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The Road to Golf Glory

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Man sees an ocean and he seeks to collect oysters from it.

He sees a field and he seeks to extract glory from it.

Golf courses are no longer fields of play, but fields of battle. They have become fields upon which man fights for the full extent of his self-worth and the integrity of his own personal image.

The golf course is seen as a minefield. And thus the player treads hesitant and fearful with every step.

Man has become a discontented creature. His life is almost never sufficient just the way it is. He is never enough just the way he is.

Drama is his drug. He creates it. He swims in it. He drinks it. He suffers its every high and its every miserable low. This is the game he has created for himself.

Complexity has become a habit. For he feels that intellectualization is forever the road to truth. As a result, he feels he must create something where there is nothing. He must attach importance to something that inherently has no importance. He must create a story out of disconnected events.

The media is a master at this. But the media learned it from man. The media is, in fact, the public manifestation of man’s private musings.

If man initially looked upon golf as a game, it is a game no longer. Somewhere along the way everything became real. And this reality has caused more suffering than can possibly be imagined.

Reality is too mundane for man. And this new reality that he has created is simply insufferable. So much so, in fact, that it is not sustainable.

Man has a habit of turning backyard battles into world wars. He has a habit of turning play into conquest. As an athlete he has turned the field into a wishing well. And he comes with a decade-full of baggage in hand.

For him, the field is no longer a field, but an opportunity. An opportunity to replenish what he lost long ago. An opportunity to look into the mirror and see a reflection that is greater than the image that produced it.

He has certainly found his way to it. But how can he make his way through it?

Perhaps he could look at the field through innocent eyes. And a motiveless heart.

Perhaps he could look at the game as an expression of his joy. By looking at play as an expression of his freedom.

For if he cannot play with freedom, of what use is it to play at all?

In order, then, to play the game, one must commit himself to the playing. To play like a warrior, with full presence of mind. Losing himself in the rhythm. And allowing all of his skill to surface.

If the athlete comes to the game in search of something, he will not be able to PLAY it. If he comes to the game in hope of something, he will not be FREE within it.

The game is inherently empty. It is a skeletal structure. A scaffolding. The game itself does not contain joy. If it did, everyone who played it would always be joyful.

The game provides an arena. The athlete brings the joy. But the athlete who brings a demand will leave empty-handed. The athlete who arrives with hope will leave disappointed.

Why?

Because he is looking for an ocean without realizing that he is in a desert.

The game is a desert. Windswept and wild.

And as long as the athlete fails to realize this, he will forever suffer within it.

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Dr. Gupta is the founder of Siddha Performance, a company that teaches human beings to transcend their own mind in order to access the source of superhuman performance. Dr. Gupta has devoted close to 30 years of his life developing understandings and techniques that allow human beings to transcend the mind. Through his analysis and experimentation he has discovered that ultimate freedom and ultimate performance arise NOT from within the mind, but beyond it. Dr. Gupta can be contacted directly at [email protected] His work and his writings can be found at http://www.siddhaperformance.com/ He also appears weekly on PGA Tour's "On the Mark" radio show with Mark Immelman.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Michael Holmstrom

    Feb 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Good stuff!

  2. Ian

    Feb 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Excellent, thought provoking, the truth, damn all that hope and fear, hope and fear, it`s only a game go play it !!!

  3. Dan

    Feb 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I like the picture

  4. Chip

    Feb 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    SHANK!

  5. Awedge333

    Feb 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    “Hit the right club, you will….” Yoda

  6. Marc

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Cripes what a load of tripe. Get over yourself – your writing style is so forced it bores me. This isn’t the New Yorker and you aren’t writing Moby Dick. LOL

  7. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    All roads lead eventually back to their source. To pursue a goal with rigid determination, to seek a destination, as if following a path, is to find oneself precisely where one started. Golf is not linear. It is omnidirectional: progress and retreat, the broad vista and a microscopic view. One must focus not on the grains of sand or the blades of grass nor on the bunker or the fairway, but embody all, simultaneously: the ball, the club, the body, the grass, the sand, the sky… as one. True golfing progress is expansion, not direction.

    Only this way will you cure that nasty slice 🙂

  8. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Inner Desert-Warrior… That doesn’t wear shoes, and argues with an ex navy seal over frivolous survival techniques?

    • sgniwder99

      Feb 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Interesting. Somehow your response managed to make less sense than the post.

      That’s actually fairly impressive.

      • Brad

        Feb 18, 2015 at 11:31 am

        Check out Dual Survival on Discovery Channel. It will make sense.

