Focusing on Greens in Regulation is a Game Changer for Me

I play in three ladies leagues and one league I specifically selected for the course. It’s not a long course for me because, in this particular league, the ladies play from the forward tees (4495 yards). I picked the course because of the topography which really makes the game “target golf.” You must know where to land it to take advantage of the slopes and stay out of trouble. And, the greens are very fast and very tricky (it really tests your putting).

When I first joined the league, I was playing well but then I hit a slump and over the weeks of frustrating play I just started to “hate” the course. One day I was playing with a golfer I really respect and trust, Nancy. I quietly admitted to her I was beginning to hate playing this course and could not understand why I went from playing well to so poorly on this track. She asked if I had the same issue at my other leagues and I said “No, not really.”

I told her I was stressing over approach shots and felt my putting was just awful and I never has so many swing thoughts in my head. She said “You have a great putting stroke, I love it when I can get the line off you because your stroke is so pure.” Wow, what a nice complement!! I was so surprised. She said to me “Let’s play a game on the back nine. I said “Oh great, I’m playing crappy and you want to add the stress of a side game.” Nancy said “It’s fun, all we are going to do is focus on getting on the green in regulation. You have the length to get on every green in regulation.” This was true, because as I mentioned it is not a long course.

So on the back nine all I did was focus on GIR and it was a game changer for me. What it did for me was to get all the bad thoughts out of my head. I wasn’t frustrated on every hole or thinking I must put the ball close to the hole to avoid three-putts. I just relaxed and had fun. My only thought was GIR and it got me just focused on one shot at a time. The proof was in the scores between the front and back nine – seven strokes better on the back nine with a 40. I thanked Nancy for her great advice. She said “Well, with your game I think you should easily break 80 on this course.” I love her positive spirit!!

It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve made GIR my main focus and I still have off days like any golfer but the focus on GIR has helped me mentally more than I could imagine. When I feel like things are going off track, I just remind myself to focus on getting on the green.

Unsolicited Advice on the Practice Range – Don’t Give It!

Recently I was practicing my bunker game and a gentlemen came up to me and asked what I was working on. Well, it is good I have a filter between my brain and my lips because my first thought was to reply sarcastically, “My putting game” but instead I told him I was working on being more consistent with my bunker shots.

Without asking me if I want help, he proceeds to give me tips (all the things he works on) including open your stance, open your club face, don’t forget to accelerate. I told him I am just practicing and work on all the same things he does (hoping he will get the hint and leave me alone). Finally he ends with this winner “Maybe your eyes are closed.” I was really not sure how to respond to that comment but I just said “Thanks and you have a great day.”

Now this experience is not the first time a guy has interrupted my practice to give me tips and it makes me wonder “Do men practicing have other golfers come up and give unsolicited advice?” It seems so odd because I would never give unsolicited advice to anyone. I actually have good fundamentals and my goal at the range or practice area is to work on my weaknesses, try new shots, etc.

There are times I have had guys just talk to me and say “great swing” (as an ice breaker) and we have a nice chat for a few minutes. But you’d be surprised how often unsolicited advice is the way a guy engages with me. Generally, I take the high-road, I give the “advice giver” the benefit of the doubt and assume that he just wants to engage in conversation and he is clueless that implying I need help is not a great conversation starter. In my mind I’m thinking “What the heck, who does this guy think he is giving me advice. I mean I understand there is a stereotype that men like to fix things but I’m not broken. He needs to work on his own game.”

So what do I do in these situations? Well, I’m try to always be a nice person and would never choose to make someone feel bad so I just spend the few minutes of time and try to not let it bother me. I suppose some women might put a guy in his place with a clever response but life is to short to be cruel.

In closing, I am writing this post to give my own advice – guys, don’t assume a women wants your tips on the range. If you really want to talk to her, just say “hello” and if you really can’t resist the urge to “help” — ask the women first if she’d like a few tips. At least that way, you are giving her the choice.

Favorite Golf Instructors and Rules Expert on YouTube

Over the years I have watched a lot of golf videos for game improvement tips or to understand the rules of golf. In the past year I have found that I go to three YouTube contributors over and over again. Two are focused on swing and game improvement and one is a rules guru.

Danny Maude

I was introduced to Danny Maude via a Facebook post (you know when they push content they think you might like and most times the content push is completely off the mark but this time it was actually relevant). Over time I have found Maude to be a favorite video instructor because he has helped me focus on making my swing more fluid. It is so easy to get too mechanical with your swing and he reminds us with his videos that it is a golf “swing” and to use the club momentum.

Danny Maude YouTube Channel

Get More Pars with Christina Ricci

I’ve have followed Ricci on and off for years. She’s a new englander and I lived in the Boston area for years. I tend to watch her when I want to get back to basics. Plus as a female golfer I do like to watch a female instructor because I’m curious if they have tips that are specific to women. But overall, her videos will help any golfer because they are not gender specific but focus on basic tips all golfers can use in their game.

Get More Pars with Christina Ricci YouTube Channel

GolfRules Questions (David Blake)

Blake is a golf rules expert located in Australia and I find his YouTube site a great source of Rules videos. I’m a visual person so I find it easier to understand the Rules of Golf by watching videos versus reading the USGA Rules of Golf book. I like the fact that he is on the golf course when he is demonstrating a golf rule. Blake also reviews rules issues from recent televised professional golf tournaments.

GolfRules Questions YouTube Channel

Side note: If you like to listen to podcasts, David Blake’s podcast can be found on his website. The website is golf is an attitude. The website also has a rules quiz section.

These three favorites of mine may or may not be your cup of tea. Obviously, we all “click” with something or someone because how we learn is as unique as our golf swings. I do follow other golf YouTube channels but there are too many to list.

If you have favorite YouTube instructors, let me know in a comment below and I’ll go check them out.