Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Do you know your golf blind spots?

Published

on

I was inspired to write this article by a quote I come across from a friend of mine, Melinda Harrison, a former Olympic swimmer who specializes in helping athletes transition from the world of sport to their next great venture.

“If you do not see the wave coming, it can smack you down and pull you under leaving you feeling tossed around, upside down, gasping for breath and picking out sand from areas you never knew existed,” she wrote.          

I knew this feeling well in my golf game. I was tossed around often. In fact, these waves were blind spots that eventually derailed a golf career that had promise. I found myself metaphorically picking sand from areas I never knew existed (far too many times), and I wasn’t understanding how it was happened.

What are the blind spots in your game? Those waves you don’t see coming that leave you tossed around and falling short of your capabilities.

Right now is a great time of the year to roll up your sleeves and reflect on what happened during the year — and what you might do in 2017 to get more enjoyment and make some positive strides in your game. How was your golf year? Happy with it? Wanting more?

In a reflection exercise, I highly recommend you consider your own blind spots, and what might be unconsciously holding you back from moving forward and getting more out of your game.

Blind spots damage performance

Working with world-class performers every day, I can assure you that understanding blind spots is important in performance. Almost every performer I have worked with has them, and I expect you do, too. Part of my job is to help these world-class performers identify their blind spots, making sure they have a clear view of what’s beneath their awareness and might therefore be holding them back.

Let’s highlight the idea of blind spots by using my own professional golf career as an example. This may help you start thinking about your own blind spots and get the wheels turning. I had a few tendencies that were constantly beneath my awareness that kept me on the treadmill and not striding forward on a steady, consistent career path.

A few examples:

  • Spending far too much practice time trying to perfect driving when I was a solid, consistent driver of the ball.
  • Focusing too much time on the long game, obsessing about it and not allocating more effort to the game from 100 yards and in from the green. I neglected to keep the object of the game in mind (shooting the lowest score possible!).
  • Failing to develop my self-awareness. I had limited awareness how my emotions were knocking me around and creating a blurry focus, especially under the pressures of professional golf.
  • Not fully understanding the critical impact of expectations on my day-to-day performance.
  • No clear path forward. I did not have a well-defined vision or detailed steps in place to guide day-to-day progress and development.

You can imagine how these blind spots could make sustainable progress in the game difficult. Each of the areas above needed attention in order to have a better opportunity to reach new levels.

What are your blind spots?

What is holding you back that may be beneath your awareness? This offseason, I encourage you to think about your own blind spots, and also consider some help from others who may know your game. Chances are an honest assessment of your blind spots, and some outside feedback, will shed some light on the factors that are limiting you.

To help you further, here are a few common golf blind spots that I have seen in players I work with at a variety of levels. Could any of these apply to you?

  • Spending a large percentage of your time on the long game (constantly “fine-tuning” your motion) and a small percentage of your time on the scoring areas, when that ratio should be reversed.
  • Getting far too caught up in the science of the game and neglecting the art component.
  • Having trouble taking your game from the practice tee to the first tee and not understanding why.
  • Your practice is not functional, meaning your practice has no real relationship to creating a score on the course.
  • Losing focus over poor shots and not being able to get it back on track the rest of the round.
  • Scores on your nines are often wide apart, i.e. you play great on the front nine and stumble on the back nine (or vice versa) and you don’t know why.
  • Not enjoying the game as much as you should and not knowing why.

These ideas should help you get started on your own assessment. Take some time to think about it in the off-season. Reflection is an important characteristic in high performers and a key to improvement. Identifying your blind spots is a great first step in understanding what may be holding you back in your game.

Your Reaction?
  • 115
  • LEGIT44
  • WOW4
  • LOL2
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP4
  • OB2
  • SHANK10

John Haime is the President of New Edge Performance. He's a Human Performance Coach who prepares performers to be the their best by helping them tap into the elusive 10 percent of their abilities that will get them to the top. This is something that anyone with a goal craves, and John Haime knows how to get performers there. John closes the gap for performers in sports and business by taking them from where they currently are to where they want to go.  The best in the world trust John. They choose him because he doesn’t just talk about the world of high performance – he has lived it and lives in it everyday. He is a former Tournament Professional Golfer with professional wins. He has a best-selling book, “You are a Contender,” which is widely read by world-class athletes, coaches and business performers.  He has worked around the globe for some of the world’s leading companies. Athlete clients include performers who regularly rank in the Top-50 in their respective sports. John has the rare ability to work as seamlessly in the world of professional sports as he does in the world of corporate performance. His primary ambition writing for GolfWRX is to help you become the golfer you'd like to be. See www.johnhaime.com for more. Email: john@newedgeperformance.org

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Dave R

    Nov 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    My blind spot is when I miss a putt I only see red and then I go blind only for a second.

  2. Jordan Speeth

    Nov 27, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Where does one start when you’re dead-shanking 30% of your shots, including chips and pitches. All you can do is hit full shots until you can conquer it and get some sort of confidence back. It’s good that my memory is fading…maybe it’ll be easier to forget this phase when/if it’s over. I’m trying everything, without much success. Cheers to all…Happy Holidays!

