Monday, December 26, 2011


6-8 foot pressure putting

What to do:
Grab two balls and your putter.  Pick a putt 6 to 8 feet long and, going through your full routine first, try to make the putt with both balls.  Pretend your first ball is for birdie and your second is for par.  So, if you make the first (for birdie) and then make the second (for par), you are 1-under.  If you miss a putt and make another you are even-par, and if you miss both you are 1-over.  The object of this game is to get to 3-under par.  After hitting both putts and taking note of your score, move on to a different spot, changing the break and speed for the next pair of putts.  The absolute best you can do is making 6 in a row, getting to 3-under without missing one putt. 

How I did:
This one was a bit of a struggle for me last week.  I missed 7 times, so it took me about 20 putts to get to 3-under.  To be honest it's best not to get caught up in exactly how many missed putts or how long it takes to finish.  Aim for 6 in a row, and if you fall short keep your focus on 3-under until you get there. 

Beginner- Both putts are for birdie
Intermediate- (As prescribed)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Play Nine

Full swing through the bag, prepare your mind
What to do:
On the range, pick a course you will soon play and complete 9 holes tee to green (tee shot and approach shots, no putting).  Begin on the first tee, picturing the hole in as much detail as possible.  Go through your full routine for each shot, execute it, and then move on just as you would in a regular round.  If you miss a shot, don’t dwell on it and don’t try it again… move on to the next one.  The point of this drill is to conjure up as much imagery as possible, both of the course and the shot, and to stay disciplined in moving on to the next shot.  The combination of imagery and focus on the present shot will prepare your mind for the upcoming round. 

How I did:
This one’s tough to assess because there’s no objective goal to keep track of.  While the steps for this drill are important and clear (imagine each hole, imagine each shot, execute the shot, move on), there are no external goals.  Take note of how well you stick to each step, and how vivid your imagery is.  I left this drill with a good idea for how well I was able to focus on that particular day… you will too.  Just keep concentrating and stick to the process.   You’ll get a lot out of this one. 

Beginner: Play 3 holes
Intermediate: Play 6 holes

Monday, December 12, 2011

Even Par ShortGame Challenge

See how sharp your short game really is

What to do:
Pick the club you chip with most often (in my case it's my 54-degree sand wedge) and also grab your putter and 1 ball.  Go to a green on which you can both chip and putt.  Play 10 different holes, picking randomly after completing the hole before, trying to score as low as you can.  Pretend each is a par-2, meaning you have to at least get the ball up and down to make par.  Chip-ins are birdies, a 3 is a bogey, and so on.  Add variety to each hole, mixing in different types of shots and different levels of difficulty.  If you do this and score an even-par 20, congrats... you're a stud.

How I did:

Even-par (20) last time I did it.  I'm usually around +1 (21).  

This is one of my favorite drills because of how closely it resembles on-course play.  I am alternating shots and trying to post an actual score which I compare to past ones, checking for improvement every time.  An idea: try doing this drill twice during a practice session, once at the beginning then once at the end, and see if there's any improvement in your score.  I do this drill quite often and would recommend it for anyone truly trying to become a better golfer.  

No scaling for this one, just see what you shoot and aim for improvement on the next go-around.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Game of the Week

In the wake of Tiger's epic fall from the top, many players have managed to string together good play, attracting the attention of the golfing world... but no one has done so with the consistency of Luke Donald.  In his 2011 season on the PGA Tour he won twice, had 14 top-10 finishes, made 17 of 19 cuts, led the money list ($6.7 million), had the low scoring average, and ascended to #1 in the World Rankings.  Though not a bomber off the tee (T147th in driving distance), nor spectacularly accurate (57th driving accuracy, 41st greens in reg.), he has become the most consistent, and consequently the best, player on earth today.  One stat does stand out for Luke Donald, and I believe it is the key to his recent success.  Luke leads the Tour in the all-around putting statistic.  His greatest asset is that he almost never wastes a shot by 3-putting.  At one point this year, Donald went 449 holes, nearly 25 rounds, without a 3-putt!  This is powerful information, as it unearths an indisputable factor of success.  Those who waste the least shots on the greens ultimately save the most shots on their scorecards.  Which leads into today's Game of the Week...

"No 3-putts"
 For getting that clutch 2-putt under pressure 

What to do:
Take 2 balls onto the practice green and pick a putt over 30 feet.  Hit 2 putts to the hole, attempting to hole out or snuggle it up as close as possible.  Once you've hit both putts, pick the one farthest from the hole and attempt to finish the 2-putt.  If you do in fact 2-putt, you're free to move on.  However, if you 1-putt either of the initial putts then it stands and you immediately move on, attempting to 1 or 2-putt again to a different hole.  Repeat this process, picking different holes to putt to, always over 30 feet to begin.  If you 3-putt at any point (unless you 1-putt one of the two first putts for that hole) you must start over.  Attempt to at least 2-putt on your worst ball 10 times in a row.  

How I did:
I had to start over twice... once on my 3rd hole and once on my 8th.  Be patient with this one and don't be ashamed to scale if necessary.

Intermediate- 5 holes instead of 10.
Beginner- Play your closest first putt as opposed to the farthest.  5 holes instead of 10.