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Expect to play well

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Karrie Webb has been a force on the LPGA Tour for many years. Although she has not played well (by her own admission) the past few years, she played a great second round at the ISPS Handa Vic Open in Victoria, Australia shooting 65 (before firing a third-round 82 to miss the cut).

I listened to her interview after her round and when asked if she expected to play this well after being in a bit of a slump the past few years, I loved her response: “I don’t not try to play well.

The good players expect to play well. They expect to win. They do get disappointed when the round does not go the way they want, but the desire and will to play their best is still in them.

Phil Mickelson at Pebble Beach told in his interview before he started the Monday finish, that he is in his own bubble when he plays. He wanted to keep playing even in the dark, but when his playing partner did not want to finish, you could tell he was upset. He was in his bubble, alone in his own world, and did not want any distractions.

I had the great honor of helping two PGA/LPGA women professionals who played in the PGA Women’s Stroke Play in Port St. Lucie, Florida, with their games. Dr. Alison Curdt (LPGA T&CP Vice President) told me she was hitting the ball much shorter today so in her own words, “I just took longer clubs into the greens.” She had just shot 1 under for the day. Laurie Rinker (8-time LPGA Tour winner) wanted to get rid of her duck hook she played all day to a round of 69. “I just played my game the way it was.”

Play to play great. Have no fear. Don’t worry about the outcome. Take dead aim.

What do you tell yourself when you play? How do you talk to yourself on the golf course when your game is not going the way you want?

As Dr. Bob Rotella tells all of us “love the challenge of the day.” We all can learn from these great players.

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Nancy Quarcelino is a member of the LPGA and PGA of America. Within a career that spans over 30 years, she is regarded as one of the premier golf instructors in the country. Nancy is a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher, LPGA National Teacher of the Year, a member of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Hall of Fame, and selected multiple times as the Tennessee PGA Teacher of the Year. Throughout her career she has coached golfers of all levels of ability, including players on the LPGA Tour, PGA European Tour, PGA developmental tours, LPGA and PGA club professionals, and collegiate golfers. Nancy began playing golf at the age of eight years old at the encouragement of her parents who were both avid golfers. She played competitive golf as an amateur and proceeded to play collegiality at Western Kentucky University. While working on her Master’s degree at Florida State University, she began her career in golf, as an assistant coach for the women’s golf team. A few years later she returned to her Alma Mater at Western Kentucky University where she also coached the women’s golf team as she pursued her career as a golf professional. Nancy has held the position of Head Professional/General Manager at Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green, KY and was also the Head Professional at Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, TN. She was the host professional for the LPGA Sara Lee Classic Tournament for many years while at Hermitage Golf Course. Nancy’s passion for golf turned to teaching, and in 1992 she started the Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf which just completed its 27th year as a successful business in the Nashville, TN area. The Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf is currently located at Gaylord Springs Golf Links, in Nashville, TN.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. geohogan

    Mar 2, 2019 at 8:47 am

    98% of our actions are subconscious and our subconscious does not , not do anything. Ref Dr David Eagleman

    its not about positive thinking, or wishful thinking or avoidance.
    It is about understanding how our subconscious works.

    With a hazard on the left , we all know if our thinking is , “dont hit it left”
    where are ball is likely to go.
    Pick a target and a way to get there(spin). Its how our subconscious works

    Ever tell a two year old , “dont do this or that” and your surprised when the kid does exactly what you told them not to do? it starts from an early age.

    “Knowing yourself now requires the understanding that the conscious you occupies only a small room in the mansion of the brain, and that it has little control over the reality constructed for you.”
    ? David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

    • geohogan

      Mar 2, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      I never missed a putt in my mind. .. Jack Nicklaus

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Instruction

Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive

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Drop the mic on how the wrists should load and be positioned for compressive power, accuracy, and longevity! There is a better way, and this is it!

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Short Game University: How to hit wedges 301

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In golf, there is nothing harder than judging a flop shot over a bunker to a tight pin out of long grass. Why? Because there are so many variables to account for — in addition to what you can and cannot do with a wedge. In fact, up until very recently in the world of wedge design, we were limited to only increasing the landing angle to stop the ball, because relying on spin from this lie and this close to the green was next to impossible.

Now with the advent of things like raw faces, different CG locations, new groove design, and micro-ribs between the grooves, we can now spin the ball out of lies that we never could have done so before. This is not to say that you can now zip the ball back from these types of lies, but we are seeing spin rates that have skyrocketed, and this allows us to not open the face as much as we needed to do before in order to stop the ball.

Before we get into the shot around the green itself, let’s talk a bit about wedge design. For that, I called a great friend of mine, Greg Cesario, TaylorMade’s Staff Manager to help us understand a bit more about wedges. Greg was a former PGA Tour Player and had a big hand in designing the new Milled Grind 3 Wedges.

