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GolfWRXer gets fit for 913’s at TPI

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Buying new golf gear is fun, but buying a new driver is like buying a new car. Golfers look forward to seeing which ones look good to their eye and test-driving them. Then they find out which ones perform the best and tune them to their personal preferences.

This year’s crop of drivers, with their great looks and updated technology, make the decision of which new driver to purchase even tougher than in years past.

I’ve played the Titleist 910D3 (8.5 degrees) since it was released in 2010. I figured 2013 would be a good time to re-evaluate my long-game equipment and possibly upgrade. The driver spot in my bag has been a back-and-forth battle between my Titleist gamer with a UST VTS Black shaft and my TaylorMade SuperFast 2.0 with a Fujikura Speeder 6.2 shaft.

I have always hit the 910 better, but was losing about 10 yards to the 2.0. I was immediately attracted to the classy, subtle look and black head of the 913 driver, and was pretty much convinced that I needed the 913 line in my bag as long as it could outperform my current clubs.

After a ton of research on GolfWRX and other sources, I came to the conclusion that all driver heads are relatively created equal to extent of max distance. The underlying factor that can help us achieve greater distance and dispersion is being properly fit. What better place to be fit than where the Titleist staff goes, TPI in Oceanside, Calif.?

From Titleist:

Golf is all about confidence, in your game and your equipment. That’s why Titleist designs the highest performing equipment and offers the most precise club fitting experience in the game. Titleist’s approach to fitting begins with a unique understanding of players’ performance needs born from working with PGA Tour players, PGA Professionals and amateurs serious about getting better. Our highly skilled team of fitters utilizes the most advanced tools to help players optimize driver performance, make iron play more precise, dial in their wedges and fine-tune set compositions. 

Many people are not aware that TPI as actually open to the public and a regular chop like myself can experience the same Tour Level fitting that guys like Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson did just a day prior to my arrival (note: I paid, they didn’t). The facility was built about 15 years ago and has a staff of about 25. TPI was initially built for Titleist R&D, golf ball and equipment testing, and as a place to give staffers a place to practice and be fit. At one time, TPI actually created and operated their own fitting equipment, but that was long before the days of golf radar systems. The place looks like Fort Knox from the outside, but it’s actually extremely easy to set an appointment and gain access.

Currently the facility is still used for R&D, and as the studio for Golf Fitness Academy that is entering season nine on Golf Channel.

Once inside TPI, you’re hit with visions of golf heaven. The driving range has perfectly cut fairways, manicured greens and multiple bunkers with different types of sand. It is paradise for practice and testing equipment.

Before you even put your car in park there is someone there to greet you, grab your bag and escort you inside. They first took me on a tour of the facility, showing me the Academy Studio, 3D Fitting and practice areas. After the tour, I was shown the locker room where I changed into my shoes and was off to my fitter to get started.

My fitter had just completed a ball fitting the day prior with Jason Dufner for the new Pro V1 that will be coming to retail soon. He told me he spent 22 weeks on the PGA Tour last year, so I knew that I was in good hands and that he would help me get the most out of my equipment.

He asked a few basic questions about my game, ball flight, what I like about my current clubs, what I didn’t like. He also asked me what shafts or heads interested me and what ball I currently played. I explained to him that basically I wanted the distance of my Superfast 2.0 but with the same consistency I got with my 910.

All testing was completed with essentially brand new 2011 Pro V1Xs, and five shots were hit with each driver combination before moving on to the next.

The range is in effect a fairway with trees down each side and bunkers that you can work the ball off. It’s not like hitting on a normal range and it really gives you the perspective of playing on a course.

Fitting the driver

We started by hitting both of my current drivers (yes, I brought a TaylorMade driver on Titleist turf).

