Don’t Fire Your Golf Swing Coach Because You’re Not Improving. Growth in Your Skills is Still Possible After You Hit the Performance Plateau?
Is it possible to keep improving at golf, even after you’ve been stuck on a performance plateau for what seems like an eternity?"
Are we in-fact all subject to the Power Law of Practice, which basically say’s that rapid improvement in golf skills is followed by gradually less and less improvement over time when you perform similar practice routines to those you started with.
In other words, after a slow start, you experience a surge of improvement in your game, but after a while it appears to taper or level off to where you feel like you are no longer improving, despite working as hard on your game as before.
This affect is similar to the law of diminishing returns in economics, which helps us understand that you initially experience greater improvement in your game when compared to your initial practice investment, but eventually the improvement equals the investment, and finally, the investment of effort appears higher than the improvement that you're aiming for.
Have you ever experienced this? I bet you have.
We have known many amateur and professional golfers who have gone through this normal process of learning, and after what seems to be a prolonged period of what they see as poor performances (not getting better), and often coupled with frustration and other negative emotions, they eventually fire their swing coach in favour of another coach with different ideas and methods on how to improve their situation.
In our experience, this is often a fatal mistake because it means that you don’t get back what you have already invested, and the development and learning of the skill/s that you have worked so hard to improve, are scrapped in favour of starting over again, in a different way.
Which doesn't make a lot of sense when you think about it.
One thing is for certain. If you start again learning a different method, you will go back to the beginning of the learning curve.
One Step Forward and Three Steps Backwards.
So, all the good work that you did to improve and stabilise your golf skills along the learning curve is going to be abandoned in favour of learning another way.
Tiger Woods is an excellent example of someone who on more than one occasion has fired coaches and started over again, taking himself through a new learning curve in an effort to modify his golf swing style.
This usually takes someone at his advanced level many thousands of deliberate repetitions over a prolonged period to eventually create another stable swing motion that can be exposed to high level competition.
He’s been successful at doing it, but he is definitely more of the exception than the rule.
Why You Shouldn't Fire Your Swing Coach.
Of course it is completely understandable that a perceived decrease (or plateauing) in your performances can cause you to panic as a competitive golfer.
However, quite often this panic is irrational and influences you to make drastic decisions (like changing your swing coach), because you don’t understand the motor learning process well enough to make informed decisions.
In our experience, the decision to change coaches has very little to do with your current or past performances, and more to do with not being able to remain patient with the learning process, so you can persist along the flat part of the curve (the plateau) for long enough.
You see, as you move closer to the autonomous stage (unconscious competence) of learning your skill (the flat part of the learning curve), it can seem like a long period of no improvement.
However, the thing to keep in mind is that you are more-than-likely still improving, it is just that the improvement level is so small as to not be noticed.
The closer you get to a mastery level of a skill, the smaller the improvement leaps.
Stretch Your Skills to Uncomfortable
So, you should interpret the slow down of your skill development as positive growth, it’s just that it has slowed down greatly compared to before.
Now, this is the time where you need to start designing a more challenging or tougher practice environment, to put your developing skills under increasing pressure.
You can do this by making the shot to challenge level of your practice more difficult because the goal is to stress your current skill level into adapting to tougher conditions similar to what you would experience when competing in tournaments.
In other words, you play more random shots by practicing from all types of lies and ground conditions to tougher pin placements.
This is precisely what elite performance coach Dave Alred helped Francesco Molinari to do with his practice. Alred took Francesco into what he calls ‘The Ugly Zone’ which is the place where more mistakes are made, the pressure hurts, but where learning happens.
His goal was to bring the discomfort experienced in playing tournaments into Francesco’s practice environment.
“I think what Dave has helped me do is prepare to compete differently. Before meeting Dave my golf practice was basically just repetition, I’d just hit balls and hit balls and maybe try and hit it better and work on the technical side of the game, but there wasn’t really any pressure.
The skill/s you are adapting and developing under this type of practice approach will function better because the repetitions or work you have performed up to this point in time is enough to hit the shots with less conscious interference, while at the same time stretching your skill/s to uncomfortable.
And this is the key to you performing under pressure. Golf practice environments must change by becoming more challenging as you move along the flat part of the curve. This will increase your potential to hit shots under pressure, with reduced conscious interference.
The more deliberate repetitions you perform under pressure, the more stable your swing motion becomes under pressure.
So you will perform better mentally and technically under pressure, and even though you might notice that you're producing less ‘A’ game scoring rounds than before, actually your scoring is likely to be more stable with less variability between your high and low scores.
The following formula expresses it clearly.
Repetitions Under Pressure = Technical / Mental Stability = Stable Score Variability
Sticking to Your Knitting
We have observed this first hand with some of the players in our Break 70 System in Jakarta, Indonesia who have followed our development plan without deviating from the path over the past three years.
We call this, ‘Sticking to Your Knitting.’
What this means is the players who have faithfully followed our training system score lower on average, and their high to low scoring range is more stable and down to the range of 10 to 12 shots, which is consistent with world class golfers.
