With regard to your golf game, are you happy with where things are at?
If the answer is “no,” then some goal-setting will help. If the answer is “yes”, some goal setting will still help.
Why Set Goals? We all know this stuff: Goal setting is used by top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life. How do we this? Find out where we are deficient and focus on that? No, it may seem counter-intuitive but a better strategy is to find out what we are already doing well at and do that even better.
Take Luke Donald for example. He wanted to be number one in the world. He and his coach measured the strongest parts of his game, which turned out to be putting and distance from the hole on greens hit. They made a plan to improve those areas by a given percentage. He became the number one player on both the PGA and European Tours by 2011. This story always stood out to me, and I found it surprising. Most of us have been trained to focus on our weaknesses and to spend time trying to improve those. In doing that, we may be setting ourselves up for failure and frustration. Working with, and building on your strengths, may be a much better strategy.
Let's put it down on paper, let's commit to something new, something different, and something better. Why not start it up this year? Right now.
I like the expression, "the time will pass anyway..." because it's sooo true. Why not commit to something we've been "meaning to do?" The time will pass anyway.
I just did a "mind map" of goals for 2013. Just a bit of brainstorming. It included many things having to do with "improving" this, "increasing" that and "being better at..." There is something about putting it down on paper. It becomes more real, it is like a contract with oneself.
I definitely can use more help in the patience department, and in the being positive department. These aren't new ideas. But it just feels new again, to write them down and to commit to try harder. Anyone want to join me?
2012 was a good year, and I think 2013 can be even better.
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I'm going to do this as part of Team Prime Fitness in June 2013. Vancouver to Seattle. Peddle, peddle, peddle. Must practice, put in some miles, so it's doable. Here's a description of the Ride:
The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer® is a unique, two-day cycling event to take place on June 15-16, 2013. During this bold cycling journey, you will ride for two days through the scenic Pacific Northwest! Our vision is clear - A World Free From Cancer.
The money you raise for The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer will benefit BC Cancer Foundation and support leading clinicians, scientists, and researchers whose search for new discoveries and improved patient outcomes will have a real impact in our communities throughout the province, across Canada, and around the world. In other words, your participation will accelerate the conquest of cancer.
Last weekend, I was in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for the 60th Anniversary of the Petersen-Auger Golf Tournament. The objective of this event was to raise money for the much needed SPCA Animal Shelter, which is in the midst of construction in Yellowknife.
Back in January, I was contacted by Caroline Browing-Kauffman, the tournament coordinator, who wrote, "Can you come and help us make this a great Event?" Even though the dates conflicted with the BCPGA Women's Championship, I only had to think about it for a short while to make my decision. "I'm going to Yellowknife," I said to myself (and then to everyone else).
On the Saturday of the tournament, I ran a clinic on my golf swing theory and method. On Sunday, after the event was over, I gave a brief speech. I must admit I had a couple of waves of performance anxiety. Speaking engagements are something I do, but just infrequently enough to keep me nervous!
From the time I arrived until the time I left I received fantastic treatment. Caroline,my gracious host, took me on many driving tours around the area. I was treated to a helicopter ride over the town by Trinity Helicopters. I learned about the incredible climate and the day light. When it wasn't daylight, it was just dusky light. My sleep suffered a little. I think it would take some time to adjust to this, for example, bright sunshine at 11:00 at night!
For two days, I was paired with some super nice Yellowknifers, Adam, Andy and Pat. They gave me some good advice to get me around the course. The golf course is incredible: It is a sand-scape, with very little grass. You hit your tee shot and watch for the dusty explosion of the ball landing. The locals say, "Watch for the poof". When you arrive at your ball, your ball is plugged in the sand: But wait, you're going to create a new lie on a 6"x12" piece of artificial turf which you carry on a hook on your golf cart. So, you pick up your ball, and place it on the turf. When you do hit the green, it is an artificial surface. I hate to brag, but I got the hang of these greens and was sinking some crazy-long putts. I guess I am not that special, because all of my playing partners were draining putts and chips. It made for some euphoric guffaws in our group and provided a ton of fun. We did win the event and received some nice golfy prizes. I also was given a gift bag full of lots of Yellowknife souveniers- my favourite item is the raven headcover with a golf ball in its mouth! (the ravens are known to steal balls around the course)
All the efforts of Caroline and the event organisers and volunteers paid off, because when it was all said and done, the SPCA had benefited to the tune of $11,000 or so from the proceeds. Their animal shelter will be finished by the end of the summer. Yay!