The first club he handed me was a 9.5 913 D3 with the stock Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 72X (standard tipping). Next he changed to the 8.5 head and the same shaft but tipped one inch. He stopped me every now and then to make an adjustment on the SureFit hosel or change the swing weight. He was taking notes the entire time, evaluating my tendencies, ball flight and asking questions about “how something felt.” We probably went through 15 to 20 head and shaft combinations before he had me dialed into an 8.5 D3 with a Fujikura Speeder TS 6.2X shaft (tipped 1 inch) at 44.5 inches.

Next he wanted me to hit the same setup, but in the D2 head. In the past, I was never able to play a D2 because it spun too much and launched too high. He explained the changes that were made to the 913 D2, asked me how I thought it looked at address and told me to hit a few balls. Immediately, I gained extra confidence from the bigger head and face. My best shots were as good as anything with the D3, and my misses were not nearly as punishing.

I don’t play or practice nearly as much as I would like, and having the extra forgiveness for off days is something that could really assist me. After deciding on the combo, I then asked if we could test a few more shafts in the 8.5-degree D2 and again in 7.5 degrees. After going back through and hitting about four more combos in Round 2, it was pretty clear that we found a winner. At this point we had spent about an hour and half and probably hit close to 100 balls with different drivers.

I spent a little bit of time comparing the D2 and D3, setting them next to the ball and taking a close look at the appearances. To me, the D2 inspires more confidence without looking too bulky. I think the 913 D3 is a definite upgrade over the 910 D3 – it’s far less punishing on mishits and has a more explosive feel. But I think the 913 D2 is a head that will surprise a lot of people, and years from now it will be the one that golfers remember. It’s very low spinning, yet workable and forgiving.

One noticeable difference between the D2 and D3 (besides appearance) is the sound. The D2 sounds explosive, but has a much lower pitch than the louder D3. This has something to do with the way the acoustics vibrate in the larger 460cc head versus the smaller 445cc head. They have been fitting more and more staffers into the D2 this year, although most players haven’t changed yet. My fitter told me that many players are expected to change as they get more comfortable with the new head.

Here are my final numbers with the driver:

  • Head: 2013 Titleist 913 D2 (8.5 degrees in B1 setting)
  • Shaft: Speeder TS 6.2X (tipped 1 inch)

Stats (Averages):

  • Ball Speed: 158 mph
  • Launch: 12.6 degrees
  • Spin: 2256 rpms
  • Smash: 1.49
  • Carry: 265 yards
  • Land Angle: 40.4 degrees

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

Fitting the 3 Wood:

We both knew that fitting the 3 wood would be much quicker since we had already seen what worked in the driver and knew what I liked. Again, my fitter had me hit my current setup to get a base line. He gave me a 913 FD (15 degree) with a Fujikura Speeder TS 7.2X shaft. I hit one ball and almost immediately after the ball left the club I said, “Man, that felt good.” The numbers from the first combo were almost ideal and I asked if we even needed to hit anything else? He chuckled, took the club from my hands and changed the shaft to an 8.2X. He also changed the setting to B1 and told me to hit some more balls.

The new fairways are pretty much perfect on every level — sound, feel, flight and distance. The new FD is far easier to hit off the deck than the prior model. Even so, I also hit the F version with a few different shafts. Although we found some good combos and smooth shafts, the clear-cut winner was the 913 FD (15 degrees) with a Speeder TS 8.2X shaft (tipped 1 inch) in the B1 setting.

Here are my final numbers with the 3 wood:

  • Head: 2013 Titleist 913 FD (15 Degree in the B1 setting)
  • Shaft: Fujikura Speeder TS 8.2X (tipped 1 inch)

Stats (Average):

  • Ball Speed: 151 mph
  • Launch: 9.7 degrees
  • Spin: 3426 rpms
  • Smash: 1.48
  • Carry: 240 wards
  • Land Angle: 49.3 degrees

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

Hybrid:

Before we got started on hybrids, I was thinking to myself that there was no way they would get me out of my current Adams A12 18-degree hybrid with a Fujikura Speeder HB90 Tour Issue shaft. I saw him dig into the bottom of his case into some sort of hidden compartment and out came the Titleist 913 HD (your welcome). The closest thing he had to the Fujikura Speeder TS was Fujikura’s Motore F3 95, and he recommended that I stay in the same family of shafts for all three clubs to keep the feel consistent throughout the set.

