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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Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

“That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

“He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

“Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

“When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

“I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

“To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

“I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

“I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

“I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

“The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

“Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

“There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

“Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.