It doesn’t matter if you practice with real balls, reduced distance balls, or plastic wiffle balls, indoors or outdoors, putting, driving, short game, mid or long irons; you must practice for a minimum of one hour per week, and this hour can not be broken into more than two (2) segments. You can’t do well, what you don’t do at all! You must practice and work at your game for at least one hour per week, even if that hour is only in your mind going over the proper points I have lined out in this manual. That’s right ! Even thinking better golf will help you to play better golf. Even playing computer golf will help with this aspect of learning golf course management. You will shave strokes off your score if you will sit quietly, visualize yourself, think golf, think golf course management and concentrate on your good shots. Think about how it felt, how you held that club, your stance, your mental attitude about the shot before you made it. Did you feel confident and comfortable? Where did the clubface make contact with the ball? Think of all the positive aspects of your game. One hour a week minimum.
It is also helpful to remember your bad shots, but only if you think you know how to correct them.. Don’t clutter your mind with negative instructions or thoughts. You are taking on this thought session (practice) to assist you in conditioning your muscles, so don’t confuse them with nonproductive data.
When doing the actual physical practice, you should always strive for two (2) things; keep practice fun and always win whatever you are doing. Often times, I’ll take my shag bag full of balls and hit wedge shots to a baseball diamond (a large target that’s hard to miss), but most of my practice time is spent in the back yard hitting plastic wiffle golf balls. These lightweight, airy balls don’t go far and most of the time they won’t break any thing. My object is fair game as a target. The other advantage to using these practice balls is that you can easily shit the scales to your favor. Use your practice to to boos your confidence and ego. If you are having a bad practice session. Stop. Your are a wonderful golfer and you don’t need negative input that tells you otherwise.
One of my favorite practice sessions is where I take 3 wiffle balls, mark one with black, one with red and one with a couple of wraps of duct tape. Obviously the wrapped ball will travel about 30 further than the unwrapped ones. Then I pretend that I’m a little known power hitter and master shot maker playing against two top tour professionals (One these black ball, and the other the red ball). With the extreme, unfair advantage, I always win, of course. I’m sure, as you can imagine, nothing will build your confidence quicker than beating U.S. Open winners and Masters champions.
Trust me, I know this might sound a little bit silly, but the truth of the matter is, nothing succeeds like success. The more you become accustomed to winning, the more you expect it of yourself, and the more you will come through for yourself. Chances are, if you don’t expect to make a shot, you probably won’t. Century Golfers must condition themselves to expect to make every shot the attempt, and this can only happen through practice and ego building. I have a very good friend who is a fine golfer in every aspect of his game except short chip shots. Every time he needs to make a short chip he preface it with “I just know I’m going to mess this up.”, and sure enough he does. He is self prophesying his own failure.
Another very important item regarding your practice sessions is to have a set time and day to practice. (Not mandatory, just best.) I have found that the middle of the week is best for me. My practice time is 7 P.M. on Wednesdays. When the weather is inclement I’ll do this practice inside the basement, or go to my bedroom and “Think” golf. The reason I like Wednesday evening is because if I get myself in a time bind, I can practice any day before that and still make sure that I didn’t miss practicing. Then I can practice again on Wednesday if I want to, but it is not mandatory. If a family emergency arises on Wednesday evening and I can’t practice, (the only acceptable excuse), then I still have the remainder of the week to make it up. You must also keep in mind that playing is not practice. If you play a round on Monday, you still must have your Wednesday practice. Keep in mind, of course, that practice is fun and not a drudgery, but to insure that it is not neglected, you must put it on a priority basis so that you and your family know practice time is not to be infringed upon. Everyone in my family knows not to expect me to do anything at 7 P.M., Wednesday, except practice. Your family will adapt to this the same way they adapt to your Monday Night Football, your involvement with an association or your going to work every day. If you establish a strict ritual, (just lie going to church) others will comply and even help you in your endeavor when they realize how important it is to you. Don’t forget, your family loves you!
Grab A Friend Every Day
When I say “Grab a friend every day”, I’m not talking about the guy next door. I’m talking about one of your golf clubs. You don’t have to hit with it, swing with it or anything else, just hold the club in your hand and waggle it. Feel the grip, feel the weight,and feel your power. You don’t want to reach into your golf bag and pull out a stranger. Even if you only play golf one or two rounds a year, you want to feel confident and comfortable when you select and swing that club. If you are not confident about the feel of your club, your score will certainly reflect it.
I like to compare the use of golf clubs to being intimate with one’s spouse. It is possible for a husband and wife to make love only once or twice a year, and still find it beautiful and rewarding, but only if they have their thoughts and longings on the same wave lengths. They must have daily contact with one another, the wink of an eye or the touch of their hands, that certain something that is understood between the two. I can guarantee you that if a couple goes months on end without touching, talking or sharing their own little intimacies, not only will sex be uncomfortable for them, but they are probably on the road to divorce.
A golfer cannot make the necessary finesse shots and play controlled golf, if he or she does not have daily contact with his golfing partners…..his clubs. You cannot hope to make intimate shots without any intimacy (physical touching) on a daily basis.
I suppose this is as good a place as any to discuss how Century Golfers should pick their clubs. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot buy lower scores by buying newer or more expensive equipment if you don’t know how to use it. If your stance is too the right and you hit your balls to the right, a new set of custom made clubs will not make you hit them straight down the middle of the fairway. When I was a child, we had a neighbor boy who owned a raggedy old ton up baseball mitt. He couldn’t catch a fly ball to save hit life. One day the boy showed up with a brand new Spaulding fielders mitt, he was so proud and excited, but he still couldn’t catch a fly ball. The problem was that he needed glasses. He flat out couldn’t see. Shortly after he got eyeglasses, he could catch as good as ny of us, but not because of his fielder’s mitt, it was his new found vision. This is what Century Golfers must concern themselves with, their vision! After you see and grasp the simplicity of golf, then you will break 100, not after you buy custom made clubs. Knowledge, not clubs, is the answer.
My advice on clubs for Century Golfers is going to depend on your ego more than proficiency. I would advise any golfer to at least have a matched set of clubs, even if they are used. Do you really think this years Pings are that far superior to a set two years old, and a two year old set is less than 25% of the cost when you buy them from an individual. You will not have a fluid, controlled, even tempo to your swing if your are playing with a hodge-podge of clubs. Over and above that, I don’t think it makes any difference what clubs you play with as long as the shaft flex is not too far off what is comfortable for you. If you have a slow swing speed (75-90 miles per hour) you really do need the Senior Flex. I would suggest that you start saving for new equipment however, because I also advise that you contact a PGA member to be properly fitted for a new set of clubs, shoes and proper ball selection as soon as you are shooting around 90. Make sure the PGA member fitting you knows your skill level and limitations. Experience, stance, health, injuries and the courses you are playing should all be considered during you fitting.
Don’t forget, it is very important to grab a “Friend” every day. Waggle it, line up targets, visualize your stroke every day, even if you only play one or two rounds a year. You may have to fight with your wife and children to do this, but I keep an 8 iron beside my easy chair, that way I don’t have the chance to forget to grab it.