Now we have also noticed that those players who come in and out of the program on an inconsistent basis, and who do not stick to our development process, do not experience nearly the same level of improvement with their game.
Sticking to the development process (especially when you are on the plateau) will translate into newly improved skills such as improved concentration for longer—what we call mental endurance, and you will also make less technical and mental mistakes on the course in tournaments.
Further to this, you will also perform better under increased pressure in important tournaments, as the players in our program have experienced over the past 12 to 15 months.
This improvement in tournament performances coincides with our goal for our players to peak their games for important tournaments in our annual calendar.
Previously, they experienced what we call low scoring stability which is a higher and more unstable scoring pattern—particularly in the early stages of their learning and development along the curve.
So in our experience The Power Law of Practice does indeed influence growth through more stable performances, which occur further along the curve.
The picture above is of one of the top golfers in the world Justin Rose, who began his professional career missing 17 cuts in a row.
What we find is that golfers like Justin Rose, and other successful professional golfers all have one thing in common, they will travel further along the plateau because they possess more grit, determination, patience and resilience.
Evolution Becomes Revolution
The learning curve is an evolutionary process that every human being experiences when you learn to perform tasks. It doesn’t matter what it is, there’s always a learning process involved.
Sometimes the learning process is shorter, and other times it’s longer, depending on the complexity of the task you are undertaking.
Yes, at some point you may not actually perform a skill you’ve be practicing any better, however, often times this just means that you and your coach need to make a minor adjustment - what we call evolution into revolution.
What this means is that often times instead of completely rebuilding your technique, you simply need to make a revolutionary adjustment, which is an adjustment that serves the same purpose as a rebuild, but is far less complex to learn.
By adjusting your skill rather than rebuilding it, and making your practice environment more challenging (but never so dramatic as to send you back to the beginning of the learning curve), you learn the difference between an evolutionary change process and a revolutionary change process.
More commitment to stick to your learning by deliberately practicing your golf skills through the autonomous or unconscious competence stage, with simple, minor upgrades (minor = low complexity) to your skills, and practice routines along the way.
This will mean you develop a more stable shot-making ability, increase your confidence when performing under pressure, and it will also influence a higher probability of lower scoring, with the difference between your high score average and low score average being reduced.
Now, that doesn’t sound like a bad reason to stick to your knitting does it?
By Lawrie Montague - Co-Director of Pro Tour Golf College
Do you think the way you currently practice is the best way to become a successful golfer?
What's a successful golfer? We believe its a golfer who can BREAK 70 on a consistent basis.
"To only post your good golf scores in amateur competition is a form of delusional behavior, and it says a lot about the way you think about the game of golf, and your lack of confidence in your playing and competing ability."
I think you'll agree that it makes no sense for an average golfer with a playing standard equivalent to an 18 handicap to compete against a single figure handicap golfer “off the stick” as the single figure golfer will win one hundred percent of the time.
However when the average golfer uses a golf handicap to play against the single figure golfer, then he has a very good chance to win the match.
And that's why a golf handicap is a very helpful system for an average golfer to enjoy their golf and compete with far better golfers on a level playing field in club tournaments.
The golf handicapping system allows all amateur golfers to compete with superior skilled golfers, and it was invented primarily for amateur golfers to even up the playing field so they can enjoy their game a whole lot more.
And that's a good thing. And for the most part the handicapping system works really well.
At least it does for higher handicapped golfers, but probably not so much for highly skilled elite amateur golfers who want to play on tour one day.
Is Your Golf Handicap Your Handicap?
The golf handicap for an elite level amateur golfer can actually become more of a mental handicap especially if they are thinking about becoming a professional tour golfer in the not-to-distant future.
Why you ask? Mainly because with a handicap the tendency can to be focused more on lowering the handicap rather than lowering the score average in tournaments.
You see a golf handicap by its very nature continually adjusts the standard of the golf course to accommodate differences in tee positions, weather conditions and the handicaps of all the golfers competing at the club on the day.
And most of those golfers are a long way from being elite golfers, so the handicapping system is geared to their playing standard--not the low handicap golfers.
And that's OK because the serious elite amateur knows that professional tour golfers don’t have handicaps - they play golf against the par of the golf course everyday, and in all kinds of conditions from rain to strong winds, and in very cold to very hot conditions.
So for the elite golfer, the sooner you can remove the golf handicap mentality from your game and build your skills around competing successfully against the par of every golf course you play, the more prepared you will be when you make the transition from amateur golfer to professional tour golfer.
The par of the golf course you play is always the standard, it's not your golf handicap that is the standard.
At Pro Tour Golf College we ask our students a simple sentence made up of just 5 simple words...
WHAT SCORE DID YOU HAVE?
In our time we have worked with many amateur golfers who claimed to possess very low handicaps, but upon closer investigation and an analysis of their game we concluded that their actual score average in tournaments was much higher than their handicap portrayed.
It turns out that many of them only put their best scores in at tournaments, and when they are not playing to their level of expectation they often walk off the golf course feigning an injury, or simply getting so frustrated and mad that they tear their card up and give up on the day.
In professional tour golf, every golf score counts all of the time!
Our suggestion is that if you’re seriously considering a career as a professional tour golfer, you must accept every score you have.
This means that if you shoot an 80 or worse, you add it to your collection of golf scores. Accept your bad scores like you accept your good scores.
Any amateur golfer can look good if the only scores they post are their best golf scores, but in the long run this will be detrimental to your career. Of course it hurts to shoot high scores, but it is just as much the reality of golf as shooting low scores is.
The bottom line is that you must learn to get over it quickly and keep working on ways to lower your higher scores in tournaments.
To only post your good golf scores in amateur competition is a form of delusional behavior, and it says a lot about the way you think about the game of golf, and your lack of confidence in your playing and competing ability when things are not going as planned.
At every tour school at least 70 percent of the amateur golfers competing are donating their entry fee's to the tour simply because their actual playing and competing skills are nowhere near the standard required.
We advise every student at Pro Tour Golf College that has their heart and mind set on playing on a professional golf tour, enter a tour school only when their competitive score average in tournaments is at a minimum 25 under par for their past 100 tournament rounds for men, and at least 10 under par for 100 rounds for women.
If you are a serious amateur golfer who genuinely wants to become a professional tour golfer, then do yourself a favor and seek out the help of a golf instructor who has lot's of experience and success working with professional tour golfers.
This highly skilled golf instructor will devise helpful ways for improving your competitive score average getting you prepared properly for a crack at tour school.
Also he/she should advise you that the reality might be that you will have to go back to tour school a number of times before you play good enough over the tournament to secure playing privileges on a professional golf tour.
Lawrie Montague, David Milne, Adam Taylor
Pro Tour Golf College - The Professional Golf Tour Training College
The 6 Practice Rules You Must Follow To Shoot Lower Scores
You see there’s a big difference between just hitting buckets and buckets of golf balls hoping to get better, and practicing to improve your game.
So let’s get the ball rolling right away by introducing you to a simple definition of golf practice that will help you to understand how you can improve your game;
The purpose of golf practice is to perform golf strokes or execute specific golf training drills and routines repeatedly, in a deliberate manner, and on a consistent basis, in order to improve a specific skill set that can be transferred successfully to the golf course."
Now I know that’s common sense but you would be surprised how many golfers just hit balls and hope that they will somehow miraculously discover improvement in their game.
You can hope all you like, but it won't help because golf skill improvement requires a logical and well-thought out plan for you to improve.
These 6 practice rules you must follow are guaranteed to improve your golf skills, and help you to transfer them successfully onto the golf course easier and faster.
Rule 1. Know Your Game
I'm sure every time you go for a lesson with a new coach, they ask you a little about your game, take a video of your swing, maybe compare you to a tour player, and then say you need to change this position or that feeling in your swing to improve your game.
This is mostly always done without knowing much about your game at all. They might ask you what you believe are the areas you need to improve, but if you both don’t have the evidence to back it up, it’s all guesswork.
For example, what percentage of putts from 1m to 4m do you make?
What’s your proximity to the hole for pitch shots between 10m and 25m from the hole?
What’s your percentage of up and downs for approach wedge shots between 30m and 60m from the hole?
Rule 2. Have a Plan Each Time You Practice
Once you have completed your game assessment, knowing what to focus on each time you go to practice becomes much clearer.
Identify 2 to 3 of your weakest golf skills from your assessment. Improving these areas will guarantee better and more consistent results on the golf course.
Now this won't be fun to do, but it is essential that you practice your weakest skills with the goal of upgrading them, because you know that this process with time will guarantee better and more consistent results on the golf course.
Practicing your weakest 2 to 3 skills is the surest way to better and more consistent performances on the golf course.
Rule 3. Become Aware Of Your Emotions
How do you react when you play a bad shot? How do you react when you play a good shot?
Next time you go to practice or play, have a friend or your coach observe your reactions (this can be done with video also) for both your good and bad shots.
One of the biggest influences on performance is our mental and physical reactions we make to outcomes in practice and play, and as golfers we are great at feeding our negative thoughts and feelings. Over time, this can be game killer.
Start to become aware of your emotional reactions, and become a happier and more positive golfer.
Rule 4. Know What You Want and Start Getting It
If l asked you to not think about elephants, what pops into your head? Elephants right!
This is exactly the same scenario when you stand on the tee and tell yourself don’t hit it in the water, or the bunker, or O.B. Then we do exactly that.
Our brains only focus on the key word that we are trying to avoid, it deletes the ‘don’t part. Therefore most of time giving us what we didn’t want to happen.
The more you start asking yourself what you truly want, the more often you will start getting it.
Rule 5. Pressure Proof Your Game
How often do you hit the ball great on the range, can’t miss a putt on the practice green, then go out to the course and play the complete opposite?
If you’re like most golfers, you probably get a bucket of balls and start hitting shots one after the other with your favourite clubs, or drop 3 balls on the green and hit putts from the same place to the same hole.
Ask yourself, do you perform your pre shot routine in practice as you do on the course?
Do you get 10 balls for a particular club, setup a target to hit through, then set a goal to achieve?Do you practice your short game with one ball and set yourself a target of getting up and down from different positions with different clubs more than 50% of the time?
Start testing your game under pressure in practice, then start performing under pressure on the course.
Rule 6. Short Game! Short Game! Short Game!
If you really want to shoot lower scores faster, l can’t stress enough how important it is to develop your short game, or what we call ‘backup systems’
Professionals will spend at least 70% of their practice time on the short game, 30% on the full swing. Amateurs do the opposite. You might ask “but pros swing it much better than l do”, and that’s a legitimate question.
70% of shots during your round (it’s the same for pro’s and amateurs) are played from 100m to the hole. So it makes sense to practice your putting, chipping, pitching, lob, bunker, and trouble shots 70% of the time.
You’re probably thinking that practicing the short game is boring, but thats because you’re always practising it the same way expecting a different result. Refer to Rule 5.
If you really want to lower your scores consistently, the 6 practice rules cannot be broken, bent, or neglected. They are non-negotiable.
There are no short cuts to shooting lower scores, but knowing how to get there will save you a lot of pain and frustration.
Follow the 6 rules, and you will start getting what you want!
Pro Tour Golf College
On January 5th 2015 we flew to Jakarta to present a detailed proposal to the Indonesian Golf Association board outlining a 10 year player development pathway for their National Program.
At that stage only one male golfer was ranked below 1000 in the world, (historically amateur golfers from Indonesia who did have a world ranking inside the top 1000, were living and competing in the USA.). One of the goals of our program was to develop a golfer from Indonesia (what we called 'home grown') to make it into the top 100 in the world within 5 years.
As of April 11th 2018 Naraajie Emerald (39 months) became the 100 ranked amateur in the world. (Naraajie was ranked well above 2000 when we presented our proposal in 2015)
To say that it has been easy would be an understatement given the scale of what we are constructing, and including but not limited to cultural challenges, plus, it has never been attempted before in Indonesia.
Also, the small size of our talent pool is challenging, we have 30 men (boys) and women (girls) --currently 20 elite players, and 10 who are in the development squad.
They say that luck appears when preparation meets opportunity, and that is definitely the case for us because we would not have been able to do any of the work here in Indonesia without the support of Murdaya Poo, Chairman of PGI (Indonesian Golf Association).
At the presentation of our proposal in January 2015, Murdaya Po listened carefully, asked a lot of questions, and then said to the board, "this is what we need."
He bought into the vision right there and then, and we are still building it.
There are of course the normal challenges you face, like people (many) not buying into our vision, or throwing stones at it, but with the help of our phenomenal support team who have tirelessly supported us to this point (they know who they are), we have helped some of the talented young golfers in Indonesia to reach higher and achieve more than they (and others) believed they could.
Currently, here are the world rankings of the golfers (the majority of which currently work with us), we have supported to help them become world class amateur golfers.
Naraajie Emerald 100, Kevin Caesario Akbar 375, Jonathan Wijono 429,
Almay Rayhan 654, Rifki Alam 735, Timothius Tirto 905
Inez Wanamarta 259, Mela 429, Tatiana Wijaya 472, Rivani Sihotang 673,
Ribka Vania 727, Patricia W Sinolungan 845
This convinced us that young Indonesian golfers didn’t lack the ability, but had not been exposed enough to high Performance training and coaching methods. Thus, Indonesia weren’t producing golfers good enough to compete internationally - unless their golfers were enrolled in high school or college golf programs.
We didn’t prepare another team after 2011 until we started building our long term player development pathway in 2015. During the period 2012-2014 Indonesian Teams didn’t perform well enough to win medals in the regional team events.
This changed in 2015 after 6 months of training and preparation in our program with the ladies winning a silver medal and the men winning the bronze in the SEA Games, held that year in Singapore. Both teams showed tremendous fight back qualities on the last day to overtake the teams in front of them, to win medals for their country.
In 2017 the same medal haul was achieved, but this time we pushed the best team in the South East Asian region Team Thailand for the gold and silver medals.
And it got better, with the Team Indonesia men shooting a national all time team record of -35 under par in the Putra Cup, and the Ladies also broke their own records with their -21 under par total in the Santi Cup.
The Team Indonesia men continued their improved scoring at the Asia Pacific Teams (Nomura Cup) event held in Malaysia in November 2017 and with a combined -17 chalked up their best result in the event, and also beating the Singapore team who were the current South East Asian gold medal winners.
Good Golfing - Lawrie Montague & David Milne
P.s. Want to lower your competitive scores just like our Indonesian National Players? Get our unique practice program that will get you shooting lower scores than you ever have before!
The reality of playing golf on tour is that you are always searching for a competitive edge over the golf course you're playing and ultimately your opponents. This doesn't really make it that different from any other stick and ball sport, where a score is involved, except for one important qualification; On the pro golf tour you have to shoot consistently low golf scores just to make cuts in tournaments before you can make any money.
In other words you don’t get a dime for playing less than your best for four days. So every moment that you are not competing at a golf tour event somewhere, you’re on the practice fairway and practice green finding ways to sharpen, refine and develop your golfing skills in an effort to make more cuts, more money and the opportunity to play in the big league on a major golf tour.
In essence you’re practicing your golf skills exclusively to perform better on the golf course"
Design Your Golf Practice
You practice so you can become so skilled at playing golf, that you make a lot more cuts than you miss - which translates into a lot more money in the bank account and the possibility of winning golf tournaments. So I‘d like to share with you a key distinction I learned about how top tour golfers practice effectively;
You must practice in such a way that there is a high probability that you will perform better on the golf course."
Perfect Match Practice
When you practice your golf skills you are attempting to modify or adjust an aspect of your physical behaviour by conditioning a new set of behaviours that you can rely on when it really counts, through a large quantity of highly focused repetition.
I’m sure that you can see that this shouldn’t be taken lightly? You need to be absolutely sure that the information you’re using is the perfect match for your particular problem. Also you cannot improve your skill set if you’re dividing your attention between trying to perfect a particular movement and also trying to hit your shot to a target on the golf range.
The Golf Practice Multi-tasking Myth
In the workplace this would be called multi-tasking, and a raft of recent research shows that splitting your attention between tasks significantly reduces your effectiveness to perform optimally in the different tasks you’re focusing on.
“It is a myth to think you can work on improving some aspect of your golf swing whilst at the same time you’re trying to hit your golf ball to a target.”
But this is precisely what the vast majority of amateur golfers do.
Relevance then Repetition
When I played golf on tour I discovered that golf practice was really about continually finding ways to improve my bottom line results. You are always zeroing in on the ideal practice method or drill because you’re travelling continually, and you need to make sure that the time you invest in your improvement is highly specific and manageable.
So it’s not unusual to see a professional golfer working on one particular drill for a year or more. Since any physical change requires literally thousands of repetitions in order to build up sufficient memory, changing a weak skill requires a pro tour player to practice the drill whenever he/she gets the opportunity – which is often.
They will practice with a ball and without a ball, and they will practice in front of mirrors in their hotel room or windows at the airport; literally anywhere they can perform the practice task that leads them to a new and desired behaviour.
When they practice, they practice with a level of intensity that closely matches or simulates a real competitive situation.
Practice Like it Matters
“Perfect practice makes perfect” is a common cliché in sports, business and life but doesn’t really describe at all what perfect practice is, which just makes it easier for most golfers to perform “practice” without the “perfect” part.
I believe that the ‘perfect’ component is to perform your golf practice with a level of intensity that closely matches or simulates a real competitive situation."
This means that you make sure that the entire practice routine is exactly the same routine you use when you play on the golf course. Instead of mindlessly blasting away at golf ball after golf ball you thoughtfully and carefully practice each stroke like nothing else in the world matters as much. I have observed this first hand with some of the greatest golfers in the world.
Where I observed other professionals chatting away with their friends on the range, Jack Nicklaus seemed to me to be the one serious figure, who although very pleasant when someone acknowledged him, was there for a very specific purpose, he was there to prepare to perform to the best of his ability.
Golf Practice is Not a Social Experience
He was not there for a social engagement he was there to work at his craft so he could take it to the course and perform. Golf practice is not a social experience, its work and you’re there solely to improve your performances on the golf course, so you never have enough time to waste on idle chit-chat.
This is where I learned an important lesson about practicing like it matters. Never waste my time, never waste a golf shot and make sure that the shot is executed to the best of my ability with my full attention on it.
The next time you decide to go to the range to work on your game, consider that you have a marvellous opportunity to start practicing with real purpose.
You can design your golf practice so that it’s highly specific, highly engaging and highly repeatable and you’ll discover that this shift in the way you go about performing your practice will build a strong and reliable bridge between practicing on the range and performing on the golf course when it really counts.
Good golfing - Pro Tour Golf College
Have You Ever Had Someone Say to You That You Should Make a Change to Your Golf Swing Technique?
Have you been playing poorly for an extended period of time? Are you at your wits end with your sub-standard performances on the golf course?
Logically you may be thinking that if you change the way you swing the golf club it will improve your performances leading to lower golf scores and a happy and fulfilled golfing life.
In this article I'm going to shed some light on why changing your golf swing might be a very bad idea, leading you to more frustration and helplessness than you could imagine.
You might think that this is an exaggeration but unfortunately many a struggling golfing soul has lost his way on the path to golf swing immortality, because he or she didn't understand the consequences of changing some aspect of their golf swing technique.
Professional tour golfers are continually striving to improve their performances on the golf course because playing standards on the PGA and LPGA tours are continually rising with a greater percentage of golfers at the top of the golf tree.
When they make swing changes they have the time and money to do it. These tour golfers can spend many hours working on their changes with the complete supervision of a competent and experienced golf instructor.
So here's three suggestions for how to go about making the change with a minimal amount of discomfort.
Please remember this advice...do not become the guinea pig for some overly confident golf instructor who wants to dramatically change your golf swing to make it look like a tour stars.
"Only make the change if you truly believe that you will play a lot better than you currently do, and make a change to your technique to play better rather than trying to imitate someone playing well at the moment".
Making swing changes is a lot more difficult to achieve than you might think, so really think about your decision carefully as the majority of big changes made to golf swings don't make the golfer play better.
In other words the failure rate is high, so if you're considering making a big change to your golf swing ask yourself this simple but important question;
Am I willing to pay the price?
Pro Tour Golf College.
As Asian Tour Qualifying School 2018 Approaches, We Look At The Stark Reality Of What You Need To Shoot To Get a Tour Card.
Think about this; at the 2017 Asian Qualifying School over 550 players entered, with just 36 getting a card. Thats only 7%!
Almost 400 elite amateur and professional golfers from thirty countries around the globe entered the first stage of Asian Tour School in 2017 to try and earn playing rights for this season.
Of the nearly 400 entries for first stage, just 85 golfers from 2 qualifying courses in Thailand made it through to the final stage and a chance to play for pay on the Asian Tour.
144 golfers were exempt from the first stage of qualifying and went straight to the final stage where they were joined by the 85 who were good enough to get through the grueling first stage qualification process. Of the 223 players in the field for the final stage just 36 (16%) earned a card and the privilege of playing on the Asian Tour.
Think about this for a moment; nearly 550 golfers went to Asian Tour School in 2017 and just 36 (7%) earned a card. That's the harsh reality of qualifying right there!
Week 1 - Section A Group
56 players competed at Windsor Park, where 12 out of the 56 qualified on a score of -5 or better (283). This meant that you needed to score 70.75 on average at this golf course to move through to the final stage. 101 players competed at Suvarnabhumi, where the leading 22 qualified and moved through to the final stage with a score of -8 or better (280). This meant you needed to score 70 on average to qualify for the final stage.
Week 2 - Section B Group
116 players competed at Windsor Park, where 25 out of the 116 qualified on a score of -8 or better (280). This meant that you needed to score 70 on average to move through to the final stage. 121 players competed at Suvarnabhumi, where the leading 26 qualified and moved through to the final stage with a score of -13 or better (275). This meant you needed to score 68.75 on average to qualify for the final stage. Thats an average of -3 per round.
The Final Stage
In the final stage 223 golfers teed it up at Suvarnabhumi Golf Club in Bangkok, Thailand. The cut after two rounds was -3, which quickly sliced the field of 223 golfers back to 121 for the final two rounds. Just 121 golfers left out of over 550.
What You Can Learn from this...
In the final analysis you can see that if you look at the qualifying scores in the final stage, the highest score you could shoot over 72 holes was 3.5 under par on average per round. That means breaking 70 on a consistent basis.
This is important to consider if you are preparing for any tour school in the future. You can see from our simple analysis that over eight rounds (144 holes) you need, at a minimum, to be capable of scoring under par consistently to have the slightest chance of securing a tour card.
We look at the numbers produced at tour schools around the world every year and one thing is certain; you must be able to produce sub par scores and scores in the sixties over many rounds to have any chance at all of earning income playing professional tournament golf.
Ask yourself honestly how many rounds out of the last 100 were par or better in tournaments (amateur or professional). To qualify for a tour school, make a lot more money than you spend and make a lot more cuts than you miss, you should be at least 25 under par for your last 100 competitive rounds of golf.
Want To Spend Your Money More Wisely?
If You Are In The 95% of Serious Golfers Who Don't Break Par Consistently...Do You Want To Be In The 5% Who Can?
First Camp For 2018.
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.
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 below.
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 base of the pyramid starts with Capability, 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.
LEARN THE PRACTICE SECRETS OF PROFESSIONAL TOUR PLAYERS.
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.
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.
Fairways and Greens Hit in Regulation (Ball Striking Category)
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
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 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 & David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
Why 95 Percent of Serious Golfers Don't Break Par Consistently. And How You Can Be In The 5 Percent Who Can.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
- Howard C Clark
First You Need the Par Breaking Mind-Set
The one thing all self-made millionaires have in common is that they want to be rich, they want to earn lots of money because they are motivated by the things that lot’s of money can give you; personal security, freedom from bills, bright shiny objects, lots of vacations etc.
And the key to their success is that they think about being rich all the time; they think about growing their wealth; and they go to work on it every single day learning the specific skills, knowledge and strategies that makes it possible.
In other words they focus their energy entirely on generating and increasing their wealth, and from there they work out how they will get it done!
To be a par breaking golfer you also need to think about breaking par often. It must be forefront in your mind and you need to be continually finding creative ways and means to achieve it.
This is what every low scoring golfer does; they continually focus their energy on reducing their golf scores by reducing the mistakes in their rounds that makes it more difficult to break par, and they seek out the teachers, coaches and mentors that can help them achieve it.
They believe that they can break par often, it is not a fantasy, it is reality because they make it so.
And it is not something only mature golfers can do? There are many junior golfers under the age of 15 who can break par; so it is not a coming of age thing, it is possible for any serious golfer to learn how to break par with the right level of knowledge, skills and consistent practice.
Every successful amateur or professional golfer has learned how to master par. That is, they have learned how to produce a high percentage of pars in every round, and this percentage should be 12 pars or more per round on average.
You can think of 18 holes as three games of 6 holes, and then understand that you must achieve 12 pars in two of the three games. In the last 6 holes you make your birdies and bogeys.
To break par often you must learn to master your parring ability on par 3’s, par 4’s and par 5’s, and this requires that you develop the golf skills that will make it more likely that you produce 6 or more pars for each nine holes you play, or 12 pars on average for 18 holes.
Anything less than this and it is not likely to happen.
Do you know what your current par average is? Better still, do you know what your par average is for Par 3's, Par 4's and Par 5's over the past 12 rounds?
You should, because until you start digging into your golf scores and extracting the critical data that describes the way you play Par 3's, Par 4's and Par 5's you will continually hit scoring resistance and frustration.
For example, if you play par 3's poorly maybe its because you have a weakness hitting enough greens in regulation with your mid to long irons? Or maybe you aim at tough pins and when you miss the green you leave yourself with tough recovery shots.
You see until you track your performances against par how will you know what you do?
Look at it like this; if you have 9 pars in a round, 3 bogeys and a double bogey, you would have to have 6 under in 5 holes to break par. You would need to have something like 4 birdies and an eagle, which is possible, but not probable.
More pars per round just makes sense, and it also makes it easier to score low, doesn't it?
So how do you increase the amount of pars you generate in a round of golf? The simplest way is to reduce your bogey average and worse, and also increase your birdie or better average.
Now I know that's obvious, but remember the par breaking mind-set I shared with you earlier?
You have to focus all you energy on reducing bogey or worse in your rounds, and you need to build your game improvement strategies from this stand point to start with.
Here's the key to remember; you should aim to have no more than 2 to 3 bogeys in any round of golf you play, and you need to almost completely eliminate double bogeys and worse from your game.
Double bogeys and worse should rarely happen if you are going to be a par breaker.
What's Your Birdie to Bogey Ratio?
On the PGA Tour the bogey average (2017 season) for the player ranked 1 was 2.05 bogeys on average per round, (just over 2 bogies) and for the player ranked 190 it was 3.75.
The birdie average (2017 season) for the player ranked 1 was 4.49 birdies on average per round and for the player ranked 190 it was 2.38 birdies per round on average.
Can you see a correlation between the amount of bogeys they make against birdies? If a golfer has 3.75 bogeys or worse per round and 2.38 birdies or better he will play over par.
Here’s a really simple way of working out your bogey to birdie ratio so that you understand where you are in this critical game improvement area.
Let me show you what I mean.
Jordan Spieth ranked 1st in 2017 for the birdie to bogey ratio statistic, and in the 85 tournament rounds he played on the PGA Tour he made 358 birdies or better, and just 181 bogeys or worse.
358 is a bigger number than 181 right? More birdies than bogeys right?
When you divide 358 birdies or better into 181 bogeys or worse you get a result of 1.98. Remember that ranked him 1st on the PGA Tour that year.
If you go down the list from Jordan to Miguel Angel Carbello, Miguel ranked 173 in this statistical category, with his birdie or better score 196 and his bogey or worse score also 196 resulting in a score of 1.00.
This means that his birdies or better result was cancelled out by his bogeys or worse result.
Can you see how important this is?
I think you can see that the idea is to create more birdies or better per round compared to your bogeys or worse score if you want to break par often.
Here’s a simple way for you to find out what your ratio is.
At Pro Tour Golf College our formula for breaking par is described like this;
I think that you’ll agree that this simple way to analyse your pars, birdies, bogeys and worse will help you to understand where your weakness lies. And when you understand your weaknesses you can make progress with well thought out and useful practice strategies.
You see, before you go pulling your golf swing apart or changing some other aspect of your golf game take the time to understand your results against par and then work backwards from there.
Next month in part 2 we'll take a close look at the way you should play the Par 3's, Par 4's and Par 5's to increase your par and birdie average and decrease your bogey and worse average by identifying the critical shot-making formula and key strategies that you need to learn that will help you to move your golf scores from over par and down into red numbers.
Lawrie Montague & David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
The Little Known 4 Step Golf Improvement Model That's Delivering Unprecedented Results, and Why You Should Be Adopting This Model For Your Game Now.
Did you know that golf is one of the only sports where the “experts” still cannot make up their mind what the ideal model to teach is? In ballet, gymnastics and other highly technical sports they have adopted a model to teach upon, but golf still lags way behind. This probably explains why it's so hard to learn to play really well?
As a former tour player, I never played consistently to my potential. In every round I played, I knew I left shots out on the golf course, and I really didn’t know how to improve. It also seemed like many of my fellow professionals were in the same predicament, and this led me to a career trying to find out what some of the answers were.
