Watching Kevin Na play golf today is by far the most entertained I’ve been watching golf in many years. It was like an emotional roller coaster. One minute I’m laughing, the next my skin is starting to crawl and yet the next I would feel nothing but sympathy. Both for Kevin and for Zach Johnson his playing partner. Kevin Na looked like he couldn’t pull the trigger and hit a shot even if a gun was pointed to his head.
As frustrated as he was, it is unbelievable that he is leading a tournament and was able to keep it together enough to post a good score. Absolutely amazing. Even more impressive was Zach Johnson his playing partner who is in 4th place after watching that fiasco for 4 hours. I texted an old college friend who played the Nationwide Tour this afternoon and his comment was “playing with Na is a 4 stroke penalty”. It is so very distracting to watch someone who has an awkward or annoying pre-shot routine.
Ironically enough I just covered pre-shot routine last week in a ladies clinic. There are two points I believe are so critical to a good pre-shot routine and I think Kevin was way off on both.
1) Consistency 2) Time between your last move and pulling the trigger.
1) No matter what, your routine has got to be consistent. You must do the same thing every time and do it the same throughout the entire round. You see this with the greats. They have all been like machines when it comes to routine. Varying your actions is most definitely not calming to your mind. The last thing you want is for your mind to be jumping around or for your focus to get to wide.
2) The time between your last waggle or move and when you pull the trigger is key to a good routine. One of my pet peeves is when students stand over the ball too long allowing a flood of thoughts to come to their mind and paralyze them. When watching a student hit balls, I should be able to guess when they are going to pull the trigger because their routine should be consistent and also the time between their last move and their takeaway should be consistent as well.
It is amazing how if you have a good routine and stick to it whether or not you are playing well, that it always seems to keep the high numbers away. Your routine should be personal to you, but you may notice how a lot of the tour players do the same thing. Pick your favorite player, study his or her routine and try to put it into action next time you practice. Acting like a pro will help you play like one! But please…don’t copy Kevin Na. O.K., maybe his swing, but not his routine!
If you know a girl ages 7-17 that plays golf or is interested in learning to play, my LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Club of St. Louis – West County is a great way for them to get into the game. I started the club last year (2011) after having run one in Chicago in the mid 90′s. The program was started in the 80′s as part of the LPGA Foundation and in recent years joined with the USGA.
LPGA-USGA Girls Golf provides an opportunity for girls, ages 7 to 17, to learn to play golf, build lasting friendships and experience competition in a fun, supportive environment, preparing them for a lifetime of enjoyment with the game. Girls are learning values inherent to the game of golf, such as patience, respect, perseverance, and honesty, preparing them to meet challenges of today’s world with confidence.
The club is all about fun and learning in a non-competitive environment, yet there are plenty of opportunities for competition for girls with more experience. We have a variety of outings scheduled this year including instruction on all parts of the game as well as on course play. Most of our outings take place at the Family Golf & Learning Center in Kirkwood and the Big Bend Golf Center in Valley Park. To sign up or volunteer please visit: www.stlouiswomensgolfacademy.com
Congrats to Allie Sigman 2011 club member who applied for and received a grant to attend the LPGA – USGA Girls Golf Club Academy at Kiawah Island!!!!
Woo eee! It’s a steamer out there. Summer has apparently arrived full force in spring time for the St. Louis area. Teaching for 7 hours yesterday in the low 90s and humidity made me think of all the golfers wilting away out on the links. While I love the heat and seem to play better in it, many of my students said they were glad they weren’t out playing in it yesterday.
I played many tournaments ill prepared and poorly hydrated due to lack of proper education on the effects of extreme heat. I even suffered from minor heat exhaustion at the age of 17. Whenever someone falls victim to the heat, it always seems to have much more of an affect on them from that point forward. To make sure you don’t fall victim and are able to fight off the heat while maintaining your “A” game, follow these suggestions:
- Hydrate well before you tee off and often. The more you drink the better, but stick to water or sports drinks. Other types of drinks can actually dehydrate you further.
- Avoid playing during the heat of the day. Try to snag an early morning or evening tee time.
- Wear sunscreen. It will obviously prevent skin damage, but will keep your skin cool as well.
- Keep a cool towel handy and put it on your neck and wrists. Whenever possible use ice.
- Walk and stand in the shade as much as possible.
- Wear both a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun off of your head and face.
- Greens give off a lot of heat so stand off to the side in shade while you wait to put or as soon as you are finished.
- Most importantly take your lessons under a covered tee like the ones at Big Bend Golf Center. Hint. Hint. :)
These are just a few suggestions, but being prepared is everything.
Congrats to the following students for their great accomplishments:
Kelly Welker – qualified for the boy’s state championship while playing on her high school boy’s golf team. You go girl!!!
Sean Vashi – won yet another tournament and finished second place in another shooting in the mid 70′s as a sophomore!
Pero Dudaric – fired a low 78 in the Gateway National Scratch Tourney after being a high 90s shooter just 2 seasons ago!
Keep up the great work!