Tom Fielding Golf School Japan
"Fore" is another word for "ahead" or "forward" - think of a ship's fore and aft. And in golf, yelling "fore" is simply a shorter way to yell "watch out ahead" (or "watch out before"). It allows golfers to be forewarned, in other words. Any golfer who hits an errant shot that sends their golf ball hurtling toward golfers ahead should yell out "fore" as a warning.
When Did Golfers Start Using Fore As a Warning?"Fore" is in use by golfers around the world. One reason is that its use goes back a long time.
The British Golf Museum cites an 1881 reference to "fore" in a golf book, establishing that the term was already in use at that early date (the Merriam-Webster dictionary pegs the beginning of the golf use of fore to 1878, while the USGA Museum has suggested it goes back farther).
Did the Warning 'Fore!' Evolve from 'Forecaddie'?Historians at the British Golf Museum have surmised that the term "fore," as a warning in golf, evolved from "forecaddie."
A forecaddie is a person who accompanies a grouping of golfers around the golf course, often going forward to be in a position to pinpoint the locations of the group members' shots. If a member of the group hit an errant shot, the thinking goes, he or she would have alerted the forecaddie by yelling out the term. It was eventually shortened to just "fore."
The Military Origin of ForeAnother popular theory is that the term has a military origin. In warfare of the 17th and 18th century (a time period when golf was really taking hold in Britain), infantry advanced in formation while artillery batteries fired from behind, over the heads of the infantrymen. An artilleryman about to fire would yell "beware before," alerting nearby infantrymen to drop to the ground to avoid the shells screaming overhead.
So when golfers misfired and sent their missiles - golf balls - screaming off target, "beware before" was shortened to "fore."
The fact is that the origin of "fore" as a golf term of warning cannot be precisely pinned down.
What can be said with certainty, however, is that the term does originate in the fact that "fore" means "ahead" or "before," and, used by a golfer, is a warning to those ahead that a golf ball is coming their way.
There is a very common problem among a large percentage of middle to high handicap golfers that is called "the practice swing phenomenon."
It is the act of taking a decent practice swing and then stepping up to the ball and doing something completely different (usually significantly less decent) in the swing through the ball. It seems clear that this would not be effective and in most cases it is not. What's going on here and what can we do about it?
When you take a practice swing it is fairly easy to pay attention to (be consciously aware of) what you are feeling during the swing. And since you're not going to actually hit the ball there is no particular demand on your visual system. What I believe to be happening with golfers that have a problem reproducing the positive features of their practice swings is that when they step up to the ball (now that there is a result in the balance, and the additional visual demand on the brain of the ball) the majority of the awareness is now taken away from what the golfer is feeling and put into what they are seeing, anticipating or anxious about. To recreate the same thing that happened in the practice swing they would have to continue to pay attention to what they are feeling, as they did in the practice swing.
But it may even be more fundamental than that according to Dr. David Chen, Director of the Motor Behavior Lab at Cal State University, Fullerton.
There is a finite amount of what Dr. Chen calls "Attention Resources," which basically means how much capacity one has for paying attention. In the practice swing without the ball these resources are not used up, but when golfers with this problem try to add the visual component, and the anxiety of an outcome, they exceed their limit in terms of how much they can pay attention to at one time, and that's the reason for a different swing with the ball.
Whether it is the shift between feel and visual focus or just an overtaxed capacity for paying attention, the effect of this altered focus of attention is a host of common errors:
So what's the solution?
One logical thing I would suggest in order to make the transition from the practice swing to the swing through the ball is to add a visual component to the practice swings: e.g., focus on brushing a leaf or particular blade of grass, etc., with your practice swings. This shows you if your club brushed the ground in the right spot or not. And if you have the specific problem of swinging too hard through the ball I would offer a temporary, band-aid type fix first: be sure to swing as hard in your practice swings as you are going to swing through the ball (and if you don't like the result of the practice swing don't swing through the ball until you take a practice swing that you like - if the practice swing was bad why would swinging through the ball on the next swing be better?).
Again, this last suggestion is for temporary use; the long term solution is to groove the rhythm of your swing like a machine.
Highly skilled players have the ability to pay attention to all the relevant information at the same time. Why? According to Dr. Chen they have already developed so many skills and so much awareness of what they are feeling that it does not take much of the brain's resources to pay attention to the relevant cues.
