We all know our thinking creates our reality, but have you ever “thought” about how this can be influencing your golf game? And I mean from a deeper level than just thinking “Hey, let’s make a good swing here” or “I see the ball going in the hole” type of thing.
Warrior-Sages have a Zen-like way of detaching from events. They don’t get overly emotionally involved. They don’t have a constant need to know. They are happy to just settle in the present. They quietly put in the work and slowly built that internal power and fortitude.
What exactly is a Warrior-Sage? A Warrior is a brave or experienced fighter ready at any time to go into battle. Sage means one is of profound wisdom. The Warrior Sage is one that has fought their way beyond illusion and ignorance to embrace perception, deep-knowing and wisdom.
Warrior Sages just settle into reality and accept it AS IS for they know they created it (yep, YOU created your round of golf!) This way you begin to build power internally, the energy is not dissipated externally.
They don’t yearn to know or for things to be different. The yearning to know becomes an affirmation of their weakness. They are quiet and go about their business with little fanfare or notice. They put in the work and practice daily.
When I think of quietly putting in the work in a Warrior-Sage type of way, I often think of Ben Hogan. The top picture perfectly sums up the image I have of him practicing quietly and alone—the beauty of a master craftsman honing his craft.
I often wondered, “What did Hogan think about when practicing in those long, hot, windy, Texas days of yesteryear?” Of course, the physical aspect was very important but what about the mental (or even spiritual) side of things?
At times, of course, he was trying to solve a swing issue, at others times it was a time for him to just practice, to be quiet, to build his mental strength and consolidate his power internally.
A way to visualize this is (external/internal dynamic) to think in terms of space and non-space. For example, in a painting (let’s say representational painting) there’s what’s called positive and negative space.
If you look at the picture above by Van Gogh you see the chair (positive space) and then you see the space in-between the chair rungs (the negative space).
When I attended art school many moon ago, part of learning about composition was how to create a harmonious balance between both positive and negative space. Often, we would start to create a composition working with negative space only.
By creating the non-material space the material (or positive) space magically appears. It’s quite a mind shift when you begin by painting what’s NOT there.
Think about it, do you ever consider where you’re not? Where is your mind? Where is your energy? Is it here? or dispersed elsewhere?
Ok, so what does all this bloody warrior and art stuff have to do with my golf game?
If all your future thoughts, negative interpretations and constant second-guessing of yourself flow away from you (to the negative—or outside—spaces) your energy dissipates. It’s like a rubber raft that you poke a thin needle into—it begins to slowly deflate. You have wandered away.
By pulling your mind back from all those thoughts that take you into areas where you are not (negative areas), you allow your energy to consolidate. What you are concentrates around you and becomes more solid and powerful.
Tiger Woods, in his heyday most clearly embodied this. It was like he was the center of the universe. He had that power and internal fortitude like no other.
I can here you now, “That’s easy to say when my head is about to pop off after slicing it into the trees all day long . . .” Yeah, that WILL happen but the practice, the mindfulness and the quieting of the mind will build over time.
Keep centered and within your own space. Feel like one of those solid black silhouettes—solid in your own body, mind and thoughts. Everything is consolidated and contained within. Nothing is being dissipated.
Here’s a few things you can do to build your own Warrior-Sage Power for your game:
- Give yourself some decently long uninterrupted times to practice without distraction (no iPod, cell phone calls, etc.)
- Meditation can really help you slow down and create space between your thoughts. Hey, why not?
- Try to stay centered emotionally (I know it’s not easy) but those swings will only further enhance the illusion that outside circumstances are creating your results.
- Make some notes as various intuitions come to you about your game. I always wish I wrote down (or recorded a voice memo) many more ideas than I do.
- Play nine holes by yourself. Begin to feel and understand your own rhythms.
If you’re interested in increasing your golf swing speed then I’ve got the guy for you. His name is Jaacob Bowden and is the world’s leading expert when it comes to swing speed training.
Jaacob is currently the Official Swing Speed Trainer for the eGolf Tour and he has taught on the subject of swing speed training for the Swiss PGA and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Read on to find out more.
1. Tell us a little about you and your background, Jaacob.
I’m originally from Barnhart, Missouri, which is about 25 miles south of St. Louis. As as kid I always dreamed of playing professional sports. In those days, I played lots of sports but for me it was mostly about basketball and baseball. After high school, I had the good fortune to play NAIA Division II basketball and also be invited to a Minnesota Twins tryout at the Metrodome.
With basketball, I wasn’t really fast enough or as skilled at ball handling as was necessary to be a 1 or a 2 guard. Mostly I was a 3 because I didn’t have to dribble as much and was a good shooter. I also played a 4 at small forward because I had a 34” vertical leap and was strong enough to guard guys that were 6’4” to 6’9”, despite me being 6’2”.
But in the end, that didn’t work out, in part because I lost some of my aggressiveness due to ligament tears in my knees. Both tears were accidental from freak collisions and not because I had bad knees, but as anyone who has had a knee ligament tear will tell you, it’s not something you want to go through. The risk of getting hurt again wasn’t worth it for me. I like to shoot, but I don’t really play anymore.
With baseball, the Twins were looking to fill out a couple spots in their organization. I got invited to fly to Minneapolis for a 2-day tryout with over 100 other guys. After the 1st day, we were cut down to about 25, which was basically enough to have an inter-squad game on the 2nd day with some extra pitchers.
I would say I was in the top 15 guys, however, there were 1 or 2 guys that were definitely a notch above everyone else. So I didn’t make it. But it was a great experience. My favorite memory was fouling a ball off that big wall in right field at home run distance with a wooden bat. Unfortunately, I struck out after that, but it was still cool.
After college I got a job as a computer engineer. I knew that it would be a temporary thing, so in an attempt to find some direction I wrote down a bucket list of things I wanted to do in life and I just started checking them off the list. One thing was to attend every major sports event at least once…meaning one Super Bowl, one World Series, etc.
As it worked out, in 2001 the PGA Championship was being held in Atlanta while I was in town for my job training some technicians on how to use our proprietary software.
Lucky me, the final day of training got cancelled. With the extra day to play with, I bought a ticket to the tournament and followed Tiger, Vijah, Phil, and numerous others. There was one instant where I was the only person walking across a fairway while the ropes were down after the players passed through. While in the middle of the fairway looking out to the galleries, I was overcome with the feeling of actually being a player.
All of a sudden it was like a light turned on and my entire vision was brighter. I thought, “I could do this. I could be a professional golfer.”
I was only a 14-handicapper at the time, however, golf careers aren’t near as short as an NBA or MLB player…so I figured there was time for me to improve. I enjoyed the outdoors, traveling, sports, etc. It seemed perfect.
I mulled it over for another year or so before deciding I didn’t want to be 40 years old, look back, and wonder if I could have made it. So I sold all my belongings, quit my corporate job, took my $40,000 in savings, and moved to California to pursue a golf career.
I’ve since gone on to win the Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a televised 381-yard drive, finish 5th at the Speed Golf World Championships and shoot the championship record for golf score at Bandon Dunes, and make numerous cuts in professional tournaments around the world with rounds in the 60s and 70s.
I also started a website called SwingManGolf.com which focuses on how I was able to make such a dramatic improvement in both my golf game and in my swing speed.
2. What led you to become interested in increasing a golfer’s swing speed?
In order to better compete in long drive and to hit the ball farther in regular golf, I was researching ways to increase my swing speed. At the time I felt I was already pretty well maxed out from technique and club fitting. As such, the only way I could think of to hit
longer was to get my body to swing faster.
