The 5 Layer Golfballer


Sports psychologist, Dr. Bhrett McCabe’s great new book, The Mindside Manifesto, is a fantastic resource for you if you want to, as I like to say, “get your mind in position to score.” I have used some of his info here in creating the 5 Layers of the Golfer’s Mental Game and combined it with my own coaching twist.

At the core of this ball is your Self-Image – your view of YOU. Be honest and realistic. Who are you as a golfer, and better yet, who do you want to be? I want you to KNOW in your heart, “I GOT THIS!”

The first layer is your Self Talk – the “mind chatter” you have going on that either builds or tears down your self-image. “What’s your story?” What kinds of things do you tell yourself about your golf game? Are they true? Do you really miss ALL your putts from ten feet, or do you just tell yourself that? Do the breaks always go against you on the course? Really??? Be careful what you tell yourself, because you will start believing it. Of course, if you really do suck at driving, no amount of telling yourself that you’re a great driver will give you the skills you lack, but you could say to yourself something along this line, “I know exactly what to work on, and when I get the hang of this new move I’m going to be a MUCH better driver of the ball.”

The second layer is your Mindset. Mindset is a fantastic book by Dr. Carol Dweck, in which she discusses her research findings related to students having a “fixed mindset,” think talent, or a “growth mindset,” think, “i can do it if I work smart enough, hard enough, for a long enough time.” “I just can’t do math” is my personal example of a fixed mindset that I had about math that led me to become a poor math student. It didn’t come easy to me, so I just assumed I didn’t have a math brain. That is until I tried to graduate college and needed calculus in my senior year. It’s a study in mindset. I barely got through math in high school except for geometry, which for some strange reason came easy to me. I graduated early from HS and played mini tour tennis for awhile, then entered college a couple of years later.

In college, I struggled with accounting, economics, and statistics, and then hadn’t had algebra for many years before learning that I couldn’t graduate without passing calculus. I added the class a week late. After I earned a 44 on the first test, which was a review and assessment, the teacher told me I would have to drop the class – I wasn’t ready for it. I explained that there’s no way I was dropping, and set about a course (Layer 3) of working hard enough to pass the class (my Vision – Layer 2). I went to two class meetings three times a week. I woke up at 5am on those days to go to the school’s learning center and get help. To make a long story short, I got a 100, yes 100, on the final exam and passed with a B. Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed the class. Go figure.

My experience showed me that I CAN do it –  and that goes back to the very core of me! Have a vision of where you want to go and keep that vision right in front of you. Write it down and keep it by your bed so that you look at it every night. Put another sign on the fridge. Then get after it every day!

The third layer is your process and plan for how you will get where you want to go. In golf, we often throw out our training plan in order to put out yesterday’s fire: So you putted poorly in yesterday’s event. Today you spend all your time on your putting (probably on the putting stroke, rather than the putting skills, which is a mistake). You ignore the rest of your game for the day or several days. Big mistake. If you practice this way over time, look at how inconsistent and fragmented your practice will be. Instead, I want you to continue to do your due diligence on your whole game, faithfully knowing that if you keep working, you can’t help but improve over time. Everybody wants to improve overnight…Well, the overnight sensation who just won a Tour event has been working faithfully for MANY years to become an “overnight success!” Plan your work and work your plan. Practice a lot, and practice smart!

We are going to take the core and the three layers and wrap in them in a core of resilience and grit, because those are going to be the two characteristics that get you through the ups and downs in golf, and life! “Everyone gets bloodied in battle” is one of my favorite sayings to use in this context. “Adversity is coming” is another. Let’s not be so surprised by errors. Let’s just learn and move on. Stop expecting perfection, because I promise you, it’s not coming! Get knocked down and get back up. Think Arnold Palmer. Grit is related to resilience, but I do think the missing element in understanding grit is the time element. Gritty people keep at it – they chase their vision – longer than everyone else. Many of us want to learn guitar for example. We are all gung-ho in the beginning, but then give up after only a few months. Grit is not something you only display right now, it’s over a long time. You have to be in for the long haul if you are going to succeed. You can do it. You got this! Go get after it!

So there you go, that’s the 5 Layer Golfballer. Let me know what you think.

Hit ’em great!


Get a Grip to Make More Putts

High Performance Golf

Master the Game!

This is a screenshot of SAM Puttlab from Science and Motion Golf. It’s the equivalent of an MRI for your putting stroke. Yep, it’s my stroke, and I am using a 10 foot putt. My goal for all my students is to give me “green across my screen.” That means that the stroke is better than 32% of the PGA Tour. I’ll take that! Now, you know full well that there’s more to putting than the stroke: you have to control your speed and read greens very well, but this report is telling me a lot about the consistency of my stroke itself. When it comes to short putting, the flaw I see over and over again is the initial aim of the putter and the impact aim. I don’t care how well you control your speed and read the greens, if you don’t start the ball on your line, you won’t make any of the 4-8 footers that are oh so important to your score.

SAM Report 1

Stroke VS Consistency

The best putters on tour don’t necessarily have the best strokes (tendency in the report), they have the highest consistency putt after putt. That ensures that the ball always leaves the putter face in essentially the same direction. When that is happening, it’s easy to adapt to where the ball is starting to make more putts. When we have inconsistency, the ball doesn’t do the same thing twice in a row, and we have no way to adapt.

In the second screen shot, you can see that my average face angle at impact is seven tenths of a degree to the right. That little error will still make a 10 foot putt. And baby, if I make most of my 10 footers, I am one tough golfer to beat! You see a very high consistency score, and that’s the key. But wait. Right below that is a low path consistency score. My putter path is not nearly as consistent as my putter face. But guess what? The putter face is 5 times more important than the path in telling the ball where to start rolling. The putter path has to be 5 degrees off line to cause the same ball direction error as a 1 degree putter face aim error.

SAM Report 2


Many golfers spend a LOT of time working on improving their putting stroke path in hopes of putting better. But we KNOW that the face is way more important! You can work on your stroke and get nowhere, people! Accordingly, I want you to work on the face angle!

Easy as 1, 2, 3.

To make your club face angle at impact more consistent, you need only do three things.

1. Hold the club in the palms of your hands so that the grip lay in the life line of both hands.

2. Be sure that your palms face each other and are perpendicular to the target line. This is also called The Prayer Grip. Many of us will need to pray for putts to go in…

3. For goodness’ sake, stop swinging the putter with your wrists and make sure the putter and your arms move together throughout the stroke.

Don’t hold the putter like any of your other clubs. Think of it as having a power grip and an accuracy grip. I hope you’re not looking for more power in your putting…

This method ensures that the putter face will return at impact to its original aim. You will quickly adapt your setup at address to then make more putts. Or you can work on your initial aim with a mirror or a laser to accelerate your progress.

Remember, “Uncomfortable doesn’t mean wrong.” A grip change may feel awkward at first, but that’s just because it’s new, not necessarily wrong.

Roll ‘em and Hole ‘Em




What’s Wrong with Tiger?

High Performance Golf

Master the Game!

What’s Wrong with Tiger?

You, like many others, may have been left scratching your head while watching Tiger’s return to golf at the Waste Management event this past week. It was dismal. He hit the ball all over the place. He chipped and pitched like a bad 30 handicapper. He shot the worst round of his career—an 82—and came in next to last before the cut. Yikes! He lowoods_1442_quotes_020115oked lost… With all the conjecture out there, I thought I’d add some sense to the non-sense about what’s going on.

A return to Step One Golf

In trying to return to his old swing, Tiger is effectively learning a new swing. This is Step One Golf, folks. And it’s uncomfortable. Although it is sometimes necessary to reside on it, Step One is not a good place for a competitive golfer. Why? Step One is the place for a great deal of conscious effort—thinking about what you’re doing. Analyzing the very foundation of your swing. It’s very difficult to play well when on this step as there is just too much mechanical information on the mind. Thinking about “how” to swing is very different from being aware of the feel of hitting a golf shot.

TigerSteps believes that he has to rework his swing to break Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships. He’s probably right. He was not getting the job done with the old swing, having become an almost skittish driver of the ball, especially when compared to Rory McIlroy. Tiger also knows very well what’s involved in learning a new swing. Time and relentless work to walk up the stairway to Step 4: Play. On Step 4, the swing becomes a very simple matter of a feel or a certain swing key that has become nearly effortless for the player to execute. He is focused mainly on hitting targets, not making swings. It’s almost automatic. Tiger’s a long way from there and he knows it. That’s why he doesn’t sound terribly worried. He has done this before.

Yeah, but what about the short shots?

Now this is a different subject altogether. Tiger wants to incorporate the same motion in his full swing and his short game shots, which I think is a BIG error. They are not the same motions. In fact, shots from 30 yards and in are vastly different motions than a full swing, so much so that I think they should be considered totally separate. Tiger had the best short game in the world years ago. When he learned Swing #3, he destroyed that old short game. He never got it back. He is doing it again. He is thinking about how to swing the club on these little shots rather than seeing the shot and hitting it. I think he would be far better off to keep the motions separate. My advice to him is to become somewhat more of a kid with his short game, and just hits the shots without thinking about how to. See it. Do it.

No, I don’t think he has the yips. I think he is just confused about how to play the shots. He no doubt has multiple, competing ideas floating around in his head that are clogging up the system. The moral, if you’re heading to Step One, you need to know what’s coming. It may be better to stick to your Swing DNA, and make small adjustments to the swing than to start all over.

Hit ‘em great!