Friday, July 31, 2015

My Latest What's In the Bag

Here's a look at my current WITB:


Wishon 919THI, 9.5* loft (stamped at 9*), 45-1/2” Fujikura Motore Speeder 661 shaft (x-stiff) – I had the 10 degree Wishon, but the head cracked and they gave me a new head for free and I wanted it at 9.5 degrees. I switched out shafts to the Fujikura Motore Speeder and have gained legitimately 20 yards off the tee. I think ideally it’s better at 45” with a little more weight in the head, but for now I will keep it as such. I plan on getting fitted by Fujikura directly in December.

Wishon 919F/D, 13* loft (stamped at 14*), 43” UST Mamiya ProForce VTS Silver 8x shaft – I like a bigger 3-wood head so I can use it off the tee if needed, but some of the mini-driver heads are too big and I kept hitting below the CoG of the head when I was hitting off the deck. I was thinking of junking this shaft, but I made some swing changes and the ball flight was much better with this club after the swing changes.

Mizuno Fli-Hi CLK, 17* and 20* lofts, with KBS Tour Hybrid Shafts (x-stiff) – I have yet to find hybrids that I play as well as these. I want the hybrids to technically be my best clubs in my bag since I am often trying to hit them the furthest from the worst lies. I plan on changing out the ferrules and getting them to match my irons ferrules when I get the chance.

Yonex EZone MB irons with Nippon Modus 130 shafts (x-stiff) – I was initially using these as a backup set until my Mizuno’s came back re-chromed, but I have hit these soooo well that I can’t put them down. All of my clubs are MOI matched (including my driver and wedges). These are matched to 2,725 MOI with 3/8” shaft increments. I still have the 3-iron which I use for practice daily because…if you can hit a butter knife 3-iron well, you can assuredly hit the rest of the irons well. I think the only irons I would be interested in outside of these is the Yonex Ti-Hybrid MB’s. But, they really don’t sell them in the US for a reasonable price.

Titleist Vokey F-Grind, 52* loft, 12* bounce, Nippon Modus 125 Wedge Shaft – I had been trying to find the right 52* Sand Wedge that I could hit from 120-130 yards and hit from right around the green if necessary. I tried the Edel Wedge which was really great around the green, but a bit too ‘clunky’ for me on full swings. I eventually started to see that I usually can get away with using just my L-Wedge on most shots around the green. So, I started looking for a less ‘clunky’ model and I have hit this Vokey quite well. I plan on changing out the ferrule when I get some free time.

Edel Golf Digger Grind, 60* loft, 27* bounce, Nippon Modus 125 Wedge Shaft – This is by far the best L-Wedge I’ve ever owned. So much so that I’m skeptical of trying to replace it with a brand new head. I plan on probably getting a new head, as this one is worn, come next year when I am playing in some tournaments. The Modus wedge shaft launches it out low and very spinny.

Bettinardi Kuchar Model 2 ArmLock Putter, 42” long, 7* loft - was putting quite well with this, but started to struggle lately. Started to lose some of the fundamentals that I have been working on. It’s a great feeling putter though.

Titleist Pro V1x and Nicklaus Black Golf Balls – It’s a tough call because I like both balls, but I would probably pick the Pro V1x if I had to choose. I think the main difference is the Pro V1x flies further on mis-hits because the Nicklaus Black is a very low spinning ball with the driver. What I like about the Nicklaus Black is that is feels good and spins higher on wedge shots. It’s also more durable than the Pro V1x. I think it also makes me swing better because when I start sliding forward I start hitting low trajectory shots with the Nicklaus Black. But, both are great golf balls.

Edel Golf-Ball Mark Tool - I love this tool as it's really snazzy and just a beautiful job done by David Edel.

FootJoy Pure Touch Limited –I like the Sta-Sof gloves, but if you want something to fit you ‘like a glove’, the Pure Touch Limited has no equals.  But, it ain’t cheap.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Talking Drills

Here's a video from instructor, Lucas Wald, showing a before and after with one of his students in roughly 2 months of work.

One of the things Lucas brings up in the video is that he is, more or less, not a big fan of using drills in his coaching.  Here's another instructor, Mike Hebron, discussing his thoughts on drills in the golf swing.

