The Real Reason Why 97 Percent of Elite Golfers Fail to Improve and How You Can Be The One Who Succeeds (Part 3)
The litmus test in high performance golf is to produce a low golf score when it counts. Your approach to training and developing your golf skills should be to achieve this goal above all others.
By now you’re starting to realise that there are a lot of different ways you can go about developing your golf skills and golf game.
You can do what the majority of advanced golfers do and just go about your practice in a random and haphazard way by adapting and finding ways to continually improve which will work, but may take a long time for you to see the results you expect.
Or based on what you have learned so far from our approach at Pro Tour Golf College, you can plan, design and drive your training towards the goal of performing skilfully and confidently under any type of pressure.
Golf is a ‘switch on-switch off’ event or activity. Each time you hit a golf shot you have to switch on your mind to execute the shot and then switch it off. In any round you play you’re going to hit somewhere between 70 and 100 golf shots, with each shot (including a pre-shot routine) ideally taking less than 30 seconds to perform.
So if you took 80 strokes for your round and you multiply each stroke you played by thirty seconds, it’s about 40 minutes in total that you’re actually walking into a golf shot and hitting it. For the other four hours and twenty minutes (give or take) you’re walking and talking whilst you’re strolling down fairways and/or looking for your ball in the rough or trees etc.
"The litmus test in high performance golf is to produce a low golf score when it counts. Your approach to training and developing your golf skills should be to achieve this goal above all others."
So when you train your golf skills your goal should be to train like you wish to play. If you want to hit golf shots and play better under pressure, you will have to train so that this becomes your primary objective.
Remember that the total time it takes to walk in to hit your golf shot is around 30 seconds. It’s short in duration and it should be intensive. Great golfers can switch on and get into the right mental/physical zone to hit their shot virtually every time.
The idea is to learn and develop your skills so you can master the moment of hitting your shot, which as you already know takes a lot of training the right way.
Each golf shot you hit requires that you focus in a way that allows you to engage your well developed and habituated skills without a lot of conscious thought or interaction.
Our students at Pro Tour Golf College are taught to reduce or shorten the duration of the training event to the time it takes to hit a set of ten golf balls at a time (short duration) but at the same time to optimise their focus and readiness for this short duration (high intensity).
In the illustration above the horizontal bar describes the duration of the training event and the vertical bar describes the intensity of the event. In our approach to training elite golfers we aim for short duration with high intensity sets. Picture someone running up a very steep set of stairs. The duration might be short but the intensity will be high.
In our approach to training elite golfers we aim for short duration with high intensity sets. We have found that ten balls per set is ideal for most of the golfers we train. A ten ball set with full pre-shot routine will take between four minutes and thirty seconds (4:30) to five minutes (5:00) to complete.
Golfers with poor attentional control should probably start with 5 ball sets with a full pre-shot routine and learn to develop their attention to 10 balls in time.
The duration of your golf training activity is based on the idea that developing training periods of shorter duration with a higher intensity is better for training to perform successfully under pressure in golf. This is different from drill training where you're habituating a skill and the intensity is lower but the volume of work (repetitions) is higher.
Typically many advanced to elite level golfers we have observed - when practicing their golf skills have a strong tendency to increase the duration of the practice event coupling it with a lower level of intensity because they are led to believe that hitting high volumes of practice balls will make you play better.
Sadly this is not the case. And actually the downside of this approach is that when you increase the volume of balls you’re hitting with a reduced training intensity, you’re setting yourself up for failure because you’re not training to perform your skills under pressure.
The underlying principle behind this approach to training is the principle of adaptation which refers to the process of getting your golf skills habituated through a particular training drill or training routine by repeatedly exposing yourself to it.
As your body adapts to the stress of the training drill or new training routine, the activity becomes easier to do which explains why when you are learning a new drill or routine in the beginning you discover that your mind and body struggle to coordinate the movement with accuracy.
However after performing the same drill or routine for weeks or even months at the same intensity, you notice that what was difficult to do in the beginning is now becoming quite easy to do. This underpins the necessity to vary the training drill or training routine by carefully managing the volume and intensity of your training volume (what we call the practice performance mix) if you want to take full advantage of your hard work.
The question is if you practice this way compared to the way we’re suggesting, how long will it take you to develop your skills to automatic and at the same time be able to produce stokes successfully under any type of pressure?
There's some confusion about the difference between training a golf skill technically and training a golf skill to produce a shot that travels accurately to your target. When you design your training plan you need to consider that some of your skills are in the technique development stage and some are in the targeting development phase where the skills are being refined to hit accurate shots to targets.
As you can see in this image to the left there is a tapering off of skill development from the technique phase through the target phase and ultimately to the tournament transfer phase.
By building your training plan around a tapering approach you will find that you learn your golf skills more easily and take them from the 'how to do it' stage to the 'forget about doing it' stage faster.