During my search, most of the things I found revolved around the technical aspects of hitting farther. That didn’t really help me much because I felt my technique was already pretty solid.
Golf fitness was also becoming more prevalent, but you can be fit and not fast. I wouldn’t argue against someone wanting to improve their fitness, but the affects of being fit don’t really translate in a substantial way to shooting lower scores. More importantly is speed.
Since swing speed training wasn’t available in the golf fitness industry, I had to look to other industries and use my own intuition to find answers. I ended up putting together a program for myself that added 26 mph to my swing in just 37 days.
Presently, even today the golf fitness industry is still lagging behind in that regard. I’ve seen well meaning trainers get excited about getting a client a few more MPH after months or even an entire season of training. That’s great but it’s actually possible to obtain 12-16 mph in just 30 days with proper training.
3. What benefits are obtained from increasing your swing speed?
All else being equal, more swing speed will translate to more distance. More distance means you can shoot lower scores. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between distance and handicap when you go from a 15 handicapper down to a scratch player and tour professional.
For starters, more distance will allow you to clear more hazards off the tee and cut off doglegs. You can start driving par 4’s and reaching par 5’s in two. You will be able to get out of the rough easier.
You’ll be able to hit your approach shots higher and with more spin, thus making it easier to hit and hold greens. Heck, maybe it even means you’ll be able to reach more greens period. With shorter clubs in your hand, you’ll get your approach shots closer which leads to less bogeys and more pars and birdies.
4. Could you give a few case studies of dramatic transformations some of your clients have produced via increasing their swing speed?
Most of our members pick up 12-16 mph in the first 30 days of basic training. However, there are those who are able to dedicate more time and energy, though. On the extreme end, we’ve had several guys go from the mid 90s to the 140s on their Swing Speed Radars and start competing in long drive.
One guy was even in his 50s. This took a lot of hard work over many months. However, the point is that if you’re motivated and willing to hang in there and bust your butt, it is possible.
5. What 2-3 things can a person do right now to increase their swing speed?
If you want to get more swing speed, the first thing to do is to start practicing swinging faster…and still under control. You won’t get faster if you don’t try to go faster. This is something that all professional long drivers do. They work on their speed. It’s like any other skill in life. To get better at the piano, you need to sit down and start clacking away.
It doesn’t have to be your entire golf practice. Just hitting 15-30 balls a couple times per week where you are working on ripping it faster can have benefit.
It’s also important to get a radar for the immediate feedback. I like the Sports Sensors Swing Speed Radar because it’s portable, it travels well, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s accurate. Plus you don’t need to hit balls to check your speed (meaning you can train at home) and you can also check speeds on any training aids you like to use.
Another key thing to do is to make your golf swing muscles stronger through various forms of strength training.
6. How important is golf-specific fitness in reaching top club head speed? Can you recommend one that can help immediately?
As I mentioned, more important than being fit is being strong and fast. The 2-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion Jamie Sadloski is only around 165 lbs, however, he can do hex bar deadlifts for reps at 480 lbs. That takes tremendous strength of his hands, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.
Other world long drive champions like Joe Miller, Ryan Winther, Mike Dobbyn, Jason Zuback, Sean Fister, etc also show similar strength characteristics. Similarly, when I was at my fastest, I was also at my strongest.
Making your training exercises as golf specific as possible is very important in regards to swing speed training. Perhaps my favorite golf specific exercise is a wood chop.
Go to one of the cable machines in the gym a couple times per week, grab the cable up high (in the same position as the top of your back swing), and pull the weight down to impact (in the same position as impact). Low reps (only 1 or 2 at a time with rest between sets), heavy weight (and moving up whenever possible), and explosive movements are critical.
7. What new developments in swing speed training are you most excited about?
There is very little quality information available as far as swing speed training goes, even by reputable institutions and famous trainers who I’m sure mean well. So honestly I’m most excited about what we’re doing at Swing Man Golf.
Of course we have very good information already in the Premiere Member area of the website, however, every other year or two I try to revamp the swing speed training content…and I’m due for another upgrade. So I’m excited to update it with even more new things that I have learned over the last couple of years.
Beyond that, I’ve done lots of small clinics around the world and taught classes at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology as well as for the Swiss PGA. Now that I have a base back in the US again in New York, I’m excited that it will now be easier for me to bring this education to our PGA of America professionals, golf fitness trainers, etc.
In fact, I’ve started hashing out a swing speed training certification program. I’ve got several projects going on right now which are keeping me busy, so I don’t have an estimated date the certification program will be completed, but I’m picking away at it. It will be very cool once completed.
8. Tell us about some of the products you offer that can dramatically increase one’s swing speed.
I train amateurs and pros in person. However, my time is limited for that. Outside of working with me personally, there is the Premiere Membership at SwingManGolf.com. At the moment, that’s probably the best place to get started.
Becoming a member will also keep you in the loop of future updates and projects like the ones I mentioned above to help you hit the ball longer and lower your handicap.
9. Where can we learn more about you Jaacob and Your Swing Speed Program?
For those of you who hate to read and just want the bottom line; if you’ve been thinking about getting a GPS watch for golf you won’t go wrong with the Bushnell Neo XS.
If they did away with all yardage tools and markers it would be OK with me. However that’s not going to happen. The best players in the world want to know exact yardages so why shouldn’t amateurs benefit from some course knowledge. I don’t think anyone would argue that they don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve over or under clubbed because I didn’t really know yardage.
First there was the handheld GPS, but they were clunky and got in the way of all the other things a golfer had to manage on course. Many also had annual subscription fees and issues with battery life.
I saw many early GPS users transition to a handheld rangefinder which eliminated battery life problems and monthly or annual fees. It still didn’t fix the clunkiness issue. They’re big and you have to store them securely. Then when you need a yardage you’ve got to fish it out and take the time to aim and get a good reading. While you may know the exact yardage to the pin you won’t find out the size of the green and how much room above or below the hole you have to work with.They also aren’t very useful for figuring out how far you hit your last shot – information which is really helpful if you’re getting serious about scoring.
I’ve had the Bushnell Neo XS for about 2 months now and I love it. It’s lightweight and always available because it’s on my wrist. It weighs less than my everyday wristwatch. It takes a long time to run down the battery – I’ve only charged it twice.
My home course is in the mountains and filled with trees, but I have no problem getting a signal anywhere. When I’m at my ball the yardage is there waiting for me on my wrist. The thing is easy to operate because it doesn’t try to do too many things like some golf watches. I can easily find out how far I’ve hit my shot. Distance to front middle and back of green are the default display. There are distances to hazards, but you don’t get as much information as a high-end handheld GPS, but in my opinion this is easily outweighed by the convenience of the Bushnell Neo GPS. There are some good holiday prices out there now. I’ve seen units advertised for not much more than $100.
Now that’s it’s getting, let’s just say, a bit chilly here in the Northeast, maybe it’s time to head to the land of cacti, desert and immaculate fairways and greens – somewhere like Arizona, perhaps?
For those who have never played desert golf it’s a truly memorable experience. Particularly for those who are not native to the area. I’m from the Northeast (MA) and to visit Arizona sometimes feels like another planet — just because the landscape is so different. It’s such a visual treat for the eyes, the feel of the heat, the beautiful fragrance of the local flowers, the sound of the gentle breezes — everything seems to be such an assault on the senses.