Having followed Lucas' guide to what he calls 'Movement Pattern Training' and having a great deal of success with it, I've become more and more against drills myself.  And having listened to Mike Hebron's work and reading some of the book he suggests have only furthered that conviction. 

One of the main things I've come across in the work that I've read is that creativity is a huge part of skill acquisition and you need to train for creativity in order to develop that creativity.  The repetitive practice doing the same movement every time in the *same exact manner* suppresses creativity.  And many drills are designed to be repetitive and suppress creativity.  Often times the design of a drill is such where you would have to move your 'drill station' around on each shot in order to make the practice more random and stimulate creativity.  And that is often too cumbersome or time consuming to do on each shot.

It's not that I'm against all drills though.  I think some of them can serve a beneficial purpose if used correctly.  There's a drill that Kelvin Miyahira teaches called the bucket drill.  You can see this drill at about the 4:37 mark in this video.

What I like about the bucket drill (and other ones like it) is that the design is such where it allows the golfer to put themselves in the position that they desire to be in.  And the golfer who is unable to hit that position can now feel with the drill of how to do it.

However, I would suggest against just taking full speed swings, shot after shot, and using the theory of "if I hit enough balls I will eventually start to get it."  The issue is that you have to hit enough balls CORRECTLY and avoid hitting balls INCORRECTLY and then you will start to get it.  As the old saying goes, 'perfect practice makes perfect.'  I think I spent my entire life not knowing what that really meant.

Since the buckets are circular, you can also change the shot direction more easily and incorporate more randomness to your practice.  Combine that with using more slow repetitions to ensure proper mechanics and avoiding improper mechanics, I think it's a quality drill. 

But, if you can achieve the correct mechanics in slow motion, I think it is preferable to use more slow motion practice or use the Movement Pattern Training that Lucas prescribes in order to better ingrain practice. To learn more about Lucas' work, you can reach him at


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Effect the Wind Has on Putting

Here's a video from instructor, Jason Sutton, showing the effect that the wind has on the ball's roll in putting.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Billy Hurley's Father is Missing

Here's an article about PGA Tour player, Billy Hurley, whose father has been missing since July 19th near Leesburg, Virginia.  If you have seen this Mr. Hurley, please call: 703-771-4500.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Modern Chipping Technique w/Mario Bevilacqua and Jeff Smith

Here's a video from golf instructors, Mario Bevilacqua and Jeff Smith, discussing the modern chipping technique.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

MOI Matching as an Altenative with Tom Wishon

Here's a video from Tom Wishon furthering our discussion on MOI matching.

One of the interesting things I find is that people will often ask the question "why don't pros do MOI matching if it is so good?"

Having discussed how Tour players fit their clubs with many Tour pros and equipment reps, many of them will grab a dozen or so of the same irons with the same shaft models.  So, if a player is using Mizuno MP-4 irons with KBS Tour shafts...they will grab a dozen 4-irons, a dozen 5-irons, a dozen 6-irons, etc.  They will try each club out and find the one that they like best and bag it.

With irons like that, the MOI can be much different from club to club.  OEM's tend to have a tolerance of +/- 2 grams for head weight from spec.  So, if a 6-iron is supposed to be 261 grams, the tolerance can be anywhere from 259 to 263 grams.  Similar tolerances can be expected for the shaft.  Furthermore, you not only have the weight of the shaft, but how the shaft weight is there is a tolerance for how the weight is distributed.   Then you have things like differences in how much epoxy, tolerances in ferrule weight...all of which matter (admittedly, less important than head and shaft specs).

A few years ago, I got to measure Sir Nick Faldo's old Mizuno T-Zoid irons.  Faldo utilized the same fitting principle of hitting multiple of the same irons and bagging what he liked best.  And what was Faldo's MOI for his irons like?

The same.

The 3-iron thru 9-iron was exactly the same MOI of 2,750.  Only his Pitching Wedge was different at 2,775. 

As I've mentioned before, there has been some form of the MOI matching principle prevalent in golf clubs going on for quite some time.  In particular, that's why wedges have different swing weights compared to the rest of the irons.

