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Golf is a Mental Game !

Non-golfers think you have to be mentally unstable to play this game.  So let’s put the non-golfer thoughts aside for this blog and cover some of the mental problems that we may have with our game. Why are there so many products offering to help you hit 4 yards, 10 yards or 30 yards longer on every drive or the perfect chip for the latest and greatest wedge?

It’s a MENTAL GAME! If you believe in success, you can make it happen. FAT CHANCE!

Advertisers know that every golfer is looking for a new easier way to improve their game. If they can make you believe that they have the miracle cure then they win by making a sale. Fortunately we all want to believe that their offer of new and improved product will fix our game. That’s why we buy the latest and greatest. Of course a small percentage of our perfect shots will prove that we have made the right decision to purchase a new solution for our golf game.

I love those offers for golf socks that are “Scientifically Proven” to improve your game. They add 13 yards for your average driver shot and 6 yards for your average 6 iron shot. High resolution ads with inspiring music (that block out half of whatever the announcer is saying) get you in the mood to make your purchase. Too bad that the socks (in all colors) are regular high cut socks and the demonstration golfer is wearing low cut white socks. The golfer talks about a game of small improvements to help you make your purchase.  Anything to sell the product.

Socks that fit well! Copper infused gloves! Lead lined jockstraps! What’s next? Golfers really are a crazy lot. We will almost try anything as long as it promises to improve our game. Unfortunately ONLY consistent controlled shots will lower your score. Lessons and practice will help you make the perfect layup. Longer controlled shots will happen as your strength and game improve.

Obvious Mental Improvements
Wearing products to make you feel good and playing with clubs that are comfortable for your game are both good ideas for the average recreational golfer. Unfortunately you really should be looking for solutions to improve the CONSISTENCY OF YOUR SWING for driving, approach shots and putting. Looking and feeling good is a nice start but it’s NOT going to lower your score.

Your practice swing with a speed that you can duplicate during your actual swing is so important to your mental success.

Practice with products like GOLFSTR+ to swing on plane with wrist lag, a straight leading arm and a flat leading wrist for more consistent, controlled shots. When you hear that whoosh at the point of impact you know that your swing is in control. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

GOLF LAW #18: The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

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Play it Safe and Cut Your Score

In a recent GOLF CHANNEL BLOG, Rory McIlroy said that he is no longer “Playing it Safe”. He explained this week at Torrey Pines. “I have my own style of play but sometimes I get into situations and I become a little too conservative.” The pros can make decisions, like Rory, in their game but recreational players should NOT be influenced by their comments. The pros play in another world.

When recreational golfers are playing a round of golf, we start to recall that we have seen televised rounds of golf where the risk reward is high and the pros go for it. Shake your head and get back to reality. If your Handicap Index is higher than 10 you really need to “Play it Safe”. Avoid the sand traps, water and bushes.

A classic Rory McIlroy focus on his ball, well after he launches his shot. Focus on hitting the perfect shot to a safe landing area.

Get Smart:
Why do we get so bold when we see the opportunity for an easy par? Yesterday I had a 140 yard shot over a trap to hit a downhill slope on the green and then I bounced into the back end of a sand trap on the far side of the green. I’ve played that hole before and I knew that I had never held that green in the past. Why did I take my second shot (with such a high risk) and end up with a 7 after I hit out of 2 traps on that par 4?  The easy shot was to land on the front of the green in 2 and then 2 or 3 putt for a maximum 5.

This game drives us crazy because the pros put us in a mindset where we think we can make these risky shots. The best solution is to watch LPGA matches where many of the ladies layup on the par 5’s and go for the perfect pitch shot for an easy birdie.

Take a reality check. Before you play your next round of golf, decide to play conservatively. Use your woods and irons off the tee where it makes sense. Go for the easy shots, layup before those long shots over the water and go for the safe shots in the center of the green. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ to improve every shot in your game. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

GOLF LAW #17: It’s not a gimme if you’re still 4 feet away.

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Golf Success is Based on Simplicity

Over the past many years I have discovered and shared many gems of golfing knowledge with you. I try to internalize many of these gems in my game. I now realize that learning to be a consistent golfer is like a journey through life. If you don’t get rid of your bad habits, your game will never improve. On the other hand if you don’t simplify your thoughts by absorbing good habits you will drive yourself crazy with this game.

