Published on 25/02/2010
Finally!! It seems we are getting nearer to the golf season. Thank goodness!! Let’s see even more sunshine please!!
It was great to see such a good performance from Ian Poulter in winning the WGC Matchplay title in Arizona last week.
He is clearly on his way to some really outstanding golf. What strikes me about Poulter’s game is his inner confidence. Did you know that when he relinquished his amateur status and took his first job as an assistant Professional, his handicap was a mere 4??? Compare this to other stars of today such as Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia who were +4 and +5 respectively!!! That’s at least 8 shots difference per round! If Ian had not improved his overall game he would have missed every cut! However he has always had such a strong mind and the self-confidence to overcome his weaknesses and rise to the very top of the Professional game.
It seems so much has been written over the years about WHAT to do in your golf swing. You may favour a certain way to swing the club. You may be a believer in a certain coach or a certain system. Which is fine and you do need to believe TOTALLY in your coach BUT - and this is a VERY BIG BUT, if you cannot take that information and turn it into actual motion, then the information is essentially worthless unless you just like to talk about golf swings!!
We all need to get better at understanding HOW the brain learns to play golf just as much as we need to know WHAT swing form we want to engage. In his marvellous book called the "User's Guide to the Brain", Harvard Psychologist, John Ratey, talks about learning movement skills and how we are able to transfer initial learning into long term memory. Consider this phenomenal research he refers to in his book. From the John Hopkins University, a team of neuro-scientists found within the first 5-6 hours of practicing a new skill, the brain shifts the new instruction from the short term memory to the areas responsible for permanent motor skill. As subjects initially learned a task, the prefrontal cortex involved in short term memory and many kinds of learning was relatively active. When the subjects returned 5 and ½ hours later, they had no trouble retracing the movements but, at this point, the pre-motor cortex and the cerebellum regions (which control movement) had taken over.
During the intermission, it seems the neural links which form the brain's internal model of the task, had shifted from the pre-frontal region to the motor control region. Even without practice, after 5 - 6 hours, the formula for the task was virtually hard wired into the brain. This suggests a newly learnt skill could be impaired, confused or even lost if a person tried to learn a different motor task during that critical 5-6 hour period when the brain is trying to stabilize the neural representation of the original task.
If you are working on move A, start to see some progress, then you go onto move B, you will create an INTERFERENCE pattern in the brain. The message is very strong to both the player and the coach that lots of information in the practice arena is totally counterproductive. Your brain will handle one move beautifully and, if you allow such information to 'set' rather like a jelly, the new move will then become established and strong. However, any more than one move and you are heading for trouble. We all need to be smart enough to keep it simple!!
So for your improvement only (!!!) I have arranged an evening workshop with Europe's No1 Mind Coach, Dr Karl Morris. Karl, like myself, is a PGA Professional who has excelled in the coaching world with revolutionary mental tools and techniques which have helped EVERY golfer prepared to give him the time of day. If you implement these new ideas, you will chip 5 shots off your score - WITHOUT CHANGING YOUR SWING!
The workshop will take place at Fairwood Park GC on Monday 26th April 2010, from 7-9 p.m. This is a TICKET ONLY event. Tickets are available from my Proshop and need to be purchased in advance of the night for a nominal cost of £15. There will also be a finger buffet available.
Advice from your PGA Pro!
I recently received a letter from one of our Senior Section members which I'd like to share with you. Ken Wright is 61 and joined Fairwood Park in November 2002.
"Hi Gary. I thought this maybe useful to both yourself and our fellow members! When I joined I started on a 28 handicap and gradually reduced it over the seasons to 19, but then I got stuck and frustrated. So I decided to seek your advice and bought into the idea of Professionally Custom Fitted clubs and half a dozen lessons. The improvements have been fantastic.
To my fellow members I must say that although Gary's advice has not turned me into Rory McIllroy, he has really helped iron out a few problems. I believe it has been excellent value for money, and for those of you who never take golf lessons you know you cannot drive a car without lessons - the same thing applies to driving a golf ball.
I would also thoroughly recommend having your equipment Professionally Fitted because whilst it may not guarantee miracles, it will certainly help you play better golf and help you reach your true ability levels. I have certainly enjoyed my golf much more and the improvements have given me the confidence to believe that I can still improve and possibly reach my dream target of 9.9"
Kind words Ken, thank you very much!
That’s it for this month. I look forward to seeing all of you out on the sundrenched Fairwood Park fairways in the near future.