One course I recommend checking out is Troon North – the Pinnacle Course (top picture). Personally I have not played this yet but it’s definitely on my list.
It’s one of the 2 courses (the Monument course being the other) at the World-Class Troon North Golf Club
Here’s little blurb taken from their site:
Troon North Golf Club stands as a hallmark of the Scottsdale desert golf experience with two 18-hole courses stretching through the natural ravines and foothills in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak. Giant granite boulders lie strewn across the rugged landscape of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, where Troon North Golf Club combines iconic golf with the visual sensation of desert landscape, providing a standard unmatched in the American Southwest.
The Pinnacle, designed by golfing great Tom Weiskopf, opened in 1995, caps out at 7,044 yards from the tips and plays to a par 72. Like its sister course, the Monument, it will challenge you with desert golf replete with arroyos, natural washes, huge saguaros, mesquite, and ironweed ( I don’t even know what some of these are! I better look them up!). Fairways are generous and lush, some of which are hidden behind boulders, high-lipped bunkers and grassy mounds.
One of the best amenities you’ll enjoy at Troon North is their amazing practice facilities. Unlimited use of the practice facility is included with greens fees, including the driving range, chipping green and putting green. Get there early so you can take advantage!
However, the Troon North experience doesn’t end there. The club’s 37,000 square foot clubhouse boasts exceptional service, along with such outstanding amenities as an award-winning golf shop, well-appointed locker rooms and world class dining. So what’s to think about?
“Beautiful Golf Course”
5 of 5 stars (via TripAdvisor)
The clubhouse is immaculate, the course is challenging and beautiful! I can honestly say the two courses at Troon North are some of the prettiest courses I have ever been round and more enjoyable than the TPC in Scottsdale. Will be going back in the near future!
If you love 1st class desert golf with stunning views and immaculate service – well, this is THE place to be!
Another gem you don’t want to miss is SunRidge Canyon located in Fountain Hills, AZ (about 30 minutes east of Scottsdale)
Typical of a lot of desert courses this course has some dizzying elevation changes which provide stunning views as well as challenging golf!
The fairways are tight, exquisitely painted and surrounded by thick, dense desert vegetation — try not to hit it there
This is a 6823 yard, par 71 Keith Foster designed course that is located in the rugged ridges that abound in the desert mountains that divide Fountain Hills from Scottsdale.
“Worth checking out”
5 of 5 stars (via TripAdvisor)
Golfed there about a week ago. Really enjoyed the course, the amenities, and the staff. Well run establishment, and scenic golf on a well maintained course. the last six holes are definitely tough, they are called the wicked 6, but oddly that was where I shot my best that day.
Golf is a strange game. Nice patio/ bar are for after with nice views. We sat at the small bar and were thoroughly entertained by the bar staff. Just a great day all around.
Formally a private course but now public, Quintero Golf Club, (second image) located in Peoria, AZ is another golf destination not to be missed.
It’s tucked away in the Hieroglyphic Mountains, but still conveniently located less than an hour North of Phoenix. Acres of protected Federal Lands surround the course, further enhancing its secluded and tranquil feel.
A Rees Jones design, it plays 7200 yards from the Championship tees down to 5043 from the forward tees.
There are several tremendously elevated tee areas – with tee boxes often terraced into the hillsides like a beautiful, cascading waterfall.
Elevation changes abound here! From the tips, gold and silver tees, you will encounter numerous carries over desert canyons and arroyos. The copper and jade tees (forward tees) are significantly more playable. The fairways are generous and most often there’s room greenside to recover from those unlikely errant approach shots
Quintero Golf Club has been consistently rated as one of top courses in Arizona. With dramatic elevation changes and undulating fairways, the course is a delight in every way. Glimpses of quick-footed roadrunners, wild burros, gila monsters (venomous lizards – look out!), and burros can often be seen.
“First class golf in Peoria.”
5 of 5 stars (via TripAdvisor)
We had the pleasure of playing this beautiful golf course recently. What a great experience. The elevated par 3’s are spectacular, the fairways like well vacuumed carpet, and the greens fast and challenging. Thanks for a wonderful experience. Don’t miss this one if you are in the Phoenix area.
These are just a few of the courses you definitely don’t want to miss while in the Scottsdale area. Scottsdale Golf Vacations has some terrific deals that you really should check out. Now’s a great time of the year to begin planning for some of the most memorable golf you’re likely to play.
Scottsdale golf vacations is happy to offer our readers a 10% discount off tee times if you book through Scottsdale golf vacations. Just mention “GolfDash” to receive your discount.
Note: regarding fees — the course fees can vary widely depending on the season you play so if you want to save a bit of money, consider going in the summer months when temperatures are — lets just say a little warm
We get so many cool products here at GolfDash that I have been wanting to do giveaways for some time. Well, now is the time.
Typically, we’ll try to run them for a week or so but we’ll see how it goes and adjust as needed.
This week we are giving away a PGA Tour Academy Home Edition Deluxe package worth $146.97.
It’s a complete instruction and practice program together, designed by the pros at the TOURAcademy.
Includes 10 Instructional DVD’s, Practice Calendar, Essential Training Aids (Contact Bag & Alignment Sticks), Instruction Book and much more!
PS: Sponsors interested in participating in our GolfDash Giveaways please contact us at: support at golfdashblog.com
The book actually stemmed from one of our most popular posts ever called, 7 Ways to Produce a Powerful, Tension-Free Golf Swing. People would email me and ask for more posts like this or expand upon it. That’s exactly what I did.
Having less tension and restriction in your golf swing, I believe, will allow your natural swing (and power) to produce your greatest golf on a more consistent basis.
I tried to put all kinds of tips, techniques and modalities in 21 Ways to Produce a More Powerful, Effortless Golf Swing. I wanted it to be like an eclectic smorgasbord. Just kinda pick and choose what feels or looks right to you. Just a single distinction can be the one thing to really unlock your swing and bring more freedom and power to it.
Don’t get conned into thinking that it HAS to take forever. Why? Who made that rule? Can’t change happen in an instant? Why not? I can attest to that for a simple, almost instant change happened for me this year that dramatically lowered my scores. I will be telling that story soon.
The trick (and I do believe it’s a trick) is to circumvent anything that inhibits your natural swinging motion.
Funny, when you see kids out in the playground running, jumping, playing catch, hitting a ball, whatever — there is such a natural freedom of movement. See a lot of tension? Idon’t think so! It’s only when we get older that we somehow have to thwart own our sophistication.
For the record, I’ve played excellent golf, I’ve played good golf, I’ve played poor golf and I’ve played such miserable, frustrating, incompetent golf that I felt like I didn’t even belong on a golf course, so hopefully I can help with a few ideas that have helped me.
What you’ll learn by downloading the book:
- How to Think Thoughts of Relaxation
- Instantly Feel Golf Swing Effortlessness with This “Secret” Drill
- How Watching Golf on TV Can Help Your Swing
- A Unique, Little-Known Massage Technique That will Make you Feel “Loose as a Can of Cream Corn” Next Time you Play
- How to Control Your Breathing for Optimum Relaxation and Power
- What Golf Training Aid Can Dramatically Help You Feel a Relaxed, Tension-Free Swing
- How to Use Visualization to Your Advantage
- What Supplements are PROVEN to help Enhance Focus and Relax Muscles and Nerves
- Why “Doing Nothing” May Be the Best Strategy
- What you Need to Know About the Arms and Hands to Produce More Effortless Power
- How and Why Your Golf Equipment May be Holding You Back
- How to “Hypnotize” Yourself to a More Relaxed, Powerful Swing
and much, much more . . .