Whereas the less experienced player either has not had enough time to develop those skills and awareness of the right sensations or, in the case of players who have been playing for a long time but are still functioning at a fairly low level of performance, they have never developed the fundamental skills and awareness to the point where these are automatic and, therefore, do not require much conscious attention.
To develop the correct habits initially boils down to a choice, I believe. Humans have the ability to put their attention wherever they want it. If you want to develop any habit in your golf swing (for instance, keeping your spine angle constant) you have to pay attention exclusively to that one aspect of your swing until you become so intimately familiar with it that it no longer requires any conscious attention.
If you just can't seem to do the same thing in your swing through the ball as in your practice swing it may simply mean that you do not have enough attention resources for the number of things you're trying to do in that small an amount of time.
Again, the solution is to develop permanent correct habits (good sound fundamentals from the ground up) to decrease the demand on the attention and get things more on automatic. So work on one thing at a time until, at some point, each thing no longer requires your attention.
I look forward to seeing you at our next Golf Improvement training session.
Australian PGA Professional
There must have been rules known to golfers dating back to the origins of the game. Otherwise, how could players have squared off in competition? What those rules were, nobody knows.
At least not until the mid-18th Century, when the first known written rules of golf were put into writing by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, now the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers based at Muirfield. The rules were written for the Annual Challenge for the Edinburgh Silver Club in 1744.
There were 13 of them, and here they are (with a few explanatory comments in parentheses). Note how many of these rules survive today:
1. "You must tee your ball within a club's length of the hole." (A diameter of two club lengths. Teeing grounds are now defined as two club lengths in depth.)
2. "Your tee must be on the ground." (Tees, back in these days, consisted of little pyramids of sand.)
3. "You are not to change the ball which you strike off the tee." (Look at that - the "one ball condition way back then!
Actually, holing out with the same ball with which you teed off - with a few exceptions - is in Rule 15-1)
4. "You are not to remove stones, bones or any break club for the sake of playing your ball, except upon the fair green, and that only within a club's length of the ball." (Hmmm, bones? Loose impediments, Rule 23)
5. "If your ball comes among watter, or any wattery filth, you are at liberty to take out your ball and bringing it behind the hazard and teeing it, you may play it with any club and allow your adversary a stroke for so getting out your ball." (Origin of the 1-stroke penalty for a ball in a water hazard. Rule 26)
6. "If your balls be found anywhere touching one another you are to lift the first ball till you play the last." (Rule 22-2)
7. "At holling you are to play your ball honestly at the hole, and not to play upon your adversary's ball, not lying in your way to the hole." (Don't do something petty such as trying to hit your opponent's ball with your own. It's OK in croquet, not in golf.)
8. "If you should lose your ball, by its being taken up, or any other way, you are to go back to the spot where you struck last and drop another ball and allow your adversary a stroke for the misfortune." (Stroke plus distance, Rule 27-1.)
9. "No man at holling his ball is to be allowed to mark his way to the hole with his club or anything else." (Now incorporated in Rule 8-2.)
10. "If a ball be stopp'd by any person, horse, dog, or any thing else, the ball so stopp'd must be played where it lyes." (Deflection by an outside agency. Play it as it lies. Rule 19-1)
11. "If you draw your club in order to strike and proceed so far in the stroke as to be bringing down your club, if then your club should break in any way, it is to be accounted a stroke." (Definition of stroke)
12. "He whose ball lyes farthest from the hole is obliged to play first." (Virtually unchanged after all this time. Rule 10)
13. "Neither trench, ditch, or dyke made for the preservation of the links, nor the Scholars' Holes or the soldiers' lines shall be accounted a hazard but the ball is to be taken out, teed and play'd with any iron club." (The first written rules also include the first local rule, for what we would now describe as ground under repair.)
The Rules of Golf continued to be developed over time, taking a huge step forward in 1897 when the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews formed a Rules Committee.
Since 1952, the R&A and the United States Golf Association have met every two years to set down a uniform code of rules.
Sources: British Golf Museum, Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Historical Rules of Golf
The earliest surviving written Rules of Golf were compiled by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, later the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG), on 7th March 1744 at Leith, Scotland.
The competition played under these rules was held on 2nd April, and involved ten competitors playing over the 5-hole Leith links. (These are Julian Calendar dates; the Gregorian calendar we use today was not adopted by Great Britain until 1752).