I could clearly see the group of five balls from my current hybrid in the middle of the fairway about 225 yards away. All five of my shots with the first combo were landing well past my current setup and with a much more playable flight. I was literally hitting the hybrid too far, and thought that there would be too much of a gap with my irons. That’s why we tried the 20-degree hybrid with the same shaft, but we ended up going back to the 18 degree, adding 0.75 degrees of loft to it with the D3 setting on the SureFit hosel.

(Note: The HD hybrids will be available through custom order in February 2013 and will offer a smaller shape, more offset and lower spin than the 913 H hybrids).

Here’s are my final numbers for the hybrid:

  • Head: Titleist 913 HD (18 degrees in the D4 setting)
  • Shaft: Fujikura F3 Motore 95

Stats (Average):

  • Ball Speed: 144 mph
  • Launch: 12.3 degrees
  • Spin: 3589 rpms
  • Carry: 226 yards
  • Land Angle: 42.3 degrees

The most beneficial aspect of myTPI experience was the knowledge gained during the process. The fitters there are open encyclopedias, eager to answer any question and ready to share their knowledge.

I have gone twice now (last time for irons and wedges), and have learned more about equipment there than I have learned from any other fitting. The fitters are extremely patient and will let you hit any combo or club that you desire, even when they know it won’t work for you, just so you can see for yourself. Everyone that works at the facility went out of his or her way to make me feel welcome. Other employees will come out to check in on the fitting, bring you water and just make you feel welcomed and important. I hope that this review can be as helpful for the members interested as I did my best to share as much of the information and experience as I could. I will do my best to answer any questions.

Click here for more discussion in the “Equipment” forum. 

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ritch

    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I was living in Oceanside when this facility first opened. I visited several times as a club tester. The author is absolutely correct when he describes the place as golf heaven. It is an amazing facility and the conditions are never less than spectacular. Only problem is you probably won’t find playing conditions to match at the courses most of us usually play. I believe the costs for fitting can be found on the Titleist website.

  2. Tom from NE Ohio

    Dec 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

    1. of course they treated you like a Norse God–don’t you think you might have gotten special red carpet treatment as a lead writer for GolfWrx? And how is it that you have suddenly fallen in love with the look and shape of the 913’s but seem to have overlooked the fact that the 910’s with revolutionary Tour Fit hosels look nearly indistinguishable and are great clubs in their own right!
    2. No. 1 notwithstanding, I love the new Titleist products, just got fit by an area pro and upgraded my 910 D2 with Ilima R to a 913 D3 with a Bassara W 50S…dropped my xs spin by nearly 1000 and added 10 yards

  3. Nick

    Dec 12, 2012 at 10:44 am

    You said you paid, how much did it cost?

    • Ben

      Dec 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      I did it back in 2010 and it cost $250. Got a full set fitted but had to order through Golfsmith.

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Geoff Shackelford and Louis Oosthuizen join our 19th Hole podcast

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Louis Oosthuizen and Geoff Shackelford join our 19th Hole this week. Oosthuizen talks about his prospects for the 2018 season, and Shackelford discusses Tiger’s setback at the 2018 Genesis Open. Also, host Michael Williams talks about the PGA Tour’s charitable efforts in the wake of tragic events in Parkland, Florida.

Listen to the podcast below on SoundCloud, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Fantasy Preview: 2018 Honda Classic

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It’s off to Florida this week for the Honda Classic, as the lead up to the year’s first major continues. PGA National has been the permanent home of this event since 2007, and it has proved to be one of the most demanding courses on Tour since then. The golf course measures just under 7,200 yards, but it is the often blustery conditions combined with the copious amount of water hazards that make this event a challenge. There is also the added factor of “The Bear Trap,” a daunting stretch of holes (Nos. 15-17) that are arguably the most difficult run of holes we will see all year on the PGA Tour.