I truly hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s written for you. I admit some of the methods might be a little “fringe” but I just didn’t want to produce the same boring dribble you can get anywhere.
My recommendation is to view them all with an open mind. Think of them as little “mini-experiments.” Have fun with them. Play with them. See where they lead you. One of them just might be the key YOU need to play some of your most powerful and effortless golf ever.
This months not so “Quick 9″ is with master clubmaker, Tom Wishon. Tom discusses club design, golf club myths, getting properly fitted, future technology and much more. You’ll learn a ton. I promise.
I’m so thankful to Tom for agreeing to do is and put this important (and often VERY misunderstood) information out there for you.
First: Who exactly is Tom Wishon?
With more than 35 years of experience in the field, Tom Wishon Golf Technology is recognized as one of the industry leaders in the research of golf club design, performance and clubfitting technology. Our R&D has been at the forefront of the golf industry including the development of more than 50 golf club design technology firsts as well as countless discoveries in the science of golf club performance for golfers.
Having begun his golf equipment career in 1972, Tom Wishon has designed over 300 original and innovative clubhead models, more than any other single person in the 500 year history of the game. His clubhead designs represent more than 50 different technology firsts.
Tom Wishon is the only designer from the custom clubmaking side of the golf industry whose clubhead designs have been used to win on the PGA Tour, the Champions Senior Tour and in Ryder Cup competition. He has designed and custom built the golf clubs used in competition by Scott Verplank, Bruce Lietzke, Ben Crenshaw, as well as the last set of clubs played by Payne Stewart before his tragic accident in 1999.
Tom is the also the author of 9 books within the field of golf club design, performance and clubfitting, in addition to hundreds of equipment related articles written for virtually every golf publication in the golf industry. As Terry McSweeney, Director of Communications for the PGA of America states,
“Tom has the unique ability to communicate technical issues about golf equipment so non-technically minded people can easily understand and follow the subject”
Two of Wishon’s books, The Search for the Perfect Golf Club and The Search for the Perfect Driver qualified for best-selling status and won successive Book of the Year awards in 2006 and 2007 from the International Network of Golf, the oldest and largest organization of golf industry media professionals in the world. Shortly after they were published, both books became a part of the curriculum for membership training in the PGA’s of Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands.
He is considered the ‘go-to guy’ by the equipment editors for many of the major consumer golf publications in their search for honest, marketing-free explanations about the technical performance of golf clubs. Jim Achenbach, equipment editory for Golfweek magazine has said,
“Tom is the smartest person in the golf industry when it comes to golf clubs.”
As Tom stated in making his decision to establish his own company in 2003:
“I completely respect the product design work of the large golf equipment companies. But my three decades in golf club R&D has proven without question that the best set of golf clubs any golfer will ever play will be a set of professionally custom fit golf clubs, and not a set of standard made clubs simply bought off the shelf.
I am committed to educating golfers about the tangible, game improvement benefits of being professionally custom fit because I know this is the only way any golfer can hope to play to the best of their ability and benefit the most from swing instruction.”
Let the Interview begin . . .
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I began my career as a PGA club professional from 1972 to 1980 working in the Northern California Section of the PGA in the SF Bay area. I fell in love with equipment when I taught myself club repair as a way to supplement my income at the time.
I operated a full club repair service for 12 golf courses in the North Bay area of SF which triggered my desire to know everything possible about how golf clubs worked and why one club worked better for one golfer vs another.
I began working in the national side of the golf equipment industry in the 80s. My break came when I was asked to be president of Dynacraft Golf Inc in Newark, OH in 1986. Dynacraft was a leading component clubmaking supply company that was 50% owned by Dynamic Precision Casting Corp, who today is still one of the 4 largest clubhead production factories in the golf industry, manufacturing clubheads for many of the largest golf club companies.
I spent months at the Dynamic Precision factory where I learned everything about clubhead production and from that, began my career in clubhead design that same year in 1986. I served as president of Dynacraft from 86 to 93, then accepted the position of VP for Golfsmith International in 93 to run their component clubmaking division. Then we started Tom Wishon Golf Technology in 2002.
From 1986 to present, I have had the pleasure to design more than 350 different models of driver, wood, hybrid, iron, wedge models during which I have been able to create over 50 different design technology firsts in the industry.
This includes the first adjustable hosel driver in 1995, the first high COR fairway woods in 2004, the first high COR hybrid heads in 2006, the first high COR irons in 2004, the first moveable weight driver in 2005 among others. I have had the pleasure to design and create custom head models for tour players such as Bruce Lietzke, Scott Verplank, Ben Crenshaw and I sadly had the pleasure of designing the last set of clubs played by Payne Stewart before his tragic, untimely accident in 1999.
During my career I have written 10 books and over 250 magazine articles all related to club performance and Clubfitting technology. Two of my books are a part of the curriculum required for membership in the Swedish PGA, British PGA, Dutch PGA and German PGA for teaching Clubfitting and club performance technology.
2. Where in the world does someone start to begin the process of getting equipment that is as close to one’s unique swing characteristics as possible?
By finding an independent custom clubmaker/clubfitter who can perform a professional fitting analysis to measure and analyze the golfer and their swing characteristics to know what each of the 12 key fitting specifications needs to be for each one of the clubs in the bag – and then to custom build the clubs so they possess each one of the recommended fitting specs.
The independent custom clubmakers are akin to what a tailor is to a suit – individuals who have studied, trained and gained experience working one on one with golfers, one at a time, to analyze and determine what each of the key fitting specs needs to be for each different golfer.
But unlike the tailor for a suit, because professional Clubfitting has never been marketed heavily to consumers to generate awareness and demand, the price golfers will pay a professional independent custom clubmaker will be commensurate with what golfers pay for any brand name marketed club bought in any of the big golf retail stores – but with the huge added benefit that the clubmaker will custom fit and custom build the clubs so EVERY spec on the clubs properly fits the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.
The best resources to find a professional independent custom clubmaker are:
The AGCP (Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals) –
The ICG (International Clubmakers’ Guild)
The Wishon Golf Clubfitter Locator
The major branded golf equipment companies and their retailers have never been able to pursue a business model of one golfer at a time, one custom fit set at a time. The reason is because you simply cannot achieve the volume in sales required by the large golf companies and big box/online retailers by putting golfers through a 90min to 2 hr fitting analysis followed by individually building the clubs to possess the specifications determined in the fitting analysis.
Not only that, but because there are far too many retail outlets for the major brand clubs, no retailer can make enough profit selling the heavily marketed brand clubs to be able to devote even close to the time required to properly fit, let alone custom build the clubs for one golfer at a time.
Proper fitting to ensure the highest level of game improvement requires that all 12 of the key fitting specifications for each club in the bag are determined for each different golfer through a professional and extensive analysis followed by custom building the clubs to accurately display each of the recommended fitting specs.
The 12 key fitting specs for each club are length, loft, lie, face angle, shaft weight, shaft flex, shaft bend profile, total weight, swingweight, set makeup, grip style/size and the clubhead model design.
