Don’t Shut Down Your Game for Winter

Don't Shut Down Your Game for Winter
It’s happening like it does every year, the leaves changed colors and it was pretty…

Then all the leaves fell off the trees :-(

Along the way the temperatures continue to drop and golf exits the mind, not to return until the first signs of warm weather in the spring. Unfortunately, this cycle and attitude are placing you at a severe disadvantage when it comes to making progress on the golf course.

That being said I think it’s a good idea to take a little break from the clubs from time to time, but to walk away all together for 3+ months, and then expect to pick up where you left off is just silly.

To help you out I put together this list of 5 things to do, that will help you PLAY BETTER GOLF while not leaving you burnt out.

1. Read Golf Books

Mark Twain Quote

Just about everything you want to learn about the game of golf can be found in books. When searching for golf books to read over the winter, I don’t advise looking for anything that discusses technique in detail. Rather I look for books that help you design a plan for the next season. These could range from books to help your mental game or about how we learn new skills. Also, I like to look for anything that has actionable items like drills.

If you’re really smart and want to get the max value from the things you read, I advise making notes on everything you find useful. That way when you get back to the course in the spring you can quickly find things to put into action.

If you’re looking for a list of books to get started, check out my list of favorite golf books.

2. Take Instruction

Instruction

The off-season is a great time to make big changes in your swing. It’s very difficult in mid-summer to make a change because we all want to get out and play. The pressure of being on the course forces us back into old habits, and can make our swing changes take longer. The off-season is a great opportunity to focus on certain items and dedicate the proper time to making the change.

Want help from me in the off-season? Sign up for an online lesson.

Are you not sure what an online lesson entails? No worries, I recorded a video to give you a behind the scenes look. Click here to watch.

3. Mirror work

If you live in a cold weather climate I realize that practice facilities can be limited during the off-season, but I have one suggestion that can really help. Find a mirror and practice making swing in that mirror.

Find a large mirror in your house and start making swing from different angles. Don’t have the room to swing a club? Mirror work can still be very effective without a club.

This form of visual feedback does wonders in the learning process. In my opinion it’s more valuable than viewing your swing on video, because the results are in real-time. I recommend playing around with different movements and feels and watching what that actually looks like in the mirror. This can really help you grab control of your golf swing.

4. Fitness

Are you looking to get in better shape? You may as well benefit your golf game at the same time.

The crew at the Titleist Performance Institute AKA. TPI have an incredible library of exercises available at no charge online: http://www.mytpi.com/exercises

5. Set goals and design a practice plan

The players I work with that have the most success our those with a specific list of goals that are carried out with clear plan. Recently, I wrote a post about how to create your Blueprint for Success on the golf course. You can read that post HERE.

Also, I created a FREE worksheet for you to use when creating your own plan. Click here to download the worksheet.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be one of those folks that puts their clubs away. Make the most of this off-season and have your buddies asking “who is this guy?”, when you tee it up in the spring.

Use the comments below to tell me what you’re going to do for you golf game this off-season.

Posted in Books, Golf Fitness, off-season golf

Blueprint for Success: 3 Lessons Learned from a PGA Tour Winner

Blueprint for Success: 3 Lessons Learned from a PGA Tour Winner
A few weeks back I ran across these written goals of tour player Peter Malnati. To me it was incredible insight into the mind of an elite golfer, so I included it in the weekly email I send out (Click here to start getting these emails).

I had one student comment on the detail of Peter’s goals, and how he finally realized why I was urging him to build a plan around his golf game. This made me feel great as that’s exactly why I was sharing the information.

Then something crazy happened…Peter Malnati won his first PGA Tour event the Sanderson Farms Championship!

Peter Malnati won his first PGA Tour event

Talk about validating the importance of setting goals.

I decided to put together this post to tell you the 3 things we can learn from Peter’s 2015 goals and how we can apply it to our games.

1. Write Down Goals

This one is easy and certainly nothing new, but it’s a step that can’t be skipped. If you’re serious about this goal setting thing you absolutely must put them in writing. This act of putting your mission on paper is what makes it real and tangible.

