Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Quality of Your Shot

Watching golf shots both on television and in person via myself and students, I'm often reminded that the scorecard doesn't have a space to describe the quality of shots taken during a round and that shots sent along with poor quality can still turn out OK.

Frustration often comes about from wanting to have a great result with great quality, but golf is an interesting game - both poorly-struck and well-struck shots can still be rather effective! I once wrote an article called "Golf Blackout" for the TWATL. It described not remembering how your ball ended up near the flag but rejoicing in the fact that you now have just a 5-foot putt.

It brings to mind that the first of my 4 and a half hole-in-ones (great story - feel free to ask me about it!) hardly made it off the ground but my Dad and I watched it hit the flag stick and drop in. Not great quality but I decided to take the hole-in-one anyway! It's a reminder to me to play the game, not just a picture-perfect swing or shot.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shot Committment

Many golfers aren't fully committed to their shot as they start their swings.

Do you ever have second thoughts but then swing or putt anyway? It can be pretty confusing to your body and mind, as to what to do.

Make sure you have a green light in your mind about what your shot plan is. Red and yellow lights can lead to some very off-shots as your body tries to do both of the wavering ideas!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Master's Sunday Reflection

Wow, what a Master's Sunday! We learned that golf is a game of "if's" for everyone, pro or amateur:
  • If Tiger had only had a few more holes to catch up and had kept his streak going from the front nine...
  • If Rory had been able to manage the ball on Sunday like he did Thursday-Saturday...
  • If Adam Scott hadn't hit his shot into the crowd on 15 and had hit it by the flag for birdie instead...
  • If Angel Cabrera and Jason Day had dropped just 2-3 more putts during the day...
  • If Charl Schwartzel hadn't finished birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie...
The phrase "that's how the ball bounces" seems to sum up golf at times. We wonder why the pros can miss small little putts or seemingly easy shots as we cheer and groan and coach them in front of our television sets. Then when its our turn, we also experience the ups and downs of one of the most wonderful games out there.
We are all part of a very neat fraternity and sorority of golfers... thank you for being a part of the tradition and future of the game!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Master's Tournament Wrap-Up

As an LPGA and PGA member, I had a very fortunate opportunity to spend the day on Friday at Augusta watching The Master's Tournament. What a gorgeous place and memorable experience! Television just doesn't do the greens, hills and conditions justice - the course has even more slope up close than what I see on the screen. It's immaculate, well-run and the pros just seem to touch the ball and it starts well on its way.

If you ever want to go to a professional event, decide if you want to (A) see as many players as you can (position yourself in a good spot close to the green or a tee and camp out there to see them come through) or (B) see the golf course and some players (walk backwards from 18 to 1).

Top 5 Things I Learned at The Master's:

  1. Every great player starts behind the ball to size up the shot, do some rehearsal swings to get a feel for the lie and intended swing. They never skip that part.
  2. As I watched a player chip a shot INTO the bunker, hit his sand shot that stayed in the bunker again and then just made it out on his next try (ultimate double bogey), top players persevere and go through good and bad shots just like us. This player ended up shooting even par that day. He hung in there!
  3. The egg salad sandwiches are my absolute favorite there. I had 5 (they're so thin and tasty!) but many also rave about the pimento or the chicken breast. You can leave the concession buildings with several drinks, 3-4 sandwiches and M&M's for under $10. The Master's keeps the prices very cost-effective for food. And the sandwich paper is green so if it floats into the wind, it will blend in with the grass color!
  4. The pros are like surgeons when moving away loose impediments from their golf balls so they don't cause them to move. I was 3 feet away from Alvaros Quiros on the right of #9 about 15 yards into the trees and he had to move away both a leaf and a pinecone next to his ball in the pine straw. It took about 2 minutes and lots of cautious testing before the pinecone was displaced. The crowd all sighed a sigh of relief and even he laughed and let out a breath after his loose impediment surgery!
  5. 90% of a player's shot is talking over options with the caddy, looking at the green mapping on their notepads, looking at their lie and the wind, shaping their shot with hand gestures to describe what they see or want to do and rehearsing the motion. 10% is setting up and letting it go. (Many amateurs spend less time planning and more time standing over the ball with many thoughts). The pros seem to make their decision and commit to the plan in the pre-shot routine and then just set up and launch it. Amazing and consistent routines! Work towards making a well-decided plan, commit to it, test the swing and then trust it!