No Club, No Problem!! 2 Easy Techniques to Improve at Work

Is working getting in the way of golf? It always does for me, but paying the bills and feeding the kids makes abandoning a job impossible.  I am finding ways to be at work and still get in practice time, sometimes even the 30 minutes for the day.

Practice at work? How is that possible?  No, I don’t work at a golf course, nor do I work near a golf course.  My first inclination would be to hit a bucket during lunch, but I don’t have that option.  However, I found a couple techniques could help me improve at work without losing my job.

The first technique I like is mental reps. I know it sounds crazy, but numerous authors and researchers say mental reps, which is imagining every detail of playing, can improve a swing.  Craig Sigl in his product Break 80 Without Practice discusses mental reps.  He tells a story of a POW held overseas for a significant amount of time.  When the soldier came back, he played amazing golf.  When asked, he said he imagined himself playing rounds every day.  The intricate details of playing allowed his mind to ingrain his swing without actual practice.  His brain went to the same place and made the same swings when he put the clubs back in his hands.

We can all do mental reps. As a disclaimer, I am not saying to do these instead of working.  I do them during breaks, lunch, etc.  Spend time imagining every aspect of playing a round of golf.  Go through the pre-shot routine, the swing, watching the ball fly, and walking to the next shot.  The more detail in the mental rep, the better.  I have also done this right before going to sleep.

The second technique I use at work is swinging without a club. Dave Pelz discusses this approach in one of his books.  He tells the story of one of the instructors he knows having a group of students practice certain moves without a club, many times at work.  The instructor didn’t do it intentionally.  It was his suggestion for busy clients who couldn’t get to the range.  They could also do it during the winter.  He found students doing reps without clubs made swing changes quicker.

I try focusing on 1 move during a week. I spend 10-30 minutes during lunch doing the swing without a club.  I am deliberate and not going quickly.  Once I get to the range, I sometimes do the same move without the club during my warmup.  Feeling the movements can help transition to the club.

Most of us have to work, but we can use small breaks to make big improvements. Every little bit helps and can lower scores.  Share this on Facebook and Twitter to help others improve while working!

Discover Some of Golf’s Emerging Technology

Golf Channel cuts away and on the TV someone screams “BOOM!” The next 30 seconds make you feel like your golf game couldn’t live without the product on the screen.  Every famous golf instructor sells something during the commercials.  Are any of the products worth it?  I have no idea, but I did find some interesting newer products to check out that could help your game.

 

IOFIT Golf Shoes:

This is an interesting product. Shoes that measure lower body movement to help become more efficient.  Sean Foley, among many others, states the golf swing starts from the ground up.  These shoes look like they could help immensely.  Information overload may happen, but I always want more info.  They already hit their funding goal on kickstarter.  You can check them out here:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1325722173/iofit-the-first-smart-shoes-to-improve-your-golf-g

 

Copy Me Golf:

Sports psychologists talk about visualizing shots and success. The more the subconscious sees an action, the easier the action is to repeat.  Copy Me Golf created a FREE iPhone app using that theory.  You download the app and either use one of the golf models in their library or load in your own video.  The instructions have you watch a swing repeated 30 times to music.  They encourage using a VR box to focus better.  The designers indicate watching the correct movements will subconsciously transition our swings to the model.  Copy Me Golf says Olympic Swimmers use similar technology.  For free, I definitely plan on trying it.  I will even splurge for the $10 VR box from Amazon.  Here is the info:  http://www.copymegolf.com/

 

Ultra Base Systems:

Do you want a backyard putting green without excavating everything? I want a backyard green, but I have unique access issues.  I scoured the internet for ideas to build my own putting green, and UBS looks like a great option.  The system is a series of interlocking base units that turf attaches to.  They manufacture artificial turf with a few premade designs under pro putt systems and tour links.  However, you can use any turf with the bases.  This looks like a reasonable DIY project.  Check it out:  http://ultrabasesystems.com/

 

Pocket Bunker:

Everyone wants to get up and down from the sand. However, most people don’t have the means to practice often.  Pocket Bunker attempts to solve that problem.  The designers are fully funded on Indiegogo, and the product is intriguing.  More practice would be helpful, and this looks like it could help.  Info is here:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pocket-bunker-portable-golf-bunker-training-aid-sport-home#/

 

If you see any good technology or infomercials, add them to the comments. Enjoy a great round this weekend!

