Free Golf Newsletter #1

So what does it take to succeed and achieve your golf game goals?

Every year, Vince Lombardi would start his season with the same words: “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Even though his players were high caliber veterans, Lombardi left nothing to chance. he started with the basics, the purpose of the game, the goal of the game.

When planning a trip, you start with the end in mind. Without a destination, there is no way to plan the trip.

So, what’s the goal with your golf game? Are you looking for low scores? Do you want to compete… And win? Do you just want to get around the course without losing a dozen golf balls?

The first step is to make that decision, create your goal.

Step two is how to get there. Take stock of where your game is now. What are your strong points and your weak points. If you don’t know, it’s time to start keeping stats. The fastest way to improve your golf game is to find the weakest part of your game and work on improving it. Start writing down your putts, fairways, and greens. Write down your saves and as bad as it will be to take… write down the wasted shots and what caused them.

For most, the weakest part of your golf game is consistency. One week your putting is off, the next it’s your driver and the following week, your irons are all over the place. So how do you improve if you never know what part of your golf game is going to show up? I know the feeling.

Two questions:

  • How often do you practice?
  • How do you practice?

Woody Allen once said that the secret of success was just showing up. I’d like to adjust that to, “showing up consistently”.  So if you practice once every 2 weeks, can you expect to see improvement?

Second: If you go to the range and blindly hit balls out into nowhere, what are you improving? On the golf course every shot has a distance and a target. If you remove those 2 elements, you’re just working your muscles… and in many cases OVER-working your muscles. (I’ve seen range rats who beat hundreds of balls every night wondering why they never improve.)

So… Gentlemen… This is a golf ball…

It all starts and ends with the golf ball. The golf ball is the target. It’s the reason you swing the golf club… To move the golf ball. Knowing how and why the golf ball moves is the start.

Do you ever wonder why you slice? It starts with how the club and the golf ball interact. Once you know that, you can work backwards to figure out the root cause. Once you know the root cause you can fix it and end your struggles with the slice forever… And mark that problem off of your list.

Is distance your issue? It’s a complicated one because you have to understand the physics and difference between speed and momentum and how either one affects the golf ball.

And of course there is consistency. If you don’t know from shot to shot which way the golf ball will go, you need to start by understanding what creates consistency and inconsistency of movement in the body.

And once you understand all of that, you STILL need to understand how the brain and body react to practice so you can make every shot in play and practice count toward moving your game forward.

I think we have a full plate here, but a lot depends on you. I need to know where you, the reader stands with your golf game. What are your struggles. What do YOU want to fix. None of my words matter if they don’t help you.

Leave a comment and let me know where you stand and what you would like to accomplish with your golf game.

I’m back once again to serve you.


19 thoughts on “Free Golf Newsletter #1”

  1. Thanks for a your thoughts, and I agree that it all starts with knowing what you want to achieve. Which is also easier said than done.

    I’m a 16 hcp and I have all issues you mentioned to some extent. Being “half nerd” I have kept statistics; I know my club distances, putting averages, fairway hits, and # of penalties or bad shots costing an extra shot, bad strategy and so on. I know I have potential to improve the score with at least one shot/round in each area, but still do not know where to focus. I visit the golf course on average three times a week during the season, typically twice to play and once to practice (more focus on practice in the spring and more on play during the summer)

    During last season I managed to limit lost balls per round (=penalties) from 3 to 1.5. I made a new record round (82) and one round with three birdies. I managed to improve mentally, especially in keeping a bad round together and end with a “bad” result instead of a “disaster”. I have no statistics, but I also managed on several occasions to “come back” and get a par or birdie on the last holes after my worst rounds. My handicap came down, but not as much as it should have, based on the statistics and overall feel of ability. I have no clear idea what part went that much worse than last year. It could partly be a very windy first half of the summer. But still, I really can’t say why my average scores improved much less than my statistics.

    My putting was as good as ever. The statistics vary a bit between a good (1.7) and a bad day (2.5), but the putting was as consistent as I could ever dream of and the margins were small. Putts under 2 meters generally go in. Compared with others, putting is my strongest skill. The easiest way to improve putting statistics would be in more accurate approach shots.

    Hitting more greens in regulations has not improved my score at all. Although putting is my strongest skill, on some of our undulating greens a chip to the pin and a one-putt is much easier to manage than starting with a long and breaking first putt.

    Bunker play is safely out and leaves me one or two putts. Improving the score here would require a whole new level of accuracy, something I can more easily compensate with sinking longer putts.

    Drives were just slightly shorter this year, but with a better fairway percentage. A longer drive would help on one or two holes. On the other hand, teeing off with a hybrid on certain difficult holes on average gave better results (a consistent bogey rather than occasional par and common double and even triple bogeys).

    More fairway hits has given better approaches and fewer bad second shots and there is still a lot to be achieved.

    A smarter strategy might help, but I think I’ve already used the low hanging fruits.

    Improving on special shots may occasionally help a lot, but are not needed on most rounds.

    And of course, there are those one to three bad shots costing an extra shot due to inconsistency in every round. These “should not” happen and cost an extra shot, but as you say yourself; one day it is a couple of bad drives, another day poor approach shots, another day you can’t trust your chipping and so on. When the bad shots happen, the reasons are mostly understood, but they will occasionally happen regardless. Even the pros struggle sometimes. And they practise more in a day than I can do in a week, even when I’m “seriously” practicing.

