NAPLES — It's that time of year: winter season is upon us. For some of us its prime time, for others it's the offseason.
For those of you who consider this their offseason, as I do, it's time to work on any major weaknesses that plague your game. Maybe it's your putting stroke, your ability to find the fairway, a bit of needed distance, your pitching and chipping. Whatever the weak link is, it must be addressed, and addressed with a clear and real game plan.
In 32 years of teaching and coaching, it still amazes me at the extremely high percentage of folks who spend countless hours, energy, and dollars on their games, and are no better today than they were last year, five years ago or 10 years ago.
It simply makes no sense to me, and allow me to explain why.
I have never had a single person — not one single person — show up on my lesson tee whom I didn't feel I couldn't help. Let me put one disclaimer on that claim: the student was truly willing to buy into a designed game plan, and give it 100 percent effort and further realize there was no "magic wand."
I also don't think those thoughts are unique to me. I think any truly dedicated and passionate teacher/coach in today's game feels very much the same way. So many students would rather spend $400, $500, or more hard-earned dollars on the driver with the latest claim on 20 more yards than develop a relationship with a talented coach. That is and always will be mind-boggling to me. In today's golf arena, there are so many gifted teachers who could help every one of you folks really enjoy every second of your golf journey so much more. Again, remember what I said earlier, not without work and commitment on your part. Commit and improve!
I understand that not all of use have unlimited time or funds to pump into his or her golf game. In many cases, time and funds have a cap, yet we want to do whatever we can.
Here is my very best advice: even if you're determined, for example, to drive it 10 yards farther, and that may even be possible in time — start short. Yes, start short! Putting, chipping, pitching, and sand play. Any of these areas can make the greatest bottom line difference in the shortest period of time relatively speaking. Ask your teacher or coach to spend one solid improvement season re-engineering your short game. Evaluate needed technique improvements, assign skill drills, design a practice plan, and get after it.
Ever hear the saying "Drive for show, putt for dough"? ... Hmmm, a wise man said that many moons ago. Best of luck, dig in, and score.
TP's Tip: Face is in fact the case. You as a golfer must understand the clubface and its conditions.
Your goal is to get your clubface back to a square position at impact. I feel the face is not the only factor, but the most dramatic influence of your ball flight. Simply stand in front of a mirror and make some swings; watch the clubface. It should rotate open during your backswing, during your downswing begin to rotate back to your square by impact, then continue to rotate closed into your follow-through and finish.
As you do this in the mirror, "see and feel" to capture the sensation of a proper clubface rotation so you can emulate it during your actual swing.
That being said, understand that face rotation is a coordinated action between the arm swing and the rotation of the core of the body.
Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com, www.facebook.com/TomPatri or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.