From 1744 to the mid-1800s, a number of leading golf clubs throughout the UK published their own Rules. Although these Rules were basically the same, enough differences existed such that there was no universal code for golfers.
For instance, all codes during this time had virtually identical rules for the teeing ground, the action of an outside agency, and for changing of a ball. But for a lost ball, a ball in water or a hazard, some rules imposed a stroke penalty, some did not; removal of loose impediments was allowed in some places but not in others.
Over 40 separate codes had been issued since 1744, the most important being those of the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith (later HCEG) and the Society of St. Andrews Golfers (later R&A).
In the later part of the 19th century, most clubs tended to align themselves with the R&A or the HCEG. The St. Andrews and HCEG codes were extremely similar, indeed the St. Andrews rules of 1812 are almost identical to, and adapted from, the HCEG version of 1809. In 1839 the HCEG adapted the St. Andrews version of 1829
In the early 1830s the HCEG was suffering from financial problems and nearly folded. At around the same time, 1834, the St. Andrews Society gained the patronage of King William IV and was granted the title of Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. The R&A's ascendancy and the simultaneous decline of the HCEG's influence naturally led to the R&A being regarded as the pre-eminent Club of the time.
In the following decades, other factors helped promote golf - with the R&A to the fore; the rapid expansion of the railway system throughout Great Britain, including a branch to the town of St Andrews, a general increase in interest in sporting pastimes, and the introduction of the cheap and durable gutta percha golf ball.
The number of golf clubs in Great Britain increased exponentially in the late 1800s-- from 36 golf clubs in 1860 to 58 in 1870 to nearly 500 by 1890, over 1500 in 1900 over 2500 by 1910 -- and the increasing ease with which golfers could travel to other courses from around this time led to the need for a universal set of rules.
The Open Championship, started in 1860, was played under the rules of Prestwick (in effect the same as 1858 R&A) whenever played at Prestwick, and at St. Andrews the same rules were in effect, some differences only in the local rules. However, when played at Musselburgh in 1874, 1877 and 1880, the Championship was played under the HCEG rules.
The HCEG voted to play by the R&A rules in 1883, Royal Blackheath did the same in 1889. The R&A Rules of 1891 came close to a common code for all players, but although widely accepted, some clubs still clung to different codes. Such differences must have become a matter of concern with the increasing popularity of golf worldwide, and a desire to play the Open and Amateur Championships under rules familiar to all.
During the Amateur Championship held at St. George's, Sandwich, in May 1896 a meeting of delegates proposed setting up the R&A as the overall authority on the Rules of Golf. The R&A Rules of Golf Committee was formed in September 1897, and issued the first universally accepted Rules of Golf in Sept 1899.
The USGA came into being in February 1895, a name change from the Amateur Golf Association of the United States. They originally elected to play under the 1891 R&A rules and adopted the new code in February 1900.
The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith issued rules in 1744, and 1775; then as the HCEG in 1809, 1839, 1866
The Society of St. Andrews issues were in 1754, 1812, and 1829; then as the R&A in 1842, 1851, 1858, 1875, 1888, 1891
The Background Story - Part II
The golfing world accepted the 1899 R&A rules code along with the recently-formed USGA, who followed the R&A code, adjusted and clarified with its own decisions and remarks.
The first difference of opinion was not long in coming: the centre-shafted putter. More on that, and the on the differences in the size and weight of the ball in Clubs and Balls.
In addition to the differences over equipment, a number of other differences between the R&A and USGA grew over the years before World War II. The USGA went it alone with the publication of the 1947 rules - a reorganisation rather than widespread change.
The R&A 1950 rules followed the same theme, and the previously separate match play and stroke play rules were combined, sections laid out more logically. Both these issues formed the basis of the first joint code issued in 1952.
The explanation cannot be better put than the statement by the two authorities in the preface to the 1952 edition:
This edition of the Rules of Golf is the result of a joint revision by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, and the United States Golf Association.
For some years a growing desire for uniform Rules has manifested itself and this has now been achieved after special committee conferences in which representatives of Canada and Australia participated also.
It has been customary for both the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association to revise their Rules periodically and individually in the light of experience. However, there has been no regular machinery for co-ordinating their respective views. As a result, differences have crept into the Rules. Departures from uniformity are no new phenomenon, for in the early days each prominent club in the United Kingdom had its own Rules. Nevertheless, as the game spread, it became recognised that uniformity would be advantageous to all, and towards the end of the last century, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, as a result of requests from the main clubs in the British Isles, published the first uniform set of Rules.
