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Game of the Weekend: Drawback

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Most golfers regularly suffer from the inability to take their game from the practice area to the course. Why is this? Why can they hit it, chip it or putt it so great when practicing, but struggle once they set foot on the course? To answer this question, we first need to understand what most golfers are experiencing when they’re on the course.

Common answers include:

  • I only get one try.
  • I’m thinking about my score too much.
  • There’s a consequence to a bad shot.
  • I get too mechanical.
  • I experience different lies on the course.
  • I feel a lot of pressure.

After reading that list, it may be more obvious why practice is easy and playing well on the golf course is a different story. It also makes sense that those who perform better on the course bring the elements of variability, consequence, pressure and score to their practice sessions.

“How do you prepare for such pressure-packed situations like the Ryder Cup?” Ian Poulter, Europe’s most clutch Ryder Cup player, was asked. His answer: “Everything is a game.” He, too, turns his practice sessions into competitive, game-like situations.

My name is Trent Wearner, and I’m the author of a new GolfWRX series called “Game of the Weekend” that I know will help you shoot lower scores. I’m going to introduce you to a great new golf game every Friday, and you can take my training further by logging your scores into an interactive practice website called www.golfscrimmages.com. There you can find a couple dozen games for every area of the game that will help you make practice as difficult as, or even more challenging than what you experience on the golf course.

Game of the Weekend: Drawback

  • Gear needed: A putter and one ball. Ball marker is encouraged.
  • Time needed: About 15 minutes to play one round.

If Drawback was the only putting game you ever practiced, you would become a fantastic pressure putter from all distances.

The Rules: You will play 9 holes of this putting game. The first hole should be from 20 feet away, the second hole from 30 feet away, and the third from 40 feet away. Then repeat that process an additional two times for a total of 9 holes. If your first putt goes in the cup on each hole, you record a score of one. If it doesn’t go in, you must draw the ball back one putter length. (Note: Those of you who use a long putter or belly putter should only draw it back 3 feet). If that putt goes in, you score a 2. If it misses, you must draw the ball back one putter length again, continuing in this same manner until the ball is holed. Total the number of putts it takes you on all nine holes and enter that score.

The Benefits: Here’s what this game helps you with.

  1. On the first putt of each hole, your mindset will soon change from “a good lag putt is acceptable” to “I want to hole this first putt.” Trust me, you won’t want to fiddle with all of the drawing back business. The mentality of striving to hole putts instead of just getting them close is a big step to lowering your scores.
  2. Odds are that you won’t be able to make the majority of your 20-, 30- and 40-foot putts, so it’s inevitable that you will have a large number of pressure-packed short putts from 3-8 feet and that’s where you’ll gain ice in your veins.
  3. By playing this game often, you’ll become accustomed to drawing it back after your first putt. When you get on the course and don’t have to draw it back, however, the on-course play will feel so much easier. And when the course feels easier than the practice area, you know you’re doing something great for your game!

For this game, I encourage golfers to go through their entire pre-shot routine before every putt. Depending on your routine, that probably means marking your ball, reading the putt and taking a certain amount of practice strokes. Remember, we want this drill to feel just like putts on the golf course.

Have fun getting better this weekend!

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Trent Wearner is the No. 1-rated teacher in Colorado by Golf Digest Magazine, as well as a two-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year (2004, 2014). Along the way, he has been recognized as a Top 20 Teacher Under Age 40 by Golf Digest, a Top 50 Kids Teacher in America by U.S. Kids Golf and a Top Teacher in the Southwestern U.S. by GOLF Magazine. Trent is also the author of the book Golf Scrimmages and creator of the website GolfScrimmages.com

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. JR

    Aug 31, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Good Stuff! I will be using this next time I take some students outside. Been looking for new/interesting short game drills.

  2. Brian

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Played this a lot as a kid but we played if you are short any distance you draw it back, but if you were with in the leather past the hole you didn’t move the ball, anything outside the leather past the hole got drawn back as well. Great drill to help with the weight and line of you putts.