I have recently been exploring the thoughts of very low handicap golfers. They all seem to have a passion for simplifying their swing and minimizing thoughts during the swing.
1/ They focus on a simple thought that they know will improve their power or their consistency or direction control. [Like wide takeaway or flat or bowed wrist.]
2/ Their thought is only on improving or eliminating a weakness in their swing.
3/ They depend on their basic swing and a calm mental attitude to create consistent shots without any focus on the swing that has been ingrained in their minds and bodies
4/ They focus on a position or motion that they know will create their planned draw, fade, high or low shot.
5/ Brooks Keopka said that he knows the shape of his swing required to deliver his ball to a target. He just goes into automatic pilot to deliver the power needed to generate a shot without any specific thought in his mind.  He feels the shot before he makes the shot.

Improve your consistency by swinging on one plane from inside to outside.

Recreational Golfers may never get to this simple state of mine. You only have a few second to complete your swing. That does not give you a lot of time for many thoughts. Take comfort in the fact that you have already chosen the right stance, the right club, a proper grip and a relaxed state of mind before you make your swing. Feel your swing with a complete practice swing and then deliver your swing with a single thought for excellence.

Early in my round I concentrate on a slower backswing by counting 1,2 and then counting 3 in the downswing. My only thought is straight leading arm and flat leading wrist (as I now realize that a bowed or cupped leading wrist is hurting my consistency).  Another low handicap golfer only focuses on a straight back take-away and shallowing his club during his lag and release (looping down to release from the slot). [Sounds like a Jim McLean thought as shown in the image above.]

Simplicity with fewer angles seems to be the best approach for consistency. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ for every swing in your game. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

GOLF LAW #16: Non-chalant putts count the same as chalant putts.  [Make every putt count the way they count in a money game.]

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Driving Range Excellence vs Course Jitters

Why do you think it is so easy to hit perfect practice shots on the practice range? Being relaxed helps but the consistent flat surface makes all the difference. Taking your game from the practice range to the golf course is all about your ability to relax and adjust for the changing slope of the ground that you are standing on.

Flat Contact on a Flat Surface: Flat contact with the toe and heel of your club is critical to ensure that your club face is not opening or closing at impact with your ball and the ground. If your club hits the ground before impact with your ball you may lose control of your club face and the direction of your shot. Setup with your club edge lying flat on the ground.

Club Fitter Adjustments: It’s easy for a club fitter to test for your natural angle of impact on a flat surface. They measure you impact point with tape along the lower edge of your club. If you are impacting with the heel or toe of your club they can change the angle of your club head by a few degrees to help you eliminate your “built in” draw or fade.

It’s easy to practice on a driving range flat surface. How do you take those shots to the course?

Every Tee Box Should be Flat: Your driver is the most difficult club to hit as you are trying to add power and distance from the tee box. Make sure that the surface from your feet to your ball is DEAD FLAT. If the surface is sloped to the left you will tend to pull left and if the surface is sloped right you will tend to push your shot right (for right handed golf clubs). Shift your trailing foot in or out to compensate for the direction of your launch direction.

Your Tee Height and Forward position Affect Your Ball Flight: On a flat tee box, you setup your ball on a tee (higher than the ground height) and you line up the ball directly out from the heel of your leading foot. If you don’t shift your weight properly to your leading foot you will typically pull your shot left.  Let your body shift forward as you swing through the shot.

Fairway Slope Problems: Small adjustments can create a huge impact on every shots. Be very aware that the surface of the ground that you stand on is rarely dead flat. The slope of the ground from your feet to the ball has a major impact on the direction and distance of your shot. Adjust for ground depth with your knees or by choking down on your club. Reduce the loft of your club for an uphill lie and increase you loft for a downhill lie. Attempt to align your body so that the trunk of your body is perpendicular to the ground Feel your swing with a practice swing before you address your ball.

One of the major factors in setting the Slope Rating for a course is the rugged terrain of the fairways. With the right setup and club selection you can improve your changes for excellent shots. Adjust and make a practice swing to FEEL your shot before you move up to your ball. Practice with GOLFSTR+ for every swing in your game. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

GOLF LAW #15: Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

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Lag-it and Tag-it !

Creating a swing with wrist lag is the ONLY way to create more power and distance. It looks so easy when we see the pros on TV.  Unfortunately our bodies are not naturally trained to create lag; hold lag at the start of our downswing and then release lag at the bottom of our swing.  It’s the only way to tag a long drive or iron shot.

Gene Parante from Golf Labs studies the swing impact on golf balls with different clubs. He recommends that every golfer should AVOID an outside-to-in (over the top) swing path. He found that the average player with a swing speed of 90 mph can increase their distance hit by 35 yards if you just get rid of your slice swing.