The history of the present code dates to the end of the recent world war. The United States Golf Association had revised its Rules and the Royal and Ancient were in the process of doing the same. Because there had been intimations of a deep interest in standardisation of Rules, United States Golf Association representatives were invited to visit St. Andrews and conferences took place there in the Spring of 1951. In a most cordial atmosphere, the negotiating committees achieved agreement on this unified code which subsequently was ratified by the Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association, and by the membership of the Royal and Ancient.
The Main Aims. - At the conferences three primary considerations were kept to the fore:
First, the perspective was to be world-wide to meet the varying conditions under which the game is now played.
Second, to achieve this objective, there would clearly have to be "give and take" over items of differing importance to different countries.
Third, the negotiating representatives reminded themselves that, if legislation lags too far behind public opinion, the legislation loses effect.
These considerations account for some of the new code's unusual features reflected by both inclusions and omissions.
The Putter. - At the beginning of the century, there were no essential differences in the respective Rules of the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association. The first major departure from uniformity occurred with the introduction of the Schenectady putter in the United States. This was not accepted by the Royal and Ancient as a traditional form of golf club, but play with this type of club continued in the United States. Now, after nearly fifty years, it is agreed that this type has become traditional and universal use will be permitted hereafter.
The Stymie. - There were only a few other divergences in the Rules of play up to the late 1930s, when the United States Golf Association experimentally introduced its variation of the stymie Rule. By giving relief when balls were within six inches of the hole or within six inches of each other, it did away with an unpopular feature - the unnegotiable stymie. This type of stymie often resulted from a missed putt on the part of the opponent. The American Rule survived its experimental stage and until now has been in effect in the United States, although it was not adopted in other countries. Some five years ago, the Royal and Ancient took a referendum on the stymie amongst the governing bodies of various countries. The result suggested a more or less equal division of opinion for retention, abolition, and two other alternatives; i.e., the United States version on the one hand and abolition of stymies laid by the opponent on the other. The latter alternative means almost total abolition, as relatively few stymies are laid by the player himself. With opinion so widely divided on the issue of the stymie, there seemed little chance of achieving uniformity in a world-wide code by retaining it or adopting either of the other alternatives. Abolition of the stymie was therefore recommended and adopted.
The Ball. - There has been and still remains a difference in the size of the ball. This matter has been regarded in a somewhat different light from that of the Rules of actual play. Playing conditions differ in many parts of the world, and the ruling bodies held to the opinion that the smaller British ball is no more suitable for play in the United States than the larger American ball is suitable for play in Great Britain. It is hoped that in the future it may be possible to find some basis for standardizing the ball. In the meanwhile, and in this code, the size of the British ball is specified as not less than 1.620 inches in diameter and that of the American ball as not less than 1.680 inches with weight coinciding at 1.620 ounces. To give playing equality in international team competition, the United States Golf Association has legalized the smaller ball for use in such contests in its country.
The Penalties. - On the introduction of the 1950 Royal and Ancient revised code, there arose another major difference when the Royal and Ancient, as an experiment, made changes in penalties. The United States Golf Association continued with substantially the traditional scale. The Royal and Ancient had taken a referendum as regards the penalties for out of bounds, unplayable ball and lost ball, and they accepted the majority view that the penalty for all these contingencies should be reduced from stroke and distance to distance only. Playing experience however, soon showed that the removal of the penalty stroke was not an adequate penalty. Consequently, the Royal and Ancient decided to return to the traditional penalties, and so were of one mind with the United States Golf Association when penalties for the uniform code came up for consideration.
Maintenance of Uniformity. - In framing this code, attention has been particularly directed to clarifying the Rules, consolidating them wherever possible, and rationalizing the headings so that reference is simplified.
There is one final point. A unified set of Rules having been achieved, it is recognised that it can only be kept uniform by mutual agreement not to alter it unilaterally. If questions of alteration arise, the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association will consult with each other and with the governing bodies in other countries, and will use all possible means to ensure the maintenance of uniformity.
HAROLD GARDINER-HILL, Chairman, Rules of Golf Committee,
Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews
ISAAC B. GRAINGER, Chairman, Rules of Golf Committee,
United States Golf Association
Despite the well-meaning paragraph at the end, changes between the codes did appear unilaterally: the USGA experimented with the distance-only penalties in 1960; the R&A, having done the same ten years earlier and rejected it, did not go along with it.