There are lots of theories in golf books, magazines, DVD’s and on the TV on how to play golf. There aren’t many on how to play it really well. What’s the difference between playing golf, and playing it really well? In my opinion, it’s simply learning how to develop the skills to lower your golf scores.
When you think about it, improving your golf game involves five factors that you have to develop a measurable degree of control over. At PTGC our students learn that one or more of these five factors will stop them from reaching their potential as a golfer. This is the same for you.
To improve your golf game, you need to improve your ability to control all five factors. We’re not concentrating on the golf swing, collision and ball flight part of the formula. What we are going to concentrate on is much more important; how you can train your game to lower your golf scores and become a much better golfer faster than you could have ever imagined.
"To be honest, more than ninety percent of golfers we have witnessed, are wasting their time on the driving range because of the way they go about their work."
There is a cause-effect relationship within the five factors sequence that explains why some golfers achieve a great deal more success than others do, all things being equal. We call this “the golf success code,” and possibly this will be the first time you’ve seen it presented this way, but there’s a good reason for it; the majority of golfers we work with in our program don’t realise that these factors need to change in sequence if they want to improve their game.
“Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing.” – Ben Hogan
That’s right, they would be arranged so that score is at the beginning instead of a golf swing.
This would be followed by the ball flight, the impact or collision and then the golf swing. In other words we teach our students to build a better game with the end in mind--the score or outcome.
Your Golf Score = Your Ball Flight = Your Collision = Your Golf Stroke ÷ The Environment
There is a better way.
Some years ago I was working with one of the players from the US LPGA tour and I was asked to hop on a plane and fly to the US for a couple of tournaments to help her regain some lost form. After spending some time on the range, I followed her around the golf course and tracked and measured every golf shot she played from tee to green.
At the time her score average was a couple of shots higher than it needed to be for each round to comfortably make the cut and make some money.
I analysed her results after the first tournament, (which she made the cut in) and sat down with her after supper and went through my findings. She was clearly of the opinion that she wasn’t putting very well because she believed she wasn’t holing enough ‘makeable’ putts to be competitive. I agreed with her, but said that there was something far more critical that she was overlooking; the effectiveness of her wedge play.
On every hole that she played a wedge into the green over seventy two holes, I calculated the distance of her shot to the pin and wrote it down. After she played her shot I would race ahead of her group and measure the distance of her shot to the pin and note whether it was short, long, left or right of the hole.
The other interesting fact was that over seventy percent of her wedge shots were short of the hole, which made me wonder about the set-up of her wedges. It turns out that she carried a pitching wedge with a forty eight degree loft, a gap wedge with a fifty degree loft, when it was supposed to be fifty two degrees, and a sand wedge with fifty eight degrees that was supposed to be fifty six degrees.
The eight degree gap between the gap wedge and sand wedge was creating distance control problems. My advice was for her to get her wedges adjusted, and start working on her wedge distance control. I developed a training plan for her and within three months she was making money and in a lot happier place mentally. Any golfer can improve their game if they start from the right end of the cause- effect relationship.
The Score Versus Swing Paradox
At PTGC we believe that the score or outcome is more important than the golf swing or process. We believe that you can’t have an effective process without a clearly defined outcome. We know that a lot of golf instructors would challenge us on this, but we know that this is the key to high performance golf.
“A score or outcome focus enables golfers to continually find ways to improve their performances because they can work backwards looking at the different aspects of their performance to find the clues to lower scores.”
In an article I read written by Steve Williams, Tiger’s ex caddie had this to say about keeping statistics; "I always keep a very detailed log of every round we play," "Stat-wise at the end of the day, end of the week, we know what we need to work on for the next round."
A golf swing focus significantly limits your improvement potential and can actually place more pressure on you to perform, because you are reducing your performance down to maybe one or two possibilities, such as swing plane, flat left wrist etc.
Every year young male and female golfers enter the tour qualifying schools around the world with the dream of playing full-time for big money on a major tour. Most of them never realise their dream.
Measure to Improve
In business, there’s a well-known saying; “what you can measure, you can improve,” and at Pro Tour Golf College we don’t start working on the improvement process with our golfers, until we can gather enough information on their game to determine what, and how, we can help them with to achieve their goal.
I was very fortunate as a young golf instructor to work with some very knowledgeable high performance coaches in golf, and particularly other sports, and it’s through this experience that I was introduced to a simple four step coaching model that they used to develop their athletes for International and Olympic competition. It’s a simple model that gives us a framework to guide our students improvement towards their goals.
It is unlikely that you will have ever read about this model in any golf book or golf magazine. This model is the cornerstone of our golf instruction program, and guarantees that our student’s development is managed in a structured and well conceived way. Don’t be deceived by the obvious simplicity of this model, that’s what makes it a very valuable tool for guiding your improvement. Most of the golfers we know of do not have an approach to improvement like this.
Lawrie Montague & David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
Want to Know About The Unique Golf Improvement Program That Will Dramatically Transform Your Game?