3. What are the biggest myths about the driver that you encounter?
First, that the longer the length of the driver, the farther you will hit the ball. There is an old adage in Clubfitting that has been proven for decades – “The longer the length of the club, the more difficult it is to hit accurately and consistently on center.” But don’t just take my word for this. For well more than ten years, the average driver length on the PGA Tour has been 44.5”.
Yet for more than a decade, the standard driver length offered to male golfers in the drivers sold by all of the major brand companies has been between 45” and 46” – and for women, 44.5”. What does that say when the world’s best players CHOOSE to play driver lengths that are shorter than what the major golf companies sell to all the average men and women that play this game?
Second, that you can be custom fit for your clubs in any of the traditional big box stores or pro shops that sell major brand equipment. Fitting at such operations is typically limited to hitting a handful of drivers taken off the rack until a $10/hour sales person says this is the one for you.
Fitting is as I have said, all 12 key fitting specs for all clubs in the bag determined by a thorough analysis of the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics by a professional clubfitter who has a depth of experience in the trade.
Third, that so many average golfers believe that they have to be lower handicap players for custom fitting to matter and help. The fact is the exact opposite. Players who shoot between low 80s and 100 benefit the most from professional Clubfitting for two reasons.
- So many of the standard specs on drivers today, namely the 45-46” standard length, makes the driver much more difficult to hit for average ability players. So the vast majority of clubfitters know when they see an average golfer wanting more consistency/success with the driver, shorter length is the first thing in mind.
- Good fitting for the average player is not done to CURE swing mistakes. It is done to reduce the severity and the frequency of their poor swing shots. Shorter driver lengths at 43 to 44”, higher lofts to better match to the average player’s 75 to 95mph clubhead speeds, a face angle spec which is chosen more closed to offset the average player’s tendency to slice the ball, and the shaft and weighting of the club matched to the golfer’s clubhead speed + downswing tempo and swing force – do these things and you can count on at least 85-90% of all average golfers walking away hitting the driver more consistently than before.
4. What 3 recommendations could help the average golfer improve in terms of technology?
First, the path to improvement through better equipment is in the FIT more than it is in the clubhead design. The big golf companies have always focused their marketing on their clubhead designs. This of course compels the golfer to think that the head design is the most important element. But today, ALL companies have drivers at the limit of the rules for face COR and distance.
They now all have high COR fairway wood, hybrid and iron designs. Loft angles on irons today are between 6* and 8* lower than they were 30 years ago – to make iron lofts any lower to offer more distance risks giving golfers a 3-, 4-, 5- and even a 6-iron that are so low in loft that most golfers can’t hit the clubs very well. Clubhead design technology has hit the wall in other words.
But proper fitting, in which the golfer is carefully and professionally analyzed and measured to determine his/her best fit specifications for all 12 of the key fitting specs on all clubs in the bag is virtually unknown to most golfers. Find a GOOD, EXPERIENCED clubfitter to work with and you will walk away with measurable game improvement.
Second, being FIT correctly also leads to learning better swing fundamentals through lessons more quickly. With drivers and woods that are too long for most average players to swing with control and consistency, with loft angles on 3 to 5 of the clubs in the bag too low for the average golfer to be able to hit consistently well up in the air to fly, and with everything else standard on the clubs sold off the rack, average golfers can find that it is very difficult to take lessons and master the swing changes for permanent improvement taught by their instructor.
Get FIT for the right lengths, lofts, lies, face angles, shaft, weighting and grip size and learning a new swing change will come easier.
Third, re-read points number one and number two above.
Don’t believe proper clubfitting is that important? Think about this. Golf is the ONLY sport in which we use a “stick” to hit a ball in which the “sticks” are not commonly custom fit and offered for ALL of their possible fitting specifications to the participants. Baseball and softball are similar “stick hits ball” sports in which the participant’s success and enjoyment is measured by how well they hit the ball.
Ball players have forever been able to walk into a sports store to buy a new bat and select that bat from a wide variety of different LENGTHS, WEIGHTS and HANDLE DIAMETERS – which are the three key fitting specs for a bat. Imagine how ball players who have been used to always buying their bats with the right length, weight and handle diameter for their swing would view a store that only offers bats in 33”, 33 oz and with one handle diameter and not in the lengths from 29” to 36”, weights from light to heavy and handle diameters from thin to thick.
Now take tennis, another “stick hits ball” sport just like golf. Walk into a good tennis shop and what do you see? Rackets are never pre strung because the players know they need to select the type of string and the string tension that best matches their racket speed, strength and manner of play, spin vs flat. The unstrung rackets are also stocked in different grip diameters, with the size noted on the side of the racket.
Here again, what do you think a tennis player would think if he/she walked into a store and saw all the rackets pre strung with one type of string to one tension and all the grips at 4 7/8” when they know they need a specific string type, string tension and grip size to play their best?
But not golf. Golf is the only “stick hits ball” sport in which the players never question that the clubs displayed on the racks are made to a single length, single loft option, single lie option, single everything option – one size fits all. Sure, golfers can choose from an L, A, R, S or X flex in the shaft. They can do that. But consider this – there has NEVER been any sort of industry standard for shaft flex in golf. Never.
So the R flex from one company can commonly be as stiff as the S flex from another company and sometimes even the A flex from a third. At least in tennis where string tension is the equivalent of shaft flex in a golf club, string tension is UNIFORM and STANDARDIZED. A 53 lb tension is a 53 lb tension no matter if you had your racket strung in Hawaii or Maine.
Golf has always existed with the companies marketing the clubhead and saying nothing about full specs fitting as is routine with bats and rackets because it is too difficult from an inventory standpoint for golf companies and golf retailers to offer all of the key fitting specs in golf clubs to golfers. So here we sit with a one size fits all approach in golf clubs while golfers, just like baseball, softball and tennis players, are so very different from each other in their combination of size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.
Once again – read points 1 and 2 above if you want golf clubs that will allow YOU to play to the best of your given ability.
It can do both but for most golfers, it minimizes their swing faults by reducing the severity and the frequency of your worst shots. For example, Golf Digest magazine has said 70% of all golfers slice the ball to some degree. That’s understandable because hitting the ball straight requires delivering the clubface square, which is tough to learn to do for anyone with less than average neuro-muscular control with above average athletic ability.
While lessons to turn those slicing swing mistakes into a square path with square face are always the sure cure, most golfers ARE UNABLE TO FULLY CURE THEIR SLICE WITH LESSONS. Lessons cost money. Lessons take repeated work AND many follow up hours on the range to groove the correct swing motions.
Most people who take lessons to cure their slice do not see real success because, 1) it costs too much, 2) it takes too much time in practice, 3) it takes a certain level of neuro-muscular control and athletic ability that may golfers simply do not possess.
On the other hand, moderate slicers of the ball can be fit with a driver/woods with a shorter length and more closed face angle and with the same swing, experience a visible reduction in the amount they slice the ball. From this type of game improvement fitting, the 15 to 30 yard slice can be reduced to a 5 to 15 yard fade. It’s still a fade, but it is an average shot pattern that is now in play more often than before, which gives the golfer more open shots to the green, which allows the golfer to hit more greens or get closer to the greens more often, which leads to a few more pars and bogeys with fewer double or triple bogeys.
And that’s how proper full specs fitting works to deliver visible improvement – it rarely CURES the shot problems, but rather it increases the number of decent shots while reducing the frequency and severity of the golfer’s poor shots. Added all up, full specs fitting can offer on average between a 3 and 10 shot improvement for over 80% of the golfers who shoot between low 80s and 100.
