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Book Notes; Putting Out of Your Mind

>> April 28, 2008

On vacation in Myrtle Beach I read the last of the 3 Rotella books that I have, "Putting Our of Your Mind." Similar to his other books, it's filled with stories and examples, some of which are hard to believe, but all of which are very compelling.

I liked this book about the same as I liked the rest of them - but I'm not sure I'm a good enough golfer quite yet to get the full value from these books.

That said, I will take away a few key points when putting, a few of which seem to be helping already.

The book reiterates what we all know but seem to forget - which is that roughly 40% of all your shots in a given round will be putts. That's a lot... shaving 5 or 10 strokes is totally doable - that's just 5 less 3 putts in round!

I also liked that Rotella doesn't prescribe any particular mechanics to putting. I recently switched to a "left-hand low" style and was wondering if I should switch back. After reading this book, I do believe it doesn't matter. I'm sticking with the new style simply because it's comfortable for me.

The biggest point however, is the assertion that I already "have the touch" and just need to relax and let my body do it's thing. This is tough in reality, but I've been working hard in my routine to take a look, line it up and just let it go. I played a round recently and *think* I started to really allow myself to feel this while putting. I played well - breaking my 9 hole course record on an executive course here. I believe I only 3 putted twice (that's a miracle!).

In any case, I do recommend Rotella's books - the books are not going to help your mechanics, but they have brought me a certain amount of psychology that I'm able to bring to the course with me. The proof is going to have to be in my scoring though - I'm simply not scoring like I should be yet.


Golf Fitness Academy

>> April 22, 2008

This post is a blatent (but unforunately, unpaid) advertisement for the website http://www.mytpi.com/ and the Golf Channel show "Golf Fitness Academy." I was watching this weeks episode while working out this morning that featured the very cool Ben Crane. First up, the fitness show is terrific. Tons of great exercises and tips that you can use immediately.

But thank god I watched through the credits because I learned about http://www.mytpi.com/ - the companion site chock full of content and amazing interactive tools. I visited thesite this morning after working out and was so excited to see the terrific catalog of exercises. I was inspired and developed my very own workout based on their tips and tools.

The best part about the site though is the "View My Swing" tool. The site allows you to record your own swing and use their analysis tools and content to start to figure out all sorts of stuff. Personally, I saw how curved my posture is, and confirmed that I do in fact, sway like crazy in my swing. I'm telling you, this is one terrific golf web site.

(This isn't me, just an example photo)


Myrtle Beach Photos

A few photos I snapped while in Myrtle Beach

Terrific looking Par 3 at Tidewater... I hit my gorgeous tee shot right into the front bunker. My first sand shot left me... right back in the bunker, up against a 1-2 foot high lip! Triple bogey baby.

Amazing Par 3, again at Tidewater. No where to go but on the green. See that tree on the left? I didn't and hit my tee shot smack against it. Drop and three putt for what else... triple bogey.

Nice fairway at Myrtlewood Pine Hills. The course was fun to play! Lots of challenging holes. Apparently, very challenging as I shot a 106.

Neat sign posted at Myrtlewood.

Ahhhh, sunset means time to relax and drink up.


PGA Superstore - Myrtle Beach

>> April 16, 2008

After having an amazing experience at the GA PGA Golf Superstore, I expected even more in Myrtle Beach. The joint was totally jammed, and I got the major cold shoulder in trying to get some attention. Out of curiosity, I wanted to hit the TaylorMade R7 CGB because I read it was easy to hit for a high handicapper like myself.

I took a bunch of swings and quickly realized that equipment is not my issue! I'm standing way, way too close to the ball when driving, probably trying to emulate the success I have with my 3 hybrid. I heeled a few in a row, then finally caught one clean. I hit it about 195 according to the computer with a swing speed of 94 miles an hour. Is that even possible? Blah! I didn't even bother to pull it out at Tidewater, and will probably not pull it out tomorrow at Pine Hills either. I get just enough distance out of my 3 hybrid (200-210 yards) to ignore the driver for now.

Anyway, the store was HUGE and I ended up buying some new Seminoles head covers for my hybrids and a bag of tees. I wanted some new shoes, but ended up wanting $150 ones, and didn't want to spend the loot. I tried on some Nikes but didn't like the feel. I'll just stick with my Foot Joys for now I think.

I guess I was more impressed the in GA at their Superstore, but to be fair, it was a lot less crowded than yesterday. There are 2 superstores here, but I think I'll pass on the other one for now.

Tomorrow, I'm playing Myrtlewood's Pine Hills and can't wait to get back out there!


Tidewater - Myrtle Beach, SC

>> April 14, 2008

I played a terrific round of golf at Tidewater today - playing as a single I matched up with 3 brits and played my first ever round with money on the line. It was only a buck... no big stakes. That said, it added some very nice flavor to the round. I quite enjoyed it, though I did miss a par putt on the last hole to secure a win.

In any case, even though I shot a 107, I feel like I played quite well - I struck the ball fairly well all day, only chunking one badly. The biggest surprise of the round was how far I'm hitting the ball.

Last year, my PW was a 100 yard club - but today, I was able to hit it 110-115 on a regular basis. That pulled my GW distance another 15 yards as well - giving me fits all day long. Even worse (better?) was the 6i I hit close to 170 yards - over the pin, the green and deep into the marsh. I hit it perfectly - new grip and all and paid the price. I'll need to continue to adjust my distance control as I strike the ball better.

Oddly, I chipped amazingly well today - knocking one to 2 feet from the fringe. What a great feeling.

I had one really terrible hole - a par 3 that started well with a beautiful PW that landed 10 yards short and in a bunker. Tidewater has tons and tons of bunkers btw - if you play, watch out! From there, I hit a SW right back into the bunker. The ball was sitting half buried about 3 inches from the edge - perhaps 8-10 inches straight down. Ack! With no other good play, I just hacked at it and it popped straight up and found the lip, rolling down to the green. What a crazy shot. I ended up triple bogey.

I hit lots of great shots, but none better than on the 17th, a par 3 180 yard hole with no where to go but on the green. The hole is pretty much marsh from tee box to the front of the green. I hit a great shot with my 3 hybrid on to the green and managed to 2 putt for the par - my first all season.


Want to Play Golf?

>> April 13, 2008

Just push the "golf button" on your phone.

Seriously. The condo I'm at in Myrtle Beach has phones with golf buttons on them. Really. How cool is that?


Unfair Shots

Doesn't everyone just love and underdog and hate whomever is #1? Why is that? At the gym today, I overheard a woman talking about how she hoped that Tiger would lose today (he did), saying to her friend on the treadmill that all he cared about was the money.

I hate that line of thinking. I hate it about golfers as much as I hate it about baseball players and pretty much any other professional athlete. There is no way a performer can get to the top without loving his or her sport deeply and being fully committed to it for their entire lives. When I was a kid, all I wanted in life was to be a pro baseball player. Money wasn't even a thought. What I couldn't reconcile was that the amount of work I needed to put in didn't match my true desire. I didn't have what it took.

Guys like Tiger and A-Rod don't do what they do for the money - that's a by product of a person pursuing their true calling in life and dedicating their entire lives to that pursuit. Because of how markets work, they get the loot. But I doubt that any of these guys ever starts out thinking about money. Performing at the top of any profession is hard enough, but put a microscope on an individual performance and it's an entirely different ballgame.

It's human nature, but it's not fair. I wanted to tell the woman to shut the heck up, but I left it alone. Turns out she is a Red Sox fan too, and as we watched the highlights of the Red Sox beating the Yanks 4-3, I had to eat it and admit that Paplebon was.... "OK, I guess."

In other news, I'm playing Tidewater tomorrow (can't wait) and very much enjoyed the Masters. I'm still waiting for Tiger to make his move.


Obligatory Masters Post

>> April 11, 2008

It's Masters week. yep. Blah blah blah blah, Tiger, blah blah blah Phil, blah blah blah, Jack. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, Tiger slam, blah blah blah.

I'm watching as much as possible sure, but am more excited to play some courses in South Carolina this week.