As you have discovered so far, our approach to training golfers to perform at very high levels is based on four training principles that underpin all the training that we do at Pro Tour Golf College. By Assessing-Predicting-Prescribing and Monitoring your performances on and off the golf course you are the one in control of the direction of your golf game.
In upcoming articles we'll cover more of these principles the help you to plan, design and drive your performances on the golf course under par more often.
Both David and I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions regarding our approach or anything else related to golfer development we'd love to hear from you.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - firstname.lastname@example.org
Another week goes by with PTGC players playing around the globe competing on professional tours and in amateur events. All of our students are continually measuring where they are in relation to the PTGC code of 12-4-2 (pars, birdies, bogies). They know that when they achieve a 12-4-2 average in tournaments they will compete successfully on any golf tour anywhere.
Danielle Montgomery has just returned from the European Ladies Tour where she has played seven tournaments and made the cut (which means you get paid) in six of them. Her best finish was 12th position in the Turkish Airlines tournament and a low round of 66 in the Swiss Open two weeks ago was a reward for Dani’s hard work. Dani is currently in 70th position on the LET Order of Merit.
Her competitive scoring average for the six events is 73.45. Remembering that at PTGC we crunch the numbers as golf is all about the low score and not about the perfect swing. Looking at Dani’s competitive high score average (scores above 74) it is 76.6 (target is 74 or better).
The main reason for this is the lack of birdie conversions on the par 5 holes. So in her time home in Perth we will focus on improving her approach wedges and lay up distances of her 2nd shots on the par 5’s. Here’s an interesting stat which shows that had Dani’s competitive high score average been 74 her ranking on the Order of Merit would drop her from 70th spot to 49th!
It just goes to show that EVERY STROKE COUNTS...
The Canadian Tour is in full swing and Jason Scrivener from PTGC has produced a 71 in his opening round that has left him in a tie for 62nd position. As on most professional golf tours even par does not cut it. The 2nd day Jason came out firing and was 6 under after 10 holes and finished with a 65. This got him into a tie for 11th position and in contention.
A 3rd round 70 dropped him a couple of spots to 13th on the leader board, 8 under total and four shots from the leading score. A final round of 73 dropped him back to 21st position but Jason was upbeat as he had got himself into contention and has played and scored solidly.
Win’s very seldom come out of the blue and building momentum over a few tournaments is what’s needed to create the confidence and consistency to win on tour.
Ben Leong from Malaysia who competes on the Asian Tour has just had a good finish in China last week. A second place finish with scores of 67, 68, 72 and 67 was almost good enough to claim the winner’s cheque.
His self assessment of the four rounds was that ball striking and ability to stay in the “Ideal Performance State” were rated A and that chipping and wedge approaches were B & C. We’re looking forward to working with Ben when he comes to Perth on the 24th of July to train with us a PTGC for 2 weeks. Don’t forget to bring your warm gear Ben for the cool mornings here in Perth.
The Asian Development Tour is in Terengganu Malaysia and the tournament is the PGM Terengganu Masters being played at the Awana Kijai Golf Beach and Spa Resort. Rance De Grussa from PTGC made the cut on the number 147.
A milestone as it’s his 1st made cut as professional golfer. Rance is making use of the opportunity he has on the ADT to compete and use the skills he has developed at PTGC. He finished the tournament with a 72 in the 3rd round and a 73 in the last round for a total of 292. We wish him all the best for the next 2 events being played in Indonesia.
Tatiana Wijaya was a very excited girl when she messaged us that she had qualified for the USA Junior Girls Championship. She qualified after winning a playoff for the last spot. Well done Tia and dad Budi, great effort!!
Her next tournament is the qualifying for the USA Ladies Championship which will be a tough assignment but Tia has the ability and self belief to lift her game for the big occasion.
David and Lawrie
In our opinion if you’re not training your golf skills to learn how to break 70 and perform under pressure, then the real question is what are you training them for?
Our aim at Pro Tour Golf College is to train our students to become what we call the ‘70 percent golfer.’ The 70 Percent Golfer is a golfer who can accomplish or even exceed a 70 percent score average in four key performance categories in training and then transfer them into lower golf scores in tournaments.
Learning how to break 70 in competition is easier to achieve when you have clearly defined your training objectives.
These are three key questions we ask golfers who wish to become top amateurs or touring professionals.
1. What are your current practice objectives?
2. What is the overall purpose of your practice?
3. Where do you see your score average in 12 months?
When we ask these questions to elite amateurs and professional golfers the impression we mostly get is that they don’t have clearly defined objectives with a plan for achieving them.
This will make it almost impossible for any elite level golfer to lower their golf score average to below 70 in a competitive environment on a consistent basis.
At Pro Tour Golf College we have a very simple approach to helping our students learn how to break 70 in competition and become successful professional golfers. In our approach we are mainly focused on improving the high pay-off golf skills.