But ONLY if the fitting is done by a good, experienced clubfitter who fits the golfer for all 12 of the key specs for all clubs in the bag. Not 2 or 3 specs fit for 1 or 2 clubs in the bag. And once again, to find a good clubfitter, use the resources listed above.
6. If you had the power to change 1 thing, globally, in the golf equipment industry, what would it be?
I hate to keep sounding like a broken record but if I had the power to change one thing in the golf equipment industry it would be to somehow be able to make all golfers aware of the proven fact that being properly fit by a good clubfitter will allow a huge percentage of average golfers to play better than if they continue to buy their clubs off the rack through the traditional golf retail stores and shops.
And with that, to also be able to get more golfers to understand that the quality of the FIT is far more important than the image and ego associated with a certain model or brand name sitting in their golf bag.
7. I once was fitted for a driver but the club that was built and sent to me just was not the same one I demoed. Can this happen?
Yes, this is possible when golfers place an order for a big company club through a retail golf store or pro shop for a number of reasons. First, all clubheads and shafts are produced with +/- tolerances for every one of their design and production specifications. It is definitely possible that the head and or shaft in the ordered club came out of production with a little different tolerance than the head and or shaft in the demo club they hit.
But the biggest reason for this is simply because the workers assigned to build the special order clubs from the big companies do make mistakes and the QC inspections do not catch these mistakes. I hate to say this but it’s a law of averages thing related to the work ethic of lower wage workers who do not view their work with much passion for doing the very best job they can in a job that is the same, day after day after day.
At the same token, while it can happen that an independent custom clubmaker could also make a mistake in a custom build, that tends to not happen nearly as often as it does with orders from the big companies because far more clubmakers have a much greater level of care and interest and passion for their work. The big company worker is a lower wage employee, doing the same job day in and day out.
The custom clubmaker is an independent business owner who CHOSE to become a clubmaker because he had a strong interest in the field. Therefore, the independent custom clubmaker is not only more motivated to do a good job because of his interest, but he also knows he must do a good job because this is his business that he wishes to keep growing and a good reputation is the most important element in achieving that success.
I’m optimistic that little by little, more and more golfers are beginning to discover that proper fitting could be better than continuing to buy their equipment off the rack through the big box retail/on line stores and pro shops. It’s not an avalanche by any means, but it is an increase in awareness that is beginning to grow.
But with more golfers who are open to listening to the facts about fitting comes a prickly situation in which the golfers who know so very little about REAL fitting vs false fitting can be susceptible to being fooled into not doing their due diligence enough to find a good fitter to work with.
The big companies and big retailers know full well that there is a growing awareness among golfers about custom fitting so they are increasing their marketing to claim that they offer custom fitting. But the big companies and their big retailers are trapped by their standard off the rack volume business model as the only way they can achieve the highest level of sales.
So there is no way they can offer a 90min to 2 hr fitting analysis that results in the clubs being built from scratch to offer the golfers all 12 of the key Clubfitting specs for all the clubs in the bag. It is going to be a challenge to teach golfers the difference between a “slam-bam” fitting that falls short of what the “tailor to the suit” type of fitting can offer.
9. What is new and noteworthy at WishonGolf?
We’re so different than any other golf equipment company because everything at Wishon Golf revolves around full specs fitting to the golfer’s different combinations of size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. So when we design clubheads and shafts, we focus on creating different models that are designed to best match to specific swing characteristics of golfers from plus/scratch all the way up to 100 shooters and everywhere in between.
When I work in design concepts, the first thing I look at is whether we have a clubhead or shaft model for this swing type or that player type rather than to simply look at trends for what might sell better or attract more marketing attention.
All my design work is focused on being able to deliver any combination of fitting specs and fitting performance for any type of golfer because that’s what club performance should be about for all golfers – getting the right clubs that allows every golfer to play to the very best of their abilities.
As such we’re very proud that we have developed a hand select service with an all bendable hosel line of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids so clubmakers can now much better custom fit their golfers for whatever lofts, lies and face angles they need in these clubs.
No one had figured out how to make these head types with the ability to be custom altered to hit any loft, lie or face angle in their drivers/woods/hybrids previously. So this is a real step forward in being able to offer the most game improvement possible through proper fitting.
I will say that one thing I am most proud of that so few golfers know about because we are so under-marketed at Wishon Golf is the depth of our head design and fitting research knowledge. Over the years, we have contributed 10 books and countless technical articles explaining clubitting technology and club performance.
No company knows as much as we do about how to choose the best lengths, lofts, lies, face angles, shafts, total weights, swingweights, set makeup, clubhead design and grips for golfers.
Head design wise, we’re very proud of how much we’ve been able to lead the whole industry in clubhead design technology. And very few know about this again because we have been so under-marketed. Over the past 3 years, the other companies have introduced their adjustable hosel drivers, high COR fairway woods, high COR hybrids, high COR irons, moveable weight drivers as “new” technology for the industry.
Yet few know that we designed the first adjustable hosel woods in 1995, the first high COR fairway woods in 2004, the first high COR hybrids in 2006, the first high COR irons in 2004 and the first universal movable weight driver in 2006.
On the other hand, that information plus $4 will get you a coffee at Starbuck’s any day. So we keep working hard to do what we can to continue teaching the clubfitters everything possible about club performance and fitting technology, and we keep trying to get information out there about the benefits of real, full specs fitting so that a few more golfers can realize they would be so much better off working with a good, experienced independent clubfitter for their equipment needs than to continue to walk into big box golf stores to buy their clubs off the rack.
Books by Tom Wishon
Do you sometimes feel, that for whatever reason, some of your golf club(s) just aren’t cutting the Grey Poupon anymore? They just don’t give you any feel you’re looking for?
I remember a few (ok, more than a few) years back I was hitting an aluminum shafted persimmon 3-wood (Yes, ALUMINUM!) and I could literally knock the buggers out of that thing – and this was not long after almost everyone was hitting metal woods. My playing partners would rib me to no end when I hauled that out.
But it just was the right size, shaft had the perfect amount of bend, etc. I just felt like I could never hit that club bad (gee, I wish I could find 1 more club like that!)
Anyway, it will pay to have you take a good, objective look at your current golf clubs. Are they really serving you or vice versa?
What we will NOT delve into here are the specifics of custom club fitting – lie angle, shaft flex, swing speed, launch angle, etc. that is for the land of custom fitting and that’s for another time and place.
We are also going to go on the assumption that your swing is fairly solid. I’m not going to mingle swing patterns (left to right ball path, low ball hitter, etc. etc.) with equipment changes, although we both know they are part and parcel of the same thing.
I believe the questions below are a good start to at least start the conversation so you can take action.
Realize this doesn’t have to be anything scientific. I’m not asking you to rev up Microsoft Excel and to complete a thorough, detailed, ultra-specific, scientific assessment by any means. Just jotting down a few notes on paper will suffice. I’ll get a bit more specific about what to jot down towards the end of the post.
My goal is to hopefully instill a few “ah-hah” moments where you will consider an equipment change(s) that will *almost* instantly transform your game.
Here we go.
HOW OLD ARE THEY?
Anything over 4 years + you might want to begin thinking about upgrading or buying new.
Not that technology has been super improved. Sure, shafts have improved and some aerodynamics and size, however, the big thing to think about is the adjustability. Obviously, I’m talking about drivers here.
