My article for the National Golfer magazine about the WGC Matchplay event in Tucson Arizona , in which Hunter Mahan won.£930,000!
Golfing articles Archives
I know it all seems great travelling the world, playing in exotic warm locations, and if you are good enough earning a living at it , and for a very special few a vast amount of money to be made! But take a look at the last tournament the flagship event on the European Tour, wow did things go wrong there! Firstly Sergio Garcia makes a very stupid comment about his great pal Tiger Woods, this was at the players awards dinner just before the event, then every player and his dog is asked to give an opinion on what was said. Then European Tour head George O’Grady makes a statement and gets that all wrong on Sky tv, and has to issue a apology. The weather is rubbish, its winter out there! I was there at Wentworth filming the players for my video channel, and it was cold, dull and windy, no fun at all, I can tell you! This year the BMW PGA had all of the triumphant Ryder Cup team playing at Wentworth, it was going to be a classic! Sorry No it wasn’t, the lead up to the event was marred by poor comments from people that should no better, ok the weather was totally out of anyones control, but I was at the course all day on the Monday & Tuesday , the official practice days, and I never saw Rose, McDowell, McIlroy, Donald, Westwood, Poulter, on the golf course at all!! Where were they? Its strange that McDowell, McIlroy, Donald, Poulter all missed the cut, and what should have been a fantastic tournament never materialised. I know McDowell won the week before, so he is forgiven, Westwood also put up a good showing, but the so called top players who were expected to fight for the win, all missed the cut! It was left to the lower ranked players to put on a show, and Marc Warren, and Simon Khan and Matteo Manassero certainly provided great entertainment during the last few holes, and of course the brilliant golf played by Khan and Manassero during their play off was enthralling to watch. So it was of to Walton Heath for some players to try and get one of the ten places up for grabs out of a field of around a hundred to qualify for the US Open at Merion this year. The weather was cold and very very windy, the greens fast, balls were being blown around, as Walton Heath is Six hundred feet above sea level, heather awaited any stray shots, players were nearly getting on par fours in one and then playing a 30 yd chip and watching the ball roll and roll straight over the green, and then dropping a shot! The wind must have been blowing around twenty miles per hour. Players started teeing off at 6.40 am in two balls. I saw the winner Simon Khan, yes he was there playing another two rounds and playing great golf for a seven under par total to win the event. Paul Casey had a poor start with a 74 but shot a fantastic 64 in the second round to qualify. So its not all glamour out on the European Tour, the competition is intense, the pressure never ending, and its all about the score and not making stupid comments! What surprises are in store for us next week? Please can we have a summer? Enjoy your golf!
To learn and improve should be your goal, if you are not learning and working on improving you will probably be gradually getting worse!
So learn and improve but how?
You will not be able to do this on your own, how many of the best Tour players in the world have no coach?
They all have either a coach who works with them consistently, or a coach who really knows their swing and they see them for check ups periodically.
Tianlang Guan the 14 year old wonder kid who made the cut at the Masters, what an incredible performance that was, is going to work with Tigers coach Sean Foley very soon! He certainly believes he can improve!
You can always improve!
So you need a structured plan, an overview of things you want to improve.
How do you practice and work on your desired plan?
For example say you are going to improve your grip, how do you do it?
How much intensity do you need to really own your grip, your set up, get your alignment, improve your golf swing?
A lot, but make sure the time YOU can put in is not wasted going down blind alleys, listening to bad advice.
Get your club, a eight iron is fine, place your left hand on the club, I cannot in this post show you how to hold the club, I need to see your grip, but I will advise you on your approach and how to practice.
Once you have your hand placed on the club how you need it to be, look at how your hand lays on the grip, feel it, look at it, feel the contact points on your hand, close your eyes, increase your awareness between your hands and the club.
Place your right hand on the grip, mould it onto the left, check that is on the club the way you desire, look at your hands, feel the way the grip lays in the hands, feel the pressure points, close your eyes, sense it, feel it.
You need your grip to be moulded correctly and feel the club is a natural attachment to your hands.
Hands need to be Educated
Your hands as Homer Kelley said in his book The Golfing Machine, are the command post, they give you feedback of the club face, but only if you have educated hands, hands that are sensitive and understand how to work during the swing.
The great Henry Cotton was another who preached about the brain and hand to club face connection, this is an area of the game that has been in the shadows of late, its more popular at the moment to talk about hips, lag, biomechanics etc.
But how many top golfers have uneducated hands, and no feel of the club face throughout the swing? None of them!
I think you will agree they all really can feel what their hands are doing and where they need to go, throughout the golf swing.
This is what you really need as well, its your only contact with the golf club, you need to be aware, so your hands in time will feel more comfortable, they will be stable, strong, sensitive to movement, they will be able to give you accurate feedback and will give you a feel of the club face that you have never experienced before!
They will be trained, not two hands doing their own thing, trying to hit the ball!
To improve in anything you need good information, you also need better awareness, heightened senses, better visualisation, better feel, better planning, more focus!
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I see golfers doing exactly that on the driving range!
David Bown PGA AA Golf Professional
Authorised Golfing Machine Instructor
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