These are the golf skills that will have the most dramatic effect on helping you to learn how to break 70 in tournaments. We have a very structured way of going about this, which essentially is to take them through three development phases which you can see in the model above.
We describe this model as the Pro Tour Golf College Golfer Performance Platform and this platform helps up to divide our training hours into the areas of the game that are the weakest, and then to formulate the most effective strategy for improving their golf score average in competition.
Every golfer in the PTGC program is at different levels within these platforms and they each have a development strategy and structure for improving their skills to move towards their goal of learning how to break par consistently.
Basically our platforms describe the following.
1. The Capability Platform...........Technical skill development
2. The Confidence Platform.........Mental/Emotional skill development
3. The Competition Platform.......Strategic skill development
You’ll notice that the pyramid is inverted and the reason for this is that we usually begin by developing the technical skills of golfers in our program to the level where the student develops a high level of confidence in executing their golf skills under increasing pressure which they ultimately learn to transfer into golf tournaments.
How do we decide what the high pay-off skills are that need to be developed? At Pro Tour Golf College we have developed the 70 Percent Golfer Model to help our students to understand where their game is currently and then where they have to take it too to become a successful touring golfer.
The 70 Percent Golfer is our training and performance model at Pro Tour Golf College that helps us to define for our students what the minimum required performance standard is for becoming a successful touring professional.
We believe that when you understand the numbers that are relevant and important in your game it will help you to drive your performance in the right direction---to a lower golf score average.
In our program at Pro Tour Golf College out of the twenty five to thirty hours that we train our students each week 75 percent of those hours is spent developing shots played within 100 yards of the green and on the green, and just twenty five percent is focused on developing the long game skills.
There is a huge emphasis on ‘perfect golf swing technique,’ in golf culture - especially at the elite end of the golf spectrum, and our approach at PTGC is just the opposite. In-fact we embrace the opposite and teach our students to do the same.
In our opinion most of the failure of elite amateurs and golf professionals to find their way to break 70 in competition consistently is because of their almost obsessive compulsion to develop their golf swing.
Fairways and greens hit in regulation - the ball striking component in golfer development is important as part of an overall training approach to developing a lower score average, however in our 70 percent model it is only twenty five percent of the 70 percent golfer model.
You need to define your destination and design the most suitable pathway for you to achieve the scoring average that leads you to competitive results in tournaments when you play under pressure. Spend too much time on any one area of the game and you could very well reach a plateau with your scores.
What are your numbers in these four categories at the moment? Do you know? Using the blank model below fill it out your current average in the four categories by drawing a line on the percentage point where you think you skills are currently.
How do you work it out? In Pro Tour Golf College our students do it this way...This is an example to give you an idea of how you can work out where you are on the 70 percent golfer model.
Putts Made from 3 to 12 Feet
Total of 97 + 65 + 52 + 43 = 257 divided by 4 = 64.25
Fairways and Greens Hit in Regulation (Ball Striking Category)
Total of 57 + 48 = 105 divided by 2 = 52.50
Up and Downs From Less Than 30 Yards
Total of 73 + 55 + 46 + 37 + 29 = 240 divided by 5 = 48
Wedge Approach Shots Less than 100 Yards
Total of 64 + 59 + 62 + 47 + 40 + 33 + 28 + 25 = 358 divided by 44.75
Now add the four category's together
209.5 divided by 4 = 52.37
If you drew lines close to 70 percent in the four categories then you are a great golfer and will become a successful touring golfer.
If you’re low in any area go to work on improving it today. Also you might want to look at the percentages on this test as a question of how much time you actually spend (or don't spend) in any of these key skill areas.
If you're spending too much time in one area maybe you should develop a new strategy that encompasses more time in the other areas so that in the days, weeks and months ahead you discover that you’re making progress towards breaking 70 in golf tournaments consistently.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
The Professional Golf Tour Training College
The Real Reason 97 Percent of Elite Golfers Fail to Improve and How You Can Be the One Who Succeeds (Part 2)
When you practice your golf skills you realize pretty quickly that it takes a certain amount of time and effort to improve your golf skills so that you can become more competitive.
We explain to our students at Pro Tour Golf College that you must manage the training activity carefully so as to optimize the time spent practicing whilst at the same time guard against over-training injuries such as repetitive strain injuries.
When you train your golf swing technique, or for that matter any part of your golf game you are going to exert effort through the repetition of golf swings-both short and long. The training volume describes the overall amount of work you perform and also specifically how you go about performing it.
For instance, our students are given a weekly training schedule (see below) that requires them to practice their golf skills for a minimum of twenty five hours per week from Monday to Friday. The amount of hours they practice describes the duration of the training schedule which is one of the components of training volume, but this alone doesn’t tell us much else.
