Sometimes the golf bag can get cluttered with items that you don’t use every time you play; making it unnecessarily heavy. I’ll never for get the time that I played in a high school golf match in which my coach pulled me aside to ask what was in my bag (since I was walking, and I looked a little bogged down).  To his amazement he found, a multitude of training aids, extra gloves, two dozen balls, a rain jacket, an umbrella(there was 0% chance of rain), and finally a stash of snacks for the course. That day the only essential items were the snacks.

Therefore one should consider bringing a bag (like the one pictured bellow) to the course.

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This way all of the training aids can be put in once place, where you wouldn’t have to remember them all. This makes it easy to have all equipment handy just in case you want to practice something that you haven’t thought about for a while or simply put less strain on yourself for those days of walking the course.

Partially disassembled bag pictured below:

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I’d like to draw attention to a subject that can apply to life on and off the golf course. It is connected to the principle of visualization (the more you see yourself doing something in your mind, the more comfortable you will be in said situation).

For example in order to be comfortable playing a tournament or taking a test in a pressured situation, you must first see yourself achieving your goal. Having a clear vision and embedding it into your mind can have powerful after effects.  Before you play, think of yourself making putts. The after effects will be astounding!

Also feel free to apply this to other activities and be sure to always hold on to your vision.

In golf as in life, it is the follow through that makes the difference. -Anonymous

 

Umbrella Pitching

Target and trajectory are the two keys to hitting successful short game shots. Pitching, (much like chipping just hit with higher loft) is used when we want to fly the ball farther in the air instead of hitting a shot that is low to the ground.

My great-uncle and World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Christy O’Connor Sr. told me a great drill that can be used to work on pitching at home. He explained how you can practice pitching using an umbrella.  If you don’t have access to a chipping green or just want to work on your short game in your back yard this drill is perfect.

As said above this is perfect for the backyard.

As said above this is perfect for the backyard.

Simply set up the umbrella and try to land high trajectory pitch shots into it.

 

Don’t worry if they don’t stay in the object is to land the ball in the umbrella.

Also, Always be sure to look at the target.

 

What Is the Masters?

The Masters is probably the most well-known golf event of the year. Taking pace at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta Georgia, the tournament holds a field of 49 of the top 50 players in the world and amateur Champions from different continents.

The golf course is always in amazing shape and is heralded as the best kept golf course in the world. Some have even described setting foot on the grounds as feeling like they “died went to heaven”.

The winner will be adorned with the Green Jacket, and will go down in golf history as one of the winners of the first major of the year.

Masters facts to know:

  1. Amen Corner: the nickname for the stretch of golf consisting of the second shot at the 11th, the par three 12th and the first two shots at the par five 13th.
  2. Pimento cheese sandwiches are the signature meal of choice served at the concession stands.
  3. Jack Nicklaus has the most Masters wins with a total of six.
Photo by Curiouser*Curiouser

Photo by Curiouser*Curiouser

One of the most difficult parts of golf is taking the round “one shot at a time” while simultaneously playing for position on the next shot. Keeping a hole by hole record of how many over (or under) you are on the round, is one of the most destructive mental habits that many juniors fall into. It is tempting to want to know where you stand, and at the same time it is a psychological battle to keep score related thoughts out of the mind.

That being said, focusing on score detracts attention from where it should be, and can lead to late round collapses (especially when trying to win or set a personal best). From experience and expert opinion, the best way to avoid this common mistake is to break the round apart into six three hole stretches. Three hole stretches are small enough windows to detract from the total score but large enough windows to make up for a bogeys/mistakes.

Try to set a goal for each 3 hole stretch, having small goals for the 6 parts will allow you to feel more free. Also, after each three hole stretch the player should clear their thoughts and try to accomplish that goal for the next stretch (even if the previous didn’t go as planned).

For example: if one sets a goal to be -1 on each stretch and meets this goal 4 out of 6 times, that player is under par for the majority of the round and should not get bogged down by the results of the other two stretches.

Scorecar_Edit_d

 

Today marks the start of the World Golf Championship Dell match play; the only week of the year where the PGA tour plays a different format then we are used to seeing. Normally a PGA tour event consists of four rounds (72 holes) of stroke play, in which the total score in relation to par is tallied up for each day. For example -13 after the third round means -13 after 54 holes.

However, as said above this special week is an exception to that format. Match play is sort of the one on one version of golf. In this format the player is not playing a field of 144 players but rather the one opponent he/she is matched up with. Scoring is standardized by winning holes rather than counting the number of strokes. For example: if player 1 makes birdie and player 2 makes par, player 1 is 1up. If player 2 birdies the next and player one pars, the match is back to what is called “all square” (the players are tied).

How this week’s tournament works:

The WGC Dell match play is structured as a bracket similar to the NCAA “March Madness”. The top 64 players in the world are split into 16 groups of four. In each group, all four players have a match against each other. The winner of each group moves on to the single elimination, or golf’s equivalent of the “sweet sixteen”. The winners or those matches are then cut down to eight, then four, and finally a championship match (as seen below).

Capture

Rory Mcilroy was last year’s champion. Who do you think will take it this year?

Photo by: independent.ie

Photo by: independent.ie

Sources

http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/dell-match-play/bracket.html

http://www.independent.ie/sport/

The most important shot in golf is the next one.
– Ben Hogan

Visualization

We hear on TV the pros mention a step in their pre-shot routine where they “visualize” the shot. This goes way beyond the simple act of finding a target or getting the distance right. By visualize they mean having a mental picture in their head of exactly what they want to happen. The player sees vividly the intended flight of the ball and it landing on the target.

However visualization goes beyond the golf course. Before a big round players visualize shots they will face the next day, (sort of like day dreaming). These day dreams are much more than simple thoughts, rather they are an experience that should be imagined using all five senses.

Visualization is linked to real life success. When we experience what we want in a vivid day dream, we convince our brain that it’s real. Therefore the mind is already prepared for performing the task when needed. When we have experienced a shot through visualization, we will be more comfortable when the time comes to execute that shot.

Weir, John. Golfers Guide to Mental Fitness: How to Train Your Mind and Achieve Your Goals Using Self-hypnosis and Visualization. Orlando, FL: Mental Golf Academy, 2014. Print.

Golf is the loneliest sport. You’re completely alone with every conceivable opportunity to defeat yourself. Golf brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man’s performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is. – Hale Irwin