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Expect to play well

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Karrie Webb has been a force on the LPGA Tour for many years. Although she has not played well (by her own admission) the past few years, she played a great second round at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Victoria, Australia shooting 65 (before firing a third-round 82 to miss the cut).

I listened to her interview after her round and when asked if she expected to play this well after being in a bit of a slump the past few years, I loved her response: “I don’t not try to play well.

The good players expect to play well. They expect to win. They do get disappointed when the round does not go the way they want, but the desire and will to play their best is still in them.

Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach told in his interview before he started the Monday finish, that he is in his own bubble when he plays. He wanted to keep playing even in the dark, but when his playing partner did not want to finish, you could tell he was upset. He was in his bubble, alone in his own world, and did not want any distractions.

I had the great honor of helping two PGA/LPGA women professionals who played in the PGA Women’s Stroke Play in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with their games. Dr. Alison Curdt (LPGA T&CP Vice President) told me she was hitting the ball much shorter today so in her own words, “I just took longer clubs into the greens.” She had just shot 1 under for the day. Laurie Rinker (8-time LPGA Tour winner) wanted to get rid of her duck hook she played all day to a round of 69. “I just played my game the way it was.”

Play to play great. Have no fear. Don’t worry about the outcome. Take dead aim.

What do you tell yourself when you play? How do you talk to yourself on the golf course when your game is not going the way you want?

As Dr. Bob Rotella tells all of us “love the challenge of the day.” We all can learn from these great players.

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Nancy Quarcelino is a member of the LPGA and PGA of America. Within a career that spans over 30 years, she is regarded as one of the premier golf instructors in the country. Nancy is a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher, LPGA National Teacher of the Year, a member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Hall of Fame, and selected multiple times as the Tennessee PGA Teacher of the Year. Throughout her career she has coached golfers of all levels of ability, including players on the LPGA Tour, PGA European Tour, PGA developmental tours, LPGA and PGA club professionals, and collegiate golfers. Nancy began playing golf at the age of eight years old at the encouragement of her parents who were both avid golfers. She played competitive golf as an amateur and proceeded to play collegiality at Western Kentucky University. While working on her Master’s degree at Florida State University, she began her career in golf, as an assistant coach for the women’s golf team. A few years later she returned to her Alma Mater at Western Kentucky University where she also coached the women’s golf team as she pursued her career as a golf professional. Nancy has held the position of Head Professional/General Manager at Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green, KY and was also the Head Professional at Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, TN. She was the host professional for the LPGA Sara Lee Classic Tournament for many years while at Hermitage Golf Course. Nancy’s passion for golf turned to teaching, and in 1992 she started the Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf which just completed its 27th year as a successful business in the Nashville, TN area. The Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf is currently located at Gaylord Springs Golf Links, in Nashville, TN.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. geohogan

    Mar 2, 2019 at 8:47 am

    98% of our actions are subconscious and our subconscious does not , not do anything. Ref Dr David Eagleman

    its not about positive thinking, or wishful thinking or avoidance.
    It is about understanding how our subconscious works.

    With a hazard on the left , we all know if our thinking is , “dont hit it left”
    where are ball is likely to go.
    Pick a target and a way to get there(spin). Its how our subconscious works

    Ever tell a two year old , “dont do this or that” and your surprised when the kid does exactly what you told them not to do? it starts from an early age.

    “Knowing yourself now requires the understanding that the conscious you occupies only a small room in the mansion of the brain, and that it has little control over the reality constructed for you.”
    ? David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

    • geohogan

      Mar 2, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      I never missed a putt in my mind. .. Jack Nicklaus

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Instruction

Stickney: Sit on it (for a better backswing)

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As we know golf, is a very tough sport and one that involves many moving pieces. Whenever something overreacts or moves too much on the way back, you end up playing catch-up on the way down. One of my favorite things to watch is how the head moves or doesn’t move on the backswing. Sure, you can have some movement, but you can’t have too much or you put yourself behind the eight ball.

I have charted the head position of a tour player at address and we can see that this is a very normal set up position. It is one that looks positioned to do great things.