The USGA reverted in 1961, but tried again in 1964. Eventually they, too, saw that it was not workable and returned to stroke and distance in 1968.
One of the common complaints I hear from my students is their inability to take their golf game to the course. They experience a certain level of proficiency on the range or practice tee but then collapse when they actually go and play. There are a couple reasons for this and hopefully, through the example here, I can shed some light on how to improve your transfer of skills.
Are your golf practice sessions boring and tedious at times?
You are not a golfer if you haven’t experienced these aspects of golf practice, and yes it’s true that golf practice can seem monotonous and even boring at times, however by managing the two practice styles I'm going to discuss in this article your golf practice routines will become far more challenging and a lot more enjoyable.
Let's start with an important question I want you to answer honestly; "How do you know that you are practicing your golf skills the right way?"
Do you favour block style practice or random style practice?
You should know the difference between these two main practice styles - especially if your intention is to practice your golf skills to improve, because these different golf practice styles can help you to develop and improve the high pay-off golf skills and transfer them to the golf course faster.
The Illusion of Competence
Many of the amateur and professional golfers we have observed over the years lean towards practicing the style of practice known as block practice.
Block practice is when you practice a single golf skill over and over to one target (like hitting chip shot after chip shot to one hole) until your practice bag or your range bucket is empty.
I think you’ll agree that this type of practice is a very common way for golfers to practice?
And here’s what you should know right up front about this common type of practice; block practice style is a lot like rote learning (it's very repetitive) and can lead to “the illusion of competence” where you mistakenly rate your ability when performing a certain skill repetitively much higher than it really is.
"Repeating one type of stroke over and over to the same target can improve your rhythm, tempo and timing during the session, which can influence you to believe that you are getting better at your golf skills because you are hitting lots of good shots in your session...But just be aware of the trap that this type of practice can lead you into."
The Golf Practice Trap
Blocked golf practice can and does influence golfers (and even their instructors) to develop a false sense of confidence (when they are preparing for a tournament) because the golfer is hitting the golf ball so well in practice that it can really increase their confidence.
But it is often only short-lived as this confidence is often crushed during the tournament because the consistency and predictability of those exciting and productive practice sessions goes right out the window when shots are on the line.
The research on blocked practice suggests that this type of practice does not transfer well to the golf course in competition, or lead to long-term memory retention.
The simple fact is that the way you practice your golf skills really matters because when it comes down to it, the whole idea of golf practice is to transfer your golf skills successfully to the golf course and perform them to the best of your ability.
In a 2011 article by Ron Kaspriske in Golf Digest magazine Kaspriske included advice from UCLA Professor Emeritus Richard Schmidt PhD and expert on motor learning who shared with attendees at the World Golf Fitness Summit that year the following advice about block practice;
“In blocked practice, because the task and goal are exactly the same on each attempt, the learner simply uses the solution generated on early trials in performing the next shot. Hence, blocked practice eliminates the learner’s need to ‘solve’ the problem on every trial and the need to practice the decision-making required during a typical round of golf.”
The Value of Block Practice Style
Block practice is ideal for performing repetition practice where you might be performing a particular golf drill your instructor wants you to practice, and you need to perform lots of repetitions to develop it and habituate it to the level of unconscious competence.
Block practice is extremely important for skill perfection practice, such as when you are perfecting a golf swing habit.
The mental challenge level is lower in block practice as you are mainly focused on correct execution of a skill-set.
This could be the perfecting of a particular drill where you are focusing on the correct feel of the drill, and using the feedback of a mirror, video or possibly your golf instructor to determine your level of accuracy at performing the skill.
If you are hitting golf shots to targets, you would be hitting sets of golf shots to one target at a time with the intention of hitting many shots to reinforce consistent motion.
Block practice is very helpful for developing your techniques during the preparation phase in your golf development cycle, but is not nearly as helpful during a golf tournament cycle.
The Value of Random Practice Style
Random practice is quite different to block practice because you are continually varying your practice routines to improve your shot-making adaptability.
You do this for example by hitting a set of golf shots to different targets that vary in the length and also in orientation to where you are on the golf range.
Random is as it sounds, you continually hit different types of shots to random targets just like you get on a golf course.