Within this training time period our students will practice their short-game skills and their long-game skills. It’s conceivable that they could complete their training in less time however this wouldn’t make a lot of sense as the whole idea of training is to design training routines that optimize skill development and habituate the skills so they can be performed under pressure.
Over-training leads to fatigue and also over-use injuries, so designing the training process carefully should be seen as an important and integral part of elite golfer development.
There are a number of key factors that significantly influence your golf success and the following simple model (right) describes the three components within the training volume that we use to develop the most effective plan for developing our student’s abilities to cope better under the pressure of competition.
This model is very common and is used by high performance coaches and sports scientists, and as you will see is easily adapted to the sport of golf for developing an elite golfer’s ability.
In our opinion, elite amateur golfers who wish to become competitive professional golfers will need to implement a training program that incorporates the components from this model if they want to become successful tour golfers.
Training With The Correct Amount of Intensity
Each golfer has a state of intensity or if you like a level of arousal where they perform their best. Optimal intensity refers to the ideal level of physical and mental intensity that allows an athlete to perform his/her best (Taylor & Wilson, 2005).
In our golf training program we teach our students to “train on the edge,” which is to say we want them to train in their ideal focused state for a predetermined period of time to accomplish their goal.
You can see in the image below how the optimal state of arousal is around 5 out of 7. Each golfer will experience 5 differently; however the idea is to train so you get your arousal level to slightly higher than half way.
One of the biggest challenges you will face as a competitive golfer is over-arousal (High) and under-arousal (Low) and by developing an awareness of this important component in your training plan you can learn how to hit your shots in the optimal zone for developing your nerve to hit pressure shots successfully any-time-any-where.
How to Train Your Golf Skills 'On The Edge'
So how do you design your practice to “train on the edge” of your potential? This is one of the most important questions in elite golfer development. In our approach to student development at Pro Tour Golf College we track, test and measure every stroke performed in training over a ten week period.
From this data we can more easily determine weak through to strong skills of our students and design a relevant and progressive training plan that is built around improving their weaker and most important skills that leads them to lowering their competitive score average.
The simplest way for you to understand where your golf skills are currently is to take a look at the following model (below) which describes two important factors in designing your training program effectively so that you can achieve the goal of conditioning your central nervous system (CNS) to allow you to hit your golf shots successfully under pressure.
Factor 1) Perceived Skill Level – As you develop your golf skill capability platform you will discover that your skills are all at different stages of development. Your job is to train and develop each ‘high payoff skill’ to the automaticity level so that you can perform it competently when it matters most.
Factor 2) Perceived Challenge Level – Every time you play or practice golf you will be confronted with challenges that will push your golf confidence from Bored to Balanced and into the Stressed zone. When you practice your golf skills your main objective is to match up your golf skill level carefully to the challenge level and by doing this correctly you will discover that you will be training in the optimal zone for developing and improving your golf skills.
The main key is to design the training challenge so that it puts your high payoff golf skills under increased (but manageable) pressure. The idea behind this is that you’re attempting to train your (CNS) to gradually become more and more accustomed to dealing with the increased training pressure so that you’re more capable of producing important golf shots when you need to.
The Frequency of Training Your High Pay-Off Golf Skills
You will have noticed that I mention ‘high payoff skills’ that need to be trained to the level of automaticity. What I’m talking about here is the golf skills that will lower your high golf score average faster.
You see it's not your low score average that is the problem, it's your high score average.
When you design your golf training plan the overall training volume incorporates the three factors of - intensity, frequency and duration, and golf training frequency relates to the part of training where you train certain golf skills more than others in your training plan because their value is higher from the perspective of lowering your competitive score average.
To improve your golf score average you will need to work on the weakest-most important golf skills that will have the most direct effect on lowering your competitive score average. You need to decide which of your golf skills rank higher in terms of their importance in lowering your competitive score average.
Using our simple skill score card (above) decide which of these skills are the weakest – but most important skills for lowering your competitive score average.
Rate yourself as A, B, C or D in each skill set and then decide which of these skills need attention. You’ll discover that around five of these skills when improved will have the greatest impact on improving your competitive score average.
Here's a simple A B C D skill competency rating to help you determine your current strengths and weaknesses.
A = Competent Anytime Anywhere (Championship Level)
B = Competent on the Golf Course (Club Level)
C = Competent on the Practice Range (But not on the Golf Course)
D = Not Yet Competent
Next week we'll continue with this article and discuss key concepts in our elite golfer development program such as managing the training duration to reducing fatigue and injury in your training approach and also the 70 percent tour golfer model.
Both David and I hope that you're enjoying this article series on developing your golf skills the correct way, and if you have any questions please email us at email@example.com
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
P.S Next semester at Pro Tour Golf College begins on the 12th January 2015 so if you're planning on joining our Tour Bridging Program or our Tour Golfer Program then contact us today.
