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Getting to the Next Level

Some years back I played in the Michelob Championship at the Kingsmill Resort, the PGA Tour stop in Williamsburg, Virginia, where I shot 68-74, even par, and missed the cut by one stroke. My intent as I thought about the subject for this article was to recount my second round in detail, and I will get to that in a bit. But as I thought about the lessons learned from my experience I saw a larger theme that runs through all of my day to day dealings with the game as well as those of the people who take lessons from me, the idea that we all want to reach the next level of ability, to graduate to a game […]

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When Last Is Not So Bad

My wife was worried. I had just finished my two rounds at the Booz-Allen Classic, the PGA Tour event that used to be held at Congressional Country Club, and she asked my friend and caddy for the week Mark Diamond what she should say if someone asked her about my finish in the tournament. “Tell them he did just fine”, Mark told her. When Mark related the conversation to me I concurred with his answer, even though I had finished dead last in the field of 156 (actually, to be fair, 4 guys withdrew after starting, so it was really 152), with scores of 79 and 73 for a total of 10 over par 152. DFL- Dead Freaking Last. A […]

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Liar Liar (A Golf Instructors Nightmare)

On any given day, during any given lesson, a golf instructor is consistently forced to play with, bend, tweak, and generally ignore the truth. His or her main concern, after of course giving the student the benefit of his experience and knowledge about the swing and the game, is to offer support, reassurance, solace, and comfort to the weary, beaten-down student, for the simple reason that a teacher can’t help a student unless the student continues to take lessons. If the student gives up and never returns, the teacher can be of no further help and, regardless of whose fault it is, has basically failed. And if the teacher wants to make a living, he needs to have people wanting […]

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In Defense of the Game of Golf

I’m getting a bit tired of reading about the “problems” with golf. Check out a recent article in GolfWorld Magazine titled “Intensifying the Solutions Search- Hack Golf Seeks Grow-the-Game Ideas From Any and All”: “…Golf participation is dwindling in the United States, and there is no indication the decline is about to stop. According to Joe Beditz, CEO of the NGF (National Golf Foundation), the game has lost 5 million golfers in the last decade. Moreover, the number of core golfers-defined by the NGF as playing at least 8 times a year, a subset that is responsible for 90 percent of the rounds played and spending in golf- has dropped by 25 percent. Golfers ages 18-34 used to comprise 18 […]

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How to Play Golf Without Thinking

“…When you throw a ball to me, without thought, my hands go up and catch it, When a child or animal runs in front of your car, you automatically apply the brakes. When you throw a punch at me, I intercept and hit you back, but without thought. ‘It’ just happens. ‘It’ is the state of mind the Japanese refer to as “mushin”, which literally means ‘no-mind’. According to Zen masters, mushin is operating when the actor is separate from the act and no thoughts interfere with the action because the unconscious act is the most free and uninhibited. When mushin functions, the mind moves from one activity to another, flowing like a stream of water and filling every space.” […]

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Why They’re Good and You’re NOT

What could be so hard about it? Well, I’m guessing that most of you who are reading this right now have been playing golf for a while, and because of that, you realize that the game is anything but easy. If you’ve ever read anything that I’ve written you know that I spend a lot of my time extolling the difficulties of our chosen sport. I can state unequivocally that anyone who calls the game easy either doesn’t play (or doesn’t keep score when they do), is on crack, or is one of the rarest of rare individuals, a naturally good player.

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You Mean You’re not Supposed to Hold it Like a Bird?

If you had been using the proper concepts and still were as bad as you have been, you would have good reason to be depressed about your chances of ever being any good. But since you have never given your body a chance to try it the right way, you don’t know just what your potential might be. So instead of being annoyed at spending so much time on the wrong track, you should be excited about finally getting on the right track. I think you will start to make some tremendous progress once we spend some time incorporating your new conceptions into good mechanics and correct feel.

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Thinking About NOT Thinking? THINK AGAIN.

“…When you throw a ball to me, without thought, my hands go up and catch it. When a child or animal runs in front of your car, you automatically apply the brakes. When you throw a punch at me, I intercept and hit you back, but without thought. ‘It’ just happens. ‘It’ is the state of mind the Japanese refer to as “mushin,” which literally means “no-mind”. According to Zen masters, mushin is operating when the actor is separate from the act and no thoughts interfere with the action because the unconscious act is the most free and uninhibited. When mushin functions, the mind moves from one activity to another, flowing like a stream of water and filling every space.” […]

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8 Keys for Greater Distance

Everyone who is anyone who talks about golf these days is talking about distance. The question on everyone’s lips is “How far is too far?”, and of course they are talking about how far everyone, it seems, is hitting the ball. I was at one National Club Pro Championship in New Mexico where the driving leader averaged 330 yards, with a long drive of over 390 yards. Even though the event was played at 5000 feet of altitude, those are still some serious numbers. The crazy stats are seen every week now. Give a long hitter a fast fairway and little bit of helping wind and drives of close to 400 yards are commonplace. Here in the Middle Atlantic Section […]

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Working On It

Ask any serious golfer how he or she is playing and you’re bound to hear, in some form or another, the same answer: “I’m working on it”. That one phrase sums up the essential nature of the game. Everyone is always “working on it”. The game demands it. The best player in the world can’t hit a fairway, and when he is asked about his struggles he constantly replies, “I’m working on it, it’s coming, and I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. I like what I’m working on.” The fact that everyone is “working on it” suggests that no one, not even the best of the best, “have it”: if they “had it”, they wouldn’t have to […]

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