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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: The dangers of technology on the lesson tee

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One of the best things about golf instruction is the advent of technology to help teacher to better understand what is really happening during the swing. As we know, the swing takes but a blink of the eye, and it’s hard to see, much less, feel, what is going on when you hit the ball.

Therefore, teachers have employed different technologies in order to help them (and you) understand what is really going on…but the key is still the communication of the data output.

One of my biggest complaints in the industry is the teacher who uses technology and consistently ties their students up in knots mentally. Of course, you can have a simple misunderstanding between the teacher and student from time to time- we all fight this, but I’m talking about the teacher who would make a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering confused leading to paralysis through over-analysis.

In fact, take a look around your club, we all know a guy who has taken lessons and has become so over-consumed with the minutia of their mechanics that they can’t even draw it back! Where did this over-technical approach come from? Usually the teacher they have been working with.

My job is to insulate my players from all the crap that they don’t need to be concerned with while using technology and provide them the simplest way to improve.

Therefore the message from the teacher MUST be tailored to the level of the player and the player’s learning style. As players, we learn either verbally, visually, and/or kinesthetically and the teacher must have a working knowledge of the differences. Using technology makes this easer on the student—you can do it without technology, but it’s much harder.

Golf instruction does NOT have to be complicated when using technology, as many people falsely believe. In fact, the more complex it becomes when using these tools, the LESS proficient the teacher is in his level of understanding of what is truly going on, not to mention his skill in communicating with the student!

As it pertains to golf instructional technology you will find three basic types, and if you’ve taken a lesson lately, you have probably used technology like this….

  • 3-D Motion analysis systems like GEARS gives us the ability to measure and understand everything that happens to your body and club in real-time
  • Launch monitors like Trackman show the interaction between the club and the ball during the impact interval
  • Digital video analysis systems like V1 allow the swing to be viewed at different speeds and compared to your other swing files or even Tour Players

In my opinion, the key to golf instruction at the highest (technological) levels is the ability to combine these systems into a useful conglomeration that defines the student’s problem. From there, the teacher is left to explain the data output in a way (using the proper learning style) that ANY level of golfer can understand.

But that responsibility falls directly on the shoulders of the INSTRUCTOR, not the student. The most successful teachers in the world give the player in front of them exactly what they need in order to improve and nothing more and nothing less. It’s a learned art and skill, one that takes thousands and thousands of lessons to accomplish proficiently.

Therefore if your instructor possesses high tech instructional tools make sure that their communicational skill are as impressive as their technology if not, find someone else or you’ll find yourself in mechanical purgatory!

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Instruction

50 Second Fix: Course management

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Want to fix your tee shots?… Stop falling into old habits, and start standing on the correct side of the tee box!

 

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Instruction

Stickney: How to avoid blowup holes

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Par, par, par, birdie, quad, par, bogey, triple, par. Nice round of 44—with four pars and a birdie! Sound familiar? Do you ever wish you could play without having a blowup hole per nine or how about only one per eighteen holes? Wouldn’t that be nice! Obviously, we are all trying to be more consistent and as we get better the blowup holes subside or reduce themselves in number, but is there anything you can do to avoid or stop them from occurring quicker?

In my almost 30 years as a full-time teacher and watching tens of thousands of players’ swing the club, I have come up with a few of keys that I think will help you eliminate the blowup holes and reduce your handicap once and for all regardless of your current level of play!

So, here are a few of my thoughts that I think will help you…

The Driver

  • As we all know the big miss is a killer, the biggest reason why this happens is usually a severe out-to-in swing path. If you can find a way to keep your swing path closer to your target line, you will see the BIG miss fade away.
  • Snap hooks occur when the face is severely left of the club’s path, and as the loft of the club is reduced, this miss becomes larger and more severe. Audit your grip and your clubface’s position at the top, most of the time I see stronger grip players, flattening their wrists at the top of the backswing placing the club in an overly shut condition that is hard to overcome on the way down.
  • Weak slices are the problem of the new golfer and intermediate player and these occur when the path is left of the intended target and the clubface points right of the target during impact. When the face-to-path relationship is in this condition, the loft of the club tends to increase (when you flip at it) and weak slices are the result. Fix the face-to-path relationship, and you’ll have a chance.