My Next Swing Challenge: Tackling Tobacco Road

My new swing traveled to extreme destinations again last week, and much of the sand hills of North Carolina traveled back with me in my golf shoes. However, my last planned golf travel of the year resulted in a huge SUCCESS!

I played Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, North Carolina last week. Tobacco Road’s reviews and terrain looked interesting, so I choose to take my progressing swing to Sanford.  In 2010, ESPN ranked it the #10 hardest course in America.  Many call it Pine Valley on steroids.  I wanted the challenge, and happily endured the humidity to experience it.

The starter provided the best piece of advice for my round. He said most of the holes and greens have collection areas.  The collection areas are conservative targets, but they provide the best path to stress free golf.  I decided to follow the philosophy of conservative target with aggressive swing.

Hole #1
Hole #1

The par 5 1st hole lays the blueprint for the rest of the course.  Not overly long, but constant sand with small windows to hit through.  The visual intimidation alone could persuade golfers to turn their carts around.  The fairway is large, if you want to hit a short drive.  However, a tiny sliver of fairway guarded by natural sand and wire grass right in everyone’s landing area tempts the aggressive.  Going for it could be disastrous or setup a good second shot.  The second shot has the same dilemma.  Great wide fairway in layup area or try a narrow pass to get near the green.  I hit a beautiful drive in the narrow fairway, put my second in some reasonable sand, and hit my third near the green.  Up and down for par.  Great start!

 

Hole #2 illustrates the risk/reward philosophy of Tobacco Road. Straight ahead is nothing but waste area.  Carry is anywhere between 190 and 220 depending on the tee, or the fairway to the right provides an easy target but longer 2nd shot.  The conservative approach provides a blind shot over a hill to the green.  I played conservative right and hit the fairway.  I then struggle through a few approaches in waste areas for a double.  I am sticking to the game plan.  Play to conservative spots.

Hole #5
Hole #5

 

 

My progress is apparent on holes 3-5. I played to the large parts of the fairway and greens.  I hit both fairways (#3 is a par 3) and hit all 3 GIRs.  That is my best stretch of the summer.  My iron shots weren’t perfect, but I shifted my weight well which resulted in decent trajectory.  However, Tobacco Road’s next line of defense crushed me, the greens.  I 3 putted all of them for bogey. The greens’ could only reasonably be described as an Olympic mogul course and blazing fast.  My conservative play led me to 30-50 ft. lag putts that weren’t close.  I thought my plan was perfect.  I failed to anticipate the trickiness of long putting on these greens.

Hole #8
Hole #8

Holes 6-9 continued the onslaught. The fairways were in immaculate condition.  They just aren’t level.  Every approach required stance adjustments and strategic thinking.  However, my ball striking stayed reasonably steady.  I doubled 2 holes and bogeyed the other 2.  Front 9 – 46.  For the difficulty, I loved it.  Not only that, I hit 5/6 fairways and 3 GIRs.  I couldn’t hope for better.

 

 

The back 9 brought more pain. I continued to hit fairways through #14, but I failed to hit any greens on the back 9.  I played from more waste areas than I knew could exist.  As the starter told us, every waste area was different.  I tried unsuccessfully to hit 20 ft. high flop shots from hard sand onto greens, carry gargantuan cliffs to small greens, and hit out of random native grasses.  I left more sand in my shoes than on the course, but I had a blast.  I tired the last couple holes but ended with a 94.

Hole #13
Hole #13

 

The course is amazing. The shots are visually intimidating, but successfully completing the shot feels that much better.  You need every club and shot in the bag, but the course is very fair.  Most holes provide both aggressive and conservative targets.  The greens roll true and are fast.  I completely agree with Golf Digest putting this in the top 100 and ESPN ranking it tough.  Truly amazing experience.   I also finished with a reasonable score on a tough course.  SUCCESS!

Hole #18
Hole #18