Category: For Beginners

T.E.M.P.O. – Skills Needed for Good Golf

T.E.M.P.O.

 

Hi everyone and welcome to the 2013 golf season!  I hope you had a great off-season.  I am very excited about the upcoming year and look forward to helping you with your game.

Spring is a great time to assess your game and set some goals for your year.  To help you assess your game, and all of the parts of your game, I want to introduce you to my T.E.M.P.O. system.  I use this system to break the game into categories to help ensure my students cover all of their bases when trying to improve.

T.E.M.P.O. System

T – Technical Skills
       
– Golf skills that include ball striking, short game, putting

E – Equipment
       
– Ensuring your equipment and golf ball is optimized to your game and well  
          maintained for performance.

M – Mental Game and Course Management
       
– The ability to make good strategy decisions and perform up to your physical
           abilities at all times, regardless of the situation.

P – Physical Fitness and Nutrition
        
– Being flexible in key areas like hips and mid-back and being stable in other
           areas like your core to enable a repeatable and efficient swing while avoiding
           injury.

O – Organized Approach
       
– Assessing performance, setting goals, making a plan, executing the plan and
           then repeating the whole process.

In each category, there are several skills that ca be addressed.  A great starting point to any improvement program would be to assess your abilities in each of these categories.  I have a checklist on my web site you can download for free and a new e-book that will guide your improvement using my T.E.M.P.O. system.

Most golfers don’t see the improvement they deserve because they spend too much time on only one part of their game or the wrong areas of their game.  Taking a look at your entire game and having a sound idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are will allow you to allocate lesson and practice time so your time will be efficiently spent.

Work with your coach to assess your game, prioritize areas of need and then get guidance on how to raise your skill level in those areas.

Good luck with the start of your season and I’ll see you next month as I start to explore some of the key parts of T.E.M.P.O.

Slow Play is Killing Golf

I don’t know if you got a chance to watch the finish of today’s PGA Tour event in San Diego.  Farmer’s Insurance was kind enough to pony up for a tournament and all the big guns showed up.  Even the golfer formerly known as Tiger was there and resembling his former self at times.  Two Canadians, Brad Fritsch and Graham DeLaet finished in the Top-10 as well!!  I liked seeing Tiger at the top of the leaderboard. Not a fan of him of the course but I believe he is the best player of all time so I still enjoy watching his pursuit of history.

Unfortunately, in addition to showcasing great golf, this event shone a bright spotlight on SLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWW PLLLLLLAAAAAAAAYYYY!.  It took over 3 hours for the best players in the world to finish 9 holes.  Part of the problem was a congestion of players restarting their rounds but “Come on Man”!!

Having said that I like Tiger as a player, I think he is contributing to the slow play epidemic that is happening everywhere.  I think the biggest reason for slow play is golfers who aren’t ready to play when it is their turn. They watch the other golfers in their group and then when it’s time for their piece of artistry, they scramble around trying to find their glove, measure yardage, choose a club and fire off the shot.

Tiger may be the worst at this, especially on the greens.  He usually stands off to the side, possibly scouting the gallery, until the player before him has marked his ball or picked it out of the hole.  It is only then that he puts his ball down and proceeds to circle the hole once or twice in slow motion.  I have timed him a couple of times when it takes him over 2 minutes from the time his ball goes down to the time he pulls the trigger.  Really…?  You’re the best player ever and it takes you two minutes?

When juniors and college players see this, naturally they begin to follow suit.

Slow Play Challenges

  • – Tour players on TV are brutally slow and don’t get penalized often enough to change their behavior
  • – Young players and good players emulate the tour pros
  • – Intermediate players think they are better than they are so play the wrong tees and take a long time to hit their shots
  • – Beginners haven’t been shown how to play quickly

Some Solutions

  • – PGA and other tours need to start enforcing pace of play rules with penalty shots instead of small fines.  If tour players play faster, juniors and college kids will follow suit
  • – Golf courses need to take more of an active role in which tees golfers play from and flat out removing slow groups from the course when they don’t make an effort to keep up. This may upset 4 golfers but it will make everyone following them on the course much happier.
  • – Teaching professionals need to include a lot of etiquette and pace of play instruction in their programs for newer golfers
  • – All of us as golfers need to take responsibility for ourselves.  If you can’t already, you need to be able to get to your golf ball and, within 35 seconds, decide on what shot you are going to play, which club to use and have the shot in the air.  If you are waiting for others in your group to tee off or putt, your 35 seconds begins once it’s your turn to play.
  • – Also on us as players, we need to be “the group behind the group in front of us and NOT the group in front of the group behind us…  What te heck does that mean?  It doesn’t matter if you are not being pushed from behind.  It is your responsibility to be close to the group in front of you. If this isn’t realistic, you simply need to be on pace for a 4 hour round.  That means you get about 14 minutes per hole.

 

 Let’s see if we can get back to 4 hours being a normal time for a round.  I think we can all do our part and we will all reap the benefits.

Holiday Gifts for Golfers

If you have a golfer on your holiday gift list, you are facing an important decision!  What the heck should I get this person who chases a little white ball around for fun?

If you have a golfer on your holiday gift list, you are facing an important decision!  What the heck should I get this person who chases a little white ball around for fun?

If you are a golfer yourself, you understand the game and will probably already know most of what I am about to say.  If you are not a golfer, this next 4 or 5 minutes could be life changing stuff!!

First, let’s look at what I think you should avoid. There are many seemingly good ideas that actually aren’t used by most golfers…

Golf Gifts to Avoid

—  Golf ball monogrammer  –  seems cool but they rarely actually work and cool golfers use a sharpie.

—  Any sort of stroke counting device, beads, clickers, calculators, etc.  –  They make sense but no golfers I know are willing to admit they hit the ball so many times they need help counting!

—  Putters, wedges, drivers, sets of clubs… –  Golfers can be quite picky with respect to what clubs they buy and use.  It is also important to get your clubs fitted to you so they will work best.  For these reasons, steer clear of actually buying a club or clubs unless you are using it to wrap up and set up a possible exchange after the holidays.

—  Golf balls are also dangerous as many golfers are very loyal to a certain brand or flavour.  Check your golfer’s golf bag and see if he or she has more than one type in the pocket…

—  Umbrella  – every golfer I know has 343 golf umbrellas somewhere in their house and car.

—  Pretty much anything on an infomercial airing after 2:00 AM on the golf channel.  It will not shave 12 strokes off your score.  It will only clutter your garage until the garage sale 4 years from now when your golfer finally admits it doesn’t work…

—  Golf boots  –  Seriously, golf boots are sooo 2000 and never!

Gifts that Your Golfer Will Like (and Use)

—  A book with photos of famous golf holes or courses.  Always nice to have on the coffee table or in “the office”

—  As much as some don’t like giving gift cards, a gift card at a golf course is a great gift.  It can be used for golf, equipment, clothing and even food or drinks.  Very versatile and sure to let your golfer find something he or she likes…

—  Golf Lessons  –  Clearly this is the best gift for anyone, even non-golfers!!  Okay, on a serious note, if a golfer asks for lessons specifically or is always complaining about their level of play, a lesson package is a great gift.

—  If your golfer plays all year round, things like:

  • – really good quality outerwear (as they say, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing)
  • – golf mittens
  • – hot pockets (little packs that heat up and go in your pocket or mittens)
  • – a golf touque
  • – under garments that are thin, not limiting and keep the heat in

—  Instructional books or dvd’s.  While I think in-person lessons would be more helpful, lots of golfers enjoy reading about the game and watching videos from famous instructors.

—  The Golf Channel  –  In many areas, The Golf Channel is part of a premium cable package.  It shouldn’t be but is.  If your golfer doesn’t have the Golf Channel, they will love it when you set it up for them!

—  Golf related items with their favourite team logo on them.  Golf balls, towel, head covers, golf hat, ball marker, divot repair tool, etc…  Note, this does not include golf clubs or putters.

—  A distance range finder  –  hand-held device that tells the golfer how far it is to the flag or other target.  Good ones start at about $200.  Don’t get one cheaper than that as they are not accurate…  Bushnell and Sky Caddy are two good names in the business.

—  Golf Magazine Subscription  –  They will thank you every month!!

—  There are many gag gifts out there if you are only looking for a laugh. My two favourites are the explodung golf ball and the tee that will not allow the ball to stay on it.  Hours of fun!!  I once got a putting game you can play while sitting on the toilet!!  It took a while but I eventually got quite good…

 

Anyways, I hope this has been a little help to you on your quest.  I wish you and yours a great holiday season and all the best for 2013!!

 

How to Be A Better Golfer Next Spring

Since you are reading this post, it is probably safe to assume you are either a golfer who would like to improve or a serious insomniac.  I will do my best to educate you on how to make significant improvements to your golf game over the coming cooler months. If you happen to doze off, I will add curing insomnia to my resume!

I think the biggest challenge golfers face when trying to improve is that making lasting improvements takes time and repetition of the desired motion.  When golfers try to make these changes during golf season, they are usually faced with heading out to play golf and having to decide whether to play poor golf while sticking with a new swing thought or reverting back to their “old swing”.  I feel your pain, it is very difficult to soldier on with a new swing move when faced with poor shots, possibly poorer than before.

This is why fall and winter is the ideal time to make swing improvements.  The fact the weather is cool and wet and you are less likely to be playing golf or less concerned with your score, means you are far more likely to stick with your swing changes.

How do we make a swing change?  The steps are quite simple to understand but there is a key element of practice reps.

Step 1 – The golfer is often unaware of what they should change about their technique (unconsciously incompetent)

Step 2 – The golfer is educated on what they need to change (consciously incompetent)

Step 3 – The golfers is educated on the more desirable technique and how to actually do it  (consciously competent)

Step 4 – Practice the desired motion while consciously controlling the motion.  This is the biggest challenge because if you are out playing golf, you will most likely be consciously thinking about where the ball is going. When you think about anything besides the desired swing motion, you instantly lose the ability to make the desired motion because at this point, it is only a “conscious skill” and not a habit yet.

Step 5 – After lots of repetition, the motion becomes a habit (unconsciously competent) and the golfer no longer needs to think about the swing to make it happen correctly. The golfer can then play golf thinking exclusively about the shot they want to hit and not their swings.

So, how do we make a swing change?  Ideally, we spend ample time making the proper motion and not worrying about where the ball is going.  The only time this will make sense is during the fall and winter.

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