Jeff Ritter Mental Toughness Seminar Part 1 – Nike Jr Golf Camps

Jeff Ritter discusses the attitudes behind living a high performance life both on and off the course with a group of junior golfers at his Nike Jr Golf Camps in Pebble Beach.

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


It has been said many times that golf is a great metaphor for life. Where else can you put yourself under the microscope and within four hours find out how well you handle success, failure and all the little voices in your head?

One of the interesting parallels is how golf reveals a person’s issues with ego. It is amazing how we put our self worth into the approval of others. We do this so much that golfers routinely lie about their scores to save face as they enter the clubhouse. If they don’t lie, they will often devalue the experience with statements like, “If I could only putt,” or “At least I’m not dead,” or “Where’s the bar?” This pattern is so predictable you can find the same boring, recycled conversations occurring on every golf course on the planet!

Feeling like less of a human because you didn’t play your best is ridiculous. Filtering your performance with lies is an indication you may have some work to do in other parts of your life as well. Your golf score is not who you are. But, how you respond to it is.

This idea of authenticity has way more impact than just how other people view your golf game. It is the key to enjoying successful, loving, effortless relationships. Fortune 500 Leadership Coach, Austin Vickers says, “Our choices in how we communicate set up a cycle, which will lead us down either a circle of pain or a circle of gain.” According to Vickers, “No matter who we are, there is a segment of the population who will love us, while at the same time, there will be another segment who will not. This is the law of attraction and repulsion.” At its most severe level one can wonder how in the world someone who is imprisoned for a heinous crime can actually be married and find love. Prisoners repulse many, while still attracting some. Conversely, we can find people revered for their compassion and loved by many who still have enemies as well.

At the beginning of each cycle is personal choice or how you choose to communicate and respond to the people around you. Doubt and fear often cause us to communicate in an “unauthentic” manner. We don’t speak truthfully about who we are and how we really feel. Once our choice of communication is sent, we are either attracting or pushing away others. Communicating unauthentically attracts those who we would normally be repulsed by and pushes away those who we would be genuinely attracted to. As the toxic cycle continues, we become insecure about our relationships because they are operating out of fear. Fear of approval, fear of acceptance and the fear we can never reveal our true selves.

If our choice is to communicate in an “authentic” manner, then we are revealing our true self to the world. Here we are saying, “This is who I am and this is what I am all about.” Now we know the people who will be attracted to us are the ones who are genuinely cool with who we are. Communication based on truth means we have nothing to hide. We are then able to have secure and stable relationships. We can now operate freely from a place of love versus fear. Living confidently and without fear is an especially great way to feel on the golf course. Make it your goal to approach your life and golf game with a higher level of authenticity. Give each shot your best, enjoy the challenge and let the chips fall where they may. After your round, smile, state your score and make no excuses. You’ll find the truth, will indeed, set you free!

This lesson is an excerpt from Jeff Ritter’s bestselling book, “Your Kid Ate a Divot! Eighteen Life Lessons From the Links”

Jeff Ritter is National Director of Instruction for Nike Golf Schools and Junior Camps. In 2010 he was named one of Golf Digest’s  “Best Young Teachers in America”  Click Here For more information on coaching with Jeff and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff!

Cracking Under Pressure

For more of this article please visit the December issue of Golf Infuzion Magazine here.

Megan Padua is a TPI Certified Junior Golf Coach, a PGA Certified Instructor, LPGA Member and a Staff Teaching Professional with JRG/TSGA programs at the Raven Golf Club Phoenix

“En Guard”


En Guard

The picture of “Zorro” the legendary sword fighter is a great mental image to take to the course. While most country clubs wouldn’t let you past the gate in this Halloween outfit the “Zorro” technique will help you set your preshot routine in action and score better on the course. Here’s how and why!

En Guard! Challenge the target: prior to hitting a shot, stand on the target line a few steps behind the ball. Raise your club (sword) to the target and sight the ball with the club to the optimal target for the shot at hand. This may not be the flag if it is in a “sucker” location. Raising the “sword” inspires two things; one, stop talking, focus and start your routine and second, draw in a precise target where you want the ball to end up.

Every great player has a physical queue that sets their preshot routine into motion. Arnold Palmer tugged on his waist band. Mark O’Meara adjusted the velcro on his glove. I’m suggesting that you raise your sword to do battle and conquer the target!

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!

The Hero’s Journey

Jeff Ritter is a coach, author and speaker specializing in peak performance and life inspiration! In 2010 he was named by Golf Digest Magazine as one of the “Best Young Teachers in America!” Click Here for more information on private and group coaching with Jeff Ritter, Martin Chuck and the entire JRG/TSGA Staff.

Download the Jeff Ritter Golf App FREE from iTunes!

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