Writing down the goals also give you the opportunity to reference them throughout the year. This is really helpful when doing personal status reports and making sure that you remained focused. One thing I see with golfers is comparable to the shiny object syndrome. We view every tip we hear as the solution to our problems or every club that comes out as the perfect fix for our slice, lack of distance, etc…

Writing down goals helps you keep your eye on the prize. Click To Tweet

2. Make Your Goals Have a Plan

One of my favorite quotes is:

“A goal without a plan is just a wish”

Let’s use Peter’s goals as an example. He breaks it into 3 sections which I fill build on one another and create our blueprint for success:

Goal Setting Blueprint

Outcome Goals – WHAT YOU WANT TO DO?

Example – Earn my PGA Tour Card for the 2015-2016 Season

These tend to be larger/broader goals that come as a result of executing your plan. This is where most peoples goal setting stops and that’s ultimately why most goals are never accomplished.

Statistical Goals – HOW WILL YOU MEASURE PROGRESS?

Example – Average greater than 66% of Greens in Regulation in competition

I absolutely love this for golfers! One thing I do with my students is take an outcome goal like wanting to be a single digit handicap. Then I find a resource like this one to find averages of players in that ability range. For example, the average 5-10 handicap hits about 36% of their greens. Finally, I’ll have my student track their greens in regulation and compare to that average.

This process allows us to build a practice plan and makes it easy to target specific skills for improvement.

One thing I emphasize when working on statistical goals is to be very limited on the amount you take on at anyone given time. Having too many statistical goals will prevent any chance of having a deliberate plan for improvement.

Process Goals – HOW YOU’ll DO IT

Example – Every 5 weeks will consist of: 3 weeks with full practice schedule, 1 week of light practice, and 1 week of no practice requirements.

This is the written procedure and schedule of how you plan to execute your outcome and statistical goals. This step is where your goals go from being “pie in the sky” to something real and achievable.

I think this quote sums it up:

“Ideas are sh**, execution is the game.”Gary Vaynerchuk

It’s really fun to have the goal of finally shooting in 80’s, but the act of executing is what’s going to make all the difference.  Unless you take the time to map out a plan for execution you’re going to struggle.

Having process goals is what brings this blueprint all together.

3. Make Your Goals Public

My biggest take away from Peter Malnati’s 2015 goals is how he made them public. He didn’t just share them with his wife and mom, he posted them on the internet for the whole world to see. Browsing around Peter’s site you can see that he didn’t stop with his goals, he’s using it to document every step of the journey.

Share with the world

Just hit the button and share with the world

Why is this such a big deal?

Posting goals publicly adds the accountability factor. You now have a group of people to answer to when you fail and celebrate with when you succeed.

This kick in the shorts is that extra motivation that will stop you from quitting when times get tough. When you make them public it’s much more difficult to move on to the next thing. Your mind won’t let you rationalize it.

Honestly, it’s a step most aren’t willing to take whether it be from embarrassment or fear. I look at it this way, if you’re not willing to show the world than you really shouldn’t bother setting the goal.

Challenge

Here’s my challenge, I want you to write down your goals for 2016 using the format described in this post.

Too make things easy I’ve created a FREE worksheet for you to fill out. Click here to download the work sheet.

Once you’re done I urge you to email it to me at jboggs@pga.com.  With your permission I’ll publish it on the blog to help keep you accountable.

Posted in Mental Game, off-season golf

Q&A with Josh Ep. 11: Help! It’s Time for New Irons

Episode 11 Header
Welcome to episode 11 of Q&A with Josh!

Each month, I answer a viewer submitted question in my effort to help you PLAY BETTER GOLF.

To view all of the past episodes and to submit your own question, just head over to QuestionsForJosh.com. If your question is chosen for a future episode you will win a FREE lesson. Don’t live in central Ohio, but still want a FREE lesson? No problem, I’m happy to teach the lesson virtually. All you’ll need to do is send me a video of your swing.

Follow the link and submit your question now – QuestionsForJosh.com.

Let’s get into Episode 11, where I answer David’s question on what to look for when buying new irons.

Question

“I have recently sold my old irons and am looking at getting a new set. What is the difference between steel shafts and graphite shafts? Also, what is the biggest difference between playing a “bladed” set of irons verses a cavity backed iron?”

Links I recommend

Posted in Irons, Q&A with Josh

Why I Love To Fail

Why I Love to Fail
A topic that I’ve been running across a lot recently is the positive side of failure (a couple examples can be found HERE and HERE and HERE). Traditionally failure is viewed with negative connotations, with very little focus on it’s benefits. Let’s take a look at this quote:

Edison Quote

What does this have to do with golf?

As someone who talks to lots of golfers, I rarely come across someone with this mindset. That’s really unfortunate because research into how we learn shows that embracing failure and possessing the grit to overcome it are characteristics of the top performers in every field.

On my very first golf swing I completely missed the ball, and you know what happened? I laughed about it, and by the end of the session I was routinely hitting the ball in the air. The failure didn’t bother me, I wasn’t even embarrassed about missing the ball. I was a twelve year old kid who had never touched a club in my life, what more could I expect! By not being embarrassed by my failures, but instead learning from them and using them as motivation to get better, my golf game improved rapidly.

Unfortunately, as we get older this embracing of our failures is increasingly difficult. Honestly, this fear of other peoples perception is why more people don’t take up the game at a later age. Watch any adult beginning golfer after they make a mistake.  You can see them quickly look around to see if anyone noticed. The crazy thing is, these are the folks that are brave enough to come out and give the game a try. Just think of all the people who don’t overcome this fear and never even pick up a club? Compare this to junior golfers, who could care less how it looks.  All they want to do is see that ball fly high and far. If they miss the ball, it’s only seconds before they’re taking another swing.

What’s the result? Those kids quickly learn how to hit a golf ball, and often times develop perfect fundamentals with very little instruction.  It’s truly remarkable!!

I’m not a beginner, why do I care…

This fear of failure goes way past the beginning stage in golf. It seems the more experienced the player, the harder failure is to overcome. Watch how most golfers use the range – take one club and hit it at the same target over and over until you hit a few good balls, then grab another club and do the same thing, repeat until out of range balls. What did they learn? Will this practice session show any improvement on the golf course?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Why is this the case? It’s the lack of negative consequences presented with this type of training. You may hit bad shots, but you have the next ball sitting there to cure your mistake so there is no chance of failure. That option to hit another ball significantly decreases your incentive to execute the present shot perfectly. This is totally different from the course where a bad shot could mean a lost ball and a penalty!

How can I apply it to my golf game?

For starters, CHALLENGE YOURSELF. To achieve success you’ve got to make yourself uncomfortable:

Comfort zone

When evaluating your practice session ask yourself, did I push myself and get outside of my comfort zone? If you answer YES, than you’ve just had a great session.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to implement this into your practice, here’s a drill you can try to improve shots around the green:

Step 1: Take 7 golf balls and choose a hole to chip towards
Step 2: Define 4 scoring zones and assign a score to each zone. For example, in the hole (4 points), 1ft from hole (3 points), 3ft from hole (2 points),and 5ft from hole (1 point)
Step 3: Determine a target score for your skill. It’s very important that you choose a score that is right on the edge of your ability level. If the target score is too easy you will become bored very quickly.
Step 4: Hit the 7 balls and track your score

Games like this can be applied to every aspect of the game. For an added benefit you’ll start to find your practice more fun thus increasing your desire to practice more often.

Conclusion

Failure and mistakes have been given a bad reputation. Instead you need to celebrate your failures and learn from your mistakes. The necessity to fail must be incorporated into every aspect of your golf training.

If you want to PLAY BETTER GOLF, you need to let failure be your motivator and not your detractor. Click To Tweet

Game Changing Video

If you enjoyed this topic and want to dive a little deeper, check out this video from the Train Ugly blog (http://trainugly.com)

Posted in Junior Golf, Mental Game, off-season golf

My Favorite Golf Books

My Favoirte Golf Books
Those that know me will attest to the fact that I’m a total golf nerd and a avid reader. That’s why I wanted to put together this short reading list, to highlight the books that I think will help you PLAY BETTER GOLF.

Check back from time to time as I’ll continue to add to this list when I come across a book that I think will help your golf game.

If you have a book recommendation, and don’t see it listed please leave it in the comments below or contact me HERE. I’m always looking to add something new to my reading list.

1. Lowest Score Wins

This book is like a road map on how to formulate your practice and spend your time at course. It shows the stats, facts, and figures on how to improve your game the quickest. I’ve used the techniques and suggestions described in this book, to develop the game plans I use to help my students.

2. Every Shot Counts

The real stats about the game of golf. Dr. Mark Broadie has studied the data from thousands of golfers, all the way from PGA Tour Pro’s to the weekend warrior. In this book he presents his findings and disproves some of the longtime beliefs around the game. “Drive for show and putt for dough” may not be so true. Intrigued?? Check out the book, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

3. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book

All time classic! What else can I say this may be the best golf book ever written. Legendary teacher Harvey Penick’s personal journal of everything he discovered during his long teaching career. It’s truly amazing how relevant this book remains all these years later. If you like short and quick reads, this is your book.

4. Every Shot Must Have a Purpose: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player

Coaches Pia Nilson & Lynn Mariott whose students include Mrs. 59, Annika Sorenstam describe their concept of Golf 54 and so much more in this short book. The pre-shot routine they lay out inside this book has influenced my golf game and the games of so many of my students.

5. Golf is Not a Game of Perfect

Another well read and long standing classic. Legendary mental coach Dr. Bob Rotella gives us the specific techniques on how to mentally prepare for the golf of golf. Bobby Jones had it right when he said “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears” and in this book you find methods to enhance your mental game.

6. Quantum Golf

The book is a very interesting and simple read discussing the mental side of golf. The more and more I coach, the more I understand how important it is that I assist my players with their mental preparations and abilities. Towards the end of the book it discusses a concept with which many students (and sometimes myself) struggle: the ability to play our own game, and not worry about how other players would hit our shots. This should be simple, but for most us, there are few things more challenging.

This book inspired me to write a post about playing your own game HERE.

Disclosure: In an effort to be completely transparent, the product and book links through Amazon are affiliate links. I do get a small advertising commission if you buy them, but you are not charged anything extra. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Posted in Books, FAQ, Mental Game, off-season golf

[Two Minute Read] Are you guilty of this???

Are you guilty of this
Let me start out by telling you a quick story, about a lesson I had recently. The session was going great, so well that within 3 swing the golfer was hitting it better than he had in months. There was not talk about the swing plane or any suggestion of placing the club here as opposed to somewhere else. I simply asked the golfer to make the ball start to the right of the target. I gave no instruction as to how, just that simple request. VOILA, beautiful golf shots!

Then the strangest thing happened…

The golfer turned around and asked me about where his club should be placed during the takeaway. I’m all for my players asking questions, but this came out of nowhere. Sadly, this is something I run across all of the time and one of the reasons people practice but never get better. They are pursuing a perfect looking swing instead of a swing that delivers results. Take a look at the picture below:

Perfect Golf Swing

All 3 of these swing deliver massively successful results, but look dramatically different. What a perfect example of function over form! It’s my opinion that we spend way too much time focusing on the difference between these 3 swings, instead of the similarities. It’s time we focus on having a swing that shoots lower scores, not a swing that looks good on video.

Do I teach positions? Do I give technical swing advice? Absolutely, but only when it’s necessary to deliver the desired result of my students. Do not misunderstand my intent in writing this post. I think working on different positions in the swing can be extremely beneficial, but only when it’s geared towards achieving a result.

Here’s my challenge to you, in the comments below let me know WHAT you’re working on in your swing and WHY you’re doing it. I can’t wait to chat with you about your game.

This free website’s biggest source of support is when you decide to book a lesson or attend a clinic. You can contact me here. If you don’t live locally or can’t make time for a lesson, I also offer online lessons HERE. The online lesson technology is incredible and simple to use. It will help your game in addition to helping me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support!