Try swinging your club with both your arms straight. You can’t generate any club head speed and will never hear the whoosh of your club head impacting the ball. You can almost double your club head speed by cocking your wrists at the top of your swing and releasing your wrists at the bottom of your swing.

There are 4 STEPS to learn how to create and execute a golf swing with LAG.
1/ Slow down your backswing by counting 1,2 in the back swing and 3 in the downswing.

Rory (like all pros) holds his lag for the first half of his downswing and releases at the bottom.

2/ On the count of 2 bend your trailing elbow toward your side as you cock your wrist to form a 90 degree bend between your club and your leading forearm. MAJOR PROBLEM: Cupping your wrist in your backswing will create your slice.  If you flatten your wrist (or bow your wrist), it will help you swing from the inside and up your target line. A straight leading arm with a flat leading wrist are the primary changes that we all have to make for direction control and consistent shots.

3/ Start your downswing by holding your lag as you pull down.

4/ Swing from the inside and up your target line as you whip the head of your club through the ball.

If you can’t hear the whoosh of your club as you hit your ball, you either need hearing aids or you are not getting enough lag and release as you whip you club through the impact zone.

Practice lag and release without hitting a ball to hear that whooshing sound as you skim the grass at the bottom of your swing. Feeling your 90 degree wrist lag position with GOLFSTR+ mounted on your upper arm will give you confidence to release with more power. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

GOLF LAW #14:  It’s surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 8.

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Is Your Bent Wrist Killing Your Game?

We are all looking for that mysterious thing that creeps into our swing and causes mishits. I have golfed for many years and run into something that throws my swing off at least 2 to 4 times a round. Fortunately I found the culprit: MY LEADING WRIST. Cupping my leading wrist in my backswing was causing a chopping action with crazy slices. How frustrating was that?

One of the six (6) GOLFSTR+ swing fixes allows you to test your flat wrist backswing. GOLFSTR+ actually prevents you from cupping your wrist at the top of the backswing. I know that this problem can exist but I did not know that it was creeping into MY swing when I want to hit crucial iron shots to hit the green. Knowing the problem is a good start but you have to find a solution to fool your brain into making flat wrist hits.

Solution to Avoid Cupping Your Wrist in the BackSwing

GOLFSTR+ Swing Fix #3 will prevent you from cupping your leading wrist in your backswing.

1/ Identify the problem by testing your swing with GOLFSTR+ to prevent cupping your wrist.

2/ Keeping your wrist flat or bowed in your backswing is easier said than done. You need to use a trick to overcome the problem. You also need to work this out at a driving range where you can waste shots to determine what works.

3/ Create a Bowed Wrist before you start your swing. Address the ball and bend you leading wrist back (to form a bowed shape) before you start your back swing. Make a limited back swing as you attempt to hold your wrist flat or in a bow shape. You will be amazed to see how easy it is to hit straight shots with a flat wrist backswing (but direction control may still be a problem).

4/ You will quickly see that a flat wrist will allow you to hit straighter shots but the pre-set bowed wrist may never let you control the direction of your hits. There are too many variables using a pre-set bowed wrist to allow you to control the direction of every hit.

5/ After you have hit many shots using a pre-set bowed wrist with your driver, woods and irons, you will love the benefit of a flat wrist swing and you will start to feel the change in your swing when you drop the pre-set bowed wrist and force a flat wrist swing from the inside and up your target line.

Knowing you have a swing problem and then finding a fix is a wonderful starting point. Remembering to keep your flat wrist backswing for every shot in your game is the difficult part until you develop a feel for it. That’s why we love this game. GOLFSTR+ helps you overcome 6 swing problems that you may not know that you have. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

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#1 Killer in Golf: FAT CHIPS

Hitting more greens in regulation is the most important task in golf. Unfortunately recreational golfers can not expect to come anywhere close to what the pros achieve. We just don’t have the skill and finesse required to control every approach shot to the green. That’s why we need to perfect our chip and pitch shots.

For approach shots that are 130 to 200 yards we know that our percentage is reasonable but it is very common to be long, short or wide of the green. So the most important shot for recreational golfers is the pitch or chip shot to give yourself a chance for a 1 putt green. So why is it that we hit FAT CHIPS so often?

I recently saw a video on Golf-info-Guide by Thomas Golf that woke me up to our problem with chipping and pitching. You can make a perfect practice swing and skim your club across the grass.
Unfortunately as you move forward to address the ball your thoughts flash back to the last time you hit a fat chip. -Your body and arms tighten up.
-You can’t keep my hips moving and end up chunking your club into the ground short of the ball.  It’s a yip that you need to overcome.

