'Moneyball' style of approaching the game and I think it not only made me a better player, but made my objectives more clear so I have an easier path to getting better. If I can continue to learn more things about the game from a numbers standpoint, the better it will be for my game.

Have more fun out on the course

I think 2012 was a fun time as I got to play a lot of good golf courses. Florida courses, particularly in Orlando, tend to have a unique trait about them in that they are more fun to play the 2nd or 3rd time around than the 1st time playing them. You can get fooled by some of the designs just enough that it takes away from the enjoyment the first time playing them. This year I was able to play a ton of different courses and pretty much every major course in the Orlando area. Thus, I can better choose what courses I want to play for 2013. On the list are:

El Campeon @ Mission Inn Resort
Redtail Club
Juliette Falls
Grande Pines

Southern Dunes GC
Harmony Golf Preserve
Legends @ Orange Lake Resort
Sugarloaf Mountain
Victoria Hills
La Cita CC

Next year I plan on playing more courses towards the Daytona Beach area like LPGA International.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the year.


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