Zen Golf Quote of the Week
- Reminder: February 24-25 Golf Academy
- Update on Zen Putting
- Welcome to Ken Zeiger
- Tournament Notes:
- Mercedes-Benz Championship
- Sony Open
- Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
Dear Zen Golfer,
The PGA Tour is in action for 2007. In this newsletter, I'll offer some observations about the opening PGA Tour events. Last newsletter I shared one of the emails sent in from all over the world telling how much Zen Golf made a difference in people's golf games, and more importantly in their lives. They are truly moving, and fulfill the vision and purpose I had for my writing. Here's another:
"I am not only a 76 year old golfer, I have also had heart surgery. Since the surgery, I have had some anxious moments on the course and in my life off the course. Your book, Zen Golf, has been a savior to me. I can never thank you enough. My golf game has improved also since I have incorporated your techniques into my game. Thank you, C. W."
If you have any success stories, we appreciate receiving them and being able to offer them (anonymously - initials only) as inspiration for others.
Reminder: Golf Academy Program February 24-25, 2007
There are just a few spots still available for the February program. Please call soon to reserve a place. This program has mixed enrollment of men and women, so it will also be ideal for couples.
The Ojai Valley Inn Golf Academy Program combines Zen Golf mental game lessons with Director of Instruction Jeff Johnson's video analysis and swing technique lessons. The program is a unique combination of a mental game seminar with Dr. Joe each morning, followed by video and practice area lessons with Jeff before lunch. After lunch Dr. Joe and Jeff work together on swing and mental images. Putting and short game work are also covered. Afternoons will feature on-the-course playing lessons with both instructors. Program includes two nights lodging at the deluxe Ojai Valley Inn and Spa Resort, instructional materials, a Zen Golf Audiobook, video swing analysis, lunches, green fees and cart.
Program Schedule: 8:30pm - 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday
$1195 per person (single occupancy)*
$1995 per couple (or double occupancy)*
$795 per person (commuter rate = no lodging)
*(Please note: this is a 50% discount from standard room rates)
Update on Zen Putting
Here's a preview of the cover design for Zen Putting:
Zen Putting: Mastering the Mental Game on the Greens, will be on sale in early April 2007. Advance orders can be placed on Amazon.com and other on-line booksellers, as well as at Barnes&Noble or Borders bookstores. The audiobook version will be recorded in March, and should be available soon after the hardcover is released.
Welcome to Ken Zeiger
Ken Zeiger officially joins the Zen Golf Team this month as Program Director. After many years of participation in Zen Golf seminars, as well as offering invaluable editorial assistance for both Zen Golf and Zen Putting, Ken has signed on to help with all aspects of my work: marketing my corporate speaking and programs, writing for the website, and coordinating all golf programs.
You'll be hearing from Ken in upcoming newsletters, and other communications about corporate speaking engagements, website developments, and golf schools.
A note of thanks to Audra Gutierrez, who ably helped during the last few months with the reorganization of the office, finling, and accounting systems.
Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapalua, Hawaii
Many pros were missing putts on the low (aka "amateur") side - the combination of grain, slope, wind, and pace creates problems for even the world's finest players. An interesting new technology debuted on The Golf Channel telecast: a dotted line predicting the aim point (start of the path) and path to the hole based on a pace that would carry the ball one foot past the hole. Watched one putt roll right on the dotted line until a few feet before reaching the hole. Then the ball broke below the hole and ended up just a foot past. Even the computer under-read the break!
The pros were having a particularly hard time with six-footers into the grain. You'll find chapters in Zen Putting on gravity and grain - on putts straight against the grain and/or uphill, the ball will want to turn away from the hole, like water shooting up in a fountain slowing and turning in any direction to head back down.
The key to facing this challenge: commit to the start of your path and visualize the ball going firmly into the back of the cup. Breathe and let your arms make as big a stroke as they want. Recommended drill: Practice trying to sink the putt on the high side of the hole. You can cover the lower half with scorecard for help focusing on the top half of the hole.