  3. rymail00

    Aug 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Trent,

    I really like the concept of this game/drill. It sounds fun and I’m looking forward to more articles and games/drills. I enjoy practicing as much as playing. So I’m always looking open to drills to keep it fun and productive.

    Keep’em coming!
    Ryan

  4. Chance

    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I like the idea of this article. Seems like a great drill! Cant wait to see more!

  5. Ryan K

    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    This seems like a really great idea, I’ll try it out!

  6. Adam

    Aug 21, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I’m definitely going to give this game a go!

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Instruction

The Big Shift: How to master pressure and the golf transition using prior sports training

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If you’re an #AverageJoeGolfer, work a day job, and don’t spend countless hours practicing, you might be interested in knowing that sports you played growing up, and even beer league softball skills, can be used to help you play better golf. We’re sure you’ve heard hockey players tend to hit the ball a mile, make the “best golfers”, while pitchers and quarterbacks have solid games, but baseball/softball hitters struggle with consistency. Did you know that a killer tennis backhand might help your golf game if you play from the opposite side? Dancers are way ahead of other athletes making a switch to golf because they understand that centeredness creates power and consistency much more efficiently than shifting all around, unnecessary swaying, or “happy feet.”

Lurking beneath fat shots, worm burners, and occasional shanks, are skillsets and motions you can pull from the old memory bank to apply on the golf course. Yes, you heard us right; your high school letterman jacket can finally be put to good use and help you improve your move. You just need to understand some simple adjustments different sports athletes need to make to be successful golfers.

In golf, shifting from your trailside into your lead side is what we’ll call the TRANSITION. Old School teachers refer to this motion, or shift, as “Foot Work”, New-Fangled-Techno-Jargon-Packed-Instruction uses “Ground Pressure/Force” to refer to the same concept. Don’t worry about the nomenclature; just know, as many GolfWRXers already do, that you must get your weight to your lead side if you want any chance at making solid and consistent contact. TRANSITION might be THE toughest motion in golf to master.

The good news for you is that TRANSITION happens in all other sports but in slightly different ways, depending on the sport. Golfers can more quickly learn TRANSITION, and speed up their swing learning process by understanding how prior sport experience can be applied to the golf swing.

[The basics of a solid golf move are; 1) you should have a SETUP that is centered and balanced, 2) you move your weight/pressure into your trail side during the TAKEAWAY and BACKSWING, 3) TRANSITION moves your weight/pressure back into your lead side, and 4) you FINISH with the club smashing the ball down the fairway. Okay, it’s not quite as easy as I make it sound, but hopefully our discussion today can relieve some stress when it comes time for you to start training your game.]

Baseball/Softball Hitters

Hitting coaches don’t like their hitters playing golf during the season, that’s a fact. The TRANSITIONS are too different, and if they play too much golf, they can lose the ability to hit off-speed pitches because their swing can become too upright. Golf requires an orbital hand path (around an angled plane) with an upright-stacked finish, while hitting requires batters to have a straight-line (more horizontal) hand path and to “stay back or on top of” the ball.

Now we apologize for the lack of intricate knowledge and terminology around hitting a baseball, we only played up through high school. What we know for sure is that guys/gals who have played a lot of ball growing up, and who aren’t pitchers struggle with golf’s TRANSITION. Hitters tend to hang back and do a poor job of transferring weight properly. When they get the timing right, they can make contact, but consistency is a struggle with fat shots and scooping being the biggest issues that come to mind.

So how can you use your star baseball/softball hitting skills with some adjustments for golf? Load, Stride, Swing is what all-good hitters do, in that order. Hitters’ issues revolve around the Stride, when it comes to golf. They just don’t get into their lead sides fast enough. As a golfer, hitters can still take the same approach, with one big adjustment; move more pressure to your lead side during your stride, AND move it sooner. We’ve had plenty of ‘a ha’ moments when we put Hitters on balance boards or have them repeat step drills hundreds of times; “oh, that’s what I need to do”…BINGO…Pound Town, Baby!

