Friday, July 27, 2007

Applaud a Champion

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

"Unforced Errors"

We suppose that is inevitable that TV golf commentators will look for increasingly clever ways to say things. We often wonder how much such flippant messages influence unwary golfers through innuendo that is taken as gospel. We suspect a lot more than most would admit to.

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

What Are They Thinking?!

Recently, a fairly well known sports psychologist wrote:
"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

"Cure" the Yips???

That has to be a golf "barn burner" that equals such gush as "muscle memory" and "mental toughness."

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

Would Your Repeat that Phil?

What are you thinking, that you would praise "government officials, especially Condi Rice, for coming out and supporting the Tour?" (She, by the way, praised the Tour for "supporting the troops.") What's wrong with that picture as it showed up today at the Congressional?

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

The Redundant Syndrome

Lately, and that means for at least the past year, we have noticed an increasing number of golf websites showing up with the following characteristics:

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!"