A bit more on my new grip... my hands HURT like hell! I asked my wife if 38 was too young for arthritis and after she laughed at me, I realized again at how oddly I had been holding my clubs. The joys of getting the right grip, swing and tempo. I'm trusting it though, my game is about to get to another level.

I think there is a big PGA Superstore in Myrtle Beach - I hope to get there this week and will try to get some good pics of the joint. Maybe they have some Masters specials.

Blah blah blah.


A New Grip

>> April 8, 2008

Totally forgot to blog about my most recent lesson... the pro told me that I was using my right thumb to press down on the club and it was causing me tons of inconsistency. I hit a bucket of balls with him looking on and started to really feel that the proper (and new) grip was allowing my arms to release. When I managed to hit the ball square, I could feel the extra power and saw the results immediately. Problem was, my hands feel so weird!

Besides the grip, he has me bent over way more than I was in a much, much more athletic position. I hope that it will stop me from swaying, which apparently is the cause of most of the chunking that I do during a round.

We'll see how this plays out - I'm in Myrtle Beach next week playing courses way, way harder than my home course. Uh oh :)


A New Earth (of Golf)

>> April 7, 2008

Yes, I had to do it... I'm reading Ekhart Tolle's A New Earth and doing Oprah's web master class to boot. I'm very much enjoying it and learning a lot about myself and my ego. I will try to blog more about A New Earth later, but wanted to connect the dots to my current golfing obsession with a quote from a golf book I just finished.

Bob Rotella's Golf is a Game of Confidence is a terrific book (read more here on my golf blog). I read it while on a trip to Seattle while I was finishing up the Rotella book. In a chapter about how Byron Nelson won eleven straight tournaments, Byron told Rotella that he never knew how he had scored until after his round. "He felt as if he played in a trance."

The book goes on however, and startlingly hits one of Tolle's key concepts right on the head.

"I would come in and I'd have to go hole by hole on my scorecard, carefully, to realize what I'd shot. I didn't ever know if I was five under, three over, or whatever it was. I never carried that in my conscious mind," he said. "I never knew where I stood in a tourament."

He won eleven straight tournaments this way!

It's is remarkable how often I'm seeing parallels between what Tolle talks about in his books, being present and living each moment fully conscious matches what great golfers do themselves. Astounding!


Turns Out, Golf IS a Game of Confidence

I recently finished reading Rotella's Golf is a Game of Confidence and have to say... I think the guy is right! I took a few keys from this book that I put into practice yesterday on the course that I felt like helped me immensely.

First, I'm developing a pre-shot routine that involves a look down the course from behind the ball, picking out a specific target, lining up my shot, one practice swing and let it fly. Trusting the shot helped me a lot. On the course yesterday, I actually hit my targets more than ever before, even if the ball flight wasn't perfect, somehow the ball went to the target.

Secondly, I am really learning to accept each shot and move on. When I played last week, I actually cursed out loud and embarrassed myself with how I behaved. This week, I hit the shot, watched it and started immediately thinking about the next shot. Only when I got home did I think back about mechanics during the round. I'm trying to NOT adjust things on the course but to play with what I have that day.

Third, and perhaps most important, the book taught me to get creative. I started chipping with my 8 iron and played a couple of terrific bump and run shots up the fairway to the green. I still need to work on distance control, but it feels good to know I can hit a simple shot when I need it.

I broke down badly on the back 9, it started to get cold and my endurance isn't up to par yet. However, I shot a 49 on the front 9 and struck the ball extremely well. In fact, on the first hole of the day, a long par 5, I was about 155 yards out and hit a 6 iron. As I stood over the ball, I told myself that the worst thing that could happen was that I hit it pure and would be 10 yard long. I guess I visualized the pure shot, cause that's what I hit. The 54 on the back was pretty horrible, my short game left me wondering what the heck... I chunked about 5 wedges which explains the scoring in the simplest of terms.


About Marc and Coach Dave

Marc's a hacker and Dave knows what he's doing after teaching for 7 years. We're both passionate golfers and committed to having fun with Golf is Hard TV.

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