Cesario said: “Wedge technology centers on two key areas- the first is optimizing its overall launch/spin (just like drivers) on all shots and the second is optimum ground interaction through the geometry of the sole (bounce, sole width, and sole shape).”

“Two key things impact spin: Groove design and face texture. Spin is the secondary effect of friction. This friction essentially helps the ball stick to the face a little longer and reduces slippage. We define slippage as how much the ball slides up the face at impact. That happens more when it’s wet outside during those early morning tee times, out of thicker lies, or after a bit of weather hits. Our Raised Micro-Ribs increase friction and reduce slippage on short partial shots around the round – that’s particularly true in wet conditions.”

“We’ve been experimenting with ways to find optimal CG (center of gravity) placement and how new geometries can influence that. We know that CG locations can influence launch, trajectory and spin. Everyone is chasing the ability to produce lower launching and higher spinning wedge shots to help players increase precision distance control. In that space, moving CG just a few millimeters can have big results. Beyond that, we’re continuing to advance our spin and friction capabilities – aiming to reduce the decay of spin from dry to fluffy, or wet conditions.”

Basically, what Greg is saying is that without improvements in design, we would never be able to spin the ball like we would normally when it’s dry and the lie is perfect. So, with this new design in a wedge like the Milled Grind 3 (and others!), how can we make sure we have the optimal opportunity to hit these faster-stopping pitch shots?

  1. Make sure the face is clean and dry
  2. Open the blade slightly, but not too much
  3. Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the AoA
  4. Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

Make sure the face is clean and dry

If your thought is to use spin to stop the ball quicker under any situation, then you must give the club a chance to do its job. When the grooves are full of dirt and grass and the remaining exposed face is wet, then you are basically eliminating any opportunity to create spin. In fact, if you decide to hit the shot under these conditions, you might as well hit a flop shot as this would be the only opportunity to create a successful outcome. Don’t put yourself behind the eight-ball automatically, keep your club in a clean and dry condition so you have the best chance to do what you are capable of doing.

Open the blade slightly, but not too much

Without going into too much extra detail, spinloft is the difference between your angle of attack and your dynamic loft. And this difference is one of the main areas where you can maximize your spin output.

Too little or too much spinloft and you will not be able to get the maximum spin out of the shot at hand. With wedges, people equate an open clubface to spinning the ball, and this can be a problem due to excessive spinloft. Whenever you have too much dynamic loft, the ball will slide up the face (reduced friction equals reduced spin) and the ball will float out higher than expected and roll out upon landing.

My thought around the green is to open the face slightly, but not all the way, in efforts to reduce the probability of having too much spinloft during impact. Don’t forget under this scenario we are relying on additional spin to stop the ball. If you are using increased landing angle to stop the ball, then you would obviously not worry about increasing spinloft! Make sure you have these clear in your mind before you decide how much to open the blade.

Opened slightly

Opened too much

One final note: Please make sure you understand what bounce option you need for the type of conditions you normally play. Your professional can help you but I would say that more bounce is better than less bounce for the average player. You can find the bounce listed on the wedge itself. It will range between 4-14, with the mid-range bounce being around 10 degrees.

Set the wrists quicker on the backswing to increase the angle of attack

As we know, when debris gets in between the clubface and the ball (such as dirt/grass), you will have two problems. One, you will not be able to control the ball as much. Secondly, you will not be able to spin the ball as much due to the loss of friction.

So, what is the key to counteract this problem? Increasing the angle of attack by setting the wrists quicker on the backswing. Making your downswing look more like a V rather than a U allows less junk to get between the club and the ball. We are not using the bounce on this type of shot, we are using the leading edge to slice through the rough en route to the ball. Coming in too shallow is a huge problem with this shot, because you will tend to hit it high on the face reducing control.

Use your increased AoA on all of your crappy lies, and you will have a much better chance to get up and down more often!

Keep the rear shoulder moving through impact to keep the arms going

The final piece of the puzzle through the ball is speed through the pivot. You cannot hit shots around the green out of tall grass without keeping the club moving and having speed. A reduction of speed is obvious as the club enters into the tall grass, but you don’t want to exacerbate this problem by cutting off your pivot and letting the arms do all the work.

Sure, there are times when you want to cut off the body rotation through the ball, but not on the shot I am discussing here. When we are using spin, you must have speed to generate the spin itself. So, what is the key to maintaining your speed? Keeping the rear shoulder rotating long into the forward swing. If you do this, you will find that your arms, hands, and club will be pulled through the impact zone. If your pivot stalls, then your speed will decrease and your shots will suffer.

Hopefully, by now you understand how to create better shots around the green using the new wedge technology to create more spin with lies that we had no chance to do so before. Remembering these simple tips — coupled with your clean and dry wedge — will give you the best opportunity to be Tiger-like around the greens!

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An awesome drill for lag that works with the ball!

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Many lag drills have come and gone in this game because they have a hard time working when the ball is there! How many times do you hear about someone having a great practice swing and then having it all go away when the ball is there? This one is a keeper!

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