Golf Tips By Chris Smeal, PGA
Bunker Play – Plug Lie vs. Good Lie – Watch Video
Just for High School Golfers – Read
Productive Practice Techniques – Read
Tournament Prep Tips – Read
More Tournament Prep Tips – Read
VIDEO TIPS – Tempo and Transition Drill
GOLF TIPS – Improve Your Impact – “Moment of Truth”
Impact Position is critical for players to become solid ball strikers. If you watch the best players, if you watch my you tube videos, and if you have taken a lesson from me than you know how much emphasis I put on the impact position. The knowledge of how to correctly strike a golf ball which is different than anything else you do is the single most important factor in becoming a good player. Those who have learned these key ideas become good ball strikers for life. Most golfers think they have to work on their backswing position or some other thing to hit the ball well. The first thing a player must work on is the knowledge of how to strike a ball and then to train/ educate the hands to repeat this feeling over and over again. I had the privelege of spending a few days with legendary golf instructor Ben Doyle and learned first hand what is the correct way to strike a ball.
I am proud to be the Founder of Future Champions Golf and equally as proud of the impact we have made on our local community in San Diego as well as worldwide with our World Series events. I have had the privilege to coach thousands of junior golfers since 2004 and have learned much more from them than they probably learned from me. My students have won over 280 junior and collegiate golf events and I wanted to share some ideas on winning tournaments and what our focus was on when my players won the events they played.
#1 – Player’s win when their minds are clear! If you are currently taking lessons with a coach and have a tournament coming up make sure you guys are on the same page with what you are working on so you can be successful during the event. You want to be firing on all cylinders with your golf meaning there are no weaknesses and no worry in your abilities. If you fear a certain shot that shot will probably show up at some point and affect your score. If you are in the middle of a swing change and haven’t had the right amount of time to take your new changes to the course for practice, and then to competition, you will likely struggle between the new swing and the old. Trust is key in being successful in competition.
#2 – Player’s win when they are more prepared than their competition. You should be preparing to win golf tournaments by learning as much as you can about the courses in advance. Determine possible hole locations, form a strategy, understand the grass around the greens for pitching and how to play your chip shots, bunker play and the type of sand, areas on the course to avoid. Working on how the green’s break and the speed.
#3 – Player’s win when the have a fearless approach to the challenges you will face. Tournament players must look at each challenge as an opportunity to succeed and not an opportunity to fail. When you look forward to the challenge ahead of you and you can be optimistic you have a higher chance of success. If you fear the shot in front of you, chances are slim you will pull the shot off.
#4 – Player’s win when they have a calm mindset heading into the event. Remember that everyone wants to win golf tournaments. That is obvious! However you cannot win when you put unnecessary pressure or expectations on yourself to win. When you do things right, when you are patient, when you are calm, you will be rewarded for that patience. Johnny Miller says he used to wake up in the morning of tournaments and do everything slower than usual to keep his heart rate down and to be in control of his body and emotions.
#5 – Player’s win when they are sharp! To me this cover’s the key areas great players are good at. When you are on top of your game you will do the following things well and often.
Distance control with your irons spot on: meaning you are consistently pulling the right club and making the right swing for the shot in front of you. Could mean you hit it pin high all day or could mean you hit it just below pin high on greens tilted severely back to front like at Sandpiper.
Lag Putting: Always lagging it close within 10% distance of first length putt. Putts look like they are going in from everywhere
Holing all short putts: Making all the 3 footers and most of the 5-6 footers
Short game shots: Look like they are rolling to the hole like quality lag putts
Decision making is sharp: Seems easy when you are playing well and there shouldn’t be a ton of thought. Your good at it and making the right choice immediately, usually your first choice is the correct one. Indecisiveness is never good! Be clear and committed in your decision making and you will succeed!
The Game Changing Moment!
