By Dean Claggett, Director of Golf
These are the dog days. Spring is coming fast but not fast enough. The golf itch needs to be scratched. Mother Nature is in charge of when we’ll have opening day at Two Eagles, so for now it’s the couch, the channel changer and the pro tournaments.
Watch and learn
I observe that many of you watch televised tournaments but don’t pay close attention to how some of the very best golfers actually play the game. My guess is that distance with the driver is one of the most impressive images retained by the amateur, when in fact, there’s so much more to see and learn. Here are a few things I noticed while watching tournaments:
Mistakes mean nothing in the scheme of things
All pros hit shots offline whether it is a bad tee shot into the trees or an approach shot into a greenside bunker. It’s a part of the game for everyone. But, for tour players, it’s seldom two or three bad shots in a row. They have a wonderful ability to hit a reset button after a bad shot and play the next with confidence and trust. They have learned to believe in their abilities and understand that each hole in each round is unique. They have learned that their mental game needs to be maintained with confidence.
Scoring with great chips and putts
It’s not a secret. How many times have you been near the green and blown a chip shot? Or, on the green in regulation and 3 putted? The good tour players get up and down approximately 80% of the time. In a recent tournament, Kevin Kisner made 38 of 38 putts from inside 5 feet. That takes practise and confidence. Ask yourself how challenging it would be to make 5 putts from 3 to 5 feet in a row and if you could make 10 out of 10 how that might positively influence your scorecard and handicap?
The importance of routine
Like other professional athletes do in their sports, the tour players follow a specific routine with their shots. First, there is an assessment of the situation, yardage, wind direction, lie and so on, and then visualization or a rehearsal swing to create a feeling within the body or mind’s eye. The final stage of routine is execution of the shot.
In a sense nothing too difficult to repeat – select the club, find a target, daydream the perfect shot and swing. The one challenge the weekend golfer faces is the mental discipline it takes to use this approach each and every shot.
Study these men and women, they’re good. Watch for the subtleties not just the big swing and the 300 yard drive.
What you can do
Early in the new season, come to our practise facility and work on your short game. Don’t just practise what you are good at, improve your weaknesses. Then, in the early rounds, try standardizing a shot routine that becomes your personal approach to better golf.
Through our Two Eagles Academy I have the opportunity to coach a wide variety of golfers, some just learning how to play the game and others who I would consider very good players. I always start with a conversation about basics. I believe fundamentals are most important to continued development and enjoyment of the game.
On the couch
Enjoy watching and learning from your favourite chair and think about creating a game plan for the new golf season. You might even improve without swinging a club!!!