Sink or Swim

Check out the latest issue of Golf Infuzion Magazine!

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Think…PLAY!

If you watch professional golf on TV you’ve probably heard a post round interview with a tour player who talks about “thinking” his way around the golf course.  You’ve also probably heard someone talk about letting go and just “playing.”  To play great golf, there has to be a balance of the two.  Let’s examine thinking and playing and how they work together in a round of golf.

THINK (Compute, Decide, Weigh Options)

Here’s a list of things that I would think about in a round of golf before I hit a shot.

How far am I from the hole?

What kind of lie do I have?

Where’s the wind coming from?  How strong is the wind?

What kind of shot should I hit?

What club should I hit?

Where is my target?  The flag?  20 feet left?  The front edge of the green?

All of these things add up to a final answer that gives you the best chance to succeed with the shot you are about to hit.  Sometimes laying up on a par 5 is the best decision.  Sometimes going for it on a par 5 is the best decision.  Whatever you decide, it’s time to PLAY!

PLAY (Execute, Perform, Go)

Playing a golf shot takes all of the thinking that you have done and puts it on stage.  Once the computations are made, you must accept the possible outcomes and execute the shot.  I sometimes tell players to think like an adult, and play like a kid.  Junior golfers are often fearless, and don’t worry about the possibility of a bad shot.

They just let it go.

This is a great mindset to have, but it doesn’t mean you should shoot at every flag, or make bad decisions.  You can make a “reckless” golf swing at a “safe” target 30 feet left of the flag.  That’s how I define playing golf.

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Tour Striker – Rhythm and Timing Drill

This simple drill is a great way to “swing” the club(s) in rhythm with the correct alignments. I do this drill during a round when I have a few moments between shots. Give this parallel club trick a try and I bet you start hitting your irons a little more crisply with better timing.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Tour Striker Impact Drill Thanks To Ben Doyle And Guest, Dan Gallivan

This is a great drill I learned from Ben Doyle. He uses a shadow to help people understand where the ball line is and how the hands need to pass the shadow and vertical plane (yellow dowel rod) of the ball in order to strike the ball solidly and take a divot post impact.

Special thanks to my student, Dan Gallivan, for participating in this video. He worked really hard on improving his impact alignments and had the courage to change.

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

A Public Split

Hank Haney and Tiger Woods

There’s a bit of a buzz around the golf world with the news of Hank Haney’s book release chronicling their time spent together as player and coach.  Scheduled to release the week before The Masters in, Haney’s book should give great insight on the day to day practice regimen that Woods has been noted for, but never allowed the public to see.  Only Hank and a handful of others have ever been inside of Tiger’s inner circle, and it will be interesting to see Woods’ reaction to what Haney feels is a “fair” representation of their relationship together.

There are a few people out there calling Haney unprofessional, unethical, and untrustworthy for breaking the client/patient privacy agreement.  Haney claims that he didn’t even have a contract with Tiger regarding their coaching agreement, so no harm done.  I for one am very interested to find out what’s in the book, and commend Haney for telling a story that many would like to hear.  Is he capitalizing financially on his relationship with one of the most popular figures on the planet?  Of course he is, and I don’t blame him for one second.  What are your thoughts?  Will you read it?  Do you think it’s unethical?

Aaron Olson is Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Got Wind?

Wind Tips

Check out the January issue of Golf Infuzion Magazine!  Click Here to see my article on handling windy conditions!

Aaron Olson is a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Stop Shanking Once And For All! It’s Up To You!

Shanking…Yeah, I said it. It’s an eight letter word. To those afraid of the “horizontals” many of you are looking down the wrong path for the fix. Starting looking at your hands. Your hands are responsible for some massive about of the sensory preceptors in your entire body. I guess I could Google the number, but you’ll have to trust me on this one. So, why do your friends not stand to the right of you? You have “Sweet Spot Confusion.” What is that? This is when your hands can’t tell the difference between the center of gravity of the club head and the center of gravity of the hosel. How does this confusion occur? Well, the club rotates when we swing it. The Sweet spot is looking at a point above the horizon and generally toward our target. As we swing that spot rotates clockwise during the backswing and counter-clockwise during the downswing. The sticky part; imagine you were the size of a pinhead and you were standing on the sweetspot. During the backswing, the club would rotate and the hosel would obstruct your view of the ball. This is where the confusion occurs. The hosel takes on the same feel of mass as the sweet spot and thus you don’t know how to redirect the club effectively.

Sure, I could say you are standing to close to the ball, but watch the video. You’ll see that is not the case if you know where the club is during your swing.

No more Shankapotomos….

