Improve your thought process to lower your scores

By Bill Schmedes, SwingFix InstructorMay 15, 2013, 2:00 pm

Although proper mechanics are extremely important to any golfer’s success, a player’s strategy is just as important to lowering his or her score.

Improving how to play is one of the quickest fixes to achieve immediate results in golf. Adding confidence results in a snowball effect to a player’s all-around game.

Doctor Bob Rotella put it best when he said, “golf is about how well you accept, respond to, and score with your misses much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots.”

One of the reasons the top Tour players are above the rest is the way they manage each hole they play. Every player, however, should play to their strengths.

Many are thinking, “I can’t even break 100! I don’t have any strengths!”

They’re wrong. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, no matter the level. It’s a player’s roll to understand what they do best and take that into account when playing.

The first thing every golfer should do is play the hole backwards in their mind, starting from the green and moving back to the tee shot.

Think about the best, or safest, part of the green to try and place your ball from the approach. This will either give you the best chance at a birdie or allow the greatest chance of two-putting.

When weighing this option, also think about the best place to miss, if you indeed don’t hit the shot as planned. You want to give yourself the best chance of getting up and down.

Make sure you have plenty of green between you and the hole. If you short side yourself, the percentage for par declines and, conversely, leads to a bigger number.

Move further back to the approach shot. Where is the best spot on the hole to hit your approach shot from? Ideally, you would like to play from the flattest area with the best angle to the pin.

Do you have a favorite club or yardage that would improve your ability to hit the shot you are attempting? Do you work the golf ball one way or another? How would your ball flight effect the shot? These are the questions you must ask yourself.

Finally, the proper tee shot sets everything up for the player. On every par-4 and par-5, don’t necessarily hit driver off the tee. Allow the hole’s design to dictate your course of action.

If it’s a tighter hole and you don’t feel comfortable with the driver (or even the 3-wood), there is no shame in hitting an iron off the tee for placement.

Remember, you are trying to place the ball in the best position possible. If an iron does that for you, hit it! Give yourself the best chance to hit the green.

To give yourself the best chance of hitting the fairway or green, you must aim at a small target. I prefer my players pick something in the backdrop, a tree for example. The smaller the object, the narrower your focus will be. This will help you pull off the shot.

?Much of this sounds relatively easy, but I find that most players never develop any type of game plan before a round.

Most of the time when I ask players, “What’s your target?” I get the response, “the fairway' or “the green” or sometimes the dreaded, “not too sure!”

None of those answers will lead to success. You must narrow your focus, create a game plan, and stick to it.

Getting stronger mentally leads to more confidence and lower scores.

Take an online lesson with Bill Schmedes III.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.