Ball strikers have excelled here in the past, with Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy all boasting fine records at PGA National. The par-70 golf course contains six long Par 4’s that measure over 450 yards, and players will be hoping that the wind isn’t too strong — when it does blow here, the course can turn into a brute. Last year, Rickie Fowler posted 12-under par to win the event by four strokes over Morgan Hoffmann and Gary Woodland. It was the first time in the last five years that the winning score reached double digits.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Rickie Fowler 8/1
  • Rory McIlroy 10/1
  • Justin Thomas 11/1
  • Sergio Garcia 18/1
  • Tyrrell Hatton 28/1
  • Tommy Fleetwood 30/1
  • Gary Woodland 30/1

Previous champions Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy are sure to be popular picks this week, but it’s Justin Thomas (11/1, DK Price $11,300) who I feel offers slightly more value out of the front runners. Thomas has begun the year well, finishing in the top-25 in all four events he has played. The numbers show that his game is getting better all the time. His iron play has steadily improved, picking up more Strokes for Approaching the Green week by week. Last week he gained six strokes approaching the green at the Genesis Open, which was fourth in the field.

At the ball strikers’ paradise, Thomas fans will be glad to know that he ranks fourth in the field for Ball Striking over his last 12 rounds. He is also ranked fourth for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green and second in Strokes Gained Total. Comparatively, neither Fowler nor McIlroy rank inside the top-50 for ball striking and the top-40 for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green over the same period.

Thomas’ accuracy on his approaches has been sensational lately. He leads the field in Proximity to the Hole for his past 12 rounds, and on a golf course that contains many long par 4’s it should play into Justin’s hands, as he’s been on fire recently with his long irons. He is third in the field for Proximity on Approaches Between 175-200 yards, and second in the field for Approaches Over 200 yards in his last 12 rounds. Thomas has a mixed record at PGA National, with a T3 finish wedged in between two missed cuts, but I like the way his game has been steadily improving as the season has progressed. It feels like it’s time for the current PGA Champion to notch his first win of the year.

On a golf course where ball striking is so important, Chesson Hadley (55/1, DK Price $7,700) caught my eye immediately. The North Carolina native has been in inspired form so far in this wraparound season with four finishes already in the top-5. The way he is currently striking the ball, it wouldn’t be a major surprise to see him get his fifth this week. Hadley is No. 1 in the field for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green, Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and Ball Striking, while he is No. 2 for Strokes Gained Total over his last 24 rounds.

Having taken last week off, Hadley returns to a golf course where he has finished in the Top-25 twice in his three visits. Yet there is a sense that this year he’ll be aiming even higher than that. Chesson is fifth in this field for Proximity to the Hole from 175-200 yards and fourth overall over the past 24 rounds. With that level of accuracy on such a tricky golf course, Hadley will be confident of putting himself in position to claim win No. 2.

My next pick was a slow sell, but with the number so high I couldn’t leave him out. Adam Scott (55/1, DK Price $7,700) has been struggling for some time now. He has slipped out of the World’s Top-50, changed his putter from the short putter to the long putter and back again over the winter break, and he doesn’t have a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour since the FedEx St. Jude Classic last summer. Despite all of this, I don’t feel Scott should be as high as 66/1 with some bookmakers on a golf course where he has excelled. To put it in perspective, Scott is the same price to win this week in a modest field as he is to win The Masters in April.

There are also signs that Scott blew off some of the rust last week in LA. The Australian was 12th in the field for Strokes Gained Approaching the Green, which indicates that things might slowly be coming around for a man who is known for his prodigious ball striking. Scott’s achilles heel is the flat stick, and I wouldn’t expect that to change this week. He’s been very poor on the greens for some time now, which must be incredibly frustrating for a man who gives himself so many looks at birdie. But average putters have performed well at PGA National in the past, where it seems that excellent ball striking is the key for having a good week. Scott won here in 2016, and on his two other visits to PGA National in the past five years he twice finished in the top-15. If he can continue to improve his iron play the way he has been, I feel he could forge his way into contention.

