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3 proverbs to help you improve your golf game

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Most of my readers on GolfWRX won’t ever be able to make the trip to the Strano Golf Academy in Destin, Florida, and take a lesson with me at the beautiful Kelly Plantation Golf Club. But if you did, or were nearby on the range, you would hear me use sayings and proverbs to relate thoughts — they’re called “Stranoisms” by my players. While I can’t verify that they’re completely original, they are things I say all the time to players to help them improve their golf games.

So I thought I might share a few with you and maybe a few more in the future. I think you will enjoy how some of the strange thoughts equate to success in your golf games.

“One in a row is not a streak”

The biggest mistake players make when taking a lesson or trying to make swing changes on their own, is to try something once and say “Well, that didn’t work, what next?” One ball is not enough to make a statistical analysis. You never hear a sportscaster say, “And the winning streak continues at one in row!”

When we come out of video or FlightScope analysis I always remind the student we are never going to make an assessment on what we are doing on the first swing, good or bad. If we are making significant setup changes to get a player to match their setup to their body build then it is going to take 6-10 swings to get comfortable with that alone. So I tell them that I don’t care where the ball goes on the first 15 swings and I need them to not care also. Just setup the way we discussed and try to make the change in the swing pattern we identified. Usually after about five swings they hit a really nice shot! That is where I throw them the “one in a row” quote and they dig in and give me another good move. I would love to have 100 swings to assess if you can repeatedly do it. Time limits what we can do so normally it is 15 shots and we know if we need to tweak the information or the drills to get it just right.

So the moral is to be patient and give yourself enough chances to make the right swing.

“Get in your hallway”

This actually started away from the golf course and I adapted it to my players’ pre-shot routines to help them focus tightly on where they wanted to ball to go.

I got this idea when my daughter was competitive cheerleading when she was 7-10 years old. She was one of the “flyers,” which is the athlete that runs across the floor doing all the flips and twists through the air. One day I was watching her practice and she could not nail the five moves she had to make in the 60 feet of space during the routine. So during a break I walked over and took her to the corner of the floor where she began her tumbling run. She explained that her problem was everyone else flying by in front of her eyes before she took off was distracting her. That is where I came up with the hallway analogy. I told her to imagine that there was a hallway across the floor to where she finished and that she was to only see the hallway and stay in it. In her mind she only say herself going down that narrow lane to the other corner doing her stunts. It worked, she nailed it the next time they ran through the routine.

So in golf I tell my players the same thing. When you are standing behind the ball get in your hallway. There is nothing outside the hallway. You see your ball flying between the walls of your hallway to your target and NOTHING else. When you can do that, then you walk into the shot and fire. This is how as a Tour player we see nothing going on around us. When I had a gallery to play a shot through I never saw them because they were outside of my hallway. So try to get in your narrow corridor, visualize the ball staying between those walls, and be confident in your swing to hit it down the hallway.

“If I don’t have time to say it, you don’t have time to think it”

This one is for all the players who can hit a basket of 60 balls in 20 minutes. Your practice pattern is that of rapid fire swings. One ball has barely left the club and the next one is ready to launch. If I cannot verbally give you instructions between shots before the next ball is airborne, then you never had a chance to run those same thoughts through your brain and body, process them, and then produce a solid swing or work correctly on the move we are trying to make. I solve this player by controlling access to the practice balls. I might move them away from where we are working or I might actually hold them and toss them to the student once they have taken a few practice swings or understand the message I am conveying to them.

So when you practice take your time. Treat each ball like a valuable object that is to be hit only when you are perfectly ready to hit it. Clearly run the thoughts from your coach through your head and think and feel them before putting a swing on the ball.

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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. John Grossi

    Dec 16, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I feel the hallway thought is a game changer for the serious player who wants to improve. This thought is definitely going in my notes for the upcoming year.

  2. vgp

    Dec 14, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    “Eldrick Woods is not a very good person”

    is the only one I need

  3. Double Mocha Man

    Dec 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I have a saying for when pars are hard to come by: “I’m on a par barrage!”, when I get two in a row.

  4. Steve

    Dec 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Cant believe Injust wasted my time reading this. I want my 5 minutes back

  5. Philip

    Dec 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Great article! I’m well along into the first and last points, but the second one I definitely have to improve. I notice I still get stuck where my misses are consistent for certain holes – so obviously the hole layout is messing with me and I need to create my hallway. I tried last season with crazy angles to try and create an immunity to the course layout, but it never really worked. This has a lot more hope of success in my mind. Thanks

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Instruction

Brooks Koepka’s grip secret

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Here is a great video on understanding what allows a great player to get through the ball and deliver hardcore to his targets. Without this part of his grip, he would be hard-pressed to deliver anything with any kind of smash factor and compression. See what you can learn from his grip.

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In today’s age of hitting the ball as hard and as far as you can on tour, I am amazed at the number of amateur golfers who totally disregard the idea of quality impact. In fact, you can hit the ball further with better impact than you can with poor impact and more speed (to a point.) Sure, if you can kick the clubhead speed up 10 MPH-plus versus your normal speed, then this is not a requirement, but in reality most players only swing a few MPH faster when they actually try. Yes, this is true, I see it day after day. You might think you can swing 10 MPH faster but rarely do I see more than 2-3 MPH tops.

I had a student that came in the other day and was obsessed with swinging harder but when he did his impacts were terrible! When I put him on Trackman and showed him the data he was astounded that he could swing slower yet produce more distance.

Here was a typical swing he made when swinging faster 105.8 mph where the impact was low on the face and the ball carried 222.3 yards.


Here was a typical swing he made when swinging slower 102.9 mph where the impact was much better on the face and the ball carried 242.7 yards.

Now, obviously we know that this works to a certain degree of swing speed but it does show you that focusing on quality impact is a key as well. I’m always telling my players that I want them to swing as hard and as fast as they can AND maintain quality impact location — if you can do both then you can have it all!

The best way to understand impact quality without dismantling your swing is to use foot spray to coat the face of the club then hit a few balls to see where impact normally occurs and see if you can adjust.


If you can, great, if not, then go see your teaching professional and figure out why so you can find quality impact once and for all!

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Leo Rooney, Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance, shows you how to get ready to hit balls and/or hit the golf course.

Who is Leo Rooney?

Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance
B.Sc Exercise Physiology
TPI, NSCA

Leo Rooney played 16 years of competitive golf, in both college and professionally. He got a degree in exercise physiology and has worked with anyone from top tour players to beginners. Leo is now the Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance and is responsible for the overall operations but still works closely with some elite tour players and the UCLA Men’s Golf Team.

He also has experience in long driving with a personal best 445-yard drive in the 2010 European Long driving Championship.

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