Posts Tagged ‘Tournament Golf’

Congratulations to John Riegger and AimPoint Golf

May 25th, 2010

John Riegger won his 2nd Nationwide Tour event this past weekend at the 2010 Rex Hospital Open.  John shot rounds of 66, 64, and 63 for a 54 hole total of 193 (-20 under par).  This score set a 54 hole Nationwide Tour record.

John attributed his win in part to his understanding and use of the AimPoint Green Reading Method.  He had recently attended an advanced green reading clinic held at the Rob Noel Golf Academy and given by Mark Sweeney and AimPoint Certified instructor Rob Noel.  Rob also is John’s swing coach.

Congratulations John.

If you would like to learn the same items taught to John at the advanced clinic, contact me and I’ll tell you how it’s done.

Golf Lesson – How to Score

February 23rd, 2010

This post my be a little different golf lesson than you might think.  I wanted to write a little something about how players attach their own personal worth to their score or have some kind of preconceived notion of what makes a good score.  With all the information available online about golf and the golf swing, I think it can sometimes be forgotten that golf was designed to be a game.  Something to do as enjoyment after working hard all week at the daily grind.

It is critical for your actual score and all future scores that you separate yourself from your score.  Your score is a reflection of the number of shots taken to get a ball into a hole from a vast distance away. It is not a reflection of you as a person or your abilities.

I went to Ireland for my honeymoon and had a chance to play Ballybunion.  It was my first experience with a true links course and I of course took a local caddy.  I was paired up with another American and we went out in a twosome.  From what the caddies were saying, we caught the course on a day when the wind was blowing in the opposite direction from the prevailing direction.

It seemed clear to me that the holes were designed to be played during the prevailing wind.  So, we get to this one long par 4 that was straight into the wind that day.  Caddy goes “It’ll play a little different with the breeze up today.”  My playing partner hits his best drive of the day right down the middle of the fairway.  He gets to his ball and precedes to hit a career 3 wood right at the green.  We get up to his ball and he’s still about 20 yards short of the green.  At this point, the guy seems pretty upset.  He starts complaining that he hit two great shots and still wasn’t on the green in regulation.  The caddy said something I will never forget. “Sir, this is a par four.  You still have two more shots to make a par.”  Here’s a guy that just hit the 2 best shots of his life and he’s upset.  Does this make sense to anyone?

I think in the US we play a game of hit the green in regulation and take two putts.  Par is not defined that way.  Par is 3, 4 or 5. Each shot is a separate event.  Do you really want to put your self worth on the line 72 times a round?  Does choosing the wrong club on a par three really mean you’re a bad person or you can’t think straight?  Does hitting a ball with a club moving over 100mph with a sweet spot the size of a dime, solidly seem like something that should always happen?

This isn’t to say that these aren’t goals to strive for but at the same time take pleasure in your good shots and don’t take them for granted.  It’s one thing I’ve always noticed between me and really good players; how we define a good shot.  For me, perfectionist type, only perfect was good.  For them, good is good.  They take great joy in hitting a good shot and have a much greater understanding of the difficulty we are dealing with.  I would go an entire side hitting every shot solid where I wanted and lose my mind as soon as I hit one bad shot.

To me, a bad shot was a character flaw.  It made it impossible for me to advance.  I would hit the ball so solid so often but wasn’t the best putter.  I really needed to stuff it in there to make birdie.  Any miss hit was an almost automatic bogey. Then it all changed.  I took a job at a private club and my playing and practicing opportunities were very limited.  Instead, I spent a ton of time on the putting green because it was right outside the shop.  I learned to become a good putter.  When I went out to play, I had much more fun.  My expectations were lower in terms of ball striking because I hadn’t practiced.  The funny part was that I scored just as well because of my putting and short game.  In fact, I started taking great joy in making par from hitting the worst shots possible.

I would go out and hit it all over the course on purpose just to see if I could make par from there.  The game became much more fun and I learned what it was to score.  I was finally able to separate my shots from my internal value of myself.  I urge all of you trying to compete at a higher level to find your path to this understanding.  Once you find it, scoring will take on a whole new look.

The Power of Par

January 26th, 2010

There was a lengthy discussion today on Twitter about this question: “Does the par of the hole have any influence over your decision making?”  This was basically a teaser question intended to start a discussion about how players value par vs. how they value a single stroke.  For years, I have preached to my players that the each shot has a value of one and that a 4 on a par three has the same value as a 4 on a par 5.  In both cases, it is 4 strokes out of your total.  Yes, one is a birdie and one is a bogey and the internal belief system we place on those words will effect us mentally.