Martin Chuck is the Inventor/Instructor of the Tour Striker Training Products and Tour Striker Golf Academy. Click Here to learn more about programs with Martin Chuck, Jeff Ritter and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix!

Hone your Cone

Hone in on your target!

The idea of a shot cone was first introduced to me by PGA Tour instructors Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett.  They often have their tour players practice with a 20 to 30 yard rope extended out towards their target.  Using this rope not only helps you align yourself and visually connect with your target, it also helps determine what kind of shot dispersion, or cone you have.  It’s been said that golfers are only as good as their misses, and players at the highest level tend to have a tighter cone of shots, with fewer outliers, than the average weekend warrior.

Using rope allows you to analyze each shot in terms of starting direction and curve.  Being left handed, and a drawer of the golf ball, I like to see my golf balls start slightly left of the target, and curving back to the target while staying in the green zone of the cone pictured above.  Any shot that begins in the red areas are bad, unless I’m purposefully trying to curve a ball around an object on the course (and I never hit it in the trees;-).  Since we know that the clubface angle is the primary factor in where the golf ball starts, anything in the red zone lets me know that my clubface is too open or too closed for the standard shot I’m trying to hit.

What if I’m starting the ball in the green zone, but it’s curving across the target line and landing in the yellow, or worse yet, the red zone on the right.  Or even worse, the dreaded slice landing in the red zone on the left! (For a left handed golfer, of course).  Since we know that the clubface is fine (because the ball is starting on a good line), the path of the club into the ball must be out of whack.  When player’s ball starts fairly straight and slices off in to outlier land, I often here them say “I didn’t release the toe of the club on that one.”  This really isn’t the problem, as the face of their club was aimed pretty close to where they wanted it at impact.  The correct analysis would be, “My clubface was pretty good, but I cut across the ball with my path putting that slice spin on the ball.”

Hopefully you can start to see the benefits of practicing with a rope, and how it helps you determine what is at fault for some of those shots that don’t fall within your shot cone.  Since golf is a side-on game, determining your shot shapes and starting lines can sometimes be tricky, so bring a friend out to the range with you to confirm what you’re seeing.  And as always, stop out and see us at the Raven with any questions you may have!

Aaron Olson is a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix. In addition, he is Assistant Director of Nike Junior Golf Camps hosted at the Pebble Beach Resorts on the Monterey Peninsula.  Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Aaron and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Tee Time

The new January Golf Infuzion Magazine is now out.   Click Here to see my article on the importance of showing up prepared and ready to play!   

Megan Padua is TPI Level 2 Junior Golf Certified, a TPI Level 1 Golf Professional, a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, a Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional, and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

Play Average… and Get Better

In golf, sometimes a simple change in outlook is all you need to lower your scores.  I want to share with you a great piece of advice that I received from renowned sports psychologist, Dr. Rick Jensen.  Since adapting this mindset, I have experienced enhancement in the quality of my practice which has led to significantly more enjoyment in my game.

A simple change in approach will allow you to step out of your own way and into a new world of improvement.  Expectations in golf for many can be unrealistic and set the student up for failure.  In Dr. Jensen’s book, “Easier Said Than Done,” he utilizes the scenario of a golfer who is convinced that they have a wonderful game on the range but cannot carry it over to the course.   He adventures further to say that the majority of the time; the golfer will play exactly the same in both arenas.  However, the success is measured on a different scale.   The averages of the player’s contact, dispersion and consistency on the driving range will be constant with the averages on the golf course.

This is a lesson on AVERAGES. Here is the piece of advice that changed my game forever.

The lesson is simple.   “Half of the time, you will hit shots that are below average, half of the time you will hit shots that are above average.  But no matter how good you are, you will always hit below-average golf shots 50% of the time.”

Fifty percent is certainly a lofty number of repetitions to hit shots that do not meet our standards.  Rather than exert energy into every ball that doesn’t sound, feel and fly upon perfect execution… we need to step away, shrug our shoulders and say, “That was one of my below average shots… half of my golf shots will ALWAYS fall into that category.”   The same rule will apply to the number one player in the world, however, where his average lands on the scale, is what makes him the best.

This mind set, should get you to focus more on moving your average up instead of worrying about a mishit shot here or there.  I would like to thank Dr. Rick Jensen for teaching me such a simple yet valuable approach to evaluating your performance.  I am excited to read his latest book called, “Drive It To The Top.”   Until then, start playing AVERAGE golf today… and I guarantee you will get better.

Megan Padua is TPI Level 2 Junior Golf Certified, a TPI Level 1 Golf Professional, a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member, a Coutour Certified Putter Fitting Professional, and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix