Connect with us

Instruction

Shoot lower scores with better self-analysis

Published

on

By Anthony Procopis, GolfWRX Contributor

Dear fellow golf maniacs, can you shoot 10 shots better than your handicap?

Well, whether you currently can or can’t is not the point. I believe that if you are firing and you have the right mental tools to cope with going low –- whether you are an 80-shooter going for a 70 or a 90-shooter going for an 80 — your best score right now, your potential, is 10 shots better than your handicap.

This rule applies if you have been playing golf consistently for five years or more, it does not obviously apply to beginners who may have a 15- or 20-shot improvement as a possibility.

I have thought about this quite a bit over the years and was jolted into thinking about it more after a crazy round of golf eight weeks ago. On that day I shot a personal best score of a 7-under par 65 playing off a one handicap.

Was that my best? Well as a score, it was, but did I get the most out of the round, did a squeeze every last shot out of the round?

No I didn’t.

Here is the short story:

Our front nine is two shots easier than our longer back nine holes (total yardage is 6,100 meters or 6,700 yards; par 72). On this day I found myself 5-under par through six holes (had a first with five-birdies in-a-row from No. 2 to 6) and had a flat, straight birdie putt on No. 8 from 12 feet. I promptly missed wide by a half foot and long by three feet; a truly disgraceful attempt.

Now, because I’m somewhat of a putter-ologist, I thought quickly about this miss. I looked at what emotions I was feeling and how free I was when I putted the ball. I concluded, I was pumped and tried way too hard on this putt.

This is one of the ironies of golf and life — to get what you want, to achieve something you want, you must focus, but then let go. It is a constant battle; this is the battle I faced on this day — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some might call this paradoxical intention; to obtain joy and happiness, you don’t go around trying to get this, you construct a meaningful life, doing constructive, enriching activities and you experience joy and happiness along the way, you don’t force it.

The honest review of the sad events on the eighth green set me up to make a better putt on No. 9 and a perfect 30-footer (it was a little rude) on No. 10 to go to six better.

I held my nerve on a 10-footer on No. 12 (giving-in to the only thing that gets you through high pressure situations -– your putting-routine) to go to seven and before I could think about the whole situation (this was a good thing), I had knocked an 8-iron on the par-3 13th to two feet.

I nervously prodded the ball into the hole to go 8-under through 13 holes. (I felt very nervous and shaky on all 10 of my short-putts under 10 feet, but it does mean I can’t or didn’t make them all –- I did).

I had never been past six. Unfortunately we had a 470 yard par-4 up next, three other strong par-4s and a 200-yard par-3.

To cut a long story short, I went bogie, birdie, bogie, par and par to finish at 7-under.

Could I have gone 10 better than my handicap?

Absolutely; I simply missed long irons on Nos. 14 and 16 which resulted in bogies (I kept making two- to five-footers all the way home).

If I had hit those long irons on the green or even just off and made pars (and of course I could have had made one), I would have finished with a 9-under 63. Of course, the whole experience of ascending to rarefied air puts you in a stronger position for when the door into the zone is opened for you next time.

The mechanics of going low

Well, you are going to need to be putting really well, hit your irons well, chip and pitch well and hit some straight drives (and don’t forget those pesky long irons).

But let’s say you are doing all of the above well and you having a day out; you will feel mounting pressure, and it will come down to how well you can monitor yourself, how well you can control your emotions, how well you can stick to the same number of waggles and the same number of looks at the hole, how well you can harness the coiled energy at the top of your backswing to let the club drop into the slot on the downswing.

A lot of club golfers who are ill equipped shun these situations. They choke, and maybe worse they never analyze what happens to them under pressure — what went wrong and how they can learn how to handle the situation when it next arises.

Why? Well, you must be honest; you must be able to admit weaknesses before you can grow. That’s tough for some people and it takes effort.

Everyone blows a good round now and then, that is not the issue. The issue is what that round motivates you to do about finishing off the round better next time, and thereby growing as a golfer and being in a better place to go 10 better when you have a day out next time.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. B MAC

    Jun 18, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Wow that was great ! Can’t wait for my next round I’m going to go low !!

Leave a Reply

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

Instruction

A Drill To Build Better Club Face Awareness

Published

on

When it comes to playing good golf, where you strike the ball on the club face is vital.

One of the key skills in golf is being aware of where the club face is as you swing the club around your body in order to be able to strike the ball in the center of the club face. In this video, I share one of my favorite drills for you to practice to improve your club face awareness. It will help you to hit the center of the club face more often.

Your Reaction?
  • 5
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Instruction

How the Trail Arm Should Work In Backswing

Published

on

Stop getting stuck! In this video, I demonstrate a great drill to help you move your trail arm correctly in the backswing.

Your Reaction?
  • 11
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Instruction

Self-discovery: Why golf lessons aren’t helping you improve

Published

on

Of all the things I teach or have taught in golf, I think this is the most important: It’s not what we cover in a lesson, it’s what you discover. 

Some years ago, I had a student in golf school for a few days. She was topping every single shot. Zero were airborne. I explained that she was opening her body and moving forward before her arms and club were coming down. “Late” we call it. I had her feel like her arms were coming down first and her body was staying behind, a common correction for late tops. Bingo! Every ball went up into the air. She was ecstatic.

Some time later, she called and said she was topping every shot. She scheduled a lesson. She topped every shot. I asked her why she was topping the ball. “I think I’m picking up my head,” she said to my look of utter disbelief!

I had another student who was shanking the ball. At least 3 out of 5 came off the hosel with his wedges. I explained that his golf club was pointed seriously left at the top of his backswing. It was positioned well OUTSIDE his hands, which caused it to come down too wide and swing OUTSIDE his hands into impact. This is a really common cause of shanking. We were able to get the club more down the line at the top and come down a bit narrower and more inside the ball. No shanks… not a one!  He called me sometime later. The shanks had returned. You get the rest. When I asked what was causing him to shank, he told me “I get too quick.”

If you are hitting the golf ball better during a golf lesson, you have proven to yourself that you CAN do it. But what comes after the lesson is out of a teacher’s hands. It’s as simple as that. I cannot control what you do after you leave my lesson tee. Now, if you are NOT hitting the ball better during a lesson or don’t understand why you’re not hitting it better, I will take the blame. And…you do not have to compensate me for my time. That is the extent to which I’ll go to display my commitment and accept my responsibility. What we as teachers ask is the same level of commitment from the learners.

Improving at golf is a two-way street. My way is making the correct diagnosis and offering you a personalized correction, possibly several of them. Pick the ONE that works for you. What is your way on the street? Well, here are a few thoughts on that:

  • If you are taking a lesson at 10 a.m. with a tee time at 11 a.m. and you’re playing a $20 Nassau with your buddies, you pretty much wasted your time and money.
  • If the only time you hit balls is to warm up for your round, you have to be realistic about your results.
  • If you are expecting 250-yard drives with an 85 mph club head speed, well… let’s get real.
  • If you “fake it” during a lesson, you’re not going to realize any lasting improvement. When the teacher asks if you understand or can feel what’s being explained and you say yes when in fact you DO NOT understand, you’re giving misleading feedback and hurting only yourself. Speak up!

Here’s a piece of advise I have NEVER seen fail. If you don’t get it during the lesson, there is no chance you’ll get it later. It’s not enough to just hit it better; you have to fully understand WHY you hit it better. Or if you miss, WHY you missed.

I have a rule I follow when conducting a golf lesson. After I explain the diagnosis and offer the correction, I’ll usually get some better results. So I continue to offer that advice swing after swing. But at some point in the lesson, I say NOTHING. Typically, before long the old ball flight returns and I wait– THREE SWINGS. If the student was a slicer and slices THREE IN A ROW, then it’s time for me to step in again. I have to allow for self discovery at some point. You have to wean yourself off my guidance and internalize the corrections. You have to FEEL IT.

When you can say, “If the ball did this then I know I did that” you are likely getting it. There is always an individual cause and effect you need to understand in order to go off by yourself and continue self improvement. If you hit a better shot but do not know why, please tell your teacher. What did I do? That way you’re playing to learn, not simply learning to play.

A golf lesson is a guidance, not an hour of how to do this or that. The teacher is trying to get you to discover what YOU need to feel to get more desirable outcomes. If all you’re getting out of it is “how,” you are not likely to stay “fixed.” Remember this: It’s not what we cover in the lesson; it’s what you discover!

Your Reaction?
  • 417
  • LEGIT42
  • WOW8
  • LOL5
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP5
  • OB3
  • SHANK17

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending