Tag Archives: Golf

Even If You Fall On Your Face, You’re Still Moving Forward

I love the game of golf!  Like many who take up the sport, I am obsessed. Most who play are consumed by the never-ending quest to get better. Unfortunately, it is hard to improve.

I took up golf after college, and realized quickly that I was not blessed with a “natural” swing. Not dissimilar to most who take up the game later in life, I experienced all of the frustrations associated with learning how to play. About 4 years ago, my handicap hit an all-time low (5.9 index), and I was confident that I would continue to improve.  The golf gods, however, had other plans.  Over the next three years, my game evaporated.  Out of pure desperation, I acquired almost every golf training aid available on the market, while seeking a cure from a host of PGA instructors.  Nothing worked, and my handicap ballooned to a 14.6 by the end of the 2015 season. As I contemplated quitting golf, I made a desperate decision to invest in a golf school.  I had followed Martin Chuck’s Tour Striker Golf Academy for years, and I felt that his philosophy would align best with my predicament.  The instruction over the three-day class was great. The coaches provided me with insight into the many issues that prohibited me from playing competently. They also offered valuable guidance on how to improve.  Fortunately, Martin introduced me to a tool that fundamentally altered my descent into the abyss.

Over the last 13 months, I have use a training aid called the Swingclick at the range, on the course and in my house.  My handicap has dropped to a 7.8, and I am playing a lot better. The Swingclick helps me find the top of my backswing, and reinforces the correct tempo.  The metamorphosis has been a blessing as I desperately want to get better at golf.

My story underscores the profound impact this simple device will have on a golfer. For the price of a dozen golf balls, and regular use of the Swingclick, anyone can improve their game. Similar to the way Victor Kiam felt about Remington in the late 1970s, I believe so much in the Swingclick, I now own a percentage of the company.

The Swingclick – It Works!

Get Better

Golf is a struggle for everyone that plays the game.  I think that it is a part of the allure of the sport.  Just when you think you figured it out, your game inexplicably goes sideways.  Golf will tax you mentally, and produce visceral frustrations like no other sport.  What is even more maddening is that trying harder does not guarantee improvement.

Over the last three years, the game of golf has not been enjoyable for me.  My handicap went from a 5.9 index to a 14.5 index.  My friends provided me all of the obligatory excuses; work, family, reduced playing etc.  Admittedly, I succumbed to my struggles, and thought about quitting the game. Recognizing that quitting is for the weak, I decided to make an investment, and enroll in a golf school. Months of research lead me to Martin Chuck and his Tour Striker Academy. In January, I sent Martin a detailed email outlining my situation.  He replied with a comprehensive overview of my issues, and what he would do to help me solve my problems.  This initial insight provided by Martin was impressive so I registered for the three-day program.

Given the state of my game, I was anxious about performing in front of Martin, and his team of PGA professionals.  It did not take long before that apprehension was alleviated by a group of instructors that focused on my development.  While the teaching is extremely positive, they all speak candidly about your game.  Martin and his staff make the instruction very personal, and care about each student’s ability to absorb their direction.  Key points are reinforced with video, training aids and the data compiled by the TrackMan launch monitor.  At the end of the three-day course, I felt that I had an idea of what I needed to do to improve.  Additionally, Martin recommended a single training aid that he felt would help me resolve my primary swing flaw. The tool is called the Swingclick, and it is the only device that has actually positively impacted my golf swing.

The results associated with my investment have been material.  My handicap has dropped to a 9, and my confidence has gradually come back.  I no longer let bad shots destroy my round or undermine my mental condition. My swing might not look any better, but a half dozen rounds in the 70’s has me believing there are legitimate advances.

The struggle with the game of golf has not ended for me.  The difference is now I have the proper foundation to withstand its continuous challenges.

Thank you Martin Chuck, Courtney Mahon, Jim Waldron, Mike Krahe, and Brian Manzella.  Special thanks to the inventors of the Swingclick.

On the Fritz

Cover of "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect"
Cover of Golf is Not a Game of Perfect
Cover of "Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental ...
Cover of Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

It may be time for me to re-read Dr. Bob Rotella’s book “Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect”.  Perhaps the audio version of Joseph Parent’s “Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game” might be a timely listen.  Beyond an admittedly flawed swing, my confidence in my golf game is deteriorating.  It has become difficult for me to get the ball in the hole.  For the first time since I picked up the game in my early 20s, when I stand over a ball, doubt creeps into my mind.  These qualms do not frequently occur on the driving range; a place of refuge where I am reminded that I can actually get the ball airborne.  This perplexing paradox disturbs me as I realize that my poor performance emanates from my brain.  Forgetting angles and swing planes, a synapse breaks between the range and the first tee.

I have sought the expertise from teaching professionals, purchased additional training aids and read books.  I try to employ visualization when I practice, and frequently participate in rigorous exercise to ensure I am fit.  My opportunity to practice is limited due to work, my sons’ sports and life.  That said, my buddies have the same constraints, and their games have not been negatively impacted.

It is hard to admit that I am succumbing to mental weakness.  As an extremely competitive person, I have always taken pride in my ability to focus when necessary.  My golf swing has never been elegant, but I could get myself around a course in a respectable number of shots.  At times, those scores would be in the mid to upper 70s, and came at fortuitous times.  The pressure of the moment seemed to enhance my ability to deliver.  If I have to be brutally honest with myself, I would say that anxiety has undermined any opportunity to succeed.  As an example, I can execute a myriad of successful shots during a warm up session.  However, when I step to the tee box, my swing becomes short, fast and inaccurate.  Balls that flew straight, and in the vicinity of my intended target, now plunge to the ground nowhere near where I was aiming.  Instead of focusing on successfully hitting the next shot, I am quickly overtaken with a sense of confusion.  The constant in-round analysis of my poor swings leads to heightened tension and incremental uneasiness.  To that point, the opportunity to play well is diminished.

The most difficult about dealing with cerebral issues is that trying harder does not equate to improved performance.  I am not opposed to putting in the essential time, and making the required swing changes in order to improve.  What has me perplexed is how I am going to repair my confidence?  What are the tactics I need to employ to fix my brain?

This has been difficult to write as it exhumes an uncomfortable, personal weakness.  No competitor wants to admit they are not self-assured when confronted with a challenge.  You must believe you will succeed in order to have a chance at being effective.   My mindset will have to change if I want overcome this test of my resolve.

Bottom is where I was -Top is where I am. #hardtolookat
Bottom is where I was Top is where I am now. #hardtolookat

 

Back from the Brink

In 2011, I considered the game of golf to be a legitimate threat to my sanity (see – http://www.huntfishgolfwork.com/?p=411).  Lessons, equipment changes and countless practice sessions did not provide relief.  My competitive intensity slowly diminished to the point where I actually questioned why I was even entering in club events.  On course turrets-like episodes became a regular occurrence.  I attempted to turn frustration into motivation, but the brain could not trick the body into execution.

Unfortunately, 2012 started where 2011 left off.   Many moving body parts, poor posture, utter confusion and a bad attitude lead to a new search for help.  To my great fortune, The Club at Pradera hired Matt Marino to be the assistant golf professional.  Matt is an energetic, engaging, positive individual whose personality is infectious.   His teaching methodology is simplistic by design, yet conveys the appropriate information that allows his student to be effective. Matt is not assumptive; he asked questions about my game, watched me swing, then challenged me to do what it would take to turn everything around.  Our first lesson ended with two drills that I would employ during every subsequent practice session (basement, bedroom and range).  Additional sessions reinforced critical fundamentals which allowed me to build on his prior teachings.  Our objectives were clear;

1. Install the correct set up, ball position and swing plane.

2. Maintain internal tranquility that will allow me to institute a functioning tempo.

3. Build back the confidence that I would need to once again have fun playing the sport.

It has not been easy, but we have managed to lower my handicap to a 6.3 index.  Matt and I will continue to work together in order to refine my ever evolving mechanics.  Perhaps radical changes can be made that will allow me to exceed my potential?  Either way, Matt Marino’s teachings have allowed me to once again smile on the golf course.  Matt is a special person, instructor and friend.

Matt Marino No Reference Drill

One Foot Drill – Matt Marino

Enhanced by Zemanta

One Man’s Opinion (Part 1)

I am a demanding, vociferous and loyal consumer.  If I like a product or service, I let people know about my experience.  That said, if I feel slighted or the product/service does not meet expectations, someone of merit will know what transpired.  I invest in quality, appreciate value and expect performance. 

I will use this BLOG to review my personal experiences with specific companies, products and services.

Part 1

Product or Service

Grade

Website

Comments

TaylorMade Golf

A

http://taylormadegolf.com/

I have and continue to purchase TaylorMade golf equipment.  Their products are engineered to work for all types of golfers.  Their people are friendly, helpful and passionate about their products.  If something should go wrong, they stand behind their brand in order to ensure complete customer satisfaction.  Mark King is a masterful CEO that has secured my loyalty through constant innovation and premium service.
Comcast

D

www.comcast.com

I was a Comcast Triple Play (phone, internet & cable) customer for years.  While the offering was technically stable, and the content decent, the underlying customer service was consistently horrible.  The people at Comcast just don’t get it.  When I finally ended the relationship and migrated to DirecTV, Comcast made multiple financial offers to try to save me.  Further proof that they did not understand my issues and never tried correct their mistakes when I was actually a subscriber.
Copper Mountain Ski Resort

