Great start to the 2013 golf season!

I’ve been struggling with my confidence since the poor finish to the 2012 season and decided to pick up Bob Rotella’s Golf Is a Game of Confidence.  Halfway through the read the message was clear:  I needed to re-dedicate to my short game and regain some structure with my pre-shot routine, which admittedly I had slacked off on.  I recalled the last few good rounds I had played and the common thread was an excellent short game practice session the day before.  When I come away from a great session on the green I get an invincible feeling that transitions into confidence and relaxation in every aspect of my game.

Out at the short game area yesterday, I worked on a very methodical pre-shot routine for chipping, pitching, and putting and enjoyed some excellent feedback.  90% of the routine was my old routine, but I concentrated hard to repeat before every shot.  The slight adjustment was to take a final look at the target, on all shots, and immediately pull the trigger.  On my putts, I literally stared down my spot, moved my eyes back to the ball, and started the stroke in one motion.  By not hesitating, I was trusting my feel, which was akin to a basketball player eying the basket, firing off a jumper, and letting his natural sense for calculating distance, arc, and force sink the shot.  And it worked great.

I also used the landing point drill with three alignment sticks to frame a small box (open end towards the hole) where I wanted my chip or pitch to land.  This got me focused exclusively on the target and freed up my sense of touch.  At no time did I think any mechanical thoughts because I was totally focused on my landing spot and feeling the shot during my practice swings.  The results were awesome, with plenty of crisp contact and dialed-in distance on the pitches and chips, and putts that were banged into the back of the cup.  It’s funny how one small mental change can yield so much physical benefit.

So it’s the start of the work week, the weather has turned sour, and I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go.  🙂  Has your season gotten off to a good start as well?

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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6 Responses to Great start to the 2013 golf season!

  1. Nice to read of your confidence improvement translating to better ball control. I have recently been employing a new pre-shot routine, which has been working well, especially off the tee box. I watched Russell Henley in Hawaii, he certainly wastes no time in stroking the ball firmly into the cup, what an amazing golf story that was.

  2. Brian Penn says:

    Thanks! Just wish I could go battle test these changes but it will have to wait.

  3. aaronrbruce says:

    Nice to hear you have been able to translate the written word into some tangible benefits. I picked up Rotella’s “Golf is not a game of perfect” over the holidays and am looking forward to jumping into it and seeing what it can do for my game.

  4. Brian Penn says:

    Aaron, The Rotella books have some good common sense and reoccurring themes throughout. I’ve found Putting Out of Your Mind to be the most benefit from a game improvement perspective. Thanks for the look! Brian

  5. Brian, I have tried many times to stay committed to the pre shot routine while practicing and I have to tell you it is much easier said than done. Kudos for sticking with it and good luck when you finally do get to hit the course.

  6. Brian Penn says:

    You are so right. Try hitting 100 3ft putts with a full preshot routine on each. Talk about mind boggling boredom, but you will putt great the next day out! I struggle to maintain that level of concentration after a bad round because it seems to invalidate the hard work. In reality, the hard work is not invalidated because bad rounds are simply part of golf. You need to focus on long term improvement and satisfaction and ignore the short term ups and downs. Thanks!

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