Wednesday, September 7, 2011


There is a current hot button emerging in golf reporting that heightens a discussion about putters. Should long putters be allowed? Do we need a rule change? Who is for it and who is against it?

A sub-topic begs some to wonder if there is an advantage one way or another. Does it provide an unfair advantage if one goes to the long job? Such mental concerns as what it does to confidence, if not what it does for any mechanical issues, and then there are players like Watson and Woods who believe that it may interfere with sound putting mechanics, apparently aimed at the theory of both arms functioning equally, which appears to be movement that is modified by the "longjohn."

We are wondering what happened to personal preference on the one hand, and if it is a rules issue, why the USGA has not jumped in to make some sort of declaration, if for no other reason than clarification.

Clearly, those who have opted for the longer models have shown signs of stirring the order of leadership positions on tour, but is that tool-related, mental comfort-level related, or just plain player-preference related?

We suspect that there are some who believe that it has some bearing on player response to pressure in the game, which ultimately will be found to be no more than a temporary relief - but then that's been the lot of players for centuries - change something, anything, and you get a different response for awhile. Does it not cause one to question why there is so much temporary relief in the game?

Meanwhile, back to the putters. We all know someone who changes putters (and Drivers) often, looking for The One that will work, and most of them work for awhile. Johnny Miller named that the WOOD method - Works Only One Day. And that teases most players into a false hope that it is a solution to whatever problem is invading the game.

Sooner or later, players will discover that it is something within themselves, not in their equipment that is eating their lunch. But then that bears another look, too, because one can be suffering from ill-fitted equipment, which may need yet another kind of attention.

Until we see something of greater effect, we will opt for all the hullabaloo being related to personal preference, and if that affects one's mental frame of reference, find some help to deal with it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Golf's Predictable Missteps

One may think that very little in golf is predictable, and based on typical views and perceptions of the game, it might seem that way. However, have an honest and unbiased look at what we believe to be a new insight into the game, or if you prefer, take the ostrich route and don't bother yourself with this blog.

Even a passing glance at a few golf forums is revealing. Just saw one post that asked for help with a repetitive "reverse pivot" problem - getting over it, that is. Respondents gave typical advice, pointing to mechanical "fixes," but none indicated they really knew what caused that issue. Some thought they knew where it started, but each one thought the "where" was in a different location in the body.

It certainly is in a different body part from any we saw mentioned. It starts in the mind (the front part of the brain) and ends in the back part. We have completed more than 50,000 player profiles in the past 25 years, each one telling a "story," and those collectively have painted a portrait of predictable swing faults such as "reverse pivot."

The profiling we do shows a number of issues, among them being a players genetically influenced personal style, changes that happen to that style from the player's intention, and responses to pressure that the player encounters, among others. 50,000 later, we have found that when players' intentions alter the genetic style that was given, there are universal consequences that emerge in the game.

If the player takes a "defensive game-posture" by lowering his/her normal, given intensity, typical missteps tend to follow, including deceleration in swinging and putting, "reverse pivot," inability to make a fully rotated movement in the swing, tension that restricts proper weight shift, and shortened back and through swinging along with shots that travel uneven distances with the same club, to name only a few.

If the player takes an "offensive game-posture," the glitches will commonly include over-swinging, balance issues that promote "over the top" moves alternating with "coming off shots," putts that are "popped" rather than stroked with poor distance management, and less than solid impact between club face and ball, among a number of others.

Such stumbles are typically blamed on mechanical faults, when, in fact they begin in the mind, as the cardinal principle says, "Every action is preceded by a thought and followed by a result." There is no such thing as a "thoughtless" action. That comes from innate (built-in) human conditions that we did not create and cannot change. And it makes no difference whether we see it or not, believe it or not, care about it or not. It is just as firmly entrenched in life as your heart beat, your lung action and the law of gravity, whether we like it or not or agree with it or not.

All that is testimony to the need for balance in life and golf between thinking and acting and a clarion call for golfers to get with it and stop the feeble attempts to solve all golfing problems by changing their swings or imitating somebody famous. The mind is the last frontier for every golfer, including Tiger Woods, you and me.

Before anymore of that is allowed to go on, it's time to get thinking clarified and straightened out so we can all play "a whole game."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Search for the Impossible

"I very much like Tiger's new action, so much so that i've decided i'm going to start changing my action to approximate it as closely as I can." Those are words that showed up on a golf forum yesterday. Seems like a "nice resolution" for 2011 !...Right?

One of the most revered misconceptions among golfers at all levels of competency is "players need to play like the best is the game," which translates to "model your swing by someone else's."

If you do not know that there are no two folks exactly alike in this world, then you might benefit from a bit of study and research. It is futile to try to play like someone else. It is also not possible, at least not with any degree of success. You can try it, and maybe get the ball around a course, but your result will be nowhere near what your capability allows if you think you are doing it like Tiger or any other player or instructor.

But then, most won't know whether that is true or not since they most likely lack a set of principles against which to measure good, bad or indifferent in the result of a golf game. Oh we have an idea of what we will find acceptable, but we don't even know if our judgment has any basis in fact.

Unless you know behavior styles, have a grasp of golf swing essentials (imperatives),have an understanding of how people learn and how that is affected by years of growth and development, and truly believe that there are no two people exactly alike - even twins - then you will merely be lost in a maze of self-appointed confusion.

So Happy New Year to all, with a wish that you find a means to make judgments that are real, reasonable, measured, valid and tested.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dwight Howard's Clear Key

While I wasn't watching, a top golfer I know was. He heard the interview with Dwight Howard after game 3 (we think it was game 3) of the NBA playoff series between Cleveland and Orlando. Apparently, the commentator asked Dwight, in effect, how he managed to do so well from the foul line, in view of his rather dismal season average of 60%. Seems Dwight brought that to 80% for game 3. Dwight responded by saying he just sang a song he liked and it took his attention away from too much thinking about the shot.

Dwight Howard's own words come from his blog. He wrote on 5/26/09 from NBA Playoffs:
"For some reason, when I pick out a song and sing it at the free throw line it helps me not think so much about shooting them. I had a dance song in my head all last night, so I had that going on when I was at the line. Hey, whatever works, right? They were playing all kinda krunk music up in Cleveland, and it was helping me take my mind off my form. I gotta come up with some song for Tuesday in Game 4 to keep it rolling."

We wish he knew how right he is so he could use the process consistently in the future and keep his free shot average where it needs to be.

If you know him, let him know that we will gladly supply him with the research and studies that verify his new-found method as very real and completely valid

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Zinger!!

That just about sums it up. This edition of the Ryder Cup was A Zinger! I'll wager that not many viewers heard it, even though they were glued to the set, or if they heard it, it made no impression. When Zinger reported that his plan had been to "put out the more aggresive players first, and the steadiest one last and the others in the middle," he was telling all of us that he has some understanding of playing styles.

Several years ago, the pair of hands typing this, wrote about paying attention to playing styles in a way that would facilitate the way we play. If you put the steadies (who are generally slower) out first, they tend to hold up the faster(more "aggressive") players, making the latter very annoyed and increasingly tense. That is clearly enough added tension and pressure to literally lose matches. The freedom from it is just as clearly sufficient to allow winning.

It's way too vast and important a matter to put it in a blog comment or two, but take note. It's all been said and taught for years now, and we noticed the fact that the two assistants Azinger had have both been well exposed to the style information we presented for 15 years through the PGA Education program. Stockton also had some of that at the Cup in 1991. Olin Browne may even have more information along the way than Dave.

We are glad somebody finally gets it clearly enough to put it to work. It has only taken 23 years of persistence in the message, while most others only blinked, and we all know that he who blinks first finishes last.

We join in congratulating the American team and those who led and coached them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jaundice in the View

There's no need to make a fuss, but there is cause to correct a constant, reoccurring misperception that is based on inadequate knowledge and/or information. It came through again on ESPN Radio yesterday (my one and only radio listening station these days, since they make people think and try to get at the truth as they understand it).

The two commentators were discussing Tiger and Mediate, mostly admiring both, which certainly was mainline as far as I am concerned.