The Real Reason 97 Percent of Elite Golfers Fail to Improve and How You Can Be The One Who Succeeds (Part 1)
For most golfers the thought of making a change to some part of their golf swing is daunting and precarious. You can be as confident about it as you like, but you need to understand that there is nothing easy about changing an aspect of your technique so you can ultimately play better golf.
Every day at our golf college and golf schools we go through a process of introducing change to some aspect of our student’s performance, from swing changes to changes in how our students think and react when they compete in golf tournaments.
It’s what we do. We coach our golfers to make changes that ultimately lead them to play better and more consistent golf - whether they are starting to play or are seasoned performers.
So we have a really good idea of the learning process from start to finish and in today’s article I’m going to explain this learning process and how you can benefit from it with your game.
The starting point of game improvement is a simple four step process;
1) Assess your game currently
2) Predict the outcome you’re looking for
3) Prescribe the process you will use to make the changes
4) Monitor these changes until you arrive at your destination
Assess Your Game Currently
How do you know where you are with your game currently? It’s a very important question if you’re genuinely interested in generating improvement in your game. This is not the same as having a bad day on the golf course and deciding that your driver slices too much!
We need to determine where your game is now so we can work out where we can take it to. This will also help us to work out what part/s of your game need to improve to lower your golf scores.
Our A-B-C method is a very simple way of determining where your game is right now. It goes like this;
A. Determine your current stroke average from your last 10 competitive rounds of golf?
B. Break down your competitive score average and look for the 3 to 5 key golf skills that have the most effect on keeping your score average higher than you want it to be.
C. Choose the weakest-most important golf skill from the key skills you have identified that has the most effect on keeping your score average high and go to work on improving it.
Predict the Outcome You’re Looking For
Now that you have assessed your average golf score and identified your weakest-most important golf skill you need some idea of where you will end up once you undertake the work to improve your skill. This makes a lot of sense I know, but you would be surprised at how many golfers will undertake changes to their game without being clear about the outcome they desire.
They get so wrapped up in the change process that they lose sight of their goal. Whether you’re improving an aspect of your golf swing technique or something else, the key is to know where the finish line is. With no finish line, your golf swing changes become the unfinished symphony, where you just go on and on and on never really coming to a conclusion.
The key to your success in making changes successfully is to have a scoring destination to get to and some stepping stones along the way. For example, if you have a competitive scoring average of 78.5 strokes you project into the future 12 months and decide realistically what you would like your competitive score average to be then and this becomes your destination.
So if you wanted to improve three strokes in the next twelve months then your destination would be a competitive score average of 75.5. Now to make it easier to achieve, break that 3 stroke challenge down into 12 bite sized improvement chunks - each chunk represents improvement of only 0.25 strokes. Now I’m sure you’ll agree that this looks a lot easier to achieve than the 3 strokes doesn’t it?
Prescribe the Process You Will Use to Make the Changes
Ok, this is where the rubber meets the road, in other words this is where the change process begins. You need a method or vehicle that you will use consistently to facilitate the changes required for you to alter what you have to what you want. For instance, if you are going to change some part of your golf swing technique you need a method to do this as precisely as you can for the length of time required.
Changing a motor pattern requires repetition-a lot of repetition! So you need to be prepared to sacrifice the time required to make the changes to your golf swing technique. You also need to consider that the type of change you make will determine the length of time the change will take. For example a high level of complexity will add hours and repetitions the total time spent on the change.
The simpler you make the change component the sooner you will introduce it into your technique. The more complex the change that is, the more parts you have to change in order to facilitate the swing change process and the more complex it is, the longer it will take. To change one component in your golf swing is relatively simple, but to change three components in your golf swing at the same time is at least nine times as difficult to change.
Ideally you will change just one part of your golf swing at a time with each change moving you closer to your ultimate goal. The key to successful change therefore is to understand a very important aspect of it that is broken virtually all the time by novice through to expert golfers. You cannot master both the technical aspect of the performance and the targeting aspect of the performance at the same time.
In other words you cannot try to hit your golf shot accurately to the target and at the same time try to perfect the movement. You will fail at one of them and more likely both!
Next Week Part 2 of "The Real Reason 97 Percent of Golfers Fail to Improve and How You Can Be The One Who Succeeds"
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
Most golfers and that includes seasoned tournament professionals tend to increase their training volume the week before a major golf tournament believing that it will help them to improve their performance. Unfortunately they discover all too often that under pressure it all breaks down.
So what do successful tournament golfers do different in their preparation from the rest of their competitors? They ‘periodize’ their training to attempt to play their best (peak) at the ideal time. Periodization is an highly organized approach to your golf training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of your golf training program during a specific period.
Most of the Olympic sports have been using a periodization approach for developing the potential of their athletes over the last 40 years but in golf it’s relatively new having only been considered in the last 15 years particularly in Australia.
