Tag Archives | Articles

More Tales from the Tour

Golf is an overwhelming game. The quickest way to find this out is to qualify for a PGA Tour event, play the course for the first time on Sunday, then spend the next three days trying to perfect all the shots that will be needed come Thursday when the first round commences. Among these shots are included long, straight drives, precise irons, deft chipping and pitching, and, of course, good putting. This list sounds as though it came straight out of one of the major golf magazines. You know, the 10 page spreads on “How to Break 90” that provide you with absolutely everything you need to know about improving, until the next such article in next month’s edition. But […]

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Why “Those Guys” are on Tour and The Rest of Us Aren’t (Although That May Not be Such a Bad Thing)

74 – 74–148. Miss cut. While a lot of interesting things happened at that year’s Kemper Open, that’s the bottom line: 148, six over par, miss cut. I may have been the low PGA Club Professional, but I got beat by about 120 guys. “So, I guess you’re disappointed with your play”, friends, students, and members say. And while in years past that statement would have been very true, I now have a much clearer understanding of what it takes to be good enough to compete successfully at golf’s highest level, the PGA Tour. And having arrived at that understanding, I can say honestly that my play was respectable given what I do on a daily basis. It would almost […]

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The Right Kind of Practice

As you begin to read this article stop for a moment and think about where you are with your game. Things could be going very nicely, (you may have recently shot your best-ever round), or you could be mired in a dreadful slump, your handicap stranded on the “up” elevator. Most of us are probably somewhere in between, vacillating from good trend to bad. Whatever the case, we all have questions relating to the same subject- practice. How much should we be practicing? What should we be practicing? Where should we practice? How should we divide our practice time? How can we find time to practice at all?   While my present job is that of “teaching professional”, I have […]

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Return to Hogan

It’s not a great feeling when you know in your heart that you are overmatched, that a golf course and the conditions are too tough and that the true level of your game will not be enough to bring about a positive result, and that you will ultimately fail. I’ve had these feelings a few times in the past, almost every time at the PGA Championship after I have qualified through top 20 finishes in the National Club Pro. It is disconcerting to know that I am not good enough to compete in a major championship, but it is another thing altogether to feel that way at a tournament I have always felt capable of winning.   At the 2007 […]

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Just Trust It?

How many times have you heard or been told, especially after a poor shot, to “just trust it”, or “just swing the club and don’t think about it so much”? Quite a few, I’d be willing to bet. Think back on how that advice affected your next shot, or series of shots for the rest of that round. Perhaps you started hitting it better, at which point you might have come to conclusion that mindlessly swinging was the way to go, and that complicating matters with swing thoughts was detrimental to your ability to strike the ball effectively. You probably liked the feeling of not caring so much how you swung the club, concentrating instead on a sense of rhythm […]

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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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