Solution:
1/ Narrow your stance because you need control NOT power.

2/ Grip down on your club for more control and shorter hits.

3/ Keep your eye on the ball.

4/ Lead your swing with the rotation of your leading hip to transfer your weight forward.

5/ If you still have problems, start with an open stance and more weight on your leading foot as you swing your club directly up your target line.

Practice with GOLFSTR+ to limit your wrist lag as you rotated through your ball.  NOTE: Practice with 1 GOLFSTR+ on the wrist that gives you the most difficulty.

Because a chip or pitch is not a power shot we tend to forget to use our full swing. I don’t mean that you need a full backswing but you do need to complete all of the mechanics of the swing. FORWARD HIP ROTATION starts your downswing and allows you to bottom out your club as you impact your ball. Make sure that you make a practice-swing by leading with your hip rotation (don’t lock-up) and then step confidently forward and complete the same motion as you chip or pitch your ball.

Limit the lag in your wrist during your backswing.  Velcro your GOLFSTR+ on your trailing arm to fit the limited lag of your wrist.  You leading wrist should be flat.  If you have problems holding it flat, just strap your GOLFSTR+ on your leading arm exactly the way to practice putting to prevent any wrist break.

You CAN overcome your FAT CHIPPING YIPS. Tiger Woods went through this same problem as he recovered from his marriage and physical problems. Practice with GOLFSTR+ to control the lag in your trailing wrist to make sure that you stay down on the swing path. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS: LAW #13: If it isn’t broke, try changing your grip.

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What’s YOUR Maximum Backswing Rotation?

I just tried a recommended exercise from the Golf at a Glance MorningRead blog and confirmed that my limited backswing is real. If your spine won’t let you rotate with a full straight arm backswing then stop trying. Yes, don’t be stupid. If you have this problem then you need to swing properly within your limitations.

Check out this spine rotation exercise as you kneel and place one hand on the back of your head. Then rotate your elbow and spine as you would for a backswing. It’s tougher than you think when you are over 50 but it will help you understand your swing limitation.

If you can’t access this video Just Click here.

Try holding a golf club with your arms as you address the ball and then turn and lift your club so that it is parallel to the ground and pointing away from your target line. You completed this move by turning your wrists and cocking them slightly to point the toe of your club directly up and away from the ground. Your backswing uses that exact wrist rotation in addition to a 45 degree hip rotation and a 45 degree spine rotation as you lift your arms.

For most golfers over 50 that’s easier said than done. I’m missing some of that hip and spine rotation so I can never create a full back swing with a proper STRAIGHT LEADING ARM. The most important part of your swing is to keep your leading arm straight so I NEVER reach a full backswing where my club is parallel to the ground at the top of the swing. Many aging and recreational golfers have the same problem but don’t despair.

Brooke Henderson has an over-back-swing like John Daly. It works for them but it’s not ideal for most golfers.

The loss of flexibility and rotation of YOUR AGING SPINE is limiting YOUR full backswing.
-Forget about that over-swing that we see for John Daly and Brooke Henderson.
-Forget about that perfect 90 degree backswing by Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.
-Recreational golfers over the age of 50 should accept their limited backswing.
-The first part of every downswing is to pull down with your straight leading arm and your wrists cocked. You are just starting this move a little lower in the downswing than full swing golfers.
-A straight leading arm at the point of impact is critical for consistent hits.

Accept your spine limitation and limited backswing. Keeping your leading arm straight as you reach the limit of your backswing & wrist lag. Then slightly loop (or shallow) your club down to swing from the inside (the slot) and up your target line. Practice with your GOLFSTR+ for your straight arm swing. Just let your club do the work as you release your wrist lag at the bottom of your swing. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com.

PS: GOLF LAW #12 Since bad shots come in groups of three, your fourth consecutive bad shot is really the beginning of the next group of three.

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World Handicap System Effective Jan 1, 2020 [CORRECTED]

CORRECTION NOTE: Rule #6 in this blog has been corrected as your WHS handicap for each hole is par + 2 + your handicap for that hole.

The golf governing bodies (R&A and USGA) have decided to set a World Wide Handicap standard to encourage more people to golf using a common Handicap system in any course throughout the world. This format can be used for recreational competition in any non-professional golf event to allow novice and experienced players to compete against each other so that their net score will equal a fair comparison of the scores (after applying the WHS).

I have quickly read over the volumes of information and decided to boil it down into this brief blog for your immediate understanding. There is no need to get upset about the change to a new system as it really is a modified version of the existing North American Handicap system.