There are three training cycles to consider if you are going to implement a periodization golf program to help your tournament preparation.
Within these three cycles you pick the tournaments that you consider your “Majors” (ideally not more than 6) and plan when you are going to implement each cycle. Within these cycles there are four phases that are critical in peaking for the tournaments you have chosen.
Incorporating the above phases within the Micro, Meso and Macro cycles will allow you to bring your “A game” to your major tournament weeks.
Two PTGC students have been using periodisation in their program and have seen their games peak at the predicted time which has allowed them to gain Tour cards and rise up the world rankings.
Jason Scrivener after a frustrating year playing the Australasian, Canadian and US mini tour circuits had one month to prepare for Tour school to regain his Australasian tour card. The month was divided into a two week development phase and two weeks for pre competition. After working on deficiency’s in his short game skills and getting back his stock shot (fade) with all his long clubs, the last two weeks the focus was on playing every day and short game drills where one ball was used and a score recorded at the end of each drill. The result was a second place finish at tour school and a card on the Australasian and One Asia Tours.
Jason together with Co-Director Lawrie Montague and I discussed and implemented a periodisation for 2012. He chooses June, July to peak his game as he had to play six tournaments in seven weeks on the Canadian Tour. So March and April (3 months out) was used to develop his chipping technique and an adjustment to his grip to improve his ball striking.
The month of May (one month out) was to compete in small pro-ams around Perth and test where he was with his game. Two wins a second and numerous top five places confirmed he was ready and all he needed to do was fine tune and taper his training load. So watch out for some good results from Jason in the coming weeks in Canada.
Whitney Hillier’s form and wins have been documented in previous blogs. She is about to embark on a two month trip to compete in the British and USA Amateur Championship‘s plus all the major amateur events in the USA.
As she will be playing practically every week her periodisation program is on track to give her every chance to do well and her final two weeks is geared to keep her competitive scoring skills sharp until she leaves.
Even the weather has come to the party to prepare her for the British Amateur being played at the famous Carnoustie course in Scotland where wet, windy and cold is the norm.
We wish them both well and low golf scores. Both these golfers have a plan that will allow them to train hard and effectively at the appropriate time in their cycle and be ready to play as their games peak as planned.
They are in control of their games and their future...which is nice.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Directors - Pro Tour Golf College
At Pro Tour Golf College we train our students to focus on the one thing that matters in competitive golf “Low Score Wins.” Every day, week and month PTGC students use the specifically designed training regime to remove the barriers that limit their competitive performance on the golf course.
Therefore achieving lower competitive scores consistently is not about talent or luck, it’s about measured, managed training with expert feedback to guide you.
So how does PTGC’s program stack up with regards to some of our students results this year?
Whitney Hillier last week shot a 65 in the last round of the Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open to win. 8 strokes behind with one round to play, she produced the low golf score that catapulted her to a great victory. Other major and important victories were the Lake Macquarie tournament in January and the prestigious Riversdale Cup in Melbourne.
Whitney’s competitive scoring average has reduced from 77.8 at the start of the year to 72.7 which is a significant reduction and has seen her Australian ranking go from a high of 16th to 2nd, and her Amateur World Golf Ranking from 125th to below 15th (her win in Malaysia has not kicked in as yet).
Here's a look at Whitney's Results since joining Pro Tour Golf College
Aus Am.....................Semi Final
WA Am......................Semi Final
WA Stroke Play..........2nd
NSW Stroke Play........3rd
South Aus Am............3rd
So what has changed in that period? Well let's go back 2 years ago and Whitney whilst away with the National Team in South America injured her right wrist which unfortunately took all of 2010 to recover from. Her performances in 2011 were average and her confidence had hit rock bottom and she was going to be axed from the Australian National Squad as a result of this.
The loss of motivation and a lack of structure in her practice routine was a recipe for going nowhere fast. So Co- Director Lawrie Montague and I arranged a meeting with Whitney where we discussed a strategy for getting her to be better than she was. The outcome was that Whitney made the decision to join the PTGC program and embrace the highly structured daily program that is designed with one thing in mind; to develop a low competitive score average. A struggle to begin with but Whitney has committed herself totally to the PTGC training culture and is now reaping the benefits.
Rinaldi Adiyandono from Indonesia experienced the PTGC training culture when he came to Perth in September 2011 with the National squad to prepare for the South East Asian Games.
He was a very steady amateur golfer but wouldn’t cut it as a tournament professional as his competitive stroke average was at 74.5 which is simply not good enough to play competitively on the pro tour. Areas of his game holding him back were his pitching and approach wedge skills plus his 3 and 4 meter putts which resulted in a low percentage of birdies made each round.