However, en route to the top, you can see that this player has put himself into a position where his rear knee straightened too rapidly off the start of his backswing. When this occurs the pelvis “runs out from under” the upper body on the backswing the hips will react and begin to slant downward. (You can see a -10 degree tilt versus 3 degrees the opposite way at address for you number people.)

This causes the head to move out in front of where it was at address. This is not a bad position for the irons but for a driver we have a pending issue. If you don’t make a compensation from here then the player will have an angle of attack that is too much downward through impact with their driver.

As the player moves into his transition, the hips have leveled as the rear shoulder lowers the club into delivery but the head and pelvis are still too far out in front of the ball. The only thing you can do from here is fire the lead side upwards and hope that your head falls back into the correct position. If so, you will have the correct angle of attack, if not, you will chop down on the ball causing your launch conditions to be faulty.

And as we see here that this is precisely what this player did at the very last minute…not the easiest way to swing the club but it is functional IF you make the right correction. So, now that you understand how simple things like the action of the lower body can cause your head to move and your angle of attack to become faulty, what is the secret to controlling your lower body?


Just “sit” on the rear knee flex slightly longer during the backswing as you see here. This will slow down the tilting of the pelvis on backswing and thus your head will stay more in position en route to the top.

Personally, I teach both flexion and extension of the rear knee to the top, depending on what the player is wanting to do, so it really does not matter. However, what does matter is the rate at which it begins to straighten for those of you who do allow it to lengthen. I try to make most of my students hold the most of their address flex until the club moves between belt and chest high, any sooner and you risk the faulty pivot we saw above.

Therefore, take it from me and “sit on it” slightly longer for more quiet head motions as well as a more balanced backswing—your angle of attack will thank you!

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Davies: Training the trail elbow in the golf swing

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Alistair Davies shares with you how to get the correct trail arm and elbow action in the downswing. He shares some great drills that can be done at the range or at home to help lower your scores.Get the correct training for the trail arm here today!

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The important lessons you can learn from Peter Senior’s golf swing

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He may not be a household name in the United States, but Australia’s Peter Senior has a swing for the ages. At 60 years old, Senior has 34 worldwide professional wins including the 2015 Australian Masters beating a competitive field with several top-ranked players in the world. Turning professional in 1978, his career has spanned over 40 years.

Senior’s game and swing have stood the test of time, and the longevity of his career should be recognized. Senior formerly worked with Australian instructor Gary Edwin, and the structure to this swing taught to Senior paved the way for a future of consistent, high-quality professional golf.

Having a great golf swing isn’t the only key to becoming a great golfer, one must learn to play the game. However, you can learn a lot from Senior’s swing.

The origin to Senior’s swing lies in his set-up. Senior sets up in what I call his “hitting angles” or a position that mirrors impact.

From this position, Senior is able to simply keep these angles he established at address throughout the swing. This is why the set-up is so critical. The further he deviates from these “hitting angles”, the more he will have to find that impact position with his body in the backswing and downswing. In other words, more movement. The goal of his backswing will be to maintain these original starting angles.

From the picture, Senior has maintained his original body shape that he established at address. From this position, it will be much easier and repeatable to return the club to impact.

Note how his impact position now mirrors his original address position. All his original angles were maintained with a slight bump of the body towards the target. From impact, he can simply fold up his arms as his right side of his body rotates around his left side, keeping the clubface square to the body.

This standing tall finish position with the head following the torso is much easier on the back. His body has come forward and around beautifully, covering the ball for a proper strike.

The beauty of Senior’s swing lies in its simplicity. The changes Senior made to his swing can apply to anyone. Let’s look at two simple drills to make your swing more efficient and powerful.

“To a large extent, my backswing is a product of my set-up position” – Tiger Woods, Golf Digest 2020

To get into these impact angles simply practice pushing into an impact bag with the head and shaft of the club. Make sure your trail arm is tucked, lowering the trail shoulder as you pressure the bag.

To get the feeling of the proper coil from this set-up position, grab an impact bag and hold the bag in front of you.

From here, swing the bag around you with your arms keeping the top of the bag level. You will feel the trail side of your body move back and the lead side move out, coiling around your spine angle.

The trail glute will also move back and around with this drill, a key move the great Ben Hogan used to pivot his body. To develop an efficient swing and a long, injury-free career, take note of Peter Senior’s key moves.

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