Nick Faldo was commenting on how golfers think before the shot - how common it was to think "don't hit it out of bounds," "don't hit it in the bunker," "don't hit it in the bushes." And that kind of thinking on his part is why he wasn't playing any more. Kelly suggested a positive image of what you do want it to do. Sounds like the "Don't Hit it Into the Lake" chapter of Zen Golf.
Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii
Tad Fujikawa was the story of the week: youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event in 50 years. I met him at the US Open at Winged Foot last summer, which he qualified for. He clearly has game, and has a great attitude as well. He was a three and a half month premature baby, and now stands barely 5 feet tall. There's no "hold back" in his swings. He practices judo, and feels that the martial art impacts his golf with respect to balance, discipline, and perseverance. You'll read about this attitude in the chapter "Never Give Up, Never Give In" in Zen Putting.
Nick Faldo commented on pros being overly concerned with swing technique during a tournament. I agree with his view: On one hand, you want to bring confidence and understanding from practice, so you can deal with things as they arise during a tournament. But when it's time to play, the most important thing is the score that goes on the card and it doesn't matter how you do it.
Nick's Ten-thousand Dollar Zen Golf Question - Under pressure, when staring tens of thousands of dollars in the face, could you just repeat everything (your routine) one more time without thinking about it?
One commentator spoke about bogeying or birdying a hole previously, "sometimes you have karma with a particular part of the course." I think we all have felt this, both the good and the bad. Use the good feeling for confidence; clear the bad karma feeling by taking a beginner's mind attitude, as if you're playing the hole for the first time.
When Charles Howell III took a two shot lead at the turn, it became an emotional battle. This can be very dangerous. Nick talked about pressure, and predicting something would happen. Then CHIII hit a tree with his approach shot. Next hole he miss-aimed and missed a five foot putt. As he and other contenders started missing a lot of shots, Nick said, "Take a breathe. Breathe in everybody. Whoosssssh." That's why there's a chapter in ZG called "Remember to Breathe."
Zen Golf Lesson- once you can start to see the finish line you need to focus even more intently on playing one shot at a time, one hole at a time.
Playing with each other, Luke Donald and Howell didn't realize others were catching up. Paul Goydos was behind in the score and playing ahead of the leaders. Nick pointed out that he got a free run at the course, playing pressure free golf, and snuck past them. I've heard some pros say they try to play as if they are trying to catch the leaders even when they are leading.
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Desert, Bermuda Dunes, and La Quinta, California
The final round was incredibly windy. Playing in the wind you need a particular attitude: Lots of creativity, and lots of pre-acceptance. The toughest part to get used to is putting. There's a real danger of the ball moving from the wind after you set up to the putt, and that's a penalty stroke. If it oscillates and returns to the same spot, no penalty. Also no penalty if you do not ground your putter behind the ball. This situation is included in the chapter "Hover the Putter" in Zen Putting. It's something you need to practice so that when it needs to be put into play, it can be done without varying your routine.
How much to do you play for the wind on the green? Into the wind, visualize the ball hitting the back edge. Downwind play it to trickle in. Cross wind you have to make your best guess. If the break is with the wind, play it higher than usual so the wind can help it in. If the break and wind are opposite, aim inside the hole so the wind doesn't hold it out.
Another helpful approach for putting on windy days is to take a slightly wider stance for your putt; you'll feel more solid against being moved by the wind while making your stroke. Take a look at the stances used by Padraig Harrington or David Howell for examples of sturdy bases.
Feel free to forward this newsletter, or links to archived newsletters. Please don't hesitate to let us know if there are other topics you'd like to see addressed in our Zen Golf Newsletters, or any other feedback that will help us serve you better.
Yours in Clarity, Commitment, and Composure,
© 2007 Dr. Joseph Parent