Softball/Baseball Pitchers, Quarterbacks, & Kickers

There’s a reason that kickers, pitchers, and quarterbacks are constantly ranked as the top athlete golfers and it’s not because they have a ton of downtime between starts and play a lot of golf. Their ‘day jobs’ throwing/kicking motions have a much greater impact on how they approach sending a golf ball down the fairway. It’s apparent that each of these sports TRAINS and INGRAINS golf’s TRANSITION motion very well. They tend to load properly into their trailside while staying centered (TAKEAWAY/BACKSWING), and they transfer pressure into their lead side, thus creating effortless speed and power. Now there are nuances for how to make adjustments for golf, but the feeling of a pitching or kicking motion is a great training move for golf.

If this was your sport growing up, how can you improve your consistency? Work on staying centered and minimizing “happy feet” because golf is not a sport where you want to move too much or get past your lead side.


Dance

My wife was captain of her high school dance team, has practiced ballet since she was in junior high, and is our resident expert on Ground Pressure forces relating to dance. She has such a firm grasp on these forces that she is able to transfer her prior sports skill to play golf once or twice a year and still hit the ball past me and shoot in the low 100s; what can I say, she has a good coach. More importantly, she understands that staying centered and a proper TRANSITION, just like in Dance, are requirements that create stability, speed, and consistent motions for golf. Christo Garcia is a great example of a Ballerina turned scratch golfer who uses the movement of a plié (below left) to power his Hogan-esque golf move. There is no possible way Misty Copeland would be able to powerfully propel herself into the air without a proper TRANSITION (right).

Being centered is critical to consistently hitting the golf ball. So, in the same way that dancers stay centered and shift their weight/pressure to propel themselves through the air, they can stay on the ground and instead create a golf swing. Dancers tend to struggle with the timing of the hands and arms in the golf swing. We train them a little differently by training their timing just like a dance routine; 1 and 2 and 3 and…. Dancers learn small motions independently and stack each micro-movement on top of one another, with proper timing, to create a dance move (golf swing) more like musicians learn, but that article is for another time.

Hockey

Hockey is a great example of the golf TRANSITION because it mimics golf’s motions almost perfectly. Even a subtlety like the direction in which the feet apply pressure is the same in Hockey as in Golf, but that’s getting in the weeds a bit. Hockey players load up on their trailside, and then perform the TRANSITION well; they shift into their lead sides and then rotate into the puck with the puck getting in the way of the stick…this is the golf swing, just on skates and ice…my ankles hurt just writing that.

If you played hockey growing up, you have the skillsets for a proper golf TRANSITION, and you’ll improve much faster if you spend your time training a full FINISH which involves staying centered and balanced.

Now we didn’t get into nuances of each and every sport, but we tried to cover most popular athletic motions we thought you might have experience in in the following table. The key for your Big Shift, is using what you’ve already learned in other sports and understanding how you might need to change existing and known motions to adapt them to golf. If you played another sport, and are struggling, it doesn’t mean you need to give up golf because your motion is flawed…you just need to know how to train aspects of your golf move a little differently than someone who comes from a different sport might.

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Instruction

Clement: Effortless power for senior golfers

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Are you struggling with range of motion? Want more EFFORTLESS POWER? We are truly the experts at this having taught these methods for 25 plus years, while others were teaching resistance, breaking everyone’s backs and screwing up their minds with endless positions to hit and defects to fix. Welcome home to Wisdom in Golf!

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Clement: How to turbo charge your swing

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The shift in golf instruction continues and Wisdom in Golf and GolfWRX are right out there blazing a trail of fantastic content and techniques to get you to feel the most blissful, rhythmic golf shots you can strike! This here is the humdinger that keeps on giving and is now used by a plethora of tour players who are benefitting greatly and moving up the world rankings because of it.

The new trend (ours is about 25 years young) is the antithesis of the “be careful, don’t move too much, don’t make a mistake” approach we have endured for the last 30 years plus. Time to break free of the shackles that hold you back and experience the greatness that is already right there inside that gorgeous human machine you have that is so far from being defective! Enjoy!

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