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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

Tom Stickney (and Phil Blackmar): Don’t forget how to “play” golf!

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One of the greatest things about golf today is that with the internet you have an opportunity to research, read, and get to know what different players and teachers believe unlike years ago. When I started teaching back in the early 90s golf instruction was a closed shop and everyone was very proprietary with what they knew and understood. Now everything is out in the open because of the internet and it’s a much better system for upcoming teachers and players.

One of my favorite things to do is to go back and read what the Tour Players did long before the days of “gurus” because I love to hear HOW they did it and played the game to such a high level with such little information- unlike today. As I scoured the internet I found the blog of Phil Blackmar, whom you know from The Golf Channel and as a long-time Tour Member. Phil was a grinder with a “self-made” golf swing who won a few events on Tour to the outsiders, but to his peers he was a thinker and a cerebral player who always got the most out of his game.
For me, the more I read what Phil wrote in his various blogs the more I understood that he was indeed a genius in the ways of understanding HOW to play, think, and make it happen on the course in order to shoot the lowest score possible…and that is the reason why he was on Tour for over 20 years!

So, I welcome you to read the next few articles in my series with Phil and I hope you enjoy his information as much as I do…

Thoughts from Phil Blackmar

The game has always been about how to score and it continues to be that way today. However, over the past 30 years we have seen the prescription for how to score change considerably. getting it around the course as best as possible. The swing has always been important and …when the swing was “there” it was easier to control your ball’s flight. However, players seemed more prepared to use manufactured shots when the swing was off to move the ball from point A to point B, find a way to swing with certainty and to “manage” misses.

During this time, you saw swings of all types but these unique moves were the player’s way of avoiding a certain miss. Remember Ben Hogan said “golf is not a game of good shots, it’s a game of bad shots.” It was less about being perfect and more about understanding your game to the point where you could control the ball regardless of what swing showed up on that day. Couples said he would get to the course and see which way the ball was moving and that was the shot he played that day no stress, no worries, it’s all about ebbs and flows. Jack Nicklaus echoed this point when he said “his swing felt really good about half the time but was manageable 95% of the time.”

The advent of video began our first foray into trying to be perfect or look a certain way. The “swing model”, a collection of positions based on averages of very good players, came into vogue. The premise was if it didn’t look like the “perfect” Tour Pro model, then it would likely fail under pressure- right?

Next came the advent of Trackman and other launch monitors coupled with video. Now we could look deeper into impact and leave no stone unturned. These machines have provided us with a wealth of information such as how to better understand ball-flight outputs so we can make our practice sessions more efficient. If we could only better manage impact then we could not help but play better- right?

Now the game has shifted toward playing “golf swing” where technique and science is the solution to all problems golf-related. A great example of this has to do with curve. Curve was a tool used for both the physical and mental sides of the game where the shot created the swing. Now, often players are consumed with path, face, spin axis, etc., all is a quest to hit the ball straight and avoid curve. The swing creates the shot.

Today’s prescription is to hit balls using your launch monitor trying to repeat the “perfect” swing over and over. Then you try and take this to the golf course and see what happens. If you make good swings then you have a chance to win, but if you make bad swings then you fail- and it’s back to the practice tee to go to work on what broke down in your robotic quest to hit shots- NOT play golf. What happened to the guys like Trevino, who said if swing A was not working then I’ll use swing B, and if too isn’t working, then I’ll use swing C…I know one of them will show up to play golf that day! He was less concerned with hitting perfect shots or making perfect swings and more focused on controlling the ball or avoiding trouble as best as he could on that given day!

Golf instruction used to be dominated by players whose primary concern was teaching students how to score using feels, shapes and imagination. Science entered the picture and changed the game’s landscape. Not only that, it dominates golf instruction today. Science vs feel and creativity is a contentious topic where people tend to want one or the other but not a combination of the two. However, unquestionably a player’s best game rests on a pendulum that balances science with the human side. There is no one answer or method that helps everyone because no two swings are exactly alike. No one person can feel for another just like timing and feels often change like the wind. The best answer is the one that fits the player like a glove and takes from both science and the intangible game of feels. It’s time we move forward by taking the best from yesterday and marrying the best from today.

After all, who do you want for your partner on the first tee: the player who looks good or the player who feels good?

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Clement: How to stay with your golf shots and stop swaying

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Nothing better than being able to stay with your golf shots and create some powerful leverage to apply some compression through your golf shots like smashing through a door with a battering ram! Get a GOLF SWING WITH LAG, POWER AND SPEED!

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Shawn Clement analyzes Tiger and Charlie Woods’ new golf swings

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Man, I am SO IMPRESSED with the progress and polish Charlie Woods has made with his golf swing in the last year; and boy it’s nice to see Tiger swinging and playing golf! Charlie still has the strong grip but a bit more tempered which allows him to stay more connected to the ground and streamline the efficiency in his golf swing and never taking away his ability to find his targets! Check it out!!

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