There is no room for sandbaggers in the WHS. Only honest golfers should apply. [Drawing provided by: www.The-Golf-Experience.com/Sandbagger

NOTE: The biggest drawback with this new standard is that improving your lie is not allowed.  You have to learn to be an honest golfer.  Most casual players tend to move their ball to avoid mishits or bushes in their backswing. If you are a sandbagger, you should NOT be setting up Your WHS. Unfortunately golfers who are NOT committed to the integrity of the game will never appreciate the benefit of an HONEST Handicap.  That will defeat the benefit of attracting more Weekend Warriors.

1/ All of the basic rules of golf apply so you still can’t use a “foot wedge” to kick a ball away from a tree or improve your lie by pushing sand away from your ball to simplify your shot. [Someday the rules will allow you to move your ball out of a divot but they haven’t gone that far.]

2/ All competitive and recreational rounds must be entered on-line to update your WHS.
3/ You can establish your WHS using your first 54 holes played using 18 or 9 holes rounds.
4/ The system now uses your best 8 rounds (instead of 10) out of your last 20 rounds played.
5/ A weather factor is reported by each course on a daily basis to impact the calculation based on wind, rain and temperature which may elevate your score on that day. Any score submitted will not impact your handicap until that course has submitted their weather factor.
6/ Scores need to be reported for each of the 9 or 18 holes played.  The WHS will automatically limit the total score to NET double bogey (par for each hole + 2 + your handicap for that hole based on the difficulty rating as applied starting with the most difficult hole to the least difficult hole).  [If your WHS handicap is 10 and you are playing a par 3 which is rated as the 5th hardest hole, your maximum allowable score submission for that hole is 3+2+1=6. If your score on that hole is 7, WHS will automatically correct your entry for that hole to 6 – – if you made a hole by hole entry for WHS.]
7/ The maximum handicap for a male or female is limited to 54.

The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive.

I’m not convinced that this new system will have a major impact on the growth of this sport as it will only be as good as the integrity of those participating.

-All golfers who want to participate must pay an annual fee to fund the WHS. Club members will pay through their fees as they pay for GHIN or CGA today.

-It will take some time for new golfers to justify the value of paying fees and to update their golf record to keep an active World Handicap.

Of course we want to grow this game so that courses throughout the world will flourish. The new World Handicap System is a reasonable start especially for the benefit of golfers who love to travel and complete. The best way to lower your handicap is to practice with your GOLFSTR+ to improve every shot in your game. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

Sandbaggers Beware: According to www.The-Golf-Experience.com/Sandbagger the odds of shooting your handicap are 1 in every 5 rounds played. The odds of shooting your handicap on 2 rounds in a row are 25 to 1. Now we know who’s winning all of the trophies.

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Should You Give Your Driver a “Time-out”?

We all want more distance with our driver.  A few weeks ago I talked about the only 3 ways to increase distance: club head speed, impact on the center of the club face and launch angle.  THEY ONLY COUNT IF YOU LAND YOUR BALL IN THE FAIRWAY.  If your drives are not landing in the fairway more than 50% of the time, you may be better off giving your driver a “Time-out”.  

Today we are focusing on the best way to increase club head speed for more USEFUL distance.  Wrist lag and release through impact and a square face from an inside-to-out swing path will both improve your distance especially when you land in the fairway.

Distance only Counts when YOU Hit the Fairway

You know the instant you miss your shot with your driver. Give your DRIVER a time out and enjoy playing from the fairway.

Slow Down: If you don’t control your swing direction to hit your target (in the fairway) you will never benefit from longer drives.  So forget about hitting the longest drive in your life every time you swing.  Drop your swing speed back to 90% or 80% and hit more fairways for more beneficial distance.

Why do you think that the pros are only hitting the fairways about 70% of the time?  The driver has a longer shaft, the head of the club is heavier and the face of the club has many different “gear effect” dynamics to compensate for mishits off the center line of the club face.  DRIVERS ARE MORE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL THAN ANY OTHER CLUB.

If you hit your drives long and into the trees or into the deep rough, it really makes no difference how far your ball flies because you have to “pay the penalty” and hit your next shot back into play to give yourself a chance to hit the green with your approach shot.  A recent winner on the LPGA averaged drives of 250 yards with 90% of her shots hitting the fairway. That’s a great example for all of us.

Cut back on your power and take control of your driver.  Practice with GOLFSTR+ for a controlled straight arm swing.  Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com

PS:  GOLF LAW #11   All vows taken on a golf course shall be valid only until sunset.

 

 

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