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A five-step process to get in the zone on every shot



The concept of getting in “The Zone” is a very ambiguous and difficult feeling to attain. It seems to ebb and flow on its own schedule, and for many golfers it is never available when they need it most.

Last month, I delivered a 60-minute on-course coaching session with a top junior golfer in Rochester, N.Y. The goal of this session was to learn the process to be 100 percent ready on every shot. This is a five-step approach that allows you to take control of your pre-shot routine and get in The Zone on every shot, regardless of the situation.

For 55 of the 60 minutes, all we focused on was this game-changing, pre-shot routine. At the end of the session all my student had to say was, “I feel sorry for my competition.”

If you want to eliminate the inconsistencies in your game and approach every shot feeling ready, here are the steps to make it happen.

Stop the ANTS

ANTS are Automatic Negative Thoughts that create terrible shots. ANTS come in all shapes and sizes and make you say things such as: don’t go out of bounds, I hate this hole, my short game stinks and a plethora of other unhealthy communication patterns. To STOP the ANTS you must:

  1. Be aware that you are having a negative thought.
  2. Take a four-second timeout.
  3. Get focused.

Watch the video below to learn more about these steps.

Visualize your entire shot

The proper way to visualize your shot is to think of it like a movie. Close your eyes and envision it from the time it leaves your club to the time it stops. Another method is to envision your shot in reverse.

Pick a specific target 

The next time you have an approach shot of any length, pick the exact dime-sized spot of where you want your ball to land. If it is a safe pin placement, envision how it will release once it hits the green and roll into the hole.

Be 100 percent ready 

As you walk toward the ball and get ready to hit your shot, say to yourself R-E-A-D-Y. This confirms that you are prepared and it is time to just swing.

Just swing 

As you stand over your ball and get ready to hit your shot, it is time to eliminate all conscious thought and just swing. Your mind and body are ready to go, and you just swing the club.

If you want a better benchmark for your game other than your score, keep track of how many shots you felt completely ready to hit during the round. Go through the five-step process and actually keep track of it on your scorecard. This is a great indicator of where you need to improve and allows you to become your own head coach!

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Greg is a Performance Coach who shows serious golfers how to get on the fast track to success. As the creator behind the revolutionary Professional Performance System and Team Performance Program, Greg continually reports unprecedented results with his clients. Greg's speaking engagements and press representations include, among others: FOX Sports,, GolfWRX, NBC and ESPN radio, Merrill Lynch, British Petroleum, Microsoft, the PGA and a host of leading high schools and universities. If you are serious about playing Your Best Golf Ever, contact Greg directly. Email: Phone: 716.830.0808



  1. Kelly

    Mar 16, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Adding a step at the end helps to stay in the zone !

    When you hole out instead of acknowledging score you reach in the hole, grab the ball and say to your self, where’s the next tee ? Visualize yourself on the next tee.

    Your subconscious mind won’t understand what is meant by this so it will search for the hidden meaning, which is you don’t care about results !

    The reason this is so important is all of your false limitations are tied to results !

    This one simple step can have you rewriting pressure and the way it will be experienced or most likely not experienced at all !

  2. Chris Taylor

    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Has Jason always scared the ball like that before each shot, or he just figure out the secret to golf?

  3. marcel

    Aug 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    all said good and well… but in my life experience an average golfer does not even warm up. so there goes the 5 step process… just a slow pace and shanks.

  4. M

    Aug 28, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I’ve worked with Greg in the past and these steps ABSOLUTELY help. Committing to the 100% ready is HARD. I only did it on about 70% of my shots the first time out and I actually played pretty well.

    It’s like anything else you have to stick with it and practice it on the range like any other club. Stick to it and you will see results and golf gets way less stressful especially if you play in events at your club, local tournaments, or just a money game with your friends.

  5. Jeff

    Aug 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I’m not a good speller.

  6. Philip

    Aug 27, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Very true on the comment on seconds not minutes. Step 1 is totally done within a couple of minutes after my last shot as I’m walking to the new ball location. I’m finish step 3 as I approach my ball. Complete step 2 as I make a practice swing and accept step 4 just before setting up to the ball. Then just step 5 and repeat – hopefully with fewer step 1s.

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Stickney: The deadly double-cross



OK. Here we go. Number 17 at Punta Mita. Water all down the left side. OK. Aim right and hit a slight draw—been hitting the ball wonderfully all day, scoring conditions are perfect—I’m ready to make a birdie!

Over the ball. Check my alignments—good! Last look—where we want the ball to end up—good! No swing thoughts—great! Go!

Ball begins on the line I wanted—so far so good—apex perfect. Oh no! Now it’s not drawing! In fact, it’s fading! Crap! There’s out of bounds right! Don’t hit the path…

BOING! Gone. UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! The dreaded “double-cross.”

Why does this seem to happen to all of us from time to time (only when there is a problem on one side we’re trying to avoid?) The answer is simply one of three things normally

  • Not committed
  • Poor pivot
  • Faulty grip pressure

Not Committed

This one is simple: Anytime you have conflicting thoughts over the ball and you are unsure of what to do next, step back and regroup! Easy sounding right? Not at all! This take a ton of self-discipline and awareness to actually notice the signs and make the choice to stop yourself in the middle of your routine. If you can, you are one of the few.

Not being committed comes in the physical, mental, and emotional forms. Regardless of which you are fighting on the tee in this situation, it’s best to stop and regroup. If you do not, a double-cross and double bogey can be lurking!