  9. Golfraven

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    very dramatic.

  10. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha. What a load of pseudo-spiritual rubbish!! And like a fool I just thought that golf was a fun and challenging game. I guess I need to get in touch with my inner Desert-Warrior to achieve GLORY and accept SUFFERING! LOL

  11. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. Whatever you are on right now…… I want some. I have no idea what i just read, but somehow enjoyed reading it?

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Instruction

Dennis Clark: Hitting from the turf

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I have seen as much as 4-5 MPH increase in clubhead speed when my students hit form a tee compared to hitting off the turf. Why?  Fear of FAT shots.

First question: Are you better hitting off a tee than on the turf?

Next question: When you play in a scramble and you have the option of dropping in the fairway or slightly in the first cut, do you choose the rough-especially when hitting over water or sand?

The answer to all these the same: Because the vast majority of golfers do not have a bottom of the swing arc safely in front of the golf ball consistently.

Consider a PGA Tour event, Korn Ferry, Champions Tour, LPGA Tour, whatever…You might see missed fairways, missed greens, hooks, blocks, etc. but we rarely, if ever, see a FAT shot. They simply do not hit the ground before the golf ball. Of course, there are exceptions, into the grain on short pitches, for example, but they are just that-rare exceptions. On the other hand, go to any golf course and watch average golfers for a while. Fat shots are not uncommon. In fact, they, or the fear of them, dominate most golf games.

The number one mistake I have seen on the lesson tee for over 35 years is unquestionably a player’s inability to control the bottom of the golf swing. I have seen everything from hitting 4 inches behind the ball to never reaching the bottom at all It has been my experience that that hitting fat shots is the number one flaw in most golf swings.

Let’s start with this fact: elite level players consistently reach a swing bottom (low point) some 3-4 inches in front of the golf ball-time after time after time. This happens for a variety of reasons, but the one I’d like to look at today is the position of the golf club at impact with the golf ball.

The club is leaning forward, toward the target, the hands are ahead of the club head, never straight up over it, never behind it-always, always leaning forward is the only way to consistently bottom out in front of the golf ball.   

A player cannot hit a ball consistently from the turf until he/she learns this and how to accomplish it. For every golfer I teach who gets into this position, I might teach 50 who do not. In fact, if players did not learn how to “save” a shot by bailing out on the downswing (chicken wing, pull up, raise the handle, or come over the top, (yes over the top is a fat shot avoidance technique) they would hit the ground behind the golf ball almost every time!  Hitting better shots from the fairways, particularly from tight lies, can be learned, but I’m going to be honest: The change required will NOT be easy. And to make matters worse, you can never play significantly better until you overcome the fear of hitting it fat.. Until you learn a pattern where the bottom of the swing is consistently in front of the ball, the turf game will always be an iffy proposition for you.

This starts with a perception. When first confronted with hitting a golf ball, it seems only natural that an “up” swing is the way to get the ball in the air-help it, if you will. The act of a descending blow is not, in any way, natural to the new player. In fact, it is totally counterintuitive. So the first instincts are to throw the club head at the ball and swing up to get the ball in the air; in other words, it makes perfect sense. And once that “method” is ingrained, it is very difficult to change. But change if you must, if your goal is to be a better ball striker.

The position to strive for is one where the left wrist (for a right-hander) is flat, the right is slightly dorsiflexed, and the handle of the golf club is ahead of the grip end. Do your level best to pay attention to the look and feel of what you’re doing as opposed to the flight of the golf ball. FEEL that trail wrist bent slightly back, the lead wrist flat and the hands ahead. It will seem strange at first, but it’s the very small first step in learning to hit down on your tight lies. If some degree of that is not ultimately accomplished, you will likely always be executing “fit in” moves to make up for it. It is worth the time and effort to create this habit.

My suggestion is to get on a Trackman if possible to see where you’re low point actually is, or perhaps you may just want to start paying close attention to your divots-particularly the deepest part of them. I’m sure you will get into a pattern of bottoming out consistently in front of the ball when you begin to learn to get the hands ahead and the club head behind. And best of all, when this becomes your swing, you will lose the fear of hitting the turf first and be free to go down after the ball as aggressively as you like.