  3. Bert

    Nov 27, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Well thought out topic, thanks I appreciate the read. I will evaluate my declining game, this past year, and see where I need to get back on track. I’m not a super player, mostly around a 7 handicap, but this year up to an 11. I’ve noticed my normal felling for short shots surrounding the green after a miss are really lacking confidence. In the past I always felt I could “get it close”, but now not so much.

    • John Haime

      Nov 28, 2016 at 10:59 am

      thank-you Bert.

      Carefully evaluate why the short game might be eroding – is it related to problems in the long game and putting more pressure on the short game to maintain the 7 handicap? How much are you working on the short shots? “Knowing” you can do it is developed through practice, repetition. Work on technique and test changes in practice and then take it to the course. Check out little ebook on confidence I wrote with PGA Tour coach Steve Bann – http://www.golfconfidencetraining.com.

  4. R

    Nov 26, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    “metaphorically”
    is why you FAIL. Your mind is not equipped to think in the NOW, in the moment, to feel and stare at the reality of the situation at hand. That’s just how it is for some people, just as it is that some people won’t have the foggiest (metaphorically speaking, haha) what you’re talking about.

  5. Double Mocha Man

    Nov 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    The most difficult thing to do during a round is rebound from some bad, totally puzzling shots. But you must. Continue to swing your swing, almost robotically. Put your emotions on the back burner and move forward. When you finish with an acceptable 77 go to the parking lot and smash your windshield. I made a career of beating better players in college golf because I would only “give up” after I heard the rattle of my ball in the cup on the 18th hole.

  6. M Smizzle

    Nov 26, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Rory Or Danny McBride?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Courses

Ari’s Course Reviews: Bethpage Black

Published

on

Bethpage’s Black course was designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened for play in 1936. It was immediately considered one of the best tests of golf in the world, and it has tested golfers coming from all over the world in its 83-year history. Bethpage State Park itself has five courses. The Green was the first course built and was originally called Lennox Hills Country Club. In the early 1930s, the Bethpage Park Authority purchased Lennox Hills CC and other adjacent property and turned the whole thing into what is now known as Bethpage State Park. Course architect A.W. Tillinghast was hired to remodel what would become the Green course as well as build the Blue, Red, and finally the Black. The Yellow Course was designed by Alfred Tull and opened in 1958.

Bethpage first hosted a major championship in 2002 when it hosted the U.S, Open. What is somewhat forgotten 17 years later as it hosts its third major, is how much the course had fallen into disrepair by the mid-1990s. Luckily, the USGA could see through all of that and helped fund a complete restoration that was overseen personally by Dave Catalano, the larger than life (in both stature and personality) head of Bethpage State Park. Dave had been working at Bethpage since he was a kid in 1967, picking up papers in the picnic area. It was his baby, and with Rees Jones by his side, they painstakingly restored the Black to its former greatness and into a true championship test of golf. After the PGA Championship, the Black will be back in the spotlight 2024 as host of the Ryder Cup, joining a very short list of courses to host a U.S. Open, a PGA Championship, and a Ryder Cup.

Playing the Black is one of the most unique experiences in the game because of what it takes to get a tee time. There are a very limited number of tee times. They are easier to get if you are a NY resident, but for most of us, it’s first come, first serve. Which in practical terms means they have a parking lot with numbered spaces and people start showing up the day before to sleep in their cars to play. In fact, I can proudly say that the last three times I slept in my car it was just to play at Bethpage. One of those times I didn’t even get out on the Black and had to settle for playing the Red! Should have eaten dinner in the car I guess….

Every time I have slept in the car I have had a great time. It’s a party in the lot with a bunch of golfers hanging out all excited to play the next day. There’s usually a few beers around and one of the times, someone called a cab and went and got 50 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s at 1 a.m. to show us all some top-notch NY hospitality! That’s definitely not an experience you will have going to play any other top courses!

Once you finally do get to sleep, the staff wakes you up around 4 a.m. to go get in line and get your tee time and course assignment. Then you can go back to sleep or go eat breakfast or hit balls or whatever you want until it’s your turn to tee off. On your way to the tee, you see the famous WARNING sign telling you that the Black Course is an extremely difficult course which they recommend only for highly skilled golfers. Hopefully, you didn’t lose your tee ticket because you will need that to get onto the tee and trust me, they aren’t messing around with the rules!

The golf course itself sits on a huge, sprawling, fantastic piece of land with abundant elevation change and lots of random contours. The bunkering is big and bold and not to be messed with. There is abundant long fescue and numerous trees off to the sides of the holes which combined with the beautiful bunkering makes for a very beautiful setting.

The first hole is a downhill, almost 90-degree dogleg right. The fairway is pretty flat and so is the well-bunkered green. The key for the player is to put their drive into the right place in the fairway to get a good angle to the hole location. From here you cross Round Swamp Rd and head to the second, which is a short, uphill par 4 of 389 yards. The fairway slants a little right to left and the green is elevated and can be a challenge to hold. The third is a par 3 that plays about 160 yards normally but has been brought back to 230 the PGA. This is one of the more interesting greens on the course; it’s wide on the right and falls away as it gets to the back and tapers to a smaller, more narrow section on the left. Bunkers flank the short left and right side of the green.