Posted in FAQ, Mental Game

Q&A with Josh Ep. 10: How to Hit a Fairway Wood in the Air

Welcome to episode 10 of Q&A with Josh!

Each month, I answer a viewer submitted question in my effort to help you PLAY BETTER GOLF.

To view all of the past episodes and to submit your own question, just head over to QuestionsForJosh.com. If your question is chosen for a future episode you will win a FREE lesson. Don’t live in central Ohio, but still want a FREE lesson? No problem, I’m happy to teach the lesson virtually. All you’ll need to do is send me a video of your swing.

Follow the link and submit your question now – QuestionsForJosh.com.

Let’s get into Episode 10, where I answer Ernie’s question on how to consistently hit a fairway in the air.

Question

“I carry a three wood that I have not used in two years for anything other than an occasional tee shot. Using this club in the fairway is just too difficult to get up in the air. Should I be “sweeping” the ball off the turf or coming down more steeply onto the ball. Also is ball placement center or forward of center?”

Recommended links from the episode
My fairway wood video from the 4 shots in 4 weeks series – http://boggspga.com/the-fairway-wood/

Do you have a golf related questions that you need answered? Head to QuestionsForJosh.com and let me know…

Posted in Fairway Woods, Q&A with Josh

My Go-To Drill for Improving your Ball Striking

One of the most rewarding feelings as a golf coach, is when you hear the excitement of someone you just taught to hit the golf ball solid. They often remark “that’s how it supposed to feel!” It really holds so true, and it inspired me to write this post a few weeks back – Why Hitting the Sweetspot is so Important.

As I’m sure you can admit, obtaining that feeling is not so easy. It takes improving select skills that don’t come naturally. The most important of the skills being the ability to control one low point. Not sure what low point is? Check out Episode 3 of Q&A with Josh where I discuss the #1 swing thought for high handicap golfers.

I recorded this drill to help you practice and improve controlling your low point:

Do you have something your struggling with? Do you need a drill? Send a tweet to @BoggsPGA using the hashtag #DrilDown.

Posted in Drill Down, Irons

How to Finally Stop 3 Putting Greens

One of the most frustrating things in golf is having a 3 putt green. It can crush your confidence, force you to make bad decisions, and after a few 3 putts you start to have a physical fear when you’re on the green.

That’s why I’m sharing this drill, so you can start practicing your speed and avoid those knee knocking 4 footers that can make you go insane. What I love about this drill is it’s what I call a baseline drill, meaning you can track your results (see my post on creating your own golf journal), and see if you’re getting better over time.

Are you ready to test your putting speed?

Set Up Photo – As promised in the video, here is a still shot of how to set up the tees:
Putting Speed Drill Set-Up

Posted in Drill Down, Putting

[DRILL] Take your Game from the Range to the Course

Take your Game from the range to the courseOne thing I hear all the time is “I hit it great on the range, but when I go to the course it’s like I never practiced.” Have you ever felt this way??? If so, this drill is for you…

In my opinion this all stems from the way golf is practiced. Can you name another sport in which you practice in a completely different environment than the game is played? Have you ever seen football practiced anywhere, but a football field or basketball not on a court? NO CHANCE, but golf is practiced in a big open field, on perfect lies, with random targets that have no consequence if you miss them. No wonder all of your practice sessions go well.

What’s the solution?

The first thing you need to do is understand the difference between block and dynamic practice. I’ve outline those details in a previous post:
Practice Styles: Block vs. Dynamic

Practicing dynamically is the only way to get your game to transfer and now that you understand the difference, you may need some ideas of how to make your practice more dynamic.  Put your skills to the test by trying out this drill:

This drill is so good, that one of my student’s recently said the following:

If you’re successful at this drill than you’ll have success on the course. If you’re not successful than you know what to expect.

Do you have a drill that you want to see??

If you’re struggling with something and want to see a drill that will help, let me know using one of the following options:

1. Leave it in the comments below
2. Contact me via email
3. Send me a note on twitter @BoggsPGA using the hashtag #drilldown

Posted in Drill Down, Irons