What Every Golfer Needs To Know About Breaking 70
Some Plain Talk About a Simple Game That Has Become Way To Complicated
"The golf swing factory uses high tech gadgetry to enthrall the audience with spell-binding and mysterious descriptions of magical movements that will guarantee tee to green success."
Whether we like to admit it or not we live in a golf swing culture that significantly influences how the game of golf is learned and played.
I sometimes wonder what the game of golf would look like if instead of a large number of driving ranges there were a large number of pitching and putting greens.
It is always refreshing to read statements like that of the late Earl Woods suggesting that his approach to developing young Tiger Wood’s game was the opposite of how Jack Nicklaus learned the game.
Where young Jack Nicklaus was advised by his mentor Jack Grout to hit it as far as he could first – tee to green game development, Earl Woods taught Tiger Woods to develop his game from the green to the tee. (Mind you both played in their early teens and were phenomenal golfers using their diametrically opposed game development strategies.)
Years ago Darryl Welch, the golf professional I was apprenticed to told all the apprentices under him the story of how a lot of Asian caddies in the 1960’s were taught how to play golf.
The instructor, a man named Chen Chin Po (also known as Papa Chen) started teaching the caddies a golf improvement strategy way ahead of its time, breaking the game down into skill sets that had to be mastered before you moved onto the next one. Much like how people learn martial arts.
1. The caddies had to master short putts
2. Then they had to master long putts
3. Then they had to master the chip shot, pitch shot & bunker shot
4. Then they had to master approach shots - half to full swing
5. And eventually tee shots had to be mastered
Then they would be taught the basic rules of the game and from there they would go play on the Asian tour.
This ‘green to tee development strategy’ makes perfect sense if you think about it.
The Golf Score Factory
I call this approach 'the golf score factory.' The golf score factory process is designed around lowering golf scores by improving the elements that have the biggest influence on golf score improvement – the short irons and putter. The emphasis of this approach is to develop the player's scoring skills more than the full swing skills.
This is the least popular approach to game improvement in Western golf culture and increasingly in Eastern golf culture with just a hand full of professionals who have devoted their time to this development pathway.
The Golf Swing Factory
The golf swing factory can be likened to the difference between David and Goliath in terms of proportion. The golf swing factory (Goliath) drives golf from grass roots all the way to the professional golf tours.
It is big and its control is obvious. Magazines focus most of their energy on golf swing factory and the golf score factory fights a continuous losing battle against it.
The golf swing factory uses high tech gadgetry to enthrall the audience with spell-binding and mysterious descriptions of magical movements that will guarantee tee to green success.
It is sexy and virtually everyone wants some. Scientists are involved along with many experts from different fields all focusing much of their energy on golf swing perfection. The result is that today there are many wonderful examples of silky smooth-perfect looking golf swings on the tees at amateur and professional golf tournaments. Mission accomplished.
But the reality is that for every perfect looking golf swing there are golf score averages that simply are not good enough to make the grade.
Now I’m not talking about the average amateur golfer here, who doesn't hit many fairways and greens, I’m talking about the elite golfer who isn’t shooting low enough golf scores. There are exceptions, and here’s one worth noting.
Rory McIlroy in the past three years has found a way to improve his score average per round by 1.5 strokes. In 2010, Rory was ranked 33rd on the PGA Tour with a scoring average of 70.35.
In 2012 he had the lowest score average on the PGA Tour which was 68.87. Of all the stats worth noting his putting statistics have improved the most whilst his increased driving distance has actually led to less fairways hit and a lower ranking than previously.
Read more here. http://tourreport.pgatour.com/2012/12/04/shotlink-mcilroy-by-the-numbers/
With nearly all the professional qualifying schools over with for the year what can we learn from them.
It’s simple; you only get playing privileges on a professional golf tour if you can shoot low enough golf scores.
Now I know that everyone knows that but I don’t think they see the connection between lower golf scores and how they are produced.
The message is getting distorted by the noise created by the golf swing factory. And if you’re listening to it, then you should know that the likelihood of you ever becoming a low score amateur or professional golfer is unlikely. So do yourself a favor and practice your short-game skills at least 70 percent of the time, and your long-game skills 30 percent of the time.
This will be a huge challenge, because the pull of perfect golf swing gravity is strong and most can’t resist its pull. Sadly some don’t even realize that they are caught in its field and happily spend most of their time perfecting their swing to the exclusion of everything else.
Don’t let this happen to you. If you want lower golf scores and more success in golf like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy then you need to become world class from 100 yards and in.
You do NOT earn a penny for a pretty golf swing, but you WILL pay for it!
In the New Year learn the valuable lessons of Papa Chen and Earl Woods and build your golf game from the putting green backwards to the tee and you will find your way to lower golf scores and a lot more success.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
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