The fourth hole is vintage Bethpage Black and probably the most photographed on the course. A huge bunker flanks the left side of the fairway off the tee of the 517-yard par-5. Another, even more huge bunker looms at the end of the fairway cut into the from right to left. The tee shot is downhill but the rest of the hole is uphill. There is a second fairway to layup over the big bunker where you will have a partial view of the small, flattish green that falls away slightly and is protected by two more deep bunkers to the front and left. The fifth is a monster par 4 of almost 480 yards. A massive fairway bunker guards the right side of the fairway which is also the best angle to come into the small, elevated green guarded by two deep bunkers short and one over the green.

FARMINGDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 15: A general view of the fifth green is seen during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 15, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

No. 6 gets back into the more open and less tree-lined part of the property. The tee shot is semi-blind and over a hill. The landing area is pinched by bunkers on both sides. The long hitter who can carry the hill should have a very short shot into the flattish, oval shaped green that’s open in front and protected by bunkers on both sides. No. 7 is a converted par 5 that plays as a par 4 for the PGA. At 524 yards, it’s very long and the tee shot requires a long poke over another large fairway bunker. The green is again pretty flat and protected by deep bunkers in front.

The eighth hole is unique for the Black as it’s the only hole with water in play. A 210-yard drop shot to a green with some slope from right to left and front to back and a ridge running on a diagonal angle through the middle of the green. The shot must carry the pond short of the green and there is a deep bunker left and a hillside right. Nine is a 460-yard hard dogleg left that drops down off the tee and back up to the green. Another very deep bunker guards the left side and can be carried by the longer hitter. The right side of the fairway is the safe play off the tee but leaves an awkward shot out of a gully up to the green. The green is heavily guarded in front again by deep bunkers.

As the players make the turn, they are confronted with another long, tight par 4 of just over 500 yards. Hitting the fairway is key here as the fairway is heavily guarded by bunkers and fescue. The green sits on the other side of a little gully and is guarded once again by a set of deep bunkers. The 11th hole is 435 yards and has probably the most interesting green on the course. It has a little false front and two distinct tiers with some nice internal movement. A really good green on any course it stands out on the Black amongst what is mostly a flatter set of greens. 12 forces the players to carry it 285 over a massive cross bunker on the 515-yard par 4. The green is back to the more typical flattish oval, and characteristically is guarded in the front on both sides by deep bunkers. 13 is a par 5 of over 600 yards. One of the least bunkered holes on the course, there are a few bunkers on the left and a great little cross bunker about 60 yards short of the green that obscures the view of the green and will make the players think twice about going for the green in two. 14 is the best chance for birdie on the course. A par 3 that plays only 160 yards over a valley to a narrow, long green.

After walking off the 14th green the players cross back over Round Swamp Road to the home stretch of the course. 15 is always the hardest hole on the course for me when I play the Black. The hole plays 460 yards. The tee shot is flat to a fairway that bends slightly right to left and has no bunkers. The second shot is massively uphill. Over a hillside set with bunkers and a small section of fairway to a green set into the top of the hill and guarded by the deepest bunkers on the course. A very hard hole to make par if you miss the fairway or miss the green. The 16th has a downhill tee shot that will test the player’s judgement of the wind if there is any present. The green is well guarded especially to the right and is small with a little slant to it. The 17th is an uphill brute of a 210-yard par 3. The green is 45 yards wide and is huge. However, it does not look big from the tee as it is set amongst a veritable minefield of bunkers waiting to swallow up any wayward shots. The players walk up a hill to the 18th tee and stare down at a fairway that gets severely pinched in the middle by the huge bunkers on both sides. The green is then back uphill, it’s medium sized with a slight kidney shape and two deep, artistically shaped bunkers set into the hillside short.

All of this adds up to a great test of championship golf.  The course is pretty straightforward. There is not a ton of strategy other than hit it long and straight and make as many putts as you can. The greens are mostly pretty flat so there should be a lot of chances for birdie for those that can reach the greens in regulation. That said, the course has a ton of character when it comes to the land movement and elevation changes as well as the massive, artistic bunkers. New Yorkers are VERY proud of the Black and for a very good reason. It’s a fantastic golf course. Golf needs more top courses like the Black that are accessible to everyone and challenging to even the best players in the world.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 9
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Podcasts

The 19th Hole (Ep 79): Miura’s new HB wedges and the Art of Golf

Published

on

Miura Golf COO Bill Holowaty talks about the new High Bounce wedges and other offerings from the legendary clubmaker. Also features Lee Wybranski, renowned artist and creator of the official posters for golf’s major championships.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Podcasts

Making the Weekend: PGA Championship 2019

Published

on

Ryan Barath from the “On Spec” podcast breaks down the leaderboard of the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending