Thursday, December 20, 2007
(Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)
by ShortsTuff, on the ISG forum.
‘Twas the night before comp, and all through the land
Golfers lie waiting, woman and man.
The Footjoy’s placed (polished) in the hallway with care
Trusting that Saturday soon would be there.
Sticks in the Falcon, and I in my bed
While visions of plane angles fly through my head
When all of a sudden, in the study, a clatter
I fly to my feet to see what was the matter.
There at my PC, no jolly old elf,
I hardly believe it – Homer, himself!
“Son” he said sadly, “I’ve seen you play.
How could you get round the course in that way?
Now, let’s ISG, in the time you have left
You really must learn some G.O.L.F.”
So, on to the web, and into the site,
He counselled me well, deep into the night.
Started a journey to open some doors
“Learn the imperatives, accumulators”
Opened those doors, (he gave me a key)
“Monitor lag at your pp3.”
Hinging and cocking, but what is a swivel?
Answers by courtesy DGLaville.
Continually pulling your pill from the hedges?
Toolish: “Look to your flying wedges.”
Problem at impact? Dart makes the call
“Geometry, geometry, geometry’s all!”
Don’t make that move getting round to the left –
Visions in lycra provided by Jeff.
Looking for research – how, what and why?
Can’t go past Loren (not an AI).
Guru advises “Pull it out of your back”
(Mate, my best ones are from lower than that!)
Carey with keys, and Spike with his Zen,
Tai on this cruise ship, here now and then.
He left me then, with plenty to play with,
And guidance from you guys to be on my way with.
From one of the Seekers, to those of the trust,
I feel that I should, nah, I know that I must
Share these words from Homer, going into the night
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good flight!”
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The "answers" come thick, if not fast. Everything from "Just quit and walk in," to "Go back to basics." In between, we see things like "Well, the pros often can be seen on tour taking half swings with a 6 iron while waiting to hit, since they have trouble like that too" or "Get yourself a 'choke shot' so you can keep playing."
While reviewing such comments, we regularly resist the urge to grab a pitching wedge and spilt a few heads in the hope that someone will ask the question, either out loud or to themselves, "What am I missing in the meaning of this kind of patter that intimates such helpless feeling? Why do we keep asking the same questions?"
To begin with, if your game won't survive a night's sleep, that should be the first clue that something is unfinished or out of kilter. If you had to treat driving your car, dressing yourself, or any of the other things you do regularly or frequently, with such a question, surely you would stop yourself and ask, "What's the problem here?"
At the risk of offending a few people and their furtive answers, those who may be trying to help, but lack enough information to do that, while trying to do it anyway, here's our take.
If your swing is not working, it only means that you haven't finished your most effective learning and built a bridge between your skills and your habits. If your habits were well developed, such occurrences would be so infrequent as to go unnoticed. On a day when your swing is not working to your liking, that bids for a more careful approach to the information you need and the utilization of that information in learning and development of your game, though there is the outside chance that something already learned is in need of repair. The extent and severity of the symptoms, however, would tell you whether you were in need of habits, or in need of reinforcing something already in your possession. Unfinished habit development would show in the entire game. The repair issue would be less severe and more transient. Neither of those is ominous, mysterious, or insidious, but just a matter of putting a proper, accurate, effective plan into your portfolio and proceeding to manage it well.
We've been doing that with players for 30 years, even though only a few have been paying attention. More recently, the number is growing. Why? Because all of a sudden, it is dawning on players that their thinking has been truncated into no more than a 3% conscious mental function when what they need is to add and understand the 97% non-conscious mental activity - at least well enough to inform the building of habits and stop the process of trying to survive on skills alone.
This, by the way, is, by all available evidence, the most formidable underlying reason that the observable performance standards in the game have hardly moved in the last century, even with the marvelous advancement in high tech equipment and in the understanding of swing movements and skills.
If you can soak that into your thinking and not be ready to advance your knowledge, skill and habit development, then it would be a good time to take up tennis, badminton, ping pong or bowling.
There is plenty that can be done, so when you are ready, let us know.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Some day soon, we hope that the golfing world will take full recognition of the relationship between the mind and the body, so that all can move another notch forward with their games and find a new level in understanding who they are and why and how the mind and body work together successfully.
That is all for now. We return you to your regularly scheduled trivia.
If you are interested to know, give us a shout.
Friday, October 5, 2007
We are inclined to agree with that. Without going into all the reasons, we think what he means is that golfers start making too many changes and thinking too much. Understanding those two elements of the game is critical. Why? Because change within a refined set of physical motions as golf requires needs a lot of time to settle in and become habitual. Continual changing denies that result. Numerous changes really show that the one doing the changing does not have a reasonable grasp on what needs to be accomplished, so the regimen becomes one experiment after another. That will never find the finish line.
On the thinking side, if one keeps rattling the brain, simply put, it will rattle the hands, arms, legs and back, not to mention the brain. If you think that's good for your golf, we know a shrink you can visit.
Jesper is right. Let's hope he doesn't start making more changes after the first two rounds.
Monday, September 3, 2007
We don't deny that hand-eye coordination, generally speaking, is a good thing, or that it borders on necessity for some sports, like baseball, tennis, hockey and basketball. However, we will steadfastly hold to the view that it is not important, at least not in the sense it gets talked about, for golf.
Why? Because the ball is not in motion. All the other named sports have an object that is in motion, which does need hand-eye coordination. But a blind person can hit a golf ball. Clearly, by definition, that player is not in the game, if hand-eye coordination is required.
The only reason to "need" it is when one must be able to see the movement in the object s/he wishes to "hit." A golfer can set up, close the eyes, swing the club and make pure contact. For a tennis player or baseball player that would be unlikely if not impossible.
Make no mistake. We are neither denying nor downplaying the value of hand-eye coordination, just calling on the gurus to stop telling people it is either important or necessary for golf.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Notes: Finchem Disappointed in Tiger
By Associated Press - August 22, 2007
HARRISON, N.Y. -- PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem's news conference Wednesday at The Barclays opened with a question about Tiger Woods' decision to skip the first event of the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoffs.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed with his decision," Finchem said. "It's not a decision that I like to see him make, candidly, any week of the year, but he doesn't play them all. ... From the standpoint of the sponsor here, the fans in New York, it's certainly a negative. You know, I would like to see it the other way."
It is misleading to say the Finchem is disappointed "IN" Tiger. From a news media that is constantly looking for anything that is sensational, or if it is not spicy enough, make it sound that way no matter what the truth is, it is not surprising that they would seek to mislead us into believing that Tiger is a disappointment and that Fichem is upset with him.
Reading the article, one can clearly see that is not true. Finchem's disappointment lies in the concern that even though Tiger is a free man, it will likely make a difference in the interest taken in the tournament.
After that came another news article (we lost the source) that made it sound like Westchester will now show The Tour the door since Tiger was not there. We don't know if that's true or not, but it certainly is far-fetched, not to mention short-sighted.
Our take is that there is no one coming or going that knows Tiger, his needs and desires, better than Tiger. He's who he is and does what he needs to do. And that's that. If others see him as the king of the golf world, without whom the kingdom falls, so be it. Even kings need a vacation once in awhile. Ask any king.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The ladies are rockin'. Two weeks ago, Karen Davies, from Scottsdale, AZ won the Tennessee Womens' Open at Bear Trace in Crossville, TN. The runner-up there was Lisa DePaulo from Austin, TX.
Yesterday, it was turn about, at Pinehurst, as Lisa won the National LPGA Teaching Division Championship and Karen, the defending champion, was runner-up. They have to be on the classiest list of players out there right now.
If that were not enough, last time out, Lisa and Karen teamed up in the LPGA team championship to win that one, as well. We give both of them kudos for their performance and especially for the consistency of their play. They clearly know how to do it.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
"Why is it that people really think they play better with some off the rack stuff that is suited to bugger all people? Why is it that they may score better for a couple of rounds and then the magic wears off?"
That's heard a lot, too, isn't it? I wonder if there is a golfer alive who has not had some variation of the experience that prompts the question. New putters used to be my thing. And up until more recently, even Arnie used to haul five or six out to the putting green before playing to see which one would work best that day.
We call it the "distraction factor." Anything new requires a different focus of attention from the usual. That takes the mind away from mechanical issues for a moment or two, and that's when things get better. Never mind that it's an unfinished form of the principle. It will work in the short term. The moral is that we could go through golfing life changing our equipment every other day (disregarding the cost, of course) and likely play better until that drained us of money or pleasure.
The sad part is that no one bothered to check into the principle lying behind that phenomenon. Most players keep on trying to think about what they are doing while they are doing it - which is a procedure containing several fatal errors.
A new piece of equipment stops, or postpones that kind of thinking for a day or two, till the player becomes accustomed to the "new" and it is now "old," so it's back to the same "old" kind of thinking.
What makes that "fatal" is the mismatch occuring between thinking and acting. We can think much faster than we can act, which in nature's scheme, inevitably produces either a balk or "hot pursuit" trying to catch up. Either of those is ultimately fatal. Oh, of course, we get away with our misses, even teach people that's a desirable way to go, but it is a "wounded" way to go.
So all us clever folks thought up what can now be seen as a "tic-tac" solution - get a new set of clubs. And the rest of the story is, where this message is concerned, it makes no difference if they are "fitted" or just off the rack, since it's not the clubs. Its the NEW in our minds about the clubs.
If that's not an elongated way to face a problem, then we've missed something somewhere.
Monday, August 13, 2007
He's got attitude, just like most who play the game. Trouble is, his is a "little" on the over-extended side and he's got it localized down to what looks like a single displacement now, but he still isn't listening to himself. The chip on his shoulder has grown, but he's right about one thing - the media love Tiger more than they like him.
In short, the message that comes through is filled with a rather transparent need to knock Tiger off the top rung and a growing resentment that he hasn't done it yet. Or maybe he's waiting for Tiger to step aside and let Woody ascend to the throne. Meanwhile, he's blaming the media and the galleries for their failure to notice and using his verbal "forthrightness" as an excuse, rather than a reason, for why that is.
He rightly sees some similarities between himself and Tiger and doesn't understand why the galleries willingly fuss over Tiger and need a challenge from him (Woody) to raise a cheer. It's all in attitude. It's in how a person carries himself. What Woody misses is that Tiger has no persistent chip and his (Woody's) keeps getting bigger and louder.
Some have chips that are tough and fleeting and others carry a single one like a piece of baggage everywhere they go. Woody doesn't understand why Tiger can slam a club and be called "competitive," while he (Woody) can show what he believes to be similar and be called a "loose cannon." It's all in the way the attitude is carried. Some call it "bearing." There is a mature version and one that has a lot of unfinished business.
It is true that perception can be fickle. It appears to us that sometime back, when Woody hit himself in the head with his own putter and broke it, the "loose cannon" myth got started and that kind of folklore tends to remain. We think it's quite likely that fed Woody's chip. Those things get heavy, so we hope that Woody can now start shifting the load a bit before the President's Cup. He also needs to put aside his "I'm 43 years old" bit and keep playing his game. He thinks it used to be better. We disagree. He's a better player (seems to us its the score that counts) than he used to be.
A lot of people didn't like Tiger's fist pumping at first, but it became clear that he didn't carry that everywhere he went. It was fast, short and gone - part of his natural style. Woody needs to see that dynamic, but it is hard to be "unique" when somebody with a better record that he admires and resents at the same time is standing there with all the trophies.
Woody is not likely to see this, but we'll hope for him that he loses the chip and puts it where others can't see it. It is time for him to get through this particular "sticking point" and finish his "business." We think he's a winner. Now if only he can see it, too. Winners are as winners do.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Sitting here watching, observing, evaluating what is going on at the Firestone course, it suddenly comes to mind that, "Land Sakes, we really don't want golfers to become good enough to play consistently well. It's too much fun to watch them go up and down, try to deal with frustration, hit funky shots and see if they recover and who can do that best."
We can feel for a guy who goes from the lead to 6 shots back in two holes, or one that has advertised temper issues that announcers keep mentioning as needing "control," (which of course, those in the know, understand is an impossibility). Emotion cannot be "controlled." The harder you try that, the "worser" it gets. He can learn to manage it if he decides to do that, but..."control"...no way.
So maybe we just need to quit trying to help golfers and sit back, relax and watch the circus. It is definitely an 18 holer - circus, that is.
(Please note - there is a bit of tongue in cheek - about what we will choose to do).
It's just that we've seen shots today that even we could hit!
Friday, August 3, 2007
"What has that to do with golf?" you may ask. What it implies... suggests... indicates is that just maybe, we've all become so hi-tech rich that our inventions and equipment have outdistanced our ability and readiness to manage what we have made. Like some of the new clubs out. Do they help players score? Not so you can notice it. Like some of the new training aids. Do they help players score? Not so you can tell it.
Golfers do not really appear to be getting better. More people come into the game each year while about the same number leave the game. One wonders if anyone can get the job done effectively. But wait. It gets done once in awhile. Just no consistency.
To us that means poor to lousy management. It means that folks are spending more time trying to "control" what they have rather than learning how to manage it. Control will eat your lunch. (Try controlling your emotions and watch them get worse). Management will afford effective results and good management will bring super results, since that comes with direction for assembly and implementation. Only a few will insist that they regularly manage to transfer what they practice to the golf course unimpeded. That's the control game. Sound management will allow you to make the trip.
We have Ipods these days that are prime targets for theft and not much knack for preventing theft or a strategy for locating registered items. Meanwhile we have golf ball locators that will help players who haven't learned to manage their games find the balls victimized by trying to "control" their swings.
Maybe what we need for golf is something that parallels the "OnStar" system so we can get immediate help for our games that will bail us out of a poor performance. We know that would violate the rules, but it makes the point that we are way behind in our preparation for playing. We may have the swinging down, but not the scoring and that's the part that comes from game management and the ability to play.
Better get your mental equipment up to the level of all that other hi-tech stuff if you really want to excel. We can take you there, since we know the hi-tech plan for the mental game and how to implement it. But be assured, it will not sound like the "same old, same old," since that's what has left the residue full of unsolved problems. Try it, you'll like it.
Friday, July 27, 2007
If you are not inspired by this story, then you are likely an unhappy, dissatisfied golfer.
On Wednesday, this week, Karen Davies, the teaching professional from Pinnacle Peak Country Club in Scottsdale, AZ, gave a field of 125 in the Tennessee State Women's Open all they could handle and won by a new record low of 144, in the rain shortened annual event. It was played at the Nicklaus Bear Trace Course located in the Cumberland Mountain State Park.
As if that's not enough, that made 6 events she has won in the past year, including the Western LPGA Teaching Division, the LPGA Teaching Division Team Championship, and the National LPGA Teaching Division Championship played at Pinehurst on the Pine Needles Course.
Players often ruminate about whether anyone can win in multiples (usually comparing to Tiger). Don't know about you, but it strikes us that anyone who can win that number in a year is excelling at what they do, no matter by whom you choose to make your comparative evaluation.
We say, "Hats off and big cheers for the talented, smart-playing pro from the Phoenix Area." And BTW, you Gator fans can cheer, too. She played at Florida in her college career.
She hails from Wales where they may want to share in the excitement as well. Nice work, Karen!!
Friday, July 20, 2007
One such among our favorites, as most know who have been within earshot of us, is the much revered "muscle memory," which has been joined by the ever loving "mental toughness."
Now we have a new contender. A recent senior tour event found Brian Hammond and Doug Tewell using "unforced error," in connection with a player's shot that went to another zip code.
While we we were wondering if we heard it as stated, it came again. Now, we thought, what in blazes is an "unforced error" in golf. Strikes us that all errors in golf are "forced," either by poor preparation, poor thinking or any anxiety attached. Of course, any and all golfing errors will have anxiety on one side or the other.
So what do people hear when such a clever word is dropped? We know what is meant when that is applied to tennis. It means that one's opponent did nothing to put enough pressure on to cause the error, so it was unforced. So when and how is the golfer ever in position to make an unforced error? It doesn't happen.
That simply means to us that there is no such thing as an "unforced error" in golf. The only opponent we really have in golf is found in the presence or absence of self-management, in particular, as related to the only condition that can produce an error, assuming that the player has some sort of skill, and that would be what is commonly referred to as "pressure." That, of course, is one of many default terms used instead of anxiety, which most don't want to mention for fear of "catching" some or being "infected." It is just too dangerous to talk about. Most players will insist they don't have any, not realizing that there is no such thing as a human being without any anxiety ever - oh, except dead people.
So errors in golf are all forced, some more than others. Get yourself a good self-management program to go with an educated golf swing. You'll find it to your liking.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
"The key to managing these moments [when pressure mounts] is making friends with them
instead of dreading them.
The easiest way to make friends with pressure is to accept your mental anxiety. You say, 'It's quite natural to feel a bit of performance anxiety right now. Of course I'm a little stressed.'
Then, you turn your focus toward the shot. The next shot is the focus, not your anxiety.
By making friends with pressure, and refusing to fight it, you disarm it and bring yourself back to the game."
There is a problem here. This pro is clearly absorbed with only that which goes on mentally in the conscious mind, and unfortunately what is being offered in that regard is hapless, if not hopeless.
Anxiety does not go away because it is noticed or "recognized." Recognition may afford the opportunity to address the matter, but it will not - repeat, will not - make it go away or change the manner in which it affects what is done. And that, it is suggested, "disarms it." We think not.
Recognizing the presence of anxiety is, of course, better than denying its presence, but one will still need to implement a management strategy to deal with it. We especially love the part about focusing on the shot and not on the anxiety. That's like when you are bleeding from a wound, just ignore it and it will go away.
Since you are reading this blog, it should not surprise you to hear us say that management of anxiety in golf, is best done through using a clear key to block the invariable signal produced by the anxiety (recognized or not) which, in turn, effectively postpones any aggravation from it, long enough to hit any golf shot.
That is a lot better than whatever is meant by "mental toughness," which we take as an inference that you can develop enough "scar tissue" by living with anxiety till it won't matter so much. And if you believe that, we have a piece of ocean property in Arizona we want to sell you.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Whoever comes up with that stuff either needs to return to school or do some research, or both.
"Cure" is a word associated with sickness, illness or disease. Perhaps in the truest sense of the word "disease," which, dissected is "dis - ease," we could make a case for "cure," but you cannot "cure" yips, since it is not an illness. It is a normal manifestation of the true interaction between the conscious mind, and the nonconscious, involuntary, non-discriminatory way our thinking works. That does not require a cure, but sound management strategy. The yips will not respond to "cure." It will only yield to good mental management strategy. Even physical manipulation will not do the job. What is required is the knowledge and wisdom to install an appropriate means to prevent the invasion of the tension that produces the physical manifestation known as the yips. That means putting up a temporary barrier to the thinking that causes the tension. It takes too long to "change" the thinking, especially when all that is needed is postponing it long enough to make a fully free golf swing.
And make no mistake. Yips is not just for putting, as many appear to think. It is available to every shot in the game. Most just don't notice its presence. They think all those mishits are purely mechanical problems. Maybe...maybe not.
What is needed comes through clearly understanding and installing the automatic principle into your game approach. Google "yips" and you will see tons of over-stated, over-wrought descriptions of what one must do to "cure" them. We repeat. There is no cure because there is no infirmity. There is a problem, but it is a mental one. There is no bug, no virus, no infection.
Oh you'll find plenty of advice out there, but look and study as hard as you wish and as we have done, and you will find no one who seems to understand the problem or the solution because they find the right question to ask.
Hang in there. We'll help you find it.
Friday, July 6, 2007
First off, Phil, the rest of us have been supporting the tour for years. Do you think there is some separation between the quality of support that comes from "government figures" and the rest of us? If so, maybe we should all stay home and let the government support you guys. What is the sound of welfare?
Second off, Condi, all of us support the troops. You gave one of those speeches like my grandmother used to give. Sneaky... Say it such a way that subtly wants everybody to feel guilt because they are not putting on the single-minded bumper stickers that equate troop support with support for government people who make bad decisions. What many do not appreciate is using the troops for purposes that really cannot be demonstrated to be necessary. We all support the troops. But we deplore bad judgment.
