Archive: September, 2010

There are Many Sources of Information – Choose Wisely

We live in the age of information. One of the biggest obstacles to improving your golf game is getting advice from too many people or trying every tip you read or see on TV or the internet.  Here is a list of potential sources of information and my thoughts on their quality.

Spouses, Friends and Playing Partners

  • Everyone is trying to help.
  • People tend to offer advice from their own experiences.  Most times their experiences are not exactly applicable to yours and therefore, their advice really doesn’t apply to you.
  • Taking advice from a spouse, friend, etc. can make golf more frustrating.
  • In short, unless you are married to or dating a golf professional, good friends with a pro or are playing with one, it is in your best interest to let people’s advice go in one ear and out the other.

Television

  • The Golf Channel is an excellent source of golf information.  The problem is, you are getting the same information from several experts who say the same things, totally differently.  As a result, you can become very confused when trying to implement their ideas into your game.
  • Golf telecasts provide a great opportunity to watch the best players in the world do their thing.  You can learn a lot from observing their swings and the way they play the game.  The announcers are mostly very knowledgeable but again, they are talking about the same things in their own ways.

The Internet

  • Web sites offer many kinds of golf information.  They can be very helpful for finding out about different golf courses and golf products. As far as tips and other advice on your game, once again, one person’s opinion explained in their words.  Use web sites and chat rooms for information about where to play and products but try to resist the temptation to use them as a teacher.
  • “Ask the Pro” or personalized lessons are a little better but you are still relying on the advice of someone who can’t see you

Magazines

  • Publications such as “Golf Magazine” and “Golf Digest” can also be great sources of information.  You have to be careful when reading the instructional articles because they have different contributors each month and once again, the advice is from a golf expert but may confuse you when compared to last month’s articles.  Read them for entertainment and enjoy the great pictures but be careful!!

Books

  • Books are a terrific way to learn about golf.  The good ones are written by experienced Teaching Professionals and will usually take you from the very beginning all the way to very advanced topics.  Books are potentially less confusing because they offer one persons views.  They are still lacking in that the author can’t jump off the page and give you the specific instruction you need at any given moment, it is up to you to decide which page you should be on.

PGA Professionals

  • I really feel that getting some instruction from a certified CPGA Golf Professional is the best way to get started or most efficient way to improve your game.
  • Keep in mind, the Teaching Professional you choose is going to have a big impact on your golfing enjoyment so choose carefully.  Find an instructor you trust and understand and stick with them.  Going from teacher to teacher is like trying to learn from all the different instructors on The Golf Channel.  This is the perfect recipe for confusion and frustration.

As you can tell, there are a lot of sources for golf information.  It is important for you to find one source and stick with it.  Whether it is an instructor in your hometown, a particular golf book, one instructor on The Golf Channel every Monday night or your horoscope, find a source which helps you improve and stick with it.

Why Most Golfers Don’t Improve

There are a few reasons why most golfers don’t improve their golf games. Probably the most prevalent one is simply most golfers don’t practice. If your life is too busy or golf is not a high priority in your life, I completely understand but to improve at golf you have to have both the desire and the time to invest in your skills.

The ultimate goal in golf is to shoot the lowest score possible. If your goals are different than that, maybe something more specific like hitting the ball more consistently, that is great as well, but you still probably need to take a look at how you approach the game.

We believe there are three major reasons most golfers fail to improve:

1. Most golfers spend 95% of their available practice time on the full swing, which represents a much smaller percentage of the game. This approach makes it impossible to achieve your lowest possible scores.

2. Most golfers miss-understand the 3 main concepts of the golf swing that determine the ball’s flight. Working with the correct information is absolutely critical for building a repeating swing.

3. Most golfers have poor practice skills. The typical golfer fails to understand the difference between technique practice and golf practice. As a result, most golfers struggle to improve their swings and also never really learn the skills needed to play well on the course.

The golfing establishment is partly responsible for the way golfers approach the game. Most teaching professionals say they offer golf lessons but the majority only gives “golf swing lessons”. If golf professionals are focusing too heavily on the swing, how is the average golfer to know any different?

Even when golfers do make good decisions and are working properly to make positive changes to their games, the vast majority gives up on the changes before they have a chance to take hold. New habits or skills take time to integrate into your game so patience is very necessary as you attempt to improve.

Study all the subjects

Practice all parts of your golf game.
Practice all parts of your golf game.
Most golfers understand that the short game makes up at least 50% of your score, yet most ignore this fact and continue to focus exclusively on the full swing.

Imagine when you were in school that you spent nearly all of your time studying only math. You would end up being a math whiz but since your advancement to the next grade was dependant on your overall grade, you would end up failing the grade. Golf is the same, if you want to become a better golfer and move up to the next “grade” you will have to study all the subjects.

 

Use the Correct Information

It has been my experience most golfers misunderstand one or more of the three major concepts, which govern how the club should swing through the ball. Understanding how to make solid contact, control the clubface and swing the club on the correct path are at the root of learning a repeating swing.

Once a golfer learns WHAT the club needs to do as it swings through the ball, they can begin the process of learning HOW their body needs to perform to make it happen.

Most golfers struggle because they misunderstand the major concepts and are trying to build a swing based on completely wrong assumptions. Stay tuned for chapter two to find out if you are using the correct information for your swing.

Effective Practice

Golf Practice Time Allocation
Golf Practice Time Allocation
The final reason most golfers don’t improve is the quality of their practices is very low. To get the most out of your practice you need to allocate time to every part of the game with respect to how the game is played and also how each part of your game is shaping up at any given time. You also need to avoid the classic error of practicing your swing while worrying about ball flight and trying to play golf (a target game) while worrying about your swing.

 

I have a lot of faith in golfers’ to improve. If you are not improving as fast as you would like, take a look at the information you are using and how you are approaching the game.