I feel extremely fortunate to have been invited up to the North. It is a unique and special place filled with incredibly nice people. If you haven't been yet, make a point to go! My next trip there will be in the fall to see the Aurora Borealis.
I have been working on my fitness, seriously, since October, 2011. A year prior to that, I began personal fitness training, with Marina Watson of Prime Fitness (click for link). It was September, of 2010, and I was a lump, out of shape, weak, and just didn't feel good. I was referred to Marina by a student of mine. Instantly, I liked her and could easily tell, "she really knows her stuff."
I had a few private sessions, and was doing the work-out routines Marina gave me, at home, in between personal training sessions. I did well for about four months. Felt great. Then, golf season hit, and I went right back to my old ways as soon as I was busy and stressed. By the time the season was finished, I was not feeling very good - try grumpy, fat, unhealthy. And, the real scary part? My doctor told me my cholesterol was high.
THAT's it, I said. And I started again, training two to three times a week. I joined Marina's "Boot Camps" and also formed a golf exercise group with her, bringing some of my students. It's April, and I'm still going strong. I've dropped down three sizes and have gained considerable strength. The best part, and most surprising benefit, is that I am happier. I am just in a better mood all the time and "the little things" do not bother me nearly as much. I know I must keep it up, not get comfortable, as I have miles to go in all departments. Even though it takes discipline, I am very motivated to keep going. (one of the posters in the Prime Fitness gym says, "There is no finish line." True.)
A HUGE part of the program, is diet and nutrition. Marina offered to take a look at my food log and showed me where I was going wrong. Since then, I have said "No" to many things I would have ordinarily consumed, and I have changed what I DO consume. I eat more protein in the morning and much less junky food. I drink more water, I watch the clock to time my meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. I feel like I'm eating all the time, but it's what you have to do to lose weight! Just don't have those useless calories.
It is a journey and I plan to keep on the path. This is the farthest I have ever come with regard to fitness and I want to see how far I can go. Although she says, "You're doing the work," I give much credit to Marina and her ability to make this "work" fun!
After all this time, it is still very common for golfers to hit two or three great shots to the green, and then take four more shots to get the ball in the hole. Yet, there is little time spent on practicing this part of the game. If people were content with this pattern, I wouldn’t comment at all! But I see many people who are frustrated. Just a little time spent on the short game would help improve both the mood and the scores.
Find two or three clubs in your bag to use as your short game tools. A 7 or 8 iron for a low, running shot, a Pitching Wedge for a medium trajectory, and a Sand Wedge or Lob Wedge for a high shot (pitch) that doesn’t roll much.
Chipping Mechanics Review:
Here’s my take on the set-up and motion (and I’m speaking in right-hander language- sorry, lefties)
· Make your stance narrower than hip-width (to decrease side-to-side movement)
· Have a slightly open stance, left foot back a couple of inches (but shoulders square)
· Weight on left (60% or 70%), I like the ball in the middle (can be 1” back, but keep it consistent)
· Maintain the “y” position: the big stick is shaft and left arm a straight line at address, impact and follow through, the little stick is the right arm
· The motion is a “mini-swing” or a portion of the swing, so everything goes together: turn, arms and wrist hinge*, not just one or two of these. The most common mistake is to have your arms going back and to have no turn. Under pressure, this leads to the chunked shot.
Tip: First thing, check the lie. The lie can make you tighten up with worry, if the ball is sitting down or if its position makes your stance awkward. Find your footing, relax your shoulders so that your turn happens- we will tend to not turn if we have tension. If everything is going together, in an unhurried fashion, the shot will work out- even if it’s not 100% perfect. Yay!
Check point: The “toe-up” position in first half of the take-away is your key to the clubface position (proper loft) at impact. Your chip may not require your swing to get as far as toe-up, but the club should be on its way to toe-up (not hooded, or shut).
· Look at lie (ball sitting) and stance (slope) first
· Check these: wet/soft or dry/firm surface? wind? carry and roll required into the hole
· Picture tossing, to a spot, with the exact trajectory you need, and see the ball go in
Have fun lowering your scores!
*Wrist hinge is required for pitches with high lofted clubs: bigger carry, bigger turn, arm swing and wrist hinge simultaneously
It's a good time to think about putting well, even though we haven't had nice warm weather yet. Plant the positive seeds.
The following is a stream of consciousness (from a mind-map) of my thoughts and feelings of putting well.