Rinaldi attended the PTGC 1st term of 2012 and he is a changed golfer from that experience. Since his return to Indonesia he has played in 2 National trials and the Malaysian Amateur. In those ten rounds his competitive stroke average is 72.0, an improvement of 2.5 strokes which is a direct result of his time spent at PTGC. Another important stat is Rinaldi is breaking 70 on a regular basis and this is taking him closer to achieving his dream of being a successful tournament professional.
Agnes Sudjasmin also from Indonesia has a goal of playing on the LPGA Tour. A long hitter and solid ball striker Agnes had a tendency to hook the ball under pressure. Like Rinaldi her short game skills also needed attention if she is to fulfil her goal.
Spending ten weeks at PTGC has improved her ball flight to the extent that the hook has been eliminated, and her pitching skills and wedge approach skills are improving each week. Agnes’s competitive stroke average has improved from 76.9 to 74.0 over the last ten competitive rounds she has played.
In the Indonesian National Trials in March she shot 31(5 under) on the final nine holes and this gave her a huge lift in her competitive confidence because she has worked very hard on developing her weak skills. Last week in the last round of the National trials a 68 allowed her to finished tied for 1st with a three round total of two under.
PTGC student Rance De Grussa is enrolled in our Tour Player Program
Another PTGC student enrolled in our 'Tour Player Program' who has made tremendous progress over the past 8 months working in our program is Rance De Grussa.
His last four competitive rounds in our weekly competition at The Links Kennedy Bay (off the Black tees) are 69, 76, 67 and 71 for a score average of 70.75 which is close to our PTGC’s competitive 'golf success code' of 12-4-2 which is twelve pars, four birdies and two bogies (2 under).
So if results are all that matters then the above players records is proof that the PTGC program does take players and move them closer to their goals. The PTGC Program is a product of more than twenty years and during that period it has helped over 18 golfers win Australian Amateur and stroke play Championships, numerous professional and amateur tournaments in Australia and overseas.
If you’re a serious golfer and highly motivated to play successfully on a professional golf tour then let PTGC help you get there.
David and Lawrie - Co-Directors of Pro Tour Golf College
Students at Pro Tour Golf College follow a strict golf training routine everyday
How would you like to practice so that there was a very high chance that you would significantly improve?
It's been our experience at Pro Tour Golf College that the majority of golfers practicing and developing their game do not know how to practice correctly or effectively.
In this article I’m going to explain how to practice your golf skills for continuous improvement. I’ll explain the key factors that influence behavioural change in golf practice and the common mistakes that golfers make when practicing their golf skills.
I’ll also describe golf ‘best practice’ techniques that you can learn, adapt and introduce into your game to improve any aspect of your golf performance, whether on or off the golf course.
So what is golf practice?... "Golf practice is the procedure you use for learning, developing and acquiring golf experience." We engage golf practice routines to develop, improve and master our golf skills and we do this by repeating a highly specific behaviour many times until we have a very high degree of competency and trust in it.
The students at PTGC train to lower competition golf scores which is the main objective.
We do this to be able to perform a particular golf skill when it matters to us; for example hitting a high, soft pitch shot to a tightly tucked pin position on a severe down-hill slope would require a very specific golf stroke technique that travels on a very shallow and slightly outside to inside swing path to slice the ball from its lie.
Golf practice therefore is simply the reinforcement of particular actions that help to create a specific type of result or set of results that we desire and by improving the nature of the way that you go about practicing your skills, you can in turn generate the results you seek sooner.
Regrettably when we practice golf skills incorrectly we are setting ourselves up for failure. In other words when we really need to produce a result, this will be the time that the particular shot you’re attempting to play will more than likely not come off as planned.
An example of practicing incorrectly would be to practice golf skills that you are already very competent at. Many golfers will go to the practice range with the same golf clubs and practice with them rather than practicing with clubs that they find more difficult to use and also golf shots they find difficult to play.
Students track, test and measure EVERY golf shot they hit everyday.
Golf 'Best Practice'
Golf ‘best practice’ (by Pro Tour Golf College) can be defined as; "The most efficient practice method that you can use that requires the least amount of effort and is the most effective way to achieve exceptional results in competition when performing the skill-set, based on repeatable well defined procedures that have proven themselves over time by a large numbers of golfers."
Proven Practice Performance Platform
So before you begin your practice session start by deciding on the best approach for improving your golf skills.
The best way to go about this is to initiate a testing and measuring protocol to accurately assess the relative performance of your golf skills currently.
Track and Measure
If you were lost somewhere you would logically look for some point of reference to help you to determine where you are relative to where you want to be. Tracking and measuring your golf skills helps you to gain the necessary clarity you need to help you to know where your skills are at the present moment so you can determine where you wish to go with them.
There is a relatively easy way to do this. Track a minimum of six rounds of golf and measure results in at least the following six categories.
1) What is your score average against par in competition? (Without using your handicap)
2) How many tee-shots do you hit into the fairway?
3) How many greens do you hit with your approach shot in regulation? (e.g. Hit a par 4 in two shots or a par 3 in one shot)
4) How many putts do you have for 18 holes on average?
5) How many bunker shots do you hit onto the green and achieve one putt?
6) How many chip and pitch shots do you hit onto the green and achieve one putt?
Now of course you can measure many more categories with much greater detail if you like, and this will be dependent primarily on your golf skill ability. Low handicapped amateurs and professionals will measure many more categories with much greater detail to extract the information they need to develop a suitable plan for improvement.
If you are an amateur golfer interested in becoming a top class amateur then the abovementioned categories are a good beginning for you.
This is a sample of one of the training templates we use at PTGC
Forecast and Estimate
Forecasting the amount of improvement you desire and is essential for developing a planned approach to your golf improvement as well as fuelling your focus and desire to improve.
Every successful golfer is motivated by performance goals and forecasting your future performances just helps you to stay on track with your improvement as well as helping you to determine how you should get there.
Once you’ve tracked and measured the different skills that make-up a round of golf you need to estimate the amount of improvement you desire sometime in the future. If after six rounds you discovered that you hit thirty eight percent of fairways and that seventy percent of those tee-shots missed to the right, and you forecast that within six months you will hit at least forty eight percent of fairways or ten percent improvement in your tee-shot accuracy, your next step would be to decide what you need to do next.
Isolate and Prescribe the Critical Elements
Ok here’s where the rubber meets the road. Now you need to isolate the critical element in your technique that would help you to achieve better results. Of the categories you tested and measured, and using the driving accuracy example from earlier, what specifically will you do to improve your driving accuracy?
Remember you’re looking for ten percent improvement over six months which equates to around one and half percent improvement per month.
So you need to find a method for making the golf ball travel more down the target line so you can hit more fairways. You’ve isolated the problem that your tee-shots are travelling too often to the right of the fairway and now you need to prescribe a specific drill or training technique that will alter that situation and move you towards your ten percent improvement goal.
This is where a series of lessons with a competent and experienced golf teaching professional would make good sense as you can isolate the problem in your golf swing technique faster so you can get on with the job of improving your tee-shot accuracy.
Manage and Monitor
The final step in the process is to determine how much work (effort) you will put into your golf practice to improve your performance by around 1.5 percent each month. You will need to manage your effort and also monitor your progress continually to ensure that you remain on track with your improvement.
Managing your effort means to develop practice routines that incorporate the specific skills that you need to learn, modify or improve. When you practice your skills you will have to involve the following four practice dynamics in each practice session to influence how much improvement you will make each month.
This is a sample of one of the training templates we use at PTGC
Golf Training Volume:
This is the exact amount of golf balls you will hit during each golf training session. Ideally you will break your practice volume into manageable sets of golf balls and hitting sets of ten or twenty golf shots per set makes it easy for you to stay focused, and it’s also easy to measure and manage.
Golf Training Frequency:
This is the rate of recurrence of practicing a particular skill. How often do you need to practice certain skills, and when is the best time to perform the skill? Should you practice putting after hitting three sets of driver shots – probably not? Managing the frequency of your practice helps you to manage energy expenditure and focus and is critical when developing an effective practice plan.
Golf Training Duration:
This is the period of time you actually invest in hitting your golf shots. The time it takes to hit sets of golf shots will vary depending on whether you’re practicing using a pre-shot routine or not. Technique practice doesn’t usually require that you use a pre-shot routine where practicing targeting skills does.
So practice duration helps you to manage the different skills you will practice and fit them into your total plan. If you know that it takes you four minutes and thirty seconds to hit ten pitch shots to a target then you can easily work out how long it will take to hit ten sets of ten pitch shots to a target which will help you to plan your practice program more carefully and effectively.
Golf Training Intensity:
This is the level of focus or concentration you involve in your practice in practicing each skill. When you break your practice volume down into sets of ten golf shots and you practice the right skills at the best time, and you have worked out how many sets of shots you need to hit you will find it easier to focus on your skills and get the most out of yourself.
Focus varies depending on the importance of the practice routine however by practicing correctly you give yourself the best opportunity to practice efficiently and effectively. When you practice a skill set the key is to control what you’re paying attention to. Your responsibility is to control your eye gaze and maintain it for each and every shot.
Practicing your golf skills correctly means building a platform of strategies that support and enhance your effort to improve. It’s easy to just go out to the range and hit golf balls and hope that you will do something that makes you improve. It’s much more challenging to perform practice skills correctly by planning your strategy carefully and implementing it into your program so that the effort you put in actually leads to outcomes that you expect.
Remember to always begin with the end in mind. Decide what you want to achieve from your golf game and notice where you are with it right now. Then go to work building a bridge from where you are to where you wish to go. Take your time, really think it through and in the days, weeks and months you’ll discover the other side of golf improvement.
Lawrie and David - Pro Tour Golf College