Category: Putting

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



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

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.

Planning for a Great 2013 Golf Year

With the new year just underway, many of us have made one or more resolutions about how we intend to make 2013 a great year!  While I will be using golf as my format, the goal setting approach I will focus on will work for weight loss, better health and fiscal restructuring as well…

We are all good at dreaming about something we would like to happen.  For example, most golfers would like to reduce their handicaps.  Most of us aren’t as good at making the plan of how we will achieve this goal.

When making a plan for improvement, there are three types of goals that I work with for my students:

–  Long Term Outcome Goals (Usually 6 months)  –  These are the things we want tpo accomplish long term.  An example would be, “I want to lower my handicap to 9.0 by September 30th, 2013”.

–  Monthly Performance Goals  –  These are more specific about a part of the game and will get us closer to achieving our Outcome Goals.  An example would be, “I want to increase my fairways hit to 70% by the end of this month”.

–  Weekly Process Goals  –  These are action plans designed to help us achieve our Performance Goals.  An example would be, “I will spend 5 ours this week working on my driving”.

One other key point with goal setting.  You probably already know this.  Your goals need to be “S.M.A.R.T.”, should be written down and put somewhere you can see them every day.  What are SMART goals?

S  –  Specific  (as specific as possible)
M  –  Measurable  (can be counted
–  Attainable  (it will require you to reach but is doable)
R  –  Relevant  (it is important enough to you to create desire)
T  –  Timely  (has an end date when you will complete it by)


So, here is a good way to make your plan for 2013.

Step 1  –  Assess where you are with the various parts of your game:

–  Ball Striking
–  Short Game
–  Putting
–  Equipment
–  Mental Game
–  Course Management
–  Memory Management
–  Nutrition
–  Practice Habits


Step 2  –  Set your Long Term Outcome Goals

You can see these are outcomes based on your abilities in all parts of the game.


–  I will lower my handicap by 5 strokes by September 1, 2013
–  I will win my club championship on August 10th
–  I will qualify for the BC Amateur on June 23rd



Step 3  – Set your Monthly Performance Goals

These goals are easily set when you have your assessment results from Step 1 and are focused on parts of the game as opposed to the entire game.


–  I will increase my putting percentage to 85% from inside 5 feet by January 31st, 2013.
–  I will raise my GIR percentage to 65% by February 28th, 2013.
–  I will gain 10 yards on my drive by February 28th, 2013


Step 4  –  Set your Weekly Process Goals

These are your action steps that you will make this week. 


–  I will spend 5 hours on my putting this week
–  I will go to the gym 4 times this week and spend 90 minutes each day


Step 5  –  Set your Weekly Schedule

I recommend you do this at the same time each week.  Sunday evening is a good time so you can set your upcoming week, including work, school, family time, practice, play, workouts, etc.  You will be amazed how much time you have when you start being a little more efficient with your time management.


I hope this helps and as always, let me know if you want any help with your improvement plan!

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!!


Anchoring Putters and The Big Picture

Breaking News – The main golf governing bodies are seriously considering banning a golfer’s ability to anchor a putter to their body during the stroke.  This would affect the use of belly putters and longer “broom stick” putters golfers anchor against their chest.

There are two major parts of this as I see it:

1. If it’s an advantage, we need two sets of rules.

2. Is it against the spirit of the game

Is it an Advantage?

The USGA and R&A are looking to ban the use of such clubs, siting they believe these putters are an advantage and not just a last resort for the twitchy among us.  I am not sure these putters are actually an advantage but for the sake of the next few paragraphs, let’s assume they are.

I believe the bigger picture here is the growing need for two sets of rules for golf.  One set would govern the play and equipment of those playing professionally or at the highest levels of amateur golf.  The second set of rules would be for the other 99% of golfers who are playing our great game for fun.

Rules for professionals and serious amateurs should include:

  • No anchoring of putters – if they can prove it is an advantage…
  • Reigning in the golf ball so it doesn’t go 412 yards with a 3-wood and so it will spin more, making controlling it more challenging
  • Decreasing the size of the driver, both in head size and shaft length
  • Govern the grooves and shafts to make sure a shot struck from the rough is actually harder to control than from the short grass
  • No clubs with more than 56 degrees should be allowed – sorry Phil.
  • Let them wear shorts – while we are revolutionizing the game …

Rules for everyone else:

  • Basically, no rules!
    • Driver heads as big as you want
    • COR as high as we can make it – Let the ball come off the face as fast as we can get it going, especially at slower swing speeds
    • Anchor your putter to your belly, chest or your putting robot, as long as you’re smiling while you do it!
    • Move your ball out of a divot with no penalty.  Rub of the Green?  Hogwash. Fair is fair…
    • Everyone play from the front tees until you break 90, then move back one set and repeat
    • If you’re not hosting a major event, Superintendents, cut the rough, put the pins in the middle of greens and smile at us when you drive by on your tractor
    • Course designers – it’s okay if we shoot a good score for us.  Stop designing courses just in case the US Open calls and wants to host at your venue. 
    • Insert any other rule you want as long as you can play in under 4 hours and 15 minutes…

Is it Against the Spirit of the Game

If we are looking at the spirit of the game as trying to protect the history and honour of our game, a lot of that effort should be spent protecting the relevance of our greatest courses.  They are now even talking about altering the Old Course at St. Andrews!! Why? Because the golf ball goes too far and too straight for the best players to be challenged by its existing layout.  Start governing the equipment more and the historical venues and scoring records will be protected and remain part if our great game moving forward.

My personal belief of what the spirit of the game is for most golfers, is very simple.  If it’s not fun, why play?  Again, if you are trying to make your living at golf, win championships, etc., this doesn’t apply to you. For everyone else, golf should be the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

I believe golf is the greatest game/sport on earth.  There simply isn’t another pastime where people of radically different skill levels can play together and all have fun.

I also believe that our quest to honour the traditions of the game can sometimes become blurred and makes our game less fun and less appealing to new golfers.  For new golfers, we only need “Rules of Courtesy” – treat the golf course and fellow golfers with respect and play quickly.  For golfers who decide to compete, we need the “Rules of Golf”.


There is a grey area as I can see it.  How do you keep a legitimate handicap so golfers of different skill levels can partake in the odd wager, or enter less serious tournaments with a current handicap?  If it’s a friendly wager in your group, it’s very simple.  Only those taking part in the wager must agree on the rules of the day, both for play and equipment.  If it’s for a tournament, organizers can decide whether to use the Rules of Golf or an adapted version.

If a golfer chooses to use a non-conforming driver, golf ball or putting method during his or her casual rounds, that is his or her business.  They must still turn in their scores to establish their handicaps.  If all of the things being legislated out of the game are truly advantageous, these golfers will only be punishing themselves as their handicaps will have been established while “cheating” and therefore, they will be at a distinct disadvantage during competition.

My sense is that most of the things being legislated on, truly only affect the top .1% of all golfers and punish the rest of us.

As always, I welcome your thoughts on this and any other golf related topic…

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