An example of a random practice routine would be when you hit a 7 iron to one target green, then you might hit a driver to another distance target and then a sand shot to a tight pin and so on.
You are practicing adaptability which is the BIG SKILL of high performance golf. Varying your shot-making skills to include a range of shot types from short to long continuously, really helps you to develop and enhance your playing skills and ability.
Random practice style is very helpful in the pre-tournament and tournament phases because it gets you out of swing thinking and improvement mode and into shot-making and feel mode.
So the key to effective golf practice is to know what development cycle you are in and why. Practicing block style around tournament time isn't helpful for skill transfer as your mind-set can be too much on technique perfection and not enough on targeting adaptability.
You would be surprised at how many professional golfers are working on their techniques during a tournament cycle instead of working on it in the pre-season.
You need to really think about how you are practicing your golf skills and which style you are favouring by making sure that your practice is influenced by the development cycle you are in currently.
Both these styles of practice are very important and you should sit down with your golf instructor and design a practice plan that distributes the proportion of time you need for block style practice (for technical development) and balancing it out with a proportion for random style practice (targeting development).
Get the mix right, and practice will never seem boring, and you will discover that the hard work on the driving range will transfer to the golf course more easily, leading to better performances and a lot more fun.
Tom Fielding Golf School
Japan Summer Golf Camp and Australian PGA Legend Tour Pro-Am event on the SUNSHINE COAST, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA.
l Designed to allow golfers to play and practice to their heart’s content, while having the chance to improve their golf in the vast and naturally beautiful surroundings of the Australian country side.
l To get a firsthand experience of how Australia has become one of the leading golf Countries in the world.
l Participation in the Pelican Waters Golf Club, 2 day Australian PGA Senior Pro-Am event.
You will reaffirm the basics of golf and learn new techniques by high level lessons performed by Tom Fielding. By bringing this experience back to Japan and improving on it in your daily practice, you will make progress in lowering your scores.
Also, while in Australia gain some international golfing experience by taking the chance to interact with and compare your game with Aussie by playing and practice alongside the locals on a daily basis.
Exploring the beautiful Caloundra city, the ocean and the beach should be wonderful memories too. In August, you may participate in the Local Club Competition Golf at the Pelican Waters Golf Club, a well as the chance to play with Australia Professional golfers in a Pro-Am which are played in the area.
Take this chance to improve more in the Sunshine Coast Australia!
For all Golf camp Tour Enquiries
THE GAME PLAN
These holes will provide your best opportunity to make the one par that you need, but they can also be the holes that derail your round. Let’s discuss some specifics:
150 yards or less: These are your best opportunities to make your par. Choose the appropriate club, aim for the center of the green, and make your best swing. With a little luck, you might even make a birdie and give yourself the chance to shoot 88 or better!
150-200 yards: These are the most dangerous holes because of the temptation to go for it. Put your long irons away, and find a nice safe landing area short of the green. These holes, if well managed, are still great par opportunities because your pitch shots should be very short.
200 yards or more: Strangely, I like these holes better for our plan because there is less temptation to go for it. Find a safe landing area that will give you a nice angle into the green. There’s no requirement that you hit your 7I from the tee: if the best landing area is 140 yards away, hit your 8I followed by a 60 yard pitch. Remember that the angle of your approach can be every bit as important as the distance.
These are your bread and butter holes for this strategy: two 7 irons, a pitch, and two putts.
300-330 yards: These holes will provide excellent opportunities to make a par, but you will need to focus on good decision making and course management. After a good tee shot, you will have 150-180 yards left. On the short end, you may consider hitting another 7I straight into the green. If there’s not too much trouble by the green, or if you’re hitting the ball very well, this can be a great choice. If you’re too far out or don’t have the confidence, consider your best wedge distance, the safest landing area, and the best angle into the green when planning your second shot.
330-370 yards: Most of your par 4’s will probably be in this range. After a good tee shot, you will want to consider what the best second shot club will be. As with the short par 4’s, consider not only your best wedge distance, but also the best angle and safest landing zone.
370-400 yards: These holes will require two strong 7I shots to get you within wedge range. Resist the urge to try to hit your 7I 170 yards off the tee, you don’t need it! Stick to the plan!
If you have par 4’s that are longer than 400 yards, you’re probably playing from the wrong tees.