Poor Pivot

Whenever you have doubts about your ability to pull off a shot mechanically the first thing to go is your control of the “pivot” which is how you twist and turn and displace weight. The pivot, per “The Golfing Machine,” controls things like rhythm, balance, the head, the club shaft, etc. so if you “stall out or outrace yourself” then your ball can go anywhere. Usually, when you have trouble that you are trying to avoid, you will tend to slow down in efforts to try and guide the ball—when this happens you will hang back and either hold on or flip it through impact, and this will cause you to lose control of the clubhead and clubface. No bueno!

Faulty Grip Pressure

As stated above, you will find non-commitment in one of three forms, and normally when you have emotional or physical issues your grip pressure will spike. Anytime you have a grip on the club that’s in death-mode, you will find that having any type of normal or consistent release is impossible. When your release becomes an issue so will your ball’s flight. Try your best to relax and let things happen without trying to force them; squeezing the grip too hard can only make things worse.

Now that we know what the issues tend to be, what can we do besides step back? Your goal is to swing the club, just like you do every other time, as normally as possible. The fewer “thoughts” you have, the better. Usually, if you try to stay aggressive, you’ll have a better chance of having the ball land on grass. Try it and you’ll surprise yourself!

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TXG: 8 handicap fairway wood & hybrid fitting



Finishing the full bag fitting for our Mizuno contest winner by dialing in a fairway wood and hybrid!

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6 reasons why golfers struggle with back pain: Part 2



This article is co-written with Marnus Marais. Since 2011, Marnus has worked with some of the world’s best players on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, helping them to maintain optimal health and peak physical performance. His current stable of players includes Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, and Louis Oosthuizen, amongst others.

You can find more information on Marnus and his work at

Following on from Part 1 of this article, we examine reasons 4, 5 and 6 for why golfers suffer from low back pain.

Reason 4: Weak Core Muscles

Before we make start making exercise recommendations for this complicated area of the body, it’s worth asking—what is the core exactly? There is considerable debate about this often misunderstood region. Back pain expert Professor Stuart McGill, explains it as follows:

‘The core is composed of the lumbar spine, the muscles of the abdominal wall, the back extensors, and quadratus lumborum. Also included are the multijoint muscles, namely, latissimus dorsi and psoas that pass through the core, linking it to the pelvis, legs, shoulders, and arms. Given the anatomic and biomechanical synergy with the pelvis, the gluteal muscles may also be considered to be essential components as primary power generators’

In a golf context, there is a common myth that the core muscles are our main source of power in the swing. In reality, the main role of the core is to provide stiffness and stable support for force/power transfer from our legs to our upper body

If we can create stiffness and stability in our core, we can help protect our spine and surrounding structures from unnecessary strain whilst also improving swing efficiency—pretty sweet combo!

Due to a combination of perpetual sitting, poor posture and other detrimental lifestyle factors, our cores tend to lose this ability to provide stiffness and stability. We can combat and correct this with a solid core conditioning program. Below are examples of some of our favorite exercises.

Dead Bug with Fitball – the combination of squeezing the fitball whilst extending arm and leg delivers all sorts of great stimulus for the core muscles.

Bird Dog – great for glute, core and back strength

Pallof Press – fantastic anti-rotation exercise. Good for strengthening the core whilst using the ground efficiently

Reason 5 – Not Warming up Properly/Not Warming up at All!

As we’ve explained above, mechanical back pain arises from too much stress and strain placed on the back. During the game of golf, we treat our spines terribly—expecting them to twist, turn and contort with the aim of producing decent golf shots!

If we don’t prepare our bodies for an activity like golf and just go out cold, we significantly increase the chances for strain and stress being placed on the lumbar area.

I’m sure many of you have had the experience of throwing a ball or a stick hard without warming up, and received a nasty sharp pain in your shoulder. Now, if you were to warm up before doing that; stretching your shoulder, making a few practice throws etc, you’d likely avoid strain altogether. Same goes for the low back and the golf swing – without a decent warm-up, there’s every possibility of a strain when trying to rip driver down the first!

By incorporating a warm-up into your pre-golf routine, you can significantly reduce the risk for injury AND help avoid that card wrecking double-double start! As a side bonus, warming up regularly can help your general health, fitness, and wellbeing too.

We know that most amateurs don’t warm up; a study done by Fradkin et. al showed that around 70 percent of amateur golfers seldom warm-up, with only 3.8% reporting warming up on every occasion!

A decent warm isn’t hard and doesn’t have to take ages to complete; research shows that a warm-up of 10-20 minutes is sufficient. In the video below, Marnus gives a thorough guide to a solid warm up sequence.

Reason 6 – Swing Faults

Let’s not forget the golf swing. One of the most common reasons I see golfers struggle with low back pain is that they are unable to “get to their lead side” and “get stuck” on the downswing. This causes the aforementioned excessive side bend and rotation from the low back, which we need to avoid! 

“Getting stuck” on the trail side

Now we aren’t golf coaches and therefore don’t deliver swing advice. However, there are some fundamental movement patterns that most golfers could benefit from practicing. In the videos below, one of our favorite body orientated swing coaches, Richard Woodhouse, is using one of our favorite training tools, the GravityFit TPro, to help teach an efficient movement pattern. The aim is to develop a strong connection between arms and body, using the hips and thorax to rotate, thereby helping to avoid “getting stuck.”


The absolute best practice for a healthy golfing lower back is working with a golf swing instructor and also a health/fitness professional that understands the body and swing connection. As a team, they would be able to identify and improve your individual swing faults, movement pattern dysfunctions, range of motion deficiencies, muscle weakness, imbalances, and alignment issues.

If you don’t have access to such expertise locally, you may want to check out the online services offered by Marnus and Nick here:

Marnus –

Nick –

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19th Hole