However, and this is of critical importance, especially to golfers, one was saying that he wished everyone could be as warm, outgoing and affable as Mediate, whom he observed smiling and communicating with everyone. He didn't criticize Tiger, though he saw in him the more severe countenance and tight lipped attitude that we all see most of the time when he is playing (though not so much in interviews).

The other commentator tried to make a point indicating that this was just a natural difference in people, while the first wondered why more players didn't try to be pleasant like Rocco.

The missing information centers in being unaware that there are four primary behavior styles, genetically conditioned, factory installed, that affect what we all see and do. Like it or not, each of us got one at birth. Over years, it may have been afforded so much support that it remained fairly constant, but that demeanor is more an exception that a rule. The rule shows up as the vast majority of folks winding up with a primary style that is bent out of shape (great or small) and leaving each of those persons literally screaming for "the real person to show up").

What is evident is that Rocco is the style we call "Persuader," with traits exactly as listed above - outgoing, jolly, friendly, people oriented, given to passionate expressions of satisfaction, and having a better than average short game with a flair for playing and something of an unorthodox action. (See Lee Trevino, Fuzzy Zoeller, ChiChi Rodriguez, and John Daly).

Tiger is, at least as he shows it - and his somewhat mysterious private life would tell more, but no one has access to that except his family and probably Steve Williams - appears to be the style we call "Driver," with a secondary "Persuader" that he employs for his short game wizardry. His demeanor is bottom line oriented, direct, looking dead ahead, staying completely focused, or if that is broken taking the moment for a "do over." That style is always the fist pumper with an exclamation point.

A mark of the Persuader is that it sometimes shows in driving as pure as the driven snow and sometimes as wild as a March hare. And we see that both in Tiger and Rocco.
None of that is bad or wrong. Both sound, good and sufficient, witness the last 37 holes of the Open.

The other two styles are called "Craftsman" and "Analyzer," which are likely the majority of players, since those two styles own the natural traits that are most conducive to solitary, self-initiated activities like golf, and form the majority styles of the population in general, with the Craftsman comprising 50% of the total.

Craftsmen have the most rhythm and patience, consistency and perseverance of the four style. Analyzers are the most detailed, and rule conscious, careful and perfectionistic. From Craftsmen, we get expressions like "salt of the earth," since they are diplomatic to a fault and do not like conflict. From Analyzers we get expressions like "penny pincher" and "nit-picker," since that's how the other three styles tend to see them. None of the four styles are really like what they are referred to by the other three. But it does indicate that all of us would prefer that everyone else be like we are. Isn't going to happen ...Period.

If you are a commentator, we'd be happy to see you learn about the styles so you could refer to them with understanding instead of question marks. If you are a player, we say to you that the last 30 years of work and research and teaching we have done says you will not be able to reach your own personal zenith in your game or performance unless you understand your own style and live and work within that style. (Oh, you'll manage without that, but never to excel). The purveyors of the notion that there is a single "championship style" are simply wrong in their assertion. Any style can become a champion, given staying with the style they own.

If you are an instructor, stop trying to get players to do what you think they ought to do and tailor what you teach to what their styles natively support. In other words, pace the player, not what you believe makes the best set of moves in golf. If you don't know, find out the style of the player and go from there. In case you think that's a bit off - during the 15 years I taught in the PGA education program, I profiled more than 20,000 professionals (players and teachers). I found less than 1% that had ideas and approaches to their games matching their styles when they were profiled, so this is not something of a dream. It is a reality that needs to be heard.

And one final "bottom line." You cannot change your style to whatever you might think will work "best" or "better," without serious consequences. You can try, but you will bend, dent or break something in the process. And you cannot succeed while either restricting or overdoing the style you own, since either of those will shoot you in the foot. Maybe not all the time, but often enough to lose shots and cause to to say that your range game is scratch and your on-course game is like a ten handicapper.

Who is the closest to staying in style? Last weekend, it was Tiger and Rocco, and what a show they put on - getting more viewers than the NBA finals.

I'm waiting for the journalists and commentators to bring their portfolios current.