You may have a driver that is getting up there in age and you are “locked” into thats clubs loft, face angle, etc. The adjustability, in my opinion, is terrific. It gives you that much more flexibility to hone in on the specs that will work for your own unique swing characteristics.
Also, what general condition are they in? If you play a ton of golf, things just wear out after time. Particularly if you play and practice a lot, you might not realize that particular club has just seen better days.
For example, wedges often go first, particularly if you practice a lot out of the sand. The grooves will get worn down in a hurry.
ARE THERE ANY GLARING GAPS?
Now assess what your current club lineup. Say you have a PW, SW, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, putter. That’s 13 clubs total. USGA rules allow you to carry up to 14.
Just as an example, say you are over 50, play from the white tees and your home course plays relatively short and has some consistently knarly rough around the greens.
In this case you might want to consider adding a lob or gap wedge to your clubs.
Vokey (makers of the exquisite line of Vokey Wedges) actually recommends 4-6 degrees of loft between your wedges which equates to distance gaps of approximately 12-15 yards.
For example, in your current set, you have a pitching wedge that is 44 degrees and you hit it 110 yards (on average). You also have a 56 degree sand wedge which you max out around 80 yards. So we have a working gap of 30 yards between your wedges. If you play a shorter course and there’s a premium is on getting up and down then that gap is too much.
You might then consider adding another wedge to your set. Say a gap wedge. If you had one that you could max out at 95 yards or so, you’ve “closed the gap” and added an important club to your game.
Same goes with other clubs. If seen playing partners with much to big of a gap between like a 4 or 5-iron and the next club is a 3-wood. That’s pretty substantial. Again, I realize this is just a method to figure out if the gaps are NOT working for you based on your current game, home course, etc.
ARE THEY NOT PERFORMING?
Are some of your clubs not performing? I’m of the mindset that you should be *fairly* confident with every single club in your bag. I realize this is relative statement. Sure, sometimes you will make the most disastrous of flubs with your favorite clubs but we know (don’t we??) that we are not going to always hit solid shots.
But if a couple of your clubs are driving you to put that flask in your bag almost every round maybe you need to make a change. Did you “all-of-a-sudden” stop hitting it? Have you really ever hit this club well? Do you hit it solid on the range? How old is the club?
If we have had the club for a number of years, that could be part of the reason. There are other reasons, too. Bottomline, if it’s not performing for you, consider removing and replacing.
DO THEY NEED TO BE RE-CONDITIONED?
Instead of buying new or a relatively newer, used club you may want to consider reconditioning your clubs.
If your iron grooves have been noticeably worn down you can purchase a groove sharpening tool. You can get these at any online golf retailer, but you need to be aware of what you are doing. While the sharpening tools do give bite back to a “senior” wedge, they do not come close to the sharpness of new grooves. But it is an improvement.
Keep in mind the rules of golf state that grooves must be no more than 0.035 inches wide, 0.020 inches deep and 0.075 inches from any adjacent grooves. Pretty specific, eh! If you play competitively, using a groove sharpener could make your clubs non-conforming and illegal for competition. As a matter of fact, Titleist’s Vokey Wedgeworks shops will not resharpen grooves because the margin is so thin between conforming and non-conforming.
How about the grips? Do they “feel” new? Do the grips feel new and tacky? or does it feel like you have half a sandwich embedded in them? Well, my little munchkins, then it just might be time to, of course, clean and if in even sadder shape, just replace.
I often think replacing the grip is one of the fastest way to bring some lustre and life to your clubs. It’s so easy to do or have them done. Almost immediately they feel brand new and there are so many good options out there. Look into the innovative stuff Lampkin or Winn Grips have to offer.
DO I REALLY NEED THIS CLUB?
When evaluating your equipment take a close look at all your clubs. Are there any that you just don’t need (or use) anymore? This is a bit different than if the club is performing or not. So it’s a good, solid performing club but if you don’t need it – asta la vista, baby.
Just last year I still carried a 3-iron. I used to smoke that thing but now that I’m over 50 and the swing speed has slowed a bit I just don’t need the damn club. I don’t use it and it’s just not working for me.
Just out of vanity I probably carried that club 2 years too long. I don’t know, maybe just to show off to my younger player partners that I still carried one.
Whatever the twisted psychological reason, it should have been removed MUCH earlier. I replaced it with a hybrid and I (and the game) are much happier.
YOU DON’T LIKE THE WAY THEY LOOK
Sometimes this one get’s underplayed a bit. I mean if every time you look down and your 1st mental thought is “Yuk” as you really don’t like the look of the darn thing – well, that’s not conducive to your best golf.
I think inherently we “know” a nice looking club when we come upon it. Of course, that’s why there are so many styles, looks, etc. Some want clean and classical, some want a little more modern and hip and others like funky and a bit out there (and I’m sure I’m missing many others!)
The good news is most of us know that already! We kinda have a feel for our style. It’s like the way we USUALLY dress. Do we dress like Tiger (classical) or Rickie (hip) or John Daly (out there – the pants anyway).
So think about those things when changing your equipment. For me, somehow the classic Titleist driver just is too formal looking. Yeah, I know, if I hit the snot of out it, who cares, right? but I want the club(s) to feel like they are “part” of me – like they are an extension of me.
So take a look at your current set with that filter in mind. Also, it’s cool to go a larger golf store and just pick up, look and feel a lot of clubs. You’ll tend to gravitate towards some and not others. Make note of that. I just love doing this! My wife thinks I’m nuts but hey, it’s golf!
WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
Steps to take.
1. The first, and most important, is to write down what you currently have. Yes, write it on paper. Catalog it.
2. Write down how old the club is. If you don’t know, just guesstimate.
3. You know those little smiley faces you notice at hospital’s or clinics that are supposed to suggest your pain level from 1-10? yep, draw one of those next to it.
4. Jot down a few notes as to your typical course, do I want to get up and down more? more distance (who doesn’t), Need a 200 yard hybrid, etc.
5. Plan to upgrade, replace or add/substract just 1 club. If you want to do more than one – go for it, but at least that’s do-able.
I know from experience if you try to take on your whole bag at once, well, mentally, it’s just easier to do nothing.
6. Next, Talk to your pro. See where you go with that. Look up if there are local club fitters in your area, head to a demo day and try to hit a slew of clubs. See which ones fit your eye and your swing. Or you can obviously go out and buy new golf equipment! It sometimes can be instantly obvious that THIS is the club that will make a huge (no, not just a minor) difference in your game.
I’d be curious to know how you made out. Be great to hear your comments.
THINQ Golf is a leading company that is helping golfers (and other athletes) to optimize their performance through scientifically based games and education.
Training your mind/body for optimum performance in golf is really the new frontier in athletic training that has been only *somewhat* explored but TG is really taking this to a new level in their world-class, innovative products and training.
How Did This come About?
THINQ Golf was founded in 2012, by a select group of sports psychologists, neuroscientists, and PGA/LPGA professionals who were searching for tools and methodologies on how to improve mental/cognitive skills that directly effect (and, of course, influence) performance on the golf course.
Most amateur athletes understand that their professional/elite-level counterparts possess stronger physical skills, but several recent scientific studies have proven that these elite-level athletes also possess stronger cognitive skills.
More specifically, these studies have determined that in performance based situations, the brain maps of elite athletes are more “synchronous” than those of amateurs.
THINQ Golf’s mission is to address this “gap” in cognitive performance through the use of science-based games and a variety of mental tools. Golfers of all ages and abilities should be able to benefit from these tools and work on their mental game in a way that is fun, easy, and informative.