My long shot this week is Sean O’Hair (200/1, DK Price $6,800). The Texan hasn’t done much so far this year, but he is making cuts and he arrives at a course that seems to bring out the best in him. O’Hair has five top-25 finishes in his last seven appearances at PGA National, which includes a T11 at last year’s edition. At 200/1 and with a DK Price of as little as $6,800, there is little harm in taking a chance on him finding that form once more this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Justin Thomas 11/1, DK Price $11,300
  • Chesson Hadley 55/1, DK Price $7,700
  • Adam Scott 55/1, DK Price $7,700
  • Sean O’Hair 200/1, DK Price $6,800
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Opinion & Analysis

Don’t Leave Your Common Sense in Escrow Outside the Golf Course Parking Lot

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Disclaimer: Much of what follows is going to come off as elitist, harsh and downright mean spirited — a pro looking down from his ivory tower at all the worthless hacks and judging them. It is the opposite. The intent is to show how foolish WE golfers are, chasing around a white ball with a crooked stick and suspending all of the common sense we use in our every day lives.

Much of what follows is not just the bane of average golfers, but also low handicappers, tour players and even a former long-drive champion during his quest for the PGA Tour… and now, the Champions Tour. In other words, if WE take ourselves a bit less seriously and use a bit more common sense, we are going to have more fun and actually hit better golf shots. We will shoot lower scores.

FYI: All of the examples of nutbaggery to come are things I have actually witnessed. They’re not exaggerated for the sake of laughs.

It’s winter time and most of you poor souls are not enjoying the 70-degree temperatures I am in Southern California right now (see, you all hate me already… and it’s going to get worse). That gives us all time to assess our approach to golf. I am not talking course management or better focus; I am talking how WE golfers approach our successes and failures, which for many is more important than the aforementioned issues or the quality of our technique.

Why is it that golf turns normal, intelligent, successful and SANE people into deviant, ignorant failures that exhibit all of the tell-tale signs of insanity? I also forgot profane, whiny, hostile, weak-minded, weak-willed and childish. Not to mention stupid. Why do we seem to leave our common sense and sanity in escrow in a cloud outside the golf course parking lot… only to have it magically return the moment our car leaves the property after imposing extreme mental anguish on ourselves that Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (don’t feel bad if you have to google this) would find extreme?

Smarter people than I have written books on this, but I think they missed a key factor. Clubs, balls, shoes, bags, gloves, tees, the grasses, especially the sand in the bunkers, the Gatorade they sell at the snack bar, hats, visors, over-logoed clothing, golf carts, etc., are all made with human kryptonite. Not enough to kill us, but just enough to make us act like children who didn’t get the latest fad toy for Christmas and react by throwing a hissy fit.

Bob Rotella has said golf is not a game of perfect, and although religious texts say man was made in God’s image, thinking we are perfect is blasphemous. We all play golf like we think there is an equivalent of a bowling 300. We expect to hit every drive 300 yards (the bowling perfect) with a three-yard draw… in the middle of the face… in the dead center of the fairway. All iron shots must be worked from the middle of the green toward the pin and compressed properly with shaft lean, ball-first contact and the perfect dollar-bill sized divot (and not too deep). Shots within 100 yards from any lie should be hit within gimme range, and all putts inside 20 feet must be holed.

We get these ideas from watching the best players in the world late on Sunday, where all of the above seem commonplace. We pay no attention to the fact that we are significantly worse than the guys who shot 76-76 and missed the cut. We still hold ourselves to that ridiculous standard.

  • Group 1: “Monte, you’re exaggerating. No one has those expectations.”
  • Group 2: ”Monte, I’m a type-A personality. I’m very competitive and hard on myself.”

To the first group, the following examples say different. And to the second group, I am one of you. It’s OK for me to want to shoot over 80 percent from the free throw line, but at 50 years old and 40 pounds over weight, what would you say to me if I said, “I’m type-A and competitive and I want to dunk like Lebron James!” Oh yeah, and I want to copy Michael Jordan’s dunking style, Steph Curry’s shooting stroke and Pistol Pete’s passing and dribbling style.” That seems ridiculous, but switch those names to all-time greats in golf and WE have all been guilty of those aspirations.

I don’t know how to answer 18-handicaps who ask me if they should switch to blades so they can work the ball better and in both directions. The blunt a-hole in me wants to tell them, “Dude, just learn to hit the ball on the face somewhere,” but that’s what they read in the golf magazines. You’re supposed to work the ball from the middle of the green toward the pin, like Nicklaus. Well, the ball doesn’t curve as much now as it did in Nicklaus’ prime and most tour players only work the ball one way unless the circumstances don’t allow it. “And you’re not Jack Nicklaus.” Some joke about Jesus and Moses playing golf has that punch line.

Wouldn’t it be easier to get as proficient as possible at one shot when you have limited practice time, versus being less than mediocre on several different shots? This also applies to hitting shots around the greens 27 different ways, but don’t get me started…just buy my short game video. Hyperbole and shameless plug aside, this is a huge mistake average golfers make. They never settle on one way of doing things.

The day the first white TaylorMade adjustable driver was released, I played 9 holes behind a very nice elderly couple. He went to Harvard and she went to Stanford. He gets on the first tee and hits a big push. He walks to the cart, grabs his wrench and closes the club face. She tops her tee shot, gets the wrench and adds some loft. Out of morbid curiosity, I stayed behind them the entire front 9 and watched them adjust their clubs for every mishit shot. It took over 3 hours for a two-some. These are extremely nice, smart and successful people and look what golf did to them. Anyone calling this a rules violation, have a cocktail; you’re talking yourself even more seriously than they were. Old married couple out fooling around, big deal if they broke a rule. No tournament, not playing for money, they’re having fun. They had gimmies, mulligans and winter rules. Good for them.

This is an extreme example of a huge mistake that nearly 100 percent of golfers make; they believe the need for an adjustment after every bad shot… or worse, after every non-perfect shot. How many of you have done this both on the range and on the course?

”(Expletive), pushed that one, need to close the face. (Expletive), hit that one thin, need to hit down more on this one. (Expletive), hooked that one, need to hold off the release.”

I’ll ask people why they do this and the answer is often, “I’m trying to build a repeatable swing.”

Nice. Building repeatable swing by making 40 different swings during a range session or round of golf. That is insane and stupid, but WE have all done it. The lesson learned here is to just try and do better on the next one. You don’t want to make adjustments until you have the same miss several times in a row. As a secondary issue, what are the odds that you do all of the following?

  1.  Diagnose the exact swing fault that caused the bad shot
  2.  Come up with the proper fix
  3.  Implement that fix correctly in the middle of a round of golf with OB, two lakes, eight bunkers and three elephants buried in the green staring you in the face.

Another factor in this same vein, and again, WE have all been guilty of this: “I just had my worst round in three weeks. What I was doing to shoot my career low three times in row isn’t working any more. Where is my Golf Digest? I need a new tip.”

Don’t lie… everyone reading this article has done that. EVERYONE! Improvement in golf is as far from linear as is mathematically possible. I have never heard a golfer chalk a high score up to a “bad day.” It’s always a technique problem, so there is a visceral need to try something different. “It’s not working anymore. I think I need to do the Dustin Johnson left wrist, the Sergio pull-down lag, the Justin Thomas downswing hip turn, the Brooks Koepka restricted-backswing hip turn and the Jordan Spieth and Jamie Sadllowski bent left elbow… with a little Tiger Woods 2000 left-knee snap when I need some extra power.” OK, maybe it’s a small bit of exaggeration that someone would try all of these, but I have heard multiple people regale of putting 2-3 of those moves in after a bad round that didn’t mesh with their downtrending index.