    My dilemma for the off season practice is: what should I focus on?

    I don’t expect anyone to have a magic answer, but elaborating on what you wrote in this newsletter, how do you identify the biggest problem area to focus your practice on? I can’t possibly spend more time on golf (the pressure is for the opposite). Instead I have to focus on the things I still can improve on, given the amount of available time I have.

    Best regards,

  2. I want to consistently shoot low 70’s or below par. My second shots need tighter dispersion my putting has gotten better. My pitching could be better

  3. Tee to green I’m not bad for the limited time I have for practice. But some times I lose my ability to see the correct line and feel the proper amount of force for distance control…

  4. Where do I stand and what do I want to accomplish? First, I want to be able to hit the ball straight and not worry about where the ball is going to go or hit somebody. On the range, because no one is in front of me and no chance to hit somebody, I m very loose. My swing on the course becomes tight and my distance suffers. I would one day like to compete in tournaments. I have been at golf for 6 years now. Consistency on the course is my first goal then distance. I am probably 2 to 3 clubs behind on distance. The good news is, I can always “hit” the ball, where it goes and how far is always in question.
    Thank you, Erik

  5. Tracy Thanks again for your return. I am a ball bound hit the ball guy. Also a flipper. One of 20 5,6,7 iron shots are decent. Any thoughts? Mel

  6. Welcome back and thank you! I for one need to be reminded again and again about the basics. Sadly, sometimes multiple times during the same round of golf. Fortunately, you’ve simplified the basics into something that I can consume repeatedly in a relatively short time to get my game back when it runs away.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. 5 years ago I had a H/C of 5 and I really enjoyed playing and hitting balls on the range. Despite practicing almost each day I was less consistent and began to resent the fact that my game didn’t reflect the time I spent trying to improve. If anything I over practiced. My H/C is now 7 and to be honest, would be higher if I played competitions regularly. I became frightened to play! Practising every day did not improve my consistency or my H/C. I lost interest. I got sick of playing below my expectations and above my H/C. I have not hit a golf ball for two months but I’d love to hit the ball like I used to and enjoy my golf again.
    Regards Alan Tagg

  8. My biggest problem is accuracy. I usually have high, correct distance shots that can be dead straight, 20 degrees right or 20 degrees left with little noticeable difference in swing style. I don’t slice and I don’t hook most of the time. I push or jerk the shot.

  9. My goal is to become better with my approach shots as I only hit about 3 GIR. 140 to 200 yards is my real nemesis. I hit the ball thin, fat or top the ball, If I hit it solid then I over draw it or push the ball right of target. I’m a mess at those distances and have no confidence. Any shot less of 140 yards and my short game is OK but at that distance I’m usually hitting my 3rd shot. Green side sand bunkers is another problem (we have hard sand at my course) but that’s because my wedges have too much bounce.

  10. I would like to improve my consistency, being able to shoot in the low 70’s on a regular basis and even breaking par on occasion.

  11. Hello,
    I practice everyday and the part of my swing I’ve been working on is my position at the top of the backswing and my first move down. I tend to push the ball when I try to kill it but when I can stay relaxed and put a smooth swing on it the ball goes straight with a slight draw. The push gets worse with the longer clubs. Any help would be appreciated.

  12. Tracy – I am delighted to get your news letter again. I took up golf 50 years ago after a serious injury in my first sport, judo.It was all about health rehabilitation for me and my early mentors were Ernest Jones and Count Yogi because in them I found dedication to the same essential qualities as judo — balance, rhythm, and finesse not strength. And a careless trust in the unconscious wisdom of the body. I am now in my 70s and within a few shots of shooting my age, my last goal. Call it post-decision confirmation but for me, you and sports scientist Chris Riddoch make the most sense of all golf writers today. I look forward to reading your book. Fair winds, Len May

  13. looking to understanding what and how I should be swinging the club to propell the ball to where I am aiming it. At the the moment the ball is not behaving, going either left or right and short of the intended target. Stephen

  14. Hi Tracy!,
    Thank you for a very interesting article.
    My problem is the feeling of my right hand on the club at the top of the back swing….it just does not feel comfortable or neutral, and when I start the downswing, I can detect a slight.
    sliding effect on the club as my right hand tries to dominate the power in the swing. I also try to keep my left arm straight throughout the backswing (as you see the pro,s do)….but halfway up the tension necessitates my arm to hinge before my wrists….I know this is wrong but cannot correct it….if I keep my arms in the v position….breaking only the wrists at the top of the backswing, I end up with a threequarter swing?
    I have a good hip and shoulder turn, so that does,nt seem to be the problem. Guess I just sense failure before I commit to the shot, and of course I understand that psychologically that is taboo!
    Will greatly appreciate any advice you can give!
    Yours Sincerely,
    Liam Lynn

  15. First of all, THANK YOU for coming back! I’ve read and practiced with Golf Swing Control and found the information extremely helpful. What plagues me — transferring the skills learned on the range to the course. On the course there never seems to be a level lie (makes feeling the feet correctly much more difficult), the grass does not look/feel like a mat, the target seems more intimidating! It’s very hard to relax and hit that all-important approach to the green consistently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.