A

www.coppercolorado.com

Organizing skiing for a family of four (with 2 young children) is challenging.  Having Kim Casey (Ski and Ride School Sales Manager) on your side makes the experience a painless one.  Kim’s personality is infectious and she works hard to ensure your time on the mountain is enjoyable. Skiing is EXPENSIVE so when you make the investment, you need positive results.  The Copper instructors are phenomenal and have done a great job teaching my boys how to ski.
Winter Park Ski Resort

B

www.winterparkresort.com

After a disappointing first experience at Winter Park, Tom Carey and his team ensured that our next trip to the mountain was an incredible one.  The terrain is varied, and the resort does not attract tourists so lines are moderate.  My kids enjoyed their instructor and we all look forward to future trips to Winter Park.
William Joseph

A

www.williamjoseph.net

I own Willy J packs, jackets, waders and tools.  Their products represent quality, durability and great functionality.  When I have technical questions, their service team responds quickly and accurately.  Willy J represents value in a pricey marketplace.
Texas Roadhouse

A

www.texasroadhouse.com

My family eats at Texas Roadhouse in Parker, CO about twice a month.  The food is good, reasonably priced and the service is great.  We recommend the ribs and fried catfish.  Get there early as the line forms quickly. 
PowerBlock

  • Elite Set

A

www.powerblock.com

I purchased the Elite Set (around $600) about 10 years ago.   The PowerBlock is my primary weight set.  The unit is perfectly engineered, extremely durable and very useful.  I have never had to contact customer service as the product is built to last.
Apple

A-

www.apple.com

I own 4 iPods, two iPhones and an iPad 2.  I despise the fact that I am dependent on Apple for my music and much of my daily information.   When my iPad and iPhone 4s went haywire weeks after I purchased the products, Apple stepped up and worked diligently to fix my equipment.  My Apple technical contact (Eli Z.) was committed to find a solution.  The Apple Store (Englewood, CO) “Geniuses” were understanding, persistent and talented.  It took 3 trips and multiple calls but my products were eventually repaired.  As an apology, Apple presented me with a gift card.
Fishpond USA

  • Open Range Tech Pack

D+

www.fishpondusa.com

My first purchase when I started fly fishing 4 years ago, was a Fishpond vest.  While the pack has tremendous functionality, the service I received from the company was poor.  I called the company to find out how to acquire additional inserts for my pack.  My first two calls/messages were ignored.  When I did get someone live, they told me to visit three fishing websites as they could not help me directly.  It took me over a month to purchase the insert.  After investing in Willy  J packs, I sold my Fishpond Open Range Tech Pack on EBay. 
Beretta USA

  • A400 Xplor Light, 12g, K/O
  • AL391 Urika 2, 12g, K/O

B

www.berettausa.com

I own two Beretta shotguns; A400 Xplor Light 12 gauge as well as a AL391 Urika 2 12 gauge (both with kick off).  In the field, these guns perform flawlessly.  I have knocked down many game birds with these guns, and they have become my only choice in the field.  *That said, when I did call Beretta with questions regarding choke tubes, their service representative was uninformed and impatient.  I wanted to purchase more product and they would not or could not guide me to the appropriate offerings.  This was a really disappointing experience given my significant investment in Beretta products.   
Canon

  • SX20 IS

C

www.usa.canon.com/

I purchased a Canon SX20 IS from Best Buy in 2011.  This was my initial attempt at moving away from a point and shoot camera.  I experienced issues with the camera from day one, and outlined them for Canon.  There only feedback was to reset the settings on the camera (did not work).  I should have returned the unit to Best Buy instead of counting on Canon to honor the warranty.  The camera has not been used in over a year.
Callaway Golf

B

www.callawaygolf.com

There is not a Callaway product in my bag any longer.  TaylorMade accounts for 13 clubs and a Scotty Cameron is my putter choice.  That said, when I have to deal with Callaway customer service in the past, they have been friendly and extremely professional.   I would not hesitate to purchase a Callaway product in the future.
Escort Radar

  • Passport S2

D-

http://www.escortradar.com/

I own five Escort radar detectors and they work great.  That said, when I called the company to order another unit (Passport S3), the sales representative was beyond rude.  Simple questions regarding the product resulted in a crass, sarcastic reply from the employee.  This went on for 5 minutes until I finally ended the conversation because I was so angry.  I have invested over $1,000 in Escort products over the years and was very disappointed in the way I was treated; considering I was calling to purchase another unit.    

 

Definitions

Grade

Definition

A

Outstanding product and service.  I would buy again.

B

Good product and/or service.  I would probably again.

C

Mediocre product and/or service.  Would consider buying again, but would evaluate alternatives in the market. 

D

Poor product and/or service.  I would not buy again.

F

Big mistake.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta