Gary Wiren on
the 14th tee at Trump International Golf Club
Let's go play an imaginary nine holes together
and, as we do, I will share some "golden" observations
that can improve your performance and enjoyment of the game.
1. Golf is not easy. If it were it would not be
captivating. But we should celebrate the challenge. For example:
Not knowing exactly where the ball is going before you hit it
is kind of exciting...but not knowing IF the ball is going can
turn excitement into frustration. There is an answer. Seek quality
golf information from a respected professional teacher and apply
it through practice. Practicing the wrong thing will make you
quite good at being quite bad. Discover one of golf's major secrets
to enjoyment...."Practice the right things and shoot lower
2. After having finished writing a book, THE NEW
GOLF MIND, co-authored with Dr. Richard Coop, I gave a public
lecture in a ballroom in Memphis, TN. One of my opening comments
was, "Golf is 90% mental." A man standing in the back
of the room shouted, "Anybody that says that ain't reached
their 65th birthday!." He got me, because he was right.
In trying to make a point about the importance of the mental
side of golf I went overboard. And secondly, I totally discounted
the aging process in considering my balance between the mental
and the physical. Both the mental and physical are importance
to performance. While the importance of the mental may not be
90%, don't discount your mind's effect on results. Here is the
key: Try to always STAY POSITIVE...fight off the NEGATIVE which
so often wants to take over.. (In regards to the aging: Acknowledge
what we all should do as the years fly by...: move up to the
next set of tees and putt for some birdies.)
3. I don't know if you gamble at golf but here
is something you might consider. The famous Harvey Penick, teacher
of so many great Tour players and author of the largest selling
golf book in history The Little Red Book, was once asked the
question, "Harvey do you gamble at golf." He said,
"Well, I don't like to play for less than a dollar. But
I don't want to play for so much that I can't enjoy watching
my opponent hit a good shot." In that statement there is
a lot of humanity. You will also experience more relaxation and
enjoyment in your own game with that philosophy, Warren Buffett
and Bill Gates play for $2.
4. Have you noticed how often we are given a "mulligan"
on the first tee that the second shot ends up better than the
first? This is so often true because you are probably trying
to do TOO MUCH, The smart golfer always tries to hit his mulligan
first. In other words, instead of demonstrating "the monster
drive" simply plan to make a good swing and put the ball
in play. Save the long drive show for later in the round, or
for the driving range.
5. If you play golf you are going to experience
a certain amount of disappointment and frustration...but misery
is a choice."That is a great quote from former Masters champ
Larry Mize. If misery is a choice it will most certainly affect
the quality of your game. Not only that but your attitude can
negatively affect the mood and possibly the performance of those
with whom you are playing. So recognize that even the greatest
of the great hit bad shots and have bad days on the course. Suck
it up, stay calm, and maybe you'll birdie the next hole.
6. Before any pilot can take off in his airplane,
he/she must complete a check list. Doing so can be a matter of
life or death. Golf is not be that serious, but still a check
list can be very critical to the result. That check-list in golf
is called a pre-shot routine. There is no magical single routine
for everyone. It's a personal choice. But if you want to be a
more consistent performer, develop routines, for each type of
shot. Before you swing, go through your routine - EVERYTIME!
That is difficult to do, but the results will certainly be there
to reward you.
7. How would you like an "easy out" bunker
solution? Here it is. Stand outside the bunker and with your
sand wedge held in an open face position at address, hit two
or three thirty yard shots from the grass using a shoulder-to-shoulder
swing. Then step into the bunker, open the clubface, move the
ball position forward so the bottom of your swing will enter
2-3 inches behind the ball. Then your thought should be "splash
sand out onto the grass" by swinging shoulder-to-shoulder
just like in the grass. Piece of cake!
8. When facing a difficult situation such as a
long shot over water, there is a tendency to tighten your grip
pressure as a result of trying to get more power. This leads
to miss-hits and failing to carry the hazard. Stay relaxed. Picture
a good result, and don't force the swing. One common error is
to hurry. Quick back means quick through and frequent shots that
are hit fat or hit thin. Remember, good tempo, your ball doesnt
9. A common cause of directional error is incorrect
body alignment. Fortunately you have alignment tools with you
to assist in getting your aim correct. Take three clubs from
your bag. Use two to make parallel lines. One for the intended
ball flight and the other to align your feet and shoulders. Use
the third club to indicate your ball position by putting it at
right angles to the flight line. Your ball position will be back
for chips and pitches; centered for irons; and forward for woods.
Don't just know about alignment tools, either clubs or alignment
rods, but make it a habit to use them...JUST DO IT!
10. On a deeply buried lie in a bunker you cannot
splash the ball out with an open clubface. You need your clubhead
to dig deeply by closing the clubface and making a steep swing
that explodes the ball out. Hit a spot close to the ball and
don't lose your focus on hitting that spot. With the face closed
the ball will come out a bit left. Take that into consideration.
For more enjoyable golf experiences,
Gary Wiren, PhD
PGA Hall of Fame
World Golf Teacher's Hall of Fame
Ironman Gary Wiren: At 80 hes still got game and drives
a golfball 300 yards.