I urge you to try and break out of that belief system.  A 235 yard shot to a green surrounded by trouble is the same shot if it’s a par 5 or a par 4.  Each of us has to decide what should I do to give me the best chance to shoot the lowest score possible.  If you think you should lay up on the par 5 than you should lay up on the par 4.  The only reason you would lay up is because you believe it provides you the best opportunity to shoot the lowest score on that hole.  If you lay up on the par 5 and go for it on the par 4, you are not valuing your shots equally.  You are valuing your shots based on the par of the hole you are playing which I don’t believe is a good idea.

Would the situation change if there was no such thing as par and at the end of the day you turned in your scorecard with just the total on it.  Looking back on that shot from 235, does it look different now?  In both cases, it is a shot from 235 yards with trouble all around.  The par of the hole does not change that.  Your attitude toward that shot does change because of the par.

I am not an advocate for always going for the par 5 in two even though going for it is a leading indicator of lower scores on the PGA Tour.  All I am saying is don’t let par make your decision for you.  Look at the bigger picture and see how this situation fits into the round as a whole.

Here’s a little skills test (made up by me @golfdonaldson and @jasonhelmanpga)to see if your skills are good enough to go for it.  Take 10 shots from 100 yards from a green.  Measure the distance each shot is from the pin and total the distances to get one number.  Next take 10 more shots to the same green from 235 yards away.  Go to where each of those shots landed and hit it again.  Could be a putt, chip or pitch.  Determine your distance away from the hole for each set of 2 shots and total the distances from all sets of 2 to get one number.

Compare the numbers.  Which one gets you closer to the hole?  Make sure you do it to greens with different severities of difficulty so you have more confidence in whichever decision you make on the course when the situation arises.  I think it is a great skills test and be sure to include different starting distances from the hole to see how they compare.

Finishing the Round

July 10th, 2009
I felt it necessary to write a little something about this topic and give a few pointers on how to get it done. There has been a local tournament the last couple of days and there have been at least a few people that had a good round going and gave it all away toward the end. This blog will give you some ammo to combat this tendency.What causes a player to struggle bringing a good round in? Usually, it’s a lack of experience. This lack of experience is fostered mentally as a lack of true, inner belief. Only players that are unsure of their true ability struggle bringing it in. This lack of inner belief causes a player to not trust their ability. They no longer are confident in there ability to avoid making a mistake.Because they were playing so well, any mistakes cause them to think they are on  the verge of choking. This is not the case. When a player gets low enough to feel uncomfortable, they are worried that all their hard work will be lost and they race for the house shouting the war cry “Let me just par out.” The confident player with true inner belief says “all right let’s go get more birdies because I’m playing well.” The unconfident player starts to play defense because they don’t want to lose what they have. They trick themselves in believing 3 under is good enough to compete against someone trying to get to 6 under. That will not work.

At the beginning of the day, I’m sure they would have been very happy with 18 pars. Now that they are 3 or 4 under, pars seem to become taken for granted. Somehow par has been cheapened and just finishing with a bunch is good enough. Par is a good score and it requires a strong mind to go get it. You don’t just get to par out. Par is way more difficult than that and if you treat it like something easier than what it is, you are doomed not to achieve it. You are not putting in enough effort to deserve pars so you shouldn’t expect them.

Don’t take pars for granted and learn to stay involved in each shot. Earn what you have/want and don’t play 12 or 15 holes. Play them all and I can promise you, the value of 4 on 18 equals the value of 4 on number 3. If you think you shouldn’t go for more than deep down you believe you don’t deserve what you already have.

Green Mapping for Tournaments

June 15th, 2009
I’ve spent a bunch of time recently trying to improve my students ability to prepare for tournament golf. I purchased an exelys breakmaster, which is a green reading device, to help map out possible pin locations and spent more time examining the green during practice rounds.

My first practical situation was at the NJCAA National Tournament with MCC. Not everyone on the team wanted the information but the one player that used it religiously won the event in record breaking fashion. The main thing he said that helped was knowing exactly where the straight putts were. The first two days pin locations were painted on the green and I was able to map exact breaks from 5 feet in.

The benefit in preparing is obvious. If you can get a knowledgable caddy to map greens for you while you play a practice round, you will see a noticeable improvement in putts made. Get yourself a breakmaster and learn how to map a green. You’ll be amazed.