Fairway Woods

  • Don’t automatically reach for your 3-wood every time you are in the fairway on a par 5…unless the lie is perfect, you’re better off using a higher-lofted wood for added height and control.
  • Most golfers try to hit their fairway woods too hard and lose control of their balance making it hard to hit the ball in the center of the clubface. When the ball is impacted low on the face, the effective loft of the club is reduced and fairway woods will launch way too low.

Irons

  • If I had a dollar for every iron set that is misfit as it pertains to shaft flex and lie, I’d be retired by now…if you are trying to score and playing golf with clubs that don’t fit, you have no chance unless you play a flat golf course and have wonderful hand-eye coordination. But beware the radical miss will always be looming.
  • Trying to do too much in the rough—you are not as strong as Brooks, nor do you have the speed of Tiger, so stop trying to use a lower lofted club when you are in the cabbage. Take your licks and chop it out into better position.
  • When you hit it into the trees, find the most direct way out into the easiest and most open position to the green first, then try to reduce the yardage you have into the green second. All too often I see players try to always hit it to the 150 marker when they are in trouble—sometimes 160 is a super easy shot out of the trees while the 150 yardage shot is much harder. Hit the simple shot first!
  • From 100 yards and in, it would help if you focused on hitting the green first and worrying about the pin second. Trying to hit it from 100 into the wind to a tucked pin on a shelf is asking for a short-sided miss and a big number

Wedges

  • Wedges at 100 percent of your full speed are about as accurate as your driver at 100 percent when it pertains to your shot clustering around the pin. Far better to hit shots at 70 percent so you can control the launch, spin, trajectory, and distance rather than try to slamdance your lob-wedge from 120.
  • Wedge lofts are important, and it’s far better to have ones that you know the yardage of rather than a “matched” set. The pro set standard is somewhere around 48, 52, 56, 60 for the wedge lofts…if you can’t hit the numbers you need out of the clubs you have, change the lofts. The lofts don’t matter, it’s all about the numbers you want to hit them! So what if you play 45, 51, 54, 62 if you know exactly how far they go.

Around the Green

  • There are other clubs that can be used around the green besides your lob wedge or your other favorite club.
  • Understand what moving the ball around in your stance does to the ball’s trajectory and landing angle because this controls what the ball will do when it lands on the green. Far too often I see players trying to hit the ball high from a “low shot” set-up and vice versa.
  • Become your own best friend out of the sand or at least be able to get out within 20 feet in one shot!
  • Understand how radically fat, thin, chili-dips, and shanks occur fundamentally so you can get them out of your game before they creep in for too long and become mental.
  • For every single ball you hit on the range, hit five balls around the green in all types of situations to learn what you can and cannot do with each club.

Putting

  • Speed work. Speed work. Speed work. Speed work…there is no excuse for poor speed when you have a putting green at your disposal before the round. Fine-tune your speed with big breaking putts and severe up/downhill putts before you play.
  • The putterface’s direction at impact controls the ball’s starting direction so if you cannot control your lead hand you cannot control your short putts regardless of how easy the putt seems.

As you can see, these thoughts are pretty simple and straightforward, but I promise you the next time you (or I!) make an 8 on a par 4, we have violated about three of the rules I’ve mentioned above. Damn, it’s aggravating, but I promise if you read and reread this list and put it into practice you will reduce your number of funky holes.

NOTE: If you think it’s your course management that is to blame on your poor scores then I would suggest checking out DECADE Golf created by Scott Fawcett. It is the best course management system out on the market today. You will be amazed at how understanding your miss patterns from certain distances coupled with his aiming techniques could make the game so simple!

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