I would like to share a quick story with you on what I call “The Game Changing Moment” and what that can do for your son or daughter who loves golf…
I struggled to have a decent showing at a junior golf tournament for over a year when I was 15/16 years old. Even though I felt like my golf game was getting better. I really had no confidence in playing in San Diego Junior Golf Events against players that I knew were better than me. Each event I would show up and immediately feel out of place and play like I didn’t belong. A lot of people feel this way because they haven’t proven themselves out there. This is common at every level and you hear it all the time in interviews on the PGA Tour when someone new breaks through. What they usually share is a moment in previous weeks or months before that gave them more confidence than before. The key is finding the “moment” that helped players gain the confidence to breakthrough and play well at a level higher than they believe they can play too.
My moment came at the end of the summer when I was 16 and played in a small event put on by Oaks North Golf Course. They called the event the Oaks North Junior Classic and it was a very small field of maybe 8 players in my division and most of the players I knew already. I was also paired with my best friend who routinely beat me. During this competition I felt a lot more comfortable than I had in any of the events I had played in before and I was noticing how much better I was playing because of the different mental state I was in. On the final hole of the event, a short driveable par 4 I was trailing my friend by 1 stroke. I hit my drive just short of the green and he hit his ball left behind a tree. He had to pitch out and then hit his 3rd shot to 20 feet away so I knew if I got up and down I could beat him. I hit a great pitch shot that almost hit the hole and stopped 2 feet from the hole. He missed his putt and I made mine. I received first place after the scores were in and had gained a new level of confidence in my ability to play this game in competition. Even though it was a small event it was huge for me and my development.
“If you don’t know you can do it, how can you do it?” I am a big advocate on learning how to win and learning how to succeed at every level. I see too many kids being beaten down by playing events that are over their head for their current ability. It’s great to gain experience in bigger events from time to time to see your future competition but please make sure you mix in some events that allow you to gain experiences of success.
I hope this help you on your path to a better golf game!
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES
– START WITH STAT TRACKING (www.pgatour.com) or Contact our Academy for Excel Stat Card
– UNDERSTAND YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
– DEVELOP A PRACTICE PLAN TO ATTACK WEAKNESSES AND SHARPEN STRENGTHS
– WORK HARDER THAN YOUR COMPETITION (Must be willing to do what others aren’t)
UNDERSTAND THE STEPS TO IMPROVE A NEW GOLF SKILL
STEP 1: Improve Technique on Range and Short Game Area (REPS)
STEP 2: Take New Technique onto the Course and Practice It (Don’t Keep Score, Drop Extra Balls in You Mess Up)
STEP 3: Compete (Tournaments or Match or You against the Course – Keep Score)
STEP 4: Evaluate the System (What worked, what didn’t and form next plan)
BREAKING DOWN GOLF TO FOCUS YOUR DEVELOPMENT
– Sand Shots
– Distance Control with Wedges
– Distance Control with Irons
– Ball Flight Shape Stock Shot
– Ball Flight – Shot Making Skills and Management
– Fairway Woods and Hybrids
– Mental Game
– Course Management
– Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance
– All of these can broke down even deeper (ex. Would be left to right 5 foot putts) ????
What it takes to make the Web.com / PGA Tour
Former FCG Member, Todd Baek, Guest Blog (Part I)
This year I had the opportunity to compete in Web.com and a PGA Tour event. I have been playing professionally for 2 years now and I am starting to realize the differences between Amateur and Professional. I have learned many things last of couple of years and here are some things that I learned that will help you in the future.
1. SHORT GAME!!! When I was younger, I was always one of the longest and straightest ball strikers; however, in a real world it doesn’t matter how well your ball striking is if you have no short game. Everyone out on Tour knows how to hit the ball reasonably straight, but winning and losing is determined by how good your short game is. I didn’t understand how important Putting and chipping is. I am regretting with my lack of practice on short game especially putting and I don’t want any junior golfers to make the same mistake as I did. You must spend 75% of your practice time on Short game and I promise you will thank Chris and me.
2. You must control your frustration. I noticed that junior golfers easily get frustrated and struggle to control their emotions while they are playing especially during tournaments. I remember when I was playing in junior golf, I struggled to control my emotions when I hit bad shots, missing short putts or losing; however, I finally understand that frustration made everything worse. When you are frustrated, you lose focus, your body gets tense and it makes your opponent/gallery uncomfortable. You always need to remember if you want to become a better golfer you must have a good attitude and must be able to control your anger.