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6 ways to improve your self image as a golfer

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According to a ranking done by FanSided, The Ohio State Buckeyes are the current kings of Fandom! This ranking is not limited to sports; it also includes entertainment, celebrities and even different brands.

Growing up in Michigan, I certainly take exception to seeing The Buckeyes at No. 1, but that is certainly not the point here. I went to college with a few folks from Ohio, one who was an absolute diehard Ohio State fan. He grew up rooting for the collegiate program through both the ups and the downs. We often joked about how Ohio State could not beat Michigan when we were younger, and now the Wolverines can’t seem beat the Buckeyes. But outside of our differences, when he described every trip he made to “The Horseshoe,” you could feel his fandom. As he described the people, the food, the neighborhood and the history, you could feel the aura of “The Horseshoe.” This was a special place to him, as it is to many. Every time he left, win or lose, he could not wait to return. He was and still is a raving fan.

Unfortunately, on the lesson tee, I usually hear a different story. I rarely hear golfers describe their own game in good favor. Instead, I hear them talk poorly of every aspect of their game. I rarely hear anyone who is truly a raving fan of his or her own game. I am by no means giving anyone the green light to be arrogant, but to display confidence and develop a positive self-image. I hear plenty about how good other golfers are: Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, even some of their buddies or co-workers who shoot no better scores than they do! The best players at any level are raving fans of their own games. So how do we change our own self-image and fall in love with our own game?

The key is understanding our mental self-image. Many people want to change their strategy. “I need new clubs. I need a better swing. I need everything!” What I want you to do is change your story. I want you to realize that inside, if you can change your mental approach from “I’m a 100’s shooter” to “I’m a bogey golfer,” you can start achieving that goal. If someone asks me what I shoot, I’ll tell them between 69 and 76. Someone who shoots 110 will tell you he shoots between 105 and 110. How can someone be that consistent with that high of a score? It’s simple; that is the game that golfer plays. It’s his self-image.

So again, how do we change it? Here are six ways to get started. 

1. Visualize Your Game

Every day, I want you to write out a scorecard. I don’t care what you use: a piece of paper, on a scorecard, on an iPhone note. What I want you to do is visualize your round. Simply think of where you normally hit your drive and where you normally hit it on the green. Play each hole normally as you would on the course. What you’ll find is that you’re not going to make any double or triple bogeys, because you’re simply playing the holes the way you have before. That will add up to a score that is 5, 10, or maybe even 15 shots lower. It will also start to give you the understanding that to shoot those scores it isn’t about perfect shots, but solid rounds of golf. If you haven’t visualized it, how can you possibly achieve it?

2. Keep Your Commitments to Yourself

Make a game plan and stick to it, case closed. Be it instruction, fitness, diet, playing more… don’t cheat yourself, just do it. Keep a journal, as journaling helps you see growth and makes it easier to stay committed.

3. Educate Yourself

We live in an information age, so choose wisely. The internet can be hard to navigate, but follow trusted sources, read books, or pick up the phone and call someone who can answer your questions. As you learn more about your game, the information will become easier to apply and you’ll see growth.

4. Be Consistent

Commit to good habits and then consistently follow through. You will start to impress yourself when it becomes routine, and when it is routine is when you see results.

5. Acknowledge and Fix Problems

I’m not saying that you should be trying to fix every problem with your golf swing. If you are giving your golf game a true assessment, however, and you’re doing what you can to address issues, you will know that you are truly doing your best.

6. Deliver on Your Game Plan +1 Percent

Ask yourself what you could do to give it the +1 percent. You don’t need to be 50 percent better. Just 1 percent can take you from satisfied to a raving fan. Commit to what you want, follow through with the commitment, add the extra 1 percent and you will be well on your way to becoming a raving fan of your own game.

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When Matthew began teaching in 2008 at Oakland Hills Country Club, most of his students were asking for him to fix their swing. After fixing golf swings for nearly a decade, he noticed that scores didn’t necessarily improve with the improved golf swing. He knew what his clients really wanted was to shoot lower scores! As most pros know, the key to scoring well isn’t hitting the ball further. It’s learning the REAL game of golf with one simple idea… get the ball in the hole in fewer tries than the other players. Matt started his new philosophy by taking a group of players on the golf course, observing each player’s game and developing a specific improvement plan for them while teaching them how to practice. The results were phenomenal! His players always drop shots off their game, and Matthew guarantees the results! Currently, Matthew owns & operates “Matt Lindberg Golf” with locations at The Practice Station & Broadlands Golf Club each outside of Milwaukee, WI.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Clark Williams

    May 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    solid recommendations, positive evaluation of your game and work on improving those areas that are a problem. track the results. have reasonable expectations. Watching the pro’s hit it 350 straight is probably the worst thing you can do.

    • ogo

      Jun 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      But ‘golfers’ are not great intellectuals and play golf seeking ‘fun’ with their social buddies who are usually total duffers too. Lindberg’s 6 recommendation sounds like a “mind over matter” solution… without paying the physical price to perform.

  2. shawn

    May 29, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    6. Put away your clubs for 2 weeks …. THEN SELL THEM ON eBAY ….!!!!

  3. ogo

    May 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Buy a set of PXGs to improve your self image as a golfer… believe it

  4. Radim Pavlicek

    May 28, 2018 at 2:51 am

    Could you list some of those books you would recommend for an experienced golfer?

    • shawn

      May 29, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      Homer Kelley’s “The Golffing Machine”… best golf book ever written by a non-golfer!!! 😮

  5. Ryan Thomas

    May 27, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Great article. The thought of just trying 1% more is completely actionable and will lead to positive results in golf, work, relationships, or anything else that matters.

  6. Acemandrake

    May 27, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Stop beating yourself up and start on a definitive path toward improvement.

    • bryce

      May 27, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      define what you mean by “definitive”…. be specific…

      • Acemandrake

        May 29, 2018 at 9:26 am

        Create a specific action plan. This is where professional help comes in as they should have this knowledge/info.

        Not knowing where you want to be or what you need to work on leads to frustration from chasing “tips”.

        Chasing tips did not help me. I’ve been playing for 50 years and my swing got so out of whack that I sought out help from my golf pro.

        He has me going back to work on fundamentals of setup & posture. From there we’ll move on to the motion of the swing.

        As he said, “You’ll start to remember your correct feels.”

        • ogo

          Jun 1, 2018 at 1:51 pm

          So you started out with a ‘homemade’ golf swing… great! But was your body ‘golf-ready’… or were you decrepit and golf was your sport of last resort?
          Sounds like you had a non-automatic fully conscious golfswing and trying to remember all those ‘tips’… for 50 years… 😮

          • Acemandrake

            Jun 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

            • Never had a ‘homemade’ swing

            • Body is ‘golf ready’ (Has been for 50+ years)

            • “non-automatic fully conscious golf swing and trying to remember all
            those ‘tips’… for 50 years…”…..Probably 🙂

  7. ogo

    May 27, 2018 at 1:25 am

    7. Reduce your pot belly. It interferes with hip clearance and arm-hand path resulting in OTT swings.
    8. Get out of the cart and walk the course. Even if it means only carrying 10 or less clubs.
    9. Play a solo round. Eliminate all social chitchat and puffery. Focus on golf.
    10. Play within yourself. Don’t try to use a 7-iron when you know you need a 5-iron. Don’t delude.

  8. TexasSnowman

    May 26, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    “…. it isn’t about perfect shots, but solid rounds of golf”. That is the secret of (improving or playing your best) golf. I

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Instruction

Clement: Laid-off or perfect fade? Across-the-line or perfect draw?

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Some call the image on the left laid off, but if you are hitting a fade, this could be a perfect backswing for it! Same for across the line for a draw! Stop racking your brain with perceived mistakes and simply match backswing to shot shape!

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The Wedge Guy: The easiest-to-learn golf basic

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My golf learning began with this simple fact – if you don’t have a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, it is practically impossible for your body to execute a fundamentally sound golf swing. I’m still a big believer that the golf swing is much easier to execute if you begin with the proper hold on the club.

As you might imagine, I come into contact with hundreds of golfers of all skill levels. And it is very rare to see a good player with a bad hold on the golf club. There are some exceptions, for sure, but they are very few and very far between, and they typically have beat so many balls with their poor grip that they’ve found a way to work around it.

The reality of biophysics is that the body moves only in certain ways – and the particulars of the way you hold the golf club can totally prevent a sound swing motion that allows the club to release properly through the impact zone. The wonderful thing is that anyone can learn how to put a fundamentally sound hold on the golf club, and you can practice it anywhere your hands are not otherwise engaged, like watching TV or just sitting and relaxing.

Whether you prefer an overlap, interlock or full-finger (not baseball!) grip on the club, the same fundamentals apply.  Here are the major grip faults I see most often, in the order of the frequency:

Mis-aligned hands

By this I mean that the palms of the two hands are not parallel to each other. Too many golfers have a weak left hand and strong right, or vice versa. The easiest way to learn how to hold the club with your palms aligned properly is to grip a plain wooden ruler or yardstick. It forces the hands to align properly and shows you how that feels. If you grip and re-grip a yardstick several times, then grip a club, you’ll see that the learning curve is almost immediate.

The position of the grip in the upper/left hand

I also observe many golfers who have the butt of the grip too far into the heel pad of the upper hand (the left hand for right-handed players). It’s amazing how much easier it is to release the club through the ball if even 1/4-1/2″ of the butt is beyond the left heel pad. Try this yourself to see what I mean.  Swing the club freely with just your left hand and notice the difference in its release from when you hold it at the end of the grip, versus gripping down even a half inch.

To help you really understand how this works, go to the range and hit shots with your five-iron gripped down a full inch to make the club the same length as your seven-iron. You will probably see an amazing shot shape difference, and likely not see as much distance loss as you would expect.

Too much lower (right) hand on the club

It seems like almost all golfers of 8-10 handicap or higher have the club too far into the palm of the lower hand, because that feels “good” if you are trying to control the path of the clubhead to the ball. But the golf swing is not an effort to hit at the ball – it is a swing of the club. The proper hold on the club has the grip underneath the pad at the base of the fingers. This will likely feel “weak” to you — like you cannot control the club like that. EXACTLY. You should not be trying to control the club with your lower/master hand.

Gripping too tightly

Nearly all golfers hold the club too tightly, which tenses up the forearms and prevents a proper release of the club through impact. In order for the club to move back and through properly, you must feel that the club is controlled by the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. If you engage your thumbs and forefingers in “holding” the club, the result will almost always be a grip that is too tight. Try this for yourself. Hold the club in your upper hand only, and squeeze firmly with just the last three fingers, with the forefinger and thumb off the club entirely. You have good control, but your forearms are not tense. Then begin to squeeze down with your thumb and forefinger and observe the tensing of the entire forearm. This is the way we are made, so the key to preventing tenseness in the arms is to hold the club very lightly with the “pinchers” — the thumbs and forefingers.

So, those are what I believe are the four fundamentals of a good grip. Anyone can learn them in their home or office very quickly. There is no easier way to improve your ball striking consistency and add distance than giving more attention to the way you hold the golf club.

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Clement: Stop ripping off your swing with this drill!

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Not the dreaded headcover under the armpit drill! As if your body is defective and can’t function by itself! Have you seen how incredible the human machine is with all the incredible feats of agility all kinds of athletes are accomplishing? You think your body is so defective (the good Lord is laughing his head off at you) that it needs a headcover tucked under the armpit so you can swing like T-Rex?

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