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Improve your Game with a Double Ending

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Begin with the end in mind. Stephen Covey, a management guru, wrote in the “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that one of the traits of highly effective people was to begin with the end in mind. By this, he meant that we should know what results we are trying to create before we begin.

What end do you have in mind for your golf game? Do you want to drive the ball farther? Do you want to reduce putts per round? Do you want to respond more calmly and competently after an errant drive? To improve we need to have a specific end in sight.

Spice up your golf. To determine the end you have in mind for your game I encourage you to playfully ask yourself what I call the Spice Girls’ question: So tell me what you want, what you really, really want? It may also be helpful to probe a little further by asking yourself why you want that result. What is the deeper purpose you are attempting to achieve? Develop clarity and specificity in what you want as that will help pull you to the future and let you know when you have reached the end goal.

Determine what must end before you begin. Knowing your result is necessary but not sufficient for change. You must attend to the other meaning of ending before you begin with the result you seek. You need to know what needs to be end before you change. Often ending something can be a bigger challenge than trying to begin something new. For example, trying to end the putting yips can feel insurmountable. We need to make friends with endings in our golf game. To open a new door to our golf game an old door must close. As Jim Morrison of the Doors sang, “This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end.”

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Sample endings. Here are some sample ending that may need to occur for improvement:

  • If you want to drive the ball farther, you may need to end the habit of swinging more with your arms than your core.
  • If you want to reduce putts per round, you must end spending all your time practicing on the range.
  • If you want to respond more calmly and completely after an errant drive, you must end your expectation of perfection on every shot.
  • If you want to enjoy your golf game, you must end making enjoyment solely contingent on your score.
  • If you want to win a tournament, you may need to end your focus on the result of each shot and focus more on the process you took for each swing and shot (Derek Ernst was given this advice by his swing coach in preparation for each round  during his first win on the PGA Tour at the Wells Fargo Championship).

Pause before you begin.  To accelerate change, come to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection of what was with what you hope will be. Ensure you think through what will need to end before you begin. These endings can range from assumptions you have about yourself and golf to ending counterproductive routines and practices. Ask yourself: What must I stop before I start?

Short Summary: To improve your golf game, focus on the double ending. Determine what must end before you begin working on the end result you seek.

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David Zinger taught Educational Psychology at the University of Manitoba for 20 years focusing on counseling psychology and how to teach adults. His master's thesis was on humor in counseling. During this time he has studied and kept a keen interest in the various elements of golf and performance psychology. David lives in Winnipeg, Canada so he contends with six months of snow hibernating his limited time to golf. David is primarily focused on employee engagement and runs a global network of 6000 members focused on the topic. Many of the key principles of engagement also apply to golf: connecting to results, energy, strengths, progress, performance, meaning, and moments. Although David only plays golf occasionally he has a passion for the game that dates back to being a $2.00 a round caddy at 12 years of age for Riverside Golf Club in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He enjoys playing golf with his wife Susan and they both relish each having a hole-in-one. Website: www.davidzinger.com Email David: david@davidzinger.com

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Troy Vayanos

    May 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Great post David,

    I have wanted to improve my putting and a result spend a lot more time working on this part of my game. I also want to improve my ball striking off the tee and regularly work on drills and have seen improvement.

    Cheers

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The Gear Dive: Discussing the drivers of 2020 with Bryan LaRoche

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In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with his good buddy Bryan LaRoche. They chat on life and do a deep dive into the drivers of 2020.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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The Wedge Guy: The 5 indisputable rules of bunker play

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I received a particularly interesting question this week from Art S., who said he has read all the tips about how to hit different sand shots, from different sand conditions, but it would be helpful to know why. Specifically, here’s what Art had to say:

“I recently found myself in a few sand traps in multiple lies and multiple degrees of wetness. I tried remembering all of the “rules” of how to stand, how much to open my club, how much weight to shift forward or back, etc. based on the Golf Channel but was hoping that you might be able to do a blog on the ‘why’ of sand play so that we can understand it rather than memorizing what to do. Is there any way you can discuss what the club is doing and why you open the club, open your stance, what you’re aiming for when you open up, and any other tips?”

Well, Art, you asked a very good question, so let’s try to cover the basics of sand play–the “geometry and physics” at work in the bunkers–and see if we can make all of this more clear for you.

First of all, I think bunkers are among the toughest of places to find your ball. We see the tour players hit these spectacular bunker shots every week, but realize that they are playing courses where the bunkers are maintained to PGA Tour standards, so they are pretty much the same every hole and every week. This helps the players to produce the “product” the tour is trying to deliver–excitement. Of course, those guys also practice bunker play every day.

All of us, on the other hand, play courses where the bunkers are different from one another. This one is a little firmer, that one a little softer. So, let me see if I can shed a little light on the “whys and wherefores” of bunker play.

The sand wedge has a sole with a downward/backward angle built into it – we call that bounce. It’s sole (no pun intended) function is to provide a measure of “rejection” force or lift when the club makes contact with the sand. The more bounce that is built into the sole of the wedge, the more this rejection force is applied. And when we open the face of the wedge, we increase the effective bounce so that this force is increased as well.

The most basic thing you have to assess when you step into a bunker is the firmness of the sand. It stands to reason that the firmer the texture, the more it will reject the digging effect of the wedge. That “rejection quotient” also determines the most desirable swing path for the shot at hand. Firmer sand will reject the club more, so you can hit the shot with a slightly more descending clubhead path. Conversely, softer or fluffier sand will provide less rejection force, so you need to hit the shot with a shallower clubhead path so that you don’t dig a trench.

So, with these basic principles at work, it makes sense to remember these “Five Indisputable Rules of Bunker Play”

  1. Firmer sand will provide more rejection force – open the club less and play the ball back a little to steepen the bottom of the clubhead path.
  2. Softer sand will provide less rejection force – open the club more and play the ball slighter further forward in your stance to create a flatter clubhead path through the impact zone.
  3. The ball will come out on a path roughly halfway between the alignment of your body and the direction the face is pointing – the more you open the face, the further left your body should be aligned.
  4. On downslope or upslope lies, try to set your body at right angles to the lie, so that your swing path can be as close to parallel with the ground as possible, so this geometry can still work. Remember that downhill slopes reduce the loft of the club and uphill slopes increase the loft.
  5. Most recreational golfers are going to hit better shots from the rough than the bunkers, so play away from them when possible (unless bunker play is your strength).

So, there you go, Art. I hope this gives you the basics you were seeking.

As always, I invite all of you to send in your questions to be considered for a future article. It can be about anything related to golf equipment or playing the game–just send it in. You can’t win if you don’t ask!

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Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Task to target

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In this week’s episode: How having a target will improve your direction and contact you have with the ball.

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