Between us guys and gals, I don't see either the Tour or the Golf Channel as a proper pulpit platform for partisan politics. And I give the Golf Channel an "F" on that one.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
1. Thrown up by rank golfing amateurs.
2. Devoid of new or significant content.
3. Over-using the "portal" maneuver by just posting something hoping to make some money from the ads in the side panels.
4. Using the "tips" lure to pad the account.
5. Simply pointing to websites that sell products (affiliating, or more aptly pyramiding).
6. Repeating what everyone else has already said much better.
7. Clearly putting out junk that has little or no substance or usefulness.
The sad reality is that there are a lot of folks holding clubs in their hands who are buying into that stuff. Unless the viewers have a lot of well formed evaluation skills and habits, the fluff will seem inviting.
All we can say, is "Buyer, Beware!"
Friday, June 29, 2007
"It's just a very fine line between shooting 69 and shooting what I shot today," said Wie, who stretched her streak to 21 rounds without breaking par.
Sounds like a weak attempt to rationalize a way to save face. Sad, in a way, since there is little doubt that this 17 year old is endowed with so much talent, it literally drips off her worried brow.
Our measured concern goes this way: "When will her advisors, associates, parents, teachers, etc, quit trying to satisfy their own needs and pay attention to those of a remarkable human being on the verge of adulthood, who is still not completely out of the assisted period of juvenile growth, but in that uncomfortable transition zone that invariably acts and feels like "no man's land."
Michelle is being done disservice in full surround sound and high definition. She needs a break from the action, separation from all those "helpers" out there, and especially a vacation from media attention.
She has hit the wall in terms of doing what kids do well on their own and has reached that point where conscious control gets in the act and takes over and she has no one who either understands that or knows what to do with it. She is in between childhood and adulthood, and it is showing miserably.
Michele, we wish you the best, but get yourself a whole new outfit.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
"A little bit of fear in there doesn't hurt when you are in the lead."
A remark concerning Jay Haas facing a shot after he had gained the lead in final round of the event today.
What kind of "fear" would you consider that? Or is that just one more glib, meaningless remark from a commentator? If a player has the lead and he is fearful, how long would you expect him to hold the lead?
If what Mark(?) meant was akin to butterflies, that's not fear. That's one of the manifestations of anxiety. If that is what Mark(?) meant, he is mistaken - it certainly has the potential to hurt, so his "doesn't hurt" is like saying it doesn't hurt to hit one out of bounds.
Anxiety will wreck anybody's train and tour players are not immune. This is but one more example of the loose lips of broadcasters, capable of sinking player's ships, since a lot of listeners will take that "doesn't hurt" to heart and assume that it's a good thing. Well, it isn't - so learn to manage your anxiety, since you will have some. That much is true.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
We just read it again in a newsletter from a guru! "You got to control your emotions in this game!!" If you believe that, you will buy the Brooklyn Bridge from some guy in an alley in your neighborhood.
There is little doubt in our minds that there are several things that golfers either don't want to get straight, or can't allow themselves to get straight - and this is one of them. The reason that is a problem is that there are just some things that people can't bring themselves to hear and understand, either because they are so thoroughly pre-conditioned to what they've believed from the past or because they are terrified of anything that sounds like "they may not be “in 'control'."
If you happen to be scared of "losing control," we may not be able to help. But if the problem for you is that you haven't grasped the essential information and it's meaning, then we may be able to assist.
Basic issue: No one can "control" emotion. It is nature driven and built into the system. The harder you try to "control" it, the more it will rear its head. You can "manage" it, but you cannot - repeat - cannot control it. Check any reputable, genuine psychological/psychiatric study and you will find that basic issue verified. (You may not find it in some popular books that have an authentic sound, and that's just another reason for being sure the information you have is valid).
Of course, it is important to know how to "manage" emotion, with the "kicker" being that you must plan for it in advance. That must be done at a time when there is no emotional impact at hand so you are free to make a commitment to yourself concerning the management strategy you will use when and if it arises during the game. What happens is that players typically wait till something happens that throws emotion into full bloom, fired-up presence on the course and then they try to "control" it on the spot. Won't work. That's what leads to references claiming that the "wheels have come off." Two or three mistakes later, you may or may not recover, depending on how "tough" you have "learned" to be (another of those mythological "medicines" for golfing plagues, but we'll deal with the "tough-minded" myth another time).
Get yourself a set of management tools to go with your golf clubs. You'll play better - and have more fun doing it.