Ok, so how is this accomplished? While many players are looking for a magic bullet or a training aid which might help one miraculously get into a good impact position, I dare say there is not one. It is a trial and error proposition, a learn-from-the-mistakes kind of thing achieved only through repetition with a thorough understanding of what needs to be done. The hardest thing to do is IGNORE the outcome when learning a new motor skill, but you must do it. A couple of things you might try:

  • Start with 30-50 yard pitch shots, paying close attention to the hands leading at impact. Again ignore the outcome, look only at the divot.
  • Hit a TON of fairway bunker shots. Draw a line in the sand 3-4″ in front of the ball and try to hit it.
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Instruction

What you can learn from the rearview camera angle

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We often analyze the golf swing from the face-on view or down-the-line camera angle. However, we can also learn how the body moves in the swing from the rearview or backside view.

When seeing the swing from the rearview, we can easily see how the glutes work. The trail glute actually moves back and around in the backswing. This means the glute moves towards the target or towards the lead heel. Note the trail glute start point and endpoint at the top of the backswing.

To some, this may seem like it would cause a reverse weight shift. However, this glute movement can enable the upper body to get loaded behind the ball. This is where understanding the difference between pressure, and weight is critical (see: “Pressure and Weight”).

This also enhances the shape of the body in the backswing. From the rear angle, I prefer to have players with a tuck to their body in their trail side, a sign of no left-side bend.

This puts the body and trail arm into a “throwing position”, a dynamic backswing position. Note how the trailing arm has folded with the elbow pointing down. This is a sign the trailing arm moved in an efficient sequence to the top of the backswing.

Next time you throw your swing on video, take a look at the rearview camera angle. From this new angle, you may find a swing fault or matchup needed in your golf swing to produce your desired ball flight.

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How to stop 3-putting and start making putts

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When we are 3-putting we are ‘stuck in the box’. This means that when we are standing over the putt the second before we make our stroke everything happens to ‘go downhill.’ When this happens, depending on your playing level, things can become a bit erratic on the putting surface.

When a 3 putt happens, it is typically because you failed to do something before you made your stroke. The large majority of my 3 putts happen when I am not completely SOLD on the line of my putt, aka not committed. Questioning anything over the ball will lead to 3 putts.

Here is a breakdown/checklist on how to approach the green and get your ball in the cup without hesitation.

1. It starts with the approach shot into the green and the decision of direction you make to enter the hole. Scan the entire green with your eyes on the walk-up. Left to right and right to left. Look for a few seconds before you step onto the putting surface. This helps determine the high side and the low side, or if the green is relatively flat. Don’t be picky, just look and make a decision.

2. Once you get to the ball, mark it. Take 3 steps behind your ball mark. Now you must pick a line… Left, Center, or Right of the cup. (Skip step 3 if you know the line) It should take seconds but for those that are not sure it will take longer. Understand that every putt has a statistical level of difficulty. So to increase the odds, players must avoid putting in the unsure mind, and take the time to figure out a line. I also find that people who are 3 putting are overly confident and just not committed aka too quick to putt.

3. To commit, you must find the angle of entry into the cup. Walk up to the hole and look at the cup. How is it cut? Determine if it is cut flat or on a slope angle. This will help you see the break if you are having a hard time. Then determine how much break to play. Cut the hole into 4 quarters with your eyes standing right next to it. Ask yourself, which quarter of the cup does the ball need to enter to make the putt go in the hole?

I encourage using the phrases ‘in the hole’ or ‘to the hole’ as great reinforcement and end thoughts before stroking the ball. I personally visualize a dial on the cup. When my eyes scan the edges, I see tick marks of a clock or a masterlock – I see the dial pop open right when I pick the entry quadrant/tick mark because I cracked the code.

Remember, the most important parts of the putt are: 1.) Where it starts and 2. ) Where it ends.

4. To secure the line, pick something out as the apex of the putt on the walk back to the mark. Stand square behind the ball mark and the line you have chosen.

5. To further secure the line, place your ball down and step behind it to view the line from behind the ball. Don’t pick up the ball mark until you have looked from behind. When you look, you need to scan the line from the ball to the cup with your eyes. While you are scanning, you can make adjustments to the line – left, right or center. Now, on the walk into the box, pickup the mark. This seals the deal on the line. Square your putter head to the ball, with feet together, on the intended line.

6. To make the putt, look at the apex and then the cup while taking your stance and making practice strokes to calibrate and gauge how far back and through the stroke needs to be.

7. To prove the level of commitment, step up to the ball and look down the intended line to the apex back to the cup and then back to the apex down to your ball. As soon as you look down at the ball, never look up again. Complete one entire stroke. A good visual for a putting stroke is a battery percentage and comparing your ‘complete stroke’ to the percentage of battery in the bar.

8. Look over your shoulder once your putter has completed the stroke, i.e. listen for the ball to go in and then look up!

If you find a way that works, remember it, and use it!

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