Doesn’t it seem at times that golf is the ultimate game of randomness and that the way you play is total and utter chaos? One day you are in perfect control, and the next day you are so frustrated you want to go Happy Gilmore crazy and beat up Bob Barker.

In Jurassic Park, the character Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) uses “Chaos Theory” to explain occurrences in the world: “seemingly random and unpredictable occurrences that nevertheless follows precise rules.” I certainly see players take unpredictable, random actions on the golf course and in practice that create less than perfect outcomes.

But what if introducing a little chaos is a good thing for your golf game? What if it can make you focus better and can improve your aim? As a player’s coach, I try to limit the chaos a player deals with on a day-to-day basis on the golf course. Golf introduces chaos as an outside influence, however, and it makes what I try to control uncontrollable… unless I create awareness.

Things like the cut of the grass, the direction the tee markers point, or how the hole is designed create can create chaos for golfers. I have to help golfers find order in the chaos so they can keep their golf ball out of the water, the trees, the palmettos, the creek, and the Haverkamp’s backyard. To do this, I have to get them to focus. This is where my chaos drill comes in. It can help golfers see where they want to go instead of allowing the tee markers or the cut of grass to point them in the wrong direction.

The Chaos Drill

Chaos-Drills

Start by laying down a bunch of clubs or alignment sticks in front of your ball. The more it looks like a game of pickup sticks, the better. You want them to point in a lot of different directions. Your job as you stand behind the ball is to fight through all the random lines pointing you in the wrong direction and see the ideal line, which is where you want the ball to go. You can even hold up your club and use the shaft as a pointer if that helps you see the correct line.

Seeing through all the chaos will help you learn to visualize the right line of play, which will get you on the right track before you even address the ball. And when you take the “chaos” away, it will be that much harder for an outside influence to get you off track.

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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

14 COMMENTS

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  1. Thanks for the comments and feedback.
    I have just one thing to say:

    Dont comment until you have tried it

    If you struggle with focus and seeing where to hit the ball this works wonders on making you see past the sticks and see your line only. It works 100% of the time I have to use it. I guarantee you if I had any tour players do this they wouldn’t even see the sticks. That is how focused they get over the shot. When getting someone to aim better and focus I will try anything that will get the job done. This gets the job done.
    And regarding the length of the article being shorter than my bio…I guess I have a really good bio and also can get my point across without being overly “wordy”. And that is a good thing! Plus I have editors lol…

  2. Rob! Is that a new driver? I hope that you didn’t get that because of me!! I gotta tell ya the time spent with you back in July has helped me tremendously. I do the finger point to the sky drill every day and the improvement in my putting from just the literally 5-10 minutes we spent is amazing. You are the man and I will be back next time I am on vacation.

  3. Interesting psycho-experiment you teach. What you are doing is messing up with the mind, the brain, by asking the student to allow chaos to reign, consciously.
    It’s conscious chaos versus unconscious orderliness. One way to eliminate conscious chaos is to practice intensively, in an obsessive-compulsive manner. If you survive massive practice and ingrain your brain and neuro-muscular system with proper golfswing mechanics, chaos is mostly eliminated or well controlled.
    The problem with recreational golfers is they don’t know how to control their mental states and invariably crash into chaos. They get frustrated and angry with their clubs, but not themselves because to do so would be to psychologically admit they are incompetent to play golf. Off to the golf store to buy ‘better’ clubs.

    • Thanks for the question and comment Boss…
      If you can do what you say above then this drill is not for you. I use this for the folks that are not able to find the line and focus on whats in front of them. You have succeeded in training yourself to do something a lot of players have not.
      Continued success on the course

    • I guess I have a really good bio, and on the positive side can say what I want to say without using a ton of words. Which is good right?!!!
      Also, I have editors that do a really good job.
      Thanks for the comment and laugh

  4. If you gave me that drill, I’d find a butt end of one of those sticks to make my “aim point” and just fire right over it. If you want to mess with my head, find a pristine surface that gives me no marker or blemish or spot to aim over.

    Introducing “chaos” is an important idea, IMO. It’s particularly important if you practice off mats which give you a built in alignment aid (the square mat itself). When I’m on a mat, I like to make sure I’m hitting at targets that are at an angle to the mat, usually one left, one square, and one right. Even a rope on a grass range can provide a type of alignment aid you don’t normally get.

    The more you can screw with your head while practicing, the better you’ll deal with stuff on the course, but people want to go to a range and practice their swing, hit positions, etc. They don’t want to hit balls from bad lies, or try to hit 3 different clubs the same difference. or practice things that really translate to the course, or go play a round with 5 clubs in their bag, or whatever.

    I’ve got a million ways to mess with my practice. I’ll stand way too close to the ball, stand too far from the ball, stand with legs too close, too far, start the backswing with the clubhead hovering a foot off the ground, start the backswing with the club already in motion, rapid fire balls, stand over the ball a LONG TIME before starting the backswing, etc etc.

    None of that directly might come up on the course, but it’s like golf-athlete-cross-training — working on being athletic and reactionary.

    • Thanks for the comment
      Even finding the ability to aim over the butt end of a stick and fire right over it is dialing in your focus. That little end is a small spot in the middle of lots of lines and angles that all go off in different directions. By picking an end you are creating a start point that lines up with YOUR end point. Now we have order out of chaos and you are going where you want to go.
      Continued success and keep up the good practice

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