If we look at Titleist, they set their irons at D2 swingweight and their wedges at D5.  They know if the wedges were the same swingweight, they would feel way too light.  In fact, Callaway is using progressive swingweight with their Apex Pro irons which have long irons at D1, mid irons at D2, short irons at D3 and their wedges at D4. 

So, the concept is being used, but not quite to what it needs to be.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Andy Patnou on Getting Better at Golf

Here's a good video with Andy Patnou discussing his experiences with teaching and his perspective on how to get better at golf:


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Random Practice versus Repetitive Practice Thoughts with Mike Hebron

Here's golf instructor, Mike Hebron, discussing why random practice is more valuable than repetitive practice.

The common complaint I hear from instructors is that their students believe that one simple lesson should fix their problems and that they feel like they don't have to practice.

I think it's a valid complaint, but at the end of the day all of the validity of the complaint equates to is that golfers still feel like they don't have to practice and wonder why they don't get any better and blame the instructor.

I think part of the issue is that for many golfers, going to the range to practice is like doing sit-ups to work on your abs.  It's not a very fun exercise.  For the golf instructor, they come from a different background and if they had the time to do so, they would likely love to be able to practice on the driving range. So, there's a disconnect between the instructor and the student.

I think the larger culprit of all of this is that too many instructors utilize poor practice methodologies themselves.  It consists of hitting a lot of balls and making no progress or progress that takes a long, long time to make.  Or the golfer makes some significant progress, but cannot sustain the changes with any type of permanence.

Another issue is when the golfer starts to make progress on the range, they then have to carry over to the golf course.  This is a struggle because now you have new challenges in the way. 

In the backwards trick bicycle video (below), they describe when the author was learning to ride the bike that if something got in his way like a pot hole, pedestrian or somebody honking their horn, it would throw him off.

This is similar to the issues that golfers who start to learn on the range that end up struggling on the golf course. You now have a defined target, wind is a factor and the lie changes (you not only have good and bad lies, but sidehill and uphill/downhill lies). Those are like 'potholes' for golfers.

The point being is that I think instructors and golfers tend to spend too much focus on mechanics.  Don't get me wrong, the mechanics of a golf swing are very important.  But, it doesn't matter what mechanics you use, how they are taught and what technological tools you have to analyze them, it's all for not if the student cannot implement those mechanics and take them to the golf course. 

In reality, I think if a student is able to implement and take to the course the mechanics prescribed by an instructor, they will be effective on the course for most teaching philosophies.  So whether it is TGM, Monte Scheinblum, Chris Como, Stack and Tilt, M.O.R.A.D., Kelvin Miyahira, etc...if implemented as prescribed by the instructor, they are likely to work pretty well.  The difference is more likely to be along the lines of the power generated and the ball flight produced from each philosophy.

So, why not pay more attention to learning how to acquire those movement patterns and having the psychology to translate them to the golf course?


Friday, July 17, 2015

Hitting Your Irons Straight and Long with Monte Scheinblum

Here's an interesting video from Brandon DeVore with golf instructor Monte Scheinblum.

What I really like about this video is it addresses two large issues golfers have. 

1.  Getting forward shaft lean by shifting the torso and head forward instead of getting the *arms* and the hands more forward.

2.  The more I learn about the swing and improve, I find that often times the way to do something is with the 'intent' of doing almost the exact opposite.  The swing, putting and chipping can be really backwards and that's what makes it so're trying to logically accomplish something and the trick is to do the opposite way of how you think. 

I also like the discussion of (and originally quoted from Dan Carraher) 'speed up what is slow instead of slow down what is fast.'

I think that is why the Tour Tempo tends to work (, it forces the golfer to speed up what is slow instead of the golfer thinking that because they are struggling, they need to slow everything down.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The 2015 Open Championship Rundown

The British Open is at St. Andrews this year. The numbers show that the 'critical holes' will be the following:

#5, 568 yards, par-5
#9, 352 yards, par-4
#14, 618 yards, par-5
#17, 495 yards, par-4
#18, 357 yards, par-4

Here are my top-10 picks to win The Open:

Jordan Spieth (9/2)
Dustin Johnson (11/1)
Rickie Fowler (18/1)
Henrik Stenson (20/1)
Jason Day (28/1)
Hideki Matsuyama (33/1)
Bubba Watson (33/1)
Shane Lowry (35/1)
Keegan Bradley (125/1)
Webb Simpson (150/1)

My dark horse picks are:

JB Holmes (80/1)
Harris English (150/1)
John Senden (200/1)
Daniel Berger (250/1)
Kevin Streelman (250/1)

Here's my current rankings in the key metrics:


1. Bubba Watson
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Hideki Matsuyama
4. Adam Scott
5. Shane Lowry
6. Derek Ernst
7. Kevin Streelman
8. Keegan Bradley
9. Russell Henley
10. Jordan Spieth
11. Jim Herman
12. Brendan Steele
13. Lucas Glover
14. Chez Reavie
15. Patrick Rodgers
16. Brian Harman
17. Charlie Beljan
18. Webb Simpson
19. Dustin Johnson
20. Brooks Koepka

179. Cameron Smith
180. Tim Wilkinson
181. Zack Sucher
182. Kevin Na
183. Ryo Ishikawa
184. Ben Crane
185. Derek Fathauer
186. Whee Kim
187. Padraig Harrington
188. Jim Renner
189. Aaron Baddeley
190. Jonas Blixt
191. Freddie Jacobson
192. Ernie Els
193. Ricky Barnes
194. Luke Donald
195. Andrew Putnam
196. Tyrone Van Aswegen
197. D.A. Points
198. Mike Weir


1. Adam Scott
2. Roberto Castro
3. Cameron Smith
4. Stewart Cink
5. Jason Dufner
6. Jim Furyk
7. Jordan Spieth
8. Zach Johnson
9. Justin Rose
10. Ryan Palmer
11. Eric Axley
12. Rickie Fowler
13. Francesco Molinari
14. Colt Knost
15. Charley Hoffman
16. Paul Casey
17. Kyle Reifers
18. J.B. Holmes
19. Carlos Sainz Jr
20. Vijay Singh

179. Jason Kokrak
180. Derek Ernst
181. Patrick Rodgers
182. Branden Grace
183. Keegan Bradley
184. Padraig Harrington
185. Robert Streb
186. Louis Oosthuizen
187. Gonzalo Fdez-Castano
188. Geoff Ogilvy
189. Retief Goosen
190. Charlie Beljan
191. Jhonattan Vegas
192. Bubba Watson
193. Andres Romero
194. Shane Lowry
195. Blake Adams
196. Zack Sucher
197. Davis Love III
198. Jonathan Randolph


1. Henrik Stenson
2. Ian Poulter
3. Paul Casey
4. Luke Donald
5. Chez Reavie
6. Jason Gore
7. Francesco Molinari
8. Ryan Moore
9. John Peterson
10. Jim Furyk
11. Hideki Matsuyama
12. Ben Martin
13. Harris English
14. Rory McIlroy
15. Pat Perez
16. Webb Simpson
17. Brian Stuard
18. Jason Dufner
19. Nicholas Thompson
20. Russell Knox

179. Justin Rose
180. Chesson Hadley
181. Carlos Ortiz
182. Matt Jones
183. Martin Flores
184. Bill Lunde
185. Derek Ernst
186. Roger Sloan
187. Jhonattan Vegas
188. Oscar Fraustro
189. Patrick Rodgers
190. Aaron Baddeley
191. Heath Slocum
192. Andres Gonzales
193. Nick Taylor
194. Freddie Jacobson
195. Will Wilcox
196. Trevor Immelman
197. Greg Chalmers
198. Blake Adams

RED ZONE (175-225 YARDS)

1. Shane Lowry
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Daniel Berger
4. Rory McIlroy
5. Hideki Matsuyama
6. Lee Westwood
7. Jim Furyk
8. Rickie Fowler
9. Johnson Wagner
10. Dustin Johnson
11. Justin Rose
12. Danny Lee
13. Jason Bohn
14. Webb Simpson
15. Shawn Stefani
16. Paul Casey
17. Brian Stuard
18. Hudson Swafford
19. Will Wilcox
20. Louis Oosthuizen

179. Roger Sloan
180. Richard Sterne
181. Aaron Baddeley
182. Marc Leishman
183. Luke Donald
184. Ryan Palmer
185. Hunter Mahan
186. Justin Leonard
187. Sergio Garcia
188. Roberto Castro
189. Derek Fathauer
190. Russell Henley
191. Tom Gillis
192. Jonathan Byrd
193. Blake Adams
194. Trevor Immelman
195. Greg Chalmers
196. Jamie Donaldson
197. Jonas Blixt
198. Mike Weir


Monday, July 13, 2015

Looks Can Be Deceiving in Golf

I think for amateur golfers it is always good to try and play golf with better golfers when you get the chance.  I also think it's likely most valuable when the golfer is slightly better than you are.  While it's beneficial to play with somebody like Rory McIlroy to learn how he plays and thinks, his talent level is so superior that it's harder to distinguish the little things that also make him a better player because they get overshadowed by him being immensely more talented.

In fact, I plan on going to see the US Mid-Amateur in person this October as it takes place just a short trip in Vero Beach this year.  I don't see myself playing in any events this year simply because I've used most of my vacation time the past five years on golf tournaments.  I'd like to get some real relaxation for once.  But, I'm still interested in what separates these players from my own game.

One of the great aspects of the game is that looks can be deceiving.  This September I'm considering playing Streamsong Resort.  So, I wanted to see if I would like the Blue Course or Red Course better.  I got on YouTube and found this video of a golfer playing each hole.

I would recommend just watching the first few swings in order to get my point.

At first, I was unimpressed by his swing and thought he was probably an 80's shooter that occasionally shoots a 75.  It doesn't look overly athletic or like he's really "moving it out there."  And he looks to have a swing that would produce some weak cuts. 

However, after watching this video and some other videos...I think he's a classic example of looks can be deceiving.  And he's a guy I wouldn't want to play for money. 

Throughout the videos, many on courses I've played before, he pretty much shoots in the -2 under par to +2 under par range.  I can't recall him taking a double bogey.  In fact, he played Sanctuary Ridge at my count, +2 over par which is actually a heckuva score on that course (it's very hard and there's nothing 'sanctuary' about that ridge).

He was actually playing quite well, but as he said, a 5 hour 45 minute round started to wear him out.  The camera doesn't do Sanctuary Ridge any justice as it is extremely hilly for *anywhere.*  It just happens to be in the one area of Florida that is not flat. 

And the reason why the round took so long likely is NOT that golfers happen to be slow, it's because the course is ridiculously hard.  And he makes it around there quite well.

As I said, looks can be deceiving.  When I started to look at his swing more intently, I noticed some really great things in this swing.

Here he shows very good pelvic rotation.  The golfer is not very long, but he's not short either.  I'm guessing he is hitting it 280 yards on average and generating about 107-110 mph club speed.  You wouldn't suspect that when he first swings.  In fact, one of the forecaddies at Streamsong mentions on the first tee that he's 'sneaky long' as he could possibly reach a bunker that the forecaddie didn't think he could get to.  Also, the right forearm is on plane which usually means he can control the club face.

I like this picture as well.

I drew a circle around the club head because the face is still very square and not closed over.  If there's one thing I noticed is that he has a classic '1-way miss.'  Meaning...he's not going to miss left because he can prevent the clubface from turning over too much.  It takes the left side out of play.  But just as important, he can still draw the ball if he needs to.  So, he's not the high handicap player that can't miss left simply because they slice everything.  He can't miss left because his rate of closure is slow and that prevents him from mis-timing and missing left.  He can still mis-time shots...but he's likely to miss right. 

Overall, here's where I think his game stands against mine at this point in time:

Driving: He is far more consistent that me, but if I'm having a pretty good day with the driver I am more effective because I can hit as many fairways and hit it further.  My main issue is hitting shots off the toe on occasion, although that is getting better and better.  I would trust him more off the tee on a course like Colonial where it has narrow, winding fairways that punish you if miss the fairway.  I would trust me more if the course was built more like Augusta and you can get away with the occasional miss and distance is at a premium.

Iron Play: I think this is a push.  I think he's probably a little better from the Yellow Zone (125-175 yards) and I'm probably a little better from the Red Zone (175-225 yards).  I think the differences are slight.  I think he is better at playing in the wind.

Trouble Shots: I think the advantage goes clearly to him. 

Short Game:  I think the advantage clearly goes to me.  I have had a pretty solid short game for years and I'm generally a good bunker player.  I think his pitch and chip shots are not pretty, but they get the job done.  However, I think the worst part of his game is bunker player.

Putting: I think the advantage goes to him.  I think outside 8-feet it's a push.  I still putt pretty well from outside 8-feet.  But, the putts inside 8-feet are still an issue for me and he's almost automatic.

Strategy: I would favor myself.  I'm not infallible out on the course even though I know the numbers and can guesstimate better than most.  If I tend to screw up, it's usually for being too aggressive.  But, the round at the Rolling Oaks course at World Woods (which is a good test), he cost himself several strokes by hitting 3-wood way too often off the tee.

One last thing...I think a big part of his performance and consistency is due to the mental part of the game.  Almost every hole he is trying to hit a *specific* shot before he hits the ball.  He's not worried about swing mechanics.  He will try to play a draw or a fade or vary the trajectory and then put a swing on it that he feels will produce that shot. 

Shawn Clement talks about this in this video with 'external focus' versus 'internal focus.'

This is something that Dr. Bhrett McCabe has discussed as well with 'call your shot' in your pre-shot routine.  And you actually want to verbalize it which I find helpful. 

Whether the golfer in the videos is actually verbalizing it or not doesn't matter because he's learned to place his attention externally instead of internally.  From watching his videos, I started to demand that I "ask myself to hit a SPECIFIC shot before I hit my shot." 

So, when you see a golfer that has a pretty darn good impact position, has a true 1-way miss, putts well and has good external focus instead of internal focus, it's easy to see why looks can be deceiving and he's a guy that I would want to avoid playing for money.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Missing Piece to Reaching One's Potential with Mike Hebron.

Here's a goo video from golf instructor Mike Hebron on the missing piece to one's golf potential.

It's interesting that Mr. Hebron mentions this as this is part of the change in attitude that I had which was in part sparked by this video from retired Navy SEAL, Don Shipley:

It was interesting to hear Mr. Shipley's take on trying to become a SEAL. There is a documentary on YouTube showing the BUD/S training that the SEALs go thru and it's a real eye opening experience. But, part of the eye opening experience is that the training doesn't come off so much like your 'typical military training.' There is not nearly as much yelling or getting in the face of those going in the training. And if a person is legitimately injured or catches pneumonia or bronchitis, they are allowed to sit out for a while and come back when they are healed (although there is a certain time limit or they get rolled back to another class) and when they come back, the instructors do not begrudge them for having to sit out. As one instructor said "there is nothing you can do about getting pneumonia."

This brings me back to Shipley's comments in the video. When asked having the attitude of 'refusing to quit' and 'refusing to fail', Shipley doesn't quite like that attitude because in his mind it's a good thing to know when to quit and realize when no matter what you do, you ARE going to fail at times. And as Mr. Shipley put, he doesn't give a damn about failure.

Failure is going to happen. Get used to it and if you want to succeed, stop caring about failing.

This brings me to sports psychologist Dr. Bhrett McCabe. One of things he mentioned (I'm paraphrasing) is that "good focus is when you focus on one thing and nothing else matters." If you have a 150 yard approach shot and water on your left and a bunker on a right, good focus is focusing on your target and the shot you want to hit and the water and bunker don't matter.

Instead, most golfers are dividing their attention between the target and the water on the left. So they 'hedge their bets' and aim towards the right side of the green. And now the focus becomes more divided between water on the left, the flag stick and the right side of the green. And continually, they hit poor shots because they have not focused on that 1 thing and nothing else matters.


Because they are too afraid of failure and place too much importance on it.

What helped me get over the fear of failure and being able to get 'good focus' is from watching countless PGA Tour players play either live or on ShotTracker. Here is the one thing I came away with....Tour players hit a LOT of bad shots. In fact, they hit some absolutely putrid shots from time to time. I've seen shanks, snap hooks, sky balls, cold tops, etc. Mind you, they are not doing it as frequently as amateurs, but they do happen. And they do happen far more than people think.

One of things I commonly see on Tour is a player will start off something like this:

A. They will hit it terribly for the first 5 holes and play them +3 over par.

B. Then they may hit a weak drive into the rough on the 6th hole. Hit a great shot from the rough to 3-feet and kick in for birdie (+2).

C. Then they get on the par-5 7th hole, hit 3 great shots and make an eagle (E)

D. Then they hit the ball mediocre on the 8th hole, but save a par. (E)

E. Then on #9 they hit it okay, but make a 25 footer for birdie (-1).

After the front nine, you see the score of -1 and think that the Tour player is playing alright, if not pretty well. But the reality is that they have hit more bad shots (by Tour standards) than good shots.

What good mental game Tour players do is that they have the confidence to know that they can always make up a bad shot with a good shot. They can take a drive hit into the woods and hit a great recovery shot or make a great putt to save par. Or they come away with a bogey after that bad drive and then birdie the next hole to break even. That's what I call 'True Confidence'...understanding you are going to fail at times, but that you have the ability to make up for those failures.

 'False Confidence' is the golfer that believes they can hit every shot perfectly. Inevitably, they can't and then doubt creeps in their mind in the following shots. "Well, I just hit that one terribly, what makes me believe I will hit the next shot well?" is what their attitude starts telling them.

Moe Norman was a great example of True Confidence on the golf course.  As he said, "I have nothing to lose but a stupid golf ball.  And I can get plenty more them."  And "a bad shot will not hurt my game, it will only hurt my vanity.  And vanity is the luxury of fools."  Moe hit great shots because that is what he wanted to hit and that is all he focused on.  But, if he did hit a bad shot, it didn't bother him a lick. 

It's why I feel the theory of "what separates Tour players from the rest is that they hit better bad shots" is extremely detrimental to the game. It creates a false sense that you can't fail miserably from time to time if you want to play at a high level.  

What really separates the Tour players from the rest of us is that their good/great shots are generally better than the rest and they hit more good/great shots more often.

We should remember that from a physics perspective, being off by only 1 degree or 1 dimple could be the difference between a good shot and a horrendous shot. So, as Mr. Hebron alludes to, accept the fact that you're going to have failures in a round of golf. You're going to hit bad shots, even in great rounds of golf. If you can accept that, you can start to not care about failure and have True Confidence so you can then start to have good focus and you'll start to hit some amazing shots and shoot better scores than you ever imagined.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Long Lost Moe Norman Interview

I see that Jack Kuykendall decided to post parts 2 and 3 of his fireside chat with Moe Norman. I had never seen these and consider part I one of the most influential videos I have ever seen. Thank you Mr. Kuykendall for the footage.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bernard Sheridan Interview with James Sieckmann

Here's a video from golf instructor Bernard Sheridan interviewing Short Game guru James Sieckmann.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Elk, Dufner and Perez Get it Right

Here's a video from Steve Elkington at the Secret Golf YouTube Channel (one of my favorites) discussing their strategy for the 15th hole at TPC River Highlands (296 yard par-4)

I do this work every week on Tour for my clients and for the past four years, #15 is one of the 'Critical Holes' at TPC River Highlands. I don't think it's a big revelation as to the strategy employed by Elk, Perez and Dufner if you were to ask other Tour players and their caddies. Since 2011, I've only encountered a handful of players that have layed-up on the hole.

However, I tend to think that lower handicap amateurs are more apt to use a different and inferior strategy of laying-up on a hole like this. They are too much in fear of playing for a 'bad swing' instead of playing for the likely results if they take a 'decent' swing at the ball.

For the amateurs that are say, 5 handicap or less, there is the assumption that playing safe "guarantees a par." However, that is more often than not the EXACT OPPOSITE of being true.  As Pat Perez astutely pointed out...this green is not easy to hit into and leaving yourself with a 90 yard shot doesn't guarantee you will find the green or even get it close. 

The other thing about laying-up on a hole like this is that it takes a possible eagle out of the equation.  Since 2011, there have been 44 eagles on the 15th hole.  In general, the numbers show that for the Tour if the eagle percentage gets to around 2% or more on a par-4, then players should go for it if feasible.

In essence, going for this par-4 off the tee is a strategy that creates a lower expected score because you're more likely to hit your approach shot closer to the cup.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Help Fund Junior Golfer Karl Vilips

Here's a funding campaign for 13-year world champion, Karl Vilips.