When I’m Putting Well These Things Are Happening, or I sense them:
pre-shot routine the same
present tense focused, not ahead of myself no thoughts of score
believing I can make the putt
seeing the line to the hole while over the ball in “real time”
slow motion, time is slow, time doesn’t matter
only “feeling”words and “positive” key words and phrases, such as “let it go,” or “you can make this” or “feel it”
(no “oh no” thoughts, such as “ooh, this green is fast”, If one of those thoughts sneaks in, it’s time to take a deep breath, relax, I tell myself, “you can do this. You’ve done it a million times” - that type of self-talk)
only describing what is in front of me, what is needed… as though I’m caddying for myself or telling my caddy what I’m doing and what I’m intending to do- first-person
PS: A student of mine confessed, when she read this *list, that often, as she walks up to her ball, facing a long putt, that she has thoughts of three-putting, or, her inner voice says something like, “Wow, that’s a long putt,” and immediately she feels tension (and, thus, feels negative and then usually three-putts). So we edited that initial thought to a positive one. Admitting it, though, was the first step
In the Rain, Wind, Cold...
Adapt, Accept, Get ready earlier, Prepare
Wear more layers of clothing, be comfy. I once played a tournament round in my pajama bottoms with rain pants over top. I was so comfortable, all day, in the pouring rain and played well.
Hand warmers in pockets or inside your golf mitts/cart gloves can be a life-saver - and of course, wear a toque to keep you warm and hold your hair down.
Sunglasses for wind protection
Bring a Thermos of tea? Be warm from the inside out.
I worked with three sport psychologists during my career. They all said that adverse conditions are to your advantage because EVERYONE ELSE will be complaining about it...
I thought about that today and remembered this:
1. I obtained my LPGA Tour Card on a very windy day, when it appeared that I was “out of the tournament” after an 88 in round three (yes, 88). I shot even par the last day, and moved up about 40 spots.
1. (b ) My lone LPGA Victory was on a cold and windy day. I was two under par and was tied for low score that day… on a course that regularly produced mid-sixty-type scores
2. "Par is your friend." Par (your par) on a hole is an extremely good score on a windy day. Use that to your advantage, be patient, and know that the weather is going to add 4 or 5, maybe more, strokes to the average score of the field.
3. Keep the demons at bay, know that it’s tough for everyone, don’t fall into the traps of complaining about it…
4. Grab at least one more club than you normally would, into the wind- maybe two or three, if you add in Cold and Rain to the equation. (take more club, play the ball back in your stance, and swing easier). Downwind, allow for plenty of roll once the ball comes down.
5. Keep relaxing, keep breathing, keep smiling, keep being patient. Slow yourself (mind) down, get present. You can still play your best golf in these conditions.
6. A cross-wind can move a well-struck ball 10 to 20 yards sideways, allow for this and change your targets.
7. Allow for wind when pitching, chipping, high chips down-wind will lose their spin and have much more forward roll after landing. Shots into the wind will lift more than you expect and will stop quicker. (This took me a long time to “get”)
8. Another positive, on practice days, is that people will scatter and you’ll most likely have the course to yourself. You will definitely have the practice areas to yourself.
9. Did I mention relax? Remind yourself of this throughout the day :-)
Team Canada member captures fourth career collegiate title at El Caballero CC
Matthew Cudzinowski, from Golf Canada Website
Team Canada’s Christine Wong, a junior at San Diego State University, carded a final-round 6-over 78 to capture individual medalist honors at the Bruin Wave Invitational at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif., for her second win of the season and her fourth career collegiate victory.
Wong, who led the tournament through 36 holes of play, struggled like so many other competitors on Tuesday, as players battled chilly temperatures and 10-15 mph winds throughout the day to finish out the tournament. The Richmond, B.C. native posted six bogeys and a double-bogey on the day to finish with a three-round tally of 3-over 219, besting Pepperdine freshman Alina Ching of Honolulu, Hawaii by four strokes for the title.
Excerpts from Lorne Rubenstein arcticle on putting. For full article, click here
Brad Faxon was once putting on a practice green, and it appeared he was hitting putts without thinking. Asked what he was doing, he said he was practicing not caring. Letting it go, that is.
Putting’s a mystery. Simple as that. And as complicated.
“Putt to the picture,” Woods’ first coach, his late father Earl, always advised him. “Visualize the ball rolling into the hole and then step up and make it happen.”
Dave Stockton, putting guru, says that Woods should putt like a kid again.