An 8-handicap comes to me for his first lesson. He had shot in the 70’s four of his last five rounds and shot a career best in the last of the five. All of the sudden, those friendly slight mishits that rhyme with the place where we keep our money show up. First a few here and there and then literally every shot. He shows up and shanks 10 wedges in a row and is literally ready to cry. I said, “Go home, take this week off and come back… and what’s your favorite beer?”

He comes back the next week, pulls a club and goes to hit one. I tell him to have a seat. I hand him a beer and we talk football for 15 minutes. Then I pull out my iPad and show him exactly why he is hitting shanks. I tell him one setup issue and one intent change and ask him to go hit one. It was slightly on the heel, but not a shank and very thin. I said to do both changes a bit more. The second one — perfect divot, small draw and on target. I walk over, put my hand up for a high five and say, “Awesome job! Great shot!”

He leaves me hanging and says, ”Yeah, but I hit it in the toe.”

Don’t judge him. Every day I have people with 50-yard slices toned down to 15-20 yards saying the ball is still slicing. These are people who won’t accept a fade, but slam their club when it over draws 15 feet left of the target… and so on. I can’t judge or be angry; I used to be these guys, too. During a one-hour lesson, I often hear people get frustrated with themselves for thin and fat, left and right, heel and toe. Apparently, anything not hunting flags or hit out of a dime-sized area is an epic fail. I also get emails the next day saying the fault and miss is still there.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

My big miss has always been a big block, often in the heel. Instead, I now often hit a pull in the left fairway bunker out of the toe. I celebrate like I’m Kool & the Gang and it’s 1999… and I get strange looks from everyone. I can manage a 10-15 yard low, slightly drawn pull. I cannot not manage a 40-50 yard in the atmosphere block… that cuts.

So, now that I have described all of US as pathetic, let’s see what we can do.

  1. Be hard on yourself, be competitive and set lofty goals all you want… but you need to accept at least a one-side miss. If you hate hitting thin, weak fades, you need to allow yourself a slightly heavy over draw. Not allowing yourself any miss will make you miss every shot.
  2. Generally, the better the player, the larger the pool of results that are used to judge success. Pros judge themselves over months and years. High-handicappers judge themselves on their previous shot. Do you think pros make a swing change after 10 good shots and one minor miss? We all seem to think that course of action is astute. Bad shot, must have done something wrong… HULK MUST FIX!
  3. Don’t judge your shots on a pass/fail grade. Grade yourself A-F. Are you going to feel better after 10 A’s, 25 B’s, 15 C’s, 4 D’s and 1 F… or 10 passes and 40 fails? If every non-perfect shot is seen as a failure, your subconscious will do something different in order to please you. Again, 40 different swings.
  4. Improving your swing and scores is a lot like losing weight. No one expects to make changes in a diet and exercise routine and lose 20 pounds in one day, yet golfers expect a complete overhaul in a small bucket. Give yourself realistic time frames for improvement. “I’m a 12. By the end of next year, I want to be an 8.”  That’s your goal, not whether or not your last range session was the worst in a month. It’s a bad day; that is allowed. Major champions miss cuts and all of them not named Tiger Woods don’t change their swings. They try and do better next week… and they nearly always do.
  5. DO NOT measure yourself either on the mechanics of your swing or your scoring results according to some arbitrary standard of perfection… and especially not against tour players. Measure yourself against yourself. Think Ty Webb. Is your swing better than it was 6 months ago? Do you hit it better than 6 months ago? Are you scoring better than 6 months ago? If you can say yes to at least two of those questions, your swing looking like Adam Scott is less relevant than the color of golf tee you use.

That is a winning formula, and just like bad habits in your swing, you can’t wake up one morning and tell yourself you’re no longer into self flagellation. It takes effort and practice to improve your approach and get out of your own way… but more importantly, have some fun.

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