Archive for May, 2011


Taming a Tiger

With all the hoopla around every aspect of Tiger Woods’ life, I can’t help but wonder when his substandard-Tiger (see 2000 domination) performances will overshadow the rest of his life and people will focus on the next generation of rising golfers? For the past decade the PGA Tour and golf in general has lived on the shoulders of one man, befitting a man named Tiger, but his stock, like the majority of the economy, is still overvalued.

Tiger’s revenue generation and golf accomplishments have been amazing over the past 15 years, yet the golden boy of golf has lost much of his swagger both on and off the golf course. The love affair that the PGA Tour and the entire golf world has had with Tiger is slowly dissipating. Yet, without the presence of a fresh, dominating force on Tour, the golfing community is left living in the past. Like the ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who kept providing glimpses of hope, only to be continually let the other down again, so too is the tale of this Tiger.

Regardless of his personal choices and decisions outside of golf, his talent and ability on the golf course is truly impressive. For the sake of his own life and those who are closely related, I hope he is able to figure things out quickly, both on and off the golf course.

As far as his game goes, I can’t help but wonder what type of advice his father would give him at this stage? I believe Earl would have stated something similar to that of Bubba Watson. Tiger knows his swing, and needs to get back to playing the game of golf and be creative with his shot selection. Although Watson took a tremendous amount of slack regarding his comments to Tiger, I believe he stated what many believed, but were afraid to say.

Tiger is looking for an external fix for his game and his life, when in reality the answers, actions and decisions that must be made need to come from within. Let this be a reminder and lesson to us all – the search for solutions will always continue, until we realize that the answers lie within.

PhotoCredit

Today, a student approached me and shared a story with me regarding something he witnessed on the driving range earlier at another golf course. There, the golf instructor was giving a lesson to a young lady who seemed to be just picking up the game. My student discussed how he could tell the lady was somewhat new to golf, and had many questions about the fundamentals of golf. The professional, apparently having a prior agenda for this student, wasn’t even answering her questions and was having her practice motions she didn’t seem comfortable with making. Little explanation was given and she seemed displaced and clueless.

Although this professional is a good player, this does not necessarily mean that he is a good instructor. Playing the game and teaching are two different worlds within the game of golf and that must be remembered when both giving and receiving instruction. Just because someone is a great player does not automatically make them a great instructor, and just because someone isn’t a phenomenal player, doesn’t mean they cannot be an outstanding golf instructor.

When a lesson is being taught or received, here are three key-elements that must be evident

1. Proper Communication

Good communication is a foundational block of all relationships, be it parent-child, husband-wife, or student teacher. An instructor needs to choose their words extremely carefully to communicate precisely what they wish, and the student needs to communicate honestly and verify a certain level of acknowledgment and understanding. If there is not proper understanding, improvement will be achieved solely on a combination of luck and trail-by-error.

2. Simplicity

Golf can be very detailed and it can be extremely basic. Simplicity is a term that spans not just a way of communication, but also the process that is built through hours and hours of practice. Information can be conveyed in a simple, thorough manner. Goals can be outlined in a simple manner. Frustrations and concerned can be explained by their most basic elements. Golf information can be a bit overwhelming, be it swing dynamics, club fittings, or mental approaches and the more clear-cut the information can be explained, the better off all parties will be.

3. Create Solutions

Notice I did not use the word “fixes”. Some golf professionals will provide “band-aids” to swing flaws and never address the root of the problem. This “quick-fix” may work in the short-term, but by never addressing the root of the problem, the player will only be able to reach a certain playing ability before the “band-aid” falls off and they are left searching for more answers. Solve the root of the issue, and this will pay great dividends in the long run.

If you are a golf professional, be sure to keep these methods in your mind when you are seeking a golf instructor, be sure to find a professional who exemplifies these key traits.

What other areas are imperative to a successful lesson? Please share stories, thoughts, or suggestions.

PhotoCredit

Although putting is often viewed as the least glamorous aspect of the game of golf, it is where the majority of shot are taken by the vast majority of players. Understanding the important role putting plays in lowering scores requires adequate dedication to what makes someone a good putter. Here are three tenants that all good putters follow, and if you aren’t in their league yet, here is a great place to start.

  1. Know your Stroke

Do you prefer to putt straight-back straight-through, inside-square-inside, inside-square-square, or Billy Mayfair (the last not being a suggestion for anyone other than the man himself). Understanding your desired putting method will go a long way to help you find success on the green.

  1. Know your Putter

Are you putting with a heel shafted putter, face-balanced mallet, or something in between. Depending on the method of stroke you wish to use, certain putters are weighted to be used in certain fashions, so understanding your method as well as the technology found in putters is imperative to being consistent with the flat-stick.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Many players love to go practice at the range, but they spend the majority of their time slashing at drivers and trying to hit the range picker, than spending quality time on their short game and putting. If you want to be good at putting, just like anything else, it requires focus, attention to detail, and a substantial amount of practice. Practicing putting is one of the fastest ways to lower your scores, especially if you are just starting out with the game.

Find a method, find a putter, find the practice green and you will see results that will impress even the longest hitters in your group!

PhotoCredit