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10 Now on the Tee

About TheDIYGolfer

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  1. That is so true. I've had times where I've been pleased with my performance shooting a 78, and times where I've been disappointed shooting 72. It really is relative to the course you are playing, conditions, current state of your game, and many other external factors, which is why pinning your success/failure to a single number can be such a blow to the confidence in certain situations.
  2. Yeah, its definitely a normal way of thought for golfers. It took me several years of constantly reminding myself to focus on the "here and now" before I was able to truly implement this kind of thinking. Honestly, its a pretty good approach to life in general as well! Glad you enjoyed it! I found that playing more golf in competition has allowed me to get better at this attitude as well. I guess if you beat your head against a wall enough, you'll finally begin to realize just how much it hurts :) And that's definitely interesting about the pre-shot routine! I used to do that sort of visualization/feel, and found that checklists were actually better for me. Gotta love this game...
  3. Every golfer has the thought at some point.. "If only I could consistently shoot in the 70s, then I would enjoy golf more." We get lost in our heads, dreaming of a fantasy where golf was one day an easy game. What if we didn't have to worry about water hazards, sand, or OB? What if 3-footers didn't bring us anxiety? What if we could enjoy that pure strike that we long for on every single shot? I'd argue that the better a golfer gets, the more enjoyable the game is. But.. not in the way that most golfers imagine. In this post, I will be examining our love affair with golf, how we can enjoy the failures that the game inevitably brings us, and why golf will never get easier (but can become more enjoyable). Why Do We Love Golf? What is fun about slicing a golf ball into the window of a house, or duffing a chip into the bunker? If you're a bit more experienced, what is fun about making a triple bogey on the last hole to shoot 82? Even at the highest levels, what is fun about missing a 5 footer to make the cut in a big tournament? Golf is a game of heartbreak. For every great shot, there are five bad shots. You will fail by most standards 99% of the time. You might spend hours on the driving range, and perform worse the next day. If you hit one shot in the wrong place, your entire round could turn for the worse. So why?? Someone explain to me why we love this game so much?? From another perspective, it does feel amazing to hit a pitch shot off tight turf, watch it bounce short of the hole, spin, and stop an inch from the cup. It also feels rather pleasing to hit a low stinger down the middle of the fairway on a tight par 4. Heck, it even feels great to make that dead straight 3-footer on the last hole to shoot 72! In reality, our love affair with golf comes from something completely out of our control. In pyschology, this external force is called "operant conditioning." More specifically, as we practice golf, our behavior is being reinforced on a "variable-ratio" schedule of reinforcement. In psychological terms, this means that our behavior (hitting another golf ball) is reinforced after an unpredictable amount of responses (you never know when that "pure" strike is going to come). This reinforcement schedule is often noted as producing a high and steady rate of response (why you can't get yourself to stop hitting golf balls). What you might not realize is that this type of operant conditioning is seen in one of the most addictive activities known to man... Gambling. Just like we pull the lever on the slot machine over and over, waiting for the symbols to line up, we also stand on the driving range, hitting ball after ball, waiting for that "pure strike" to happen. In other words, we are literally addicted to golf. Fortunately, golf is quite a productive and healthy behavior! But like all addictions, it can take control of us sometimes, and we find ourselves wishing it was the other way around. How can we improve our games to the point where golf doesn't take control of us? Wouldn't we enjoy it more if bad rounds and bad shots didn't bother us so much? How to Love this Brutal Game If you have read any number of golf books, business books, goal setting books, etc., then you understand what "the process" is. I know how redundant it may sound, but "the process" is the key to enjoying this game AND being successful at it. In our society, external outcomes are praised. We chase after these desires like mad men, and then when we finally achieve them, there is only a brief moment of satisfaction. Golf is no different. Each and every one of us are striving for a better game, and often have a specific level that we would like to reach. It might be breaking 90 for the first time, breaking 80 for the first time, or even winning a competitive tournament for the first time. Unfortunately, in the midst of these desires, we find ourselves judging every single shot we hit, every single score we post, what others think of us, and even becoming self critical during practice. In the end, where the ball lands, what score we shoot, and what our handicap becomes are not in our direct control. They are external to us. They aren't part of the process, and therefore will not produce lasting satisfaction if we choose to focus on them. The process is something more elusive, complex, and demanding. So What is "The Process?" In order to truly love golf and improve your game, you must dedicate yourself to a mindset that is common among elite performers. And that mindset is one that doesn't fear failure. It is a mindset that enjoys the process more than the results. Finally, it is a mindset that falls in love with endless improvement Notice that I did not mention anything about shooting good rounds of golf, winning tournaments, or beating your buddies on the weekend. All of these things are out of your control, and will be products of an effective process. Instead, you must focus on what you CAN control, and then TRUST that your preparation will produce the results that you so desire. By adopting this care-free (not care-less) attitude, those bad shots, bad rounds, and negative thoughts won't seem so damaging. Remember, the number on the scorecard is your compass. It tells you where you are pointing at the moment, but certainly does not require you to keep moving in that direction. If you shoot a high score, that simply means you have some thinking, learning, and practice to do. Nothing else. Making up an irrational story in your mind about your lack of skill as a golfer is a waste of time and mental energy. When you notice that you have started to think in a destructive way, simply bring yourself back into the moment, take a deep breath, and move on. Remember, golf is just a game. If you can understand this concept, you WILL enjoy golf more, and you WILL improve. Does Golf Ever Get Easier? You might look at the pros on T.V., and think to yourself: "If I could hit it like that, golf would be easy." What you don't realize is that each of these professionals is grinding over every shot, whether you see it in their eyes or not. Sure, they are more confident off the tee than 99.9% of the world's golfers, but that doesn't mean that golf is "easy" for them. Just like your home course provides you with challenges, the USGA/R&A provides these tour pros with challenges such as long rough, lightning fast greens, and humiliating pin placements. Rather than wishing golf to be easier, why not learn how to enjoy the challenge more? As a golfer who has shot 64 all the way to 104, I have a general understanding of what each stage of the game feels like. From my experience, if you focus on the process, and fall in love with continuous improvement, golf does become more enjoyable. Think about it in terms of money. In the book "Happy Money" by Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn, the authors report that once the average household reaches a minimum threshold of income ($75,000 in the U.S.), they experience a greater satisfaction with life. As the household increases over this threshold, happiness no longer correlates with rising income. For most people, golf is the same. Once you reach a certain skill level (usually when you can break 90 consistently), golf does become more enjoyable. At this point, you are able to get off the tee, keep the ball in play, and make a few putts here and there. Unfortunately, everything past this level becomes pure desire, and will inevitably bring a golfer frustration more often than not. So what are you to do after passing this satisfactory level of skill? Are you doomed for the rest of your golf career? Certainly not! You are just going to have to focus less on results, and more on the things you can control. Golf is enjoyable as long as you constantly seek ways to refine your process. Bad scores don't matter given you focus on improving your method of preparation and mindset rather than your score. Sure, there will be brief times where you might feel the game slipping. At these times, ask yourself what things you can control. Focus on the process. Be ambitious, yet detached from the results. Do something every day to improve. If you do these things, golf will remain the most difficult game known to man, but you will enjoy it. What do you think? Why do YOU love golf?
  4. I know this is a bit late of a response, but thought it might help for the future. Whenever I am trying to incorporate a new swing thought and still have to play an important round of golf, here is my process (hope it helps!): 1. During the practice swings (2-3), I focus hard on the swing thoughts that I am wanting to change. 2. I will always focus while setting up (so yes, incorporate that narrow stance) 3. When it comes time to swing, I simply count in my head "1, 2, 3", and focus on making a rhythmic swing, free of those swing thoughts. The key is to TRUST that your practice and pre-shot routine have ingrained the movements well enough for your swing to produce a good result. This method won't have you hitting 14/14 fairways, but I think it will help you incorporate new swing thoughts a lot quicker than before! Let me know what you think :)
  5. That's too funny!! I was just hitting on FlightScope yesterday wondering the same thing. I went ahead and enrolled, but haven't had the time to sit down and dig through the content yet. Anyone know how long this site has been up??