Unquestionably, the Par 5’s are the holes that will most test your commitment to the plan. Your driver will beg to come out (this is why you should leave it at home!). Remain committed to the plan and you will be rewarded.
Even when you hit “only” a 7I off the tee, the Par 5’s can be a great scoring opportunity. If the hole is playing 450 yards or less, you can hit your GIR with three good 7 irons. From 450-500 yards, you will have great opportunities to set up your favorite wedge distance and an optimal angle into the pin. When the holes stretch out to 500-550 yards, you will be tested: you will need four quality shots to hit the green.
Remember: Keep the ball in play and aim for the center of the green.
Before you go the golf course, I suggest that you use the 19th hole simulators to test out the above plan.
There are 24 courses to choose from, select your preferred course, then set up this course to play from the white tees first. Then set the putting to 3 putts, this means that you have two chances at holing your putt, after that the simulator will automatically give you your third putt.
In Case of Emergency, Read This
As the old boxing cliché goes, “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the nose.” It’s easy to sit here and think about hitting every fairway and green, but what about when things go wrong? Here’s what to do and what to avoid.
If you miss a fairway
Don’t panic. Play a safe shot that will get the ball back in play. Advance the ball towards the hole if possible, but this is secondary to getting the ball safely back into play. If you can advance the ball to within 150 yards, play your next shot into the green. If not, lay up to your best yardage and try to make a putt.
If you miss a green
Don’t panic. Don’t attempt a Mickelsonian all-or-nothing shot to try to “get one back.” Play a safe shot that will get the ball onto the green and try to make a putt.
If you make a double bogey
Don’t panic. Stick to the plan. The only thing that has changed is that you have to make one more putt. That’s it. The course will give you plenty of opportunities for that.
Don’t panic. Don’t deviate from the plan. If something goes wrong, get the ball back on course and try to make a putt.
I hope you’ve found this plan helpful, and I hope that some of you give it a try. It’s definitely unorthodox, but I think you will find that it is also quite effective.
In the next issue, I will discuss the subject of “HOW FAR SHOULD YOU HIT YOUR GOLF CLUBS”
Happy Golfing to you all
Your Golf Coach and Golfing Guide.
With the golf season winding down (or over) for many of us who live this neck of the woods, it is a time of reflection on the season that was. If you want 2015 to be better than the 2014 season, this 3-part series will tell you how to take advantage of the winter months and prepare for spring.
Golf is no different than any other sport. If you want to succeed, you need to have a plan. It is extremely important to take time and evaluate your game in all aspects. If you want to improve, pull out a pen and paper and start formulating a plan for how you are going to be a better golfer next season. I recommend that you start your plan with a self-evaluation.
While personal goal setting is important, if we want to set a meaningful goal there are a few requirements that must be met. That is, the goal must be specific, measurable, and obtainable. After each of my lessons with my students, I give them a homework assignment to reinforce the learning that just took place and to provide them with some much needed feedback. On top of this I recommend that everyone keep statistics on their games, not just to count how many greens, fairways and putts but to identify the specifics of each shot. An example of what a student could bring to me could include:
Other ways is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses of how you play your game of golf from your perspective.
Be realistic about the area of your game that you want to improve.
Once this list is complete, it is up to you to decide what you want to improve upon in the coming year. Obviously, we would like to get better at everything. And while I hate to burst your bubble, the reality is, that ain’t happening. So, be realistic about the area of your game that you want to improve. High-handicap players should try to stay away from evaluating how many strokes each weakness costs them during their rounds. Instead, focus on the weakness that is going to make the round much more enjoyable for you if you can improve it. In other words, if for example you average 2 to 3 putts per hole (total = 45 putts), then it would pay to evaluate the effectiveness of your chipping or pitching to gauge as a way of improving your number of putts per round.
Maybe your frustrations are a result of the number of tee shots that you hit into the trees or out of bounds each round. You, then, should focus then on hitting more fairways. Naturally, improving any weakness is going to lower your scores, so worry more about fixing things that are going to allow you to enjoy yourself more while you are playing. This will help you stay motivated to practice and play as you work towards improving.
For the lower handicaps, you should be doing just the opposite. Most likely, you are already playing and practicing quite regularly and shooting lower scores is motivation enough for you to put in the time that is necessary to improve. So, you should be searching your weaknesses for the areas of your game that are costing you the most strokes. For example, if your scores on par 5’s are unacceptable, an evaluation of the situation you might noticed that your second shots on those holes are a big weakness. While I’m probably only talking about four shots throughout an entire round, those four shots could very well cost you as many as five or six strokes. So, this is a weakness that you can plan to focus on strengthening for next season. For single digit and lower handicaps, your weaknesses are naturally going to be smaller and more specific. However, that makes them no less important to your game.
Regardless of your handicap, I would suggest picking no more than two of your weaknesses to target for the upcoming season.
Regardless of your handicap, I would suggest picking no more than two of your weaknesses to target for the upcoming season. Improving anything in your game takes time and a great deal of effort, so one or two areas of improvement are quite sufficient for a season. You do not want your goals to become an obstruction or a deterrent. A necessary level of success along the way is vital to maintaining your desire to see your plan through to the finish. Spreading out your focus to four or five goals is going to prevent you from improving any of them to the level that you desire.
So, to summarize, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your game. You can be as specific or general as you wish. It is your game and your evaluation, so criticize as you please. Once you’ve made your list bring it with you to our next lesson so that we can check it together and then I will help you get started by selecting one or two of your weaknesses that you would like to improve. Be excited about your choices and about the potential of considering these areas to be strength instead of a weakness. Keep those positive thoughts throughout the cold and the snow and By using some analysis that you can obtain at the end of this season, this offseason you can have a specific, obtainable, and measurable goal that will help you focus and master some of your weaknesses. You can continue to improve and When spring finally does arrive, you’ll already be off to a good start!
How did the size of the golf hole come to be standardized at 4.25inches?????
The “Breaking 90” Practice Plan with the Simulator
This practice plan is built entirely around learning, refining, and testing the three shots that you need to break 90. When you can complete each Test, you’re ready to take your game to the course to bag that 89.
Phase 1: The Iron Shot
The first thing you need to do is find out exactly how far you hit your chosen iron (let’s call it a 7I), and each club below it (8I, 9I…).
Next, you need to work on your accuracy and consistency. For accuracy, make sure you’re hitting shots to a target and keeping track of where your misses go. For consistency, the goal is to hit every shot the full distance, whether that’s 150, 155, or 160 yards. Plus or minus a few yards is fine, but you can’t break 90 if you’re laying the sod over the ball.
Finally, spend some of your practice time on your shorter irons. These may come into play as well, depending on the course.
Test: Hit 9/10 iron shots into a 60 foot (left to right) window at least 150 yards away.
Phase 2: The Pitch
This is probably the most difficult part of this plan for most golfers. You will need to develop a reliable pitch shot that will allow you to hit a green from 20 to 100 yards away. The method you use does not matter: you can use Dave Pelz’s “Clock” method, a Stan Utley pitch, or whatever home brewed method you concoct. The key is reliability.
You do NOT need to go flag hunting. This plan is based on hitting the green, not knocking down pins. Practice hitting shots to the biggest, safest part of the green, just like you will on the course.
Part of why this is so difficult is that good short game practice facilities are hard to come by in the Tokyo region without having to drive at least one hour and half. If you don’t have one, improvise. Take some buckets or towels and place them on the range at varying distances. Just be sure to clean up after yourself.
When you practice, don’t hit the same length shot over and over; this is not how you will play on the course. Hit a 50 yarder, then a 20 yarder, than a 90 yarder. Keep track of the distances that are best and worst for you. This will be important for your course management.
Test: Hit the green 10/10 times from varying distances. Don’t hit the same length shot twice in a row or more than twice overall.
Phase 3: The Putt
The next time you are at a golf course spend some time on the putting green. The primary thing that you need to do is lag putt well and clean up your short putts, so build your practice around that. Here are some sample drills:
Set up 4 balls around the hole at roughly 3 feet and make all of them. Repeat until you’ve made 20 in a row.
Put 3 balls at 3’, 5’, and 7’, all on the same line, for a total of 9 balls. Make all the 3’ putts in a row, then move back to the 5’ putts then the 7’ putts. The goal is to make 9 in a row. If you miss, start over.
Drop 3 balls at 30’ (or 40’, 50’, etc). Putt each of them towards a cup or a tee. If the balls end up within 3’, you win. See how many wins you can get in a row.
Test: Take one ball and drop it anywhere from 10 to 60 feet from the cup. Putt it until you hole it out. Do this 18 times, from 18 different spots. If you can complete this in 36 or fewer strokes, you pass.