THINQ Golf is my new game of choice. Healthy for my mind and good for my golf game – Trevor Murphy, Web.com Tour Player
Improve your Mental Skills
THINQ Golf has targeted 5 specific areas that can be measurably improve our golf performance. These include:
Awareness – The skill of awareness is the first key to performance. Without it, we cannot initiate a change.
Attention – Your thinking precedes motion is the concept explaining why attention is so vitally important. Where is your attention just before you pull the trigger? (hint: it better be in the present moment)
Synchronicity – The ability to synchronize everything throughout the entire sequencing of your golf swing.
Intention – Making a clear intention on every shot based on all available information at the time is one mental skill used by all the best golfers.
Adaptability – The mental ability to adapt to any situation or circumstance.
About the Science
If you think this is a bunch of fuzzy logic and hack science that results in pulling the wooleys over your eyes, you might want to re-evaluate once you take a gander at all the thorough research and testing that went into these games.
A laboratory measure of each mental skill (Awareness, Attention, Synchronicity, Intention, and Adaptability) was used to design the games. Upon completion, each game was also research tested to determine the efficacy of the game to influence brain patterns and/or golf performance, or both.
I mean you can see all the research, stats and more on the site. It’s amazing to read through. For example:
Intention game training (10 minutes) illustrated a significant decrease (24%) in cm error from the hole compared to control golfers who increased cm error (9%) from the hole. There was also a 39% increase in number of putts made following the Intention game play, while controls increased putts made by 6%.
There is also a nice section on the use of EEG (electoencephalograph) in their research. This represents the amount of electrical activity in a specific area of the brain.
EEG brain maps are read by the color represented and the balance of activity in each site of each hemisphere. The brighter the color, the more the activity in that specific location. So you can kinda get a holistic view of what parts of the brain are stimulated just prior to initiating motion.
What Kind of Games are Offered?
Awareness Game – This game trains you to be aware of the target, or becoming more target-focused. A target provides an image your brain can work with. A lot of us (me included) sometimes get fuzzy about what we’re aiming at. For example, have you ever had this mental state, “I’ll just hit it somewhere out-there”. Yeah, well, that’s not too specific, right? We can do better. Much better.
What if we were laser-focused on the target? What if you could improve your target awareness skill? Do you think think your results would change? Once you are dialed in, a motor program is then constructed in the brain as a template to send to the muscles and BINGO – better, more consistent golf shots!
Attention – This will determine which swing comes out and how our shot flies or rolls. Our minds must have something to do to stay in the present moment, or it will wander.
Attention is the last factor we have conscious control of before we start the motion. There are three aspects of attention that are being trained in this game: acuity (how clearly we focus), distractibility (how easily we lose our focus of attention), and sustainability (how long we can maintain our focus of attention).
Synchronicity – This is an other game I love! It trains our ability to take an outside signal (a tone), a visual signal (a bar traveling across the screen), and respond by tapping the bar at the exact time of the tone. This allows you to further strengthen the neural paths that synchronize your mind, body, and target.
Intention – Honestly, this is a game that has challenged me a bit but I suspect different folks might have challenges with different games. That’s fine – this is about improving your mental skills, afterall.
The game uses a cost-benefit analysis concept and prompts the player with three risk options: high, medium, and low, in which the task is more difficult with choosing a higher risk level.
Then, the golfer performs the game task at the level they have chosen. After completing the task, the golfer evaluates their performance to complete their routine.
Who’s using it
I’ve been in the golf business for a little bit and currently I’m seeing more information on how to improve mental performance but mostly in terms of auto-suggestion, affirmations, swing keys, etc. This is different. It’s training for your mind.
So I’m not surprised to see all the high profile players, teachers, coaches, organizations and others using the ThinqGolf training. These include the LPGA, The First Tee, Girl’s Golf, Texas State and Arkansas, just to name a few.
I finally have a game that not only I enjoy playing but that also helps me improve on the hardest aspect of my golf game. These games are intriguing and catching, I always finish playing – GIULIA MOLINARO, Tour Player
Become a Member
You can play a number of games for free so you don’t have to become a member. But at only $4.99 a month it really is a super deal considering all the cool stuff you receive including:
- Online Brain games – Develop essential skills like awareness, attention, synchronicity, intention, and adaptability that are necessary for optimal golf performance
- Online Leader Boards – how do you match up against others? Leaderboards allow you to compete against other THINQ Golf members using our Q-Score scoring system and measure your proficiency against those of your same handicap, gender, age, or even your own customized group
- Monthly Webinars – These webinars take an in-depth look at the mental skills that our games and tools are helping you to develop and this interactive experience allows members (that means YOU!) to receive invaluable knowledge from the esteemed THINQ Team
- Journals – Journals help you clarify and prioritize thoughts and feelings, manage stress, and solve problems more effectively
- Vision Boards – Vision board allows you to define and focus on an intended goal. Whether it’s hitting more fairways, holing more putts, better pre-shot routine, staying “in-the-moment” or almost anything else, Vision Boards can help you get there
All in all, you receive tremendous value for the price of 1 (just one!) Starbucks Caramel Macchiato per month! Can’t beat that now, can you?!
Check out all the great info on their site here: THINQ Golf
Get the apps below:
Ah, “Gay Paree”! When was the last time you visited that enchanted city and all the marvels it has to offer? For me, it’s been far too long but I’m heading back next summer for the art, wine and golf!
Did I say “golf”? Yep, I did — and it’s not exactly in Paris but slightly to the West – golf in Western France. Like I mentioned, I have been to France before and just loved it but I have never even swung a golf club there.
French golf often gets a bad rap and it’s difficult to even name a few prominent French Professional golfers. Only a handful come to mind – Thomas Levet, the talented, young newcomer (and fresh off a stellar Ryder cup debut) Victor Dubuisson and, of course, the most famous of all, Jean van de Velde, who had that famous collapse in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Van de Velde has vastly curtailed his playing but has taken on being somewhat of an ambassador for golf in France, recently being named the Championship Director of his home tourney in France – the Alstom Open de France.
And it IS nice to see Dubuisson giving more exposure to French golf and all the beautiful but often seldom known courses that are available for play.
One I’m planning to play is the Golf National Albatros, located just 20 miles West of Paris.
It’s a 7200+ yard course that has held the French Open since 1991 and the host location of the 2018 Ryder Cup. So I’m glad I will get the opportunity the play this gem of a course before it gets even MORE popular.
The other course I’m excited to play is Golf de la Bretesche (see top photo). This is a course housed in the shadows of a magnificent fairy-tale chateau – complete with towers, turrets, moat and adjoining lake in this off-the-beaten-path woodland course.
Now when I’m on holiday I like time that’s on the peaceful side. Not as much hectic-ness or all-city time. I need some R & R (isn’t that what holidays are for?!) so this course is going to be a perfect for that – oh and I think the wife will love this setting, too
Golf in France has the additional enticement of having very reasonable green fess – comparatively speaking to say the US and UK anyway. We’re talking in the $50-$150 range for an elite course.
Besides the unbelievable food, culture, weather and, of course, golf, why not look into playing a few rounds in Western France? – in might be far less expensive then you believe and you’ll have the most precious of memories.
The folks at Brittany Ferries have put together a lovely infographic on golf in Western France below.
Image source: Brittany Ferries presents the best golf courses in Western France.