  6. The look on Trip Kuehne's face at the end of this round is my favorite TW moment. Love watching Tiger in his younger days when he had so much to prove still.
  7. With any skill, it seems to me that there are only a few "key" things to know in order to be successful (as in the 5 simple keys). It's just interesting to me how many different ways you can say the same thing. I'll probably end up where I started, but hey, it will keep me busy for a while!
  8. Like I said in the first part of this post, I'm definitely a fan of this method! I guess the tough part for me has been matching what I see to what I feel, because as we all are aware, these two things are different for the majority of golfers. That's why I'm trying to understand as many "principles," "theories," "systems," (whatever you classify them) as possible so maybe I can have a better ability to match what I see to what I feel. I've got a swing coach who has a really good understanding of the golf swing (mainly through Hogan's teachings, but some from Mac O Grady as well), but despite this, I still have this urge to doubt and learn on my own. I guess I'm just stubborn in that way.
  9. That's a great way to put it. Based on several responses here, I guess what I'm trying to do is distinguish between "theory" and "systems." For example, the 5SK is a "system" based on "theories?" But where does the theory even start? Most of the list above just seem like "systems" developed by professional swing coaches as you had mentioned above.
  10. For the longest time, I have just copied the moves of professional swings that produce results in the ball-striking category (yes I know, not very analytical). I'm not necessarily interested in knowing all the swing theories, but what they all have in common. The golf swing can be as simple (visual appearance) or as complex (swing theories) as you want to make it, and for the better part of my golfing days, I've taken that simpler route. Now, I'm trying to understand cause/effect more so I can be a better "troubleshooter" (knowing what movements/combination of movements causes different faulty positions in the swing), but I'm too skeptical to just jump into one theory and believe everything. With any category of learning, I like to see every point of view before putting my trust in any of them. It's not that I don't believe in the work of different swing "theorists." I just wouldn't feel comfortable not knowing a good majority of the different schools of thought. Hope that answers your question! I know it may seem a bit crazy but it's the truth
  11. Yes I agree having that lead leg more grounded at impact almost gives you something to hit against, providing some extra stability. Although the video above talks about Jack moving that lead foot, you'll see that it still stays grounded.
  12. Hi all, I've been doing some reading on different swing theories, trying to understand the differences between some of them. I wanted to post this thread for anyone who has done some in depth research on the different theories, their strengths and weaknesses. As I understand it, there are several time tested principles that most teachers will build their teaching upon, but after that, it's very individualized. Here at the Sand Trap, the golf swing is taught through the 5SK system, but I wanted to see if anyone had a list of "systems" that have been/are being taught. Although it is short, here is my list: - 5SK (Evans) - The Hogan Swing (Hogan..) - Stack N Tilt (Bennett, Plummer) - One Plane (Hardy??) - Two Plane (Hardy??) - "Impact Zone" (Clampett) - The Golfing Machine (more of a list of terminology..) - The "A Swing" (Leadbetter) Feel free to criticize, add, remove as you feel necessary! I'm just trying to get an idea where the different teachings are coming from.
  13. Very good point. I definitely do not know enough about Hogan to challenge it, but I do agree he was a control over distance guy. In the end, it's hard to speculate on the correlation between left heel raise and accuracy. Some guys make it work while others don't. I guess it's up to you as a golfer to figure that out about yourself.
  14. This might sound a bit too simple, but I'd focus on analyzing your swing with video analysis. I used to wonder about this, but you can certainly get better off mats. The key is determining what kind of feedback you are using. It's going to frustrate the heck out of you if you judge your swing on the shots it is producing off mats (especially if they are old). But if you use your time at the range to work on the moving components of the swing with video analysis, you'll get much more done.
  15. There is a BIG difference between keeping the head down on the backswing and at impact.. When you consciously try to keep your head down at impact you are only hurting yourself (literally in some cases if you hold it there too long!). The head will stay down for that critical moment of impact naturally as a result of a proper swing. Go check out the instructional content here on the site for sure if you're just a beginner!
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