I was hesitant about golfing with the lockdown looming in California. We go all in on quarantine, with curfews blown and non-essential everything else up for grabs based on interpretation. Nevertheless, I have managed to get into a driving range routine over the last two weeks in preparation for my golf foray while on hiatus from Zoom meetings and remotely working from home due to COVID-19.
A lot of this game is simply about getting out of your own head space. We clutter our minds with swing mechanics and every little thing we have red in tons of golf books as well as what we’ve ear hustled through the dense fog of cigar smoke from the golfers who just finished a round or two at the 19th hole and their reflections on the day’s outing. We need to simply clear some space and set our minds on putting our focus and energy towards just a few things that can really get us started on the right pathway. Too much is just too much.
Much like I read about Anirban Lahiri, it’s just great to get back to swinging on the course again. As I move forward with embarking on a whirlwind of golfing over the next 2 weeks, I wanted to take a closer look at my swing and what I could do differently as well as recognize what I am doing right. I want to acknowledge where I have made some progress as well as where I still struggle.
My grounds for my analysis and evaluation of my swing sequence takes into account that I have an average of 2 days per week at the range over the past month. My trusty GoPro Hero Black 8 and my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ have been my main documenting resources for posting to Instagram and YouTube with pics and videos on my practice sessions. The feedback and comments that I received both here and via social media have allowed me to set a baseline for where I was starting out and what I needed to alter and adjust in order to make some marked improvement in my swing. By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that I am totally on top of my game. I do not see that coming about until maybe a good run in the spring or even summer. Am I ready to play and replay a few rounds this coming week and next? You better believe it!
Cannabis oil seems to be all the rage these days. Sports have seen a surge in the advancement of its promotion and advertising as legalization of cannabis and similar products have increased in recent years. For the average golfer, the usage of CDB whether oil or other formats can provide legitimate benefits to user.
CBD Product Overview
GLT Golf gives a pretty basic overview of CBD oils and their usage for numerous benefits, especially on the course and after a grueling round. Let’s face it. If you are left with some aches and pains after the back nine, then you might be a prime candidate for some form of recovery. I know that I have had my own issues with lower back pain entering into my 50s, so I can only imagine what it is like for a more seasoned golfer or one who has suffered from long term injuries that flare up every now and then.
The GLT Golf article points out how CBD oil has benefits related to numerous conditions. Some of these conditions include but are not limited to pain, arthritis, diabetes, inflammation, depression and anxiety. Pro golfer Billy Horschel is said to stand out as both an advocate for and an investor in CBD products, noting the CBD products as a contributing factor to his recent “return to top form” on the PGA tour. Other advocates on the pro tour include Bubba Watson and Scott McCarron.
Golfers have a lot of options when it comes to CBD products. My first encounter with CBD products tailored with the golfer in mind came through a set of samples from Enveed Golf via a golf subscription box. It is actually a local company in San Diego but I had never heard of it until I got that subscription box.
Golf performance and game improvement are debatable when it comes to CBD products. GLT Golf states that cannabidiol can offer some genuine golf performance benefits such as “allowing a golfer to maintain a full range of movement in the swing despite injury pain.” According to Tim Gavrich, Senior Writer for Golf Advisor, “The proliferation of CBD products in the golf industry is part of greater efforts to market and sell CBD products.” With the emergence of more CBD products, the full spectrum of the CBD influence has yet to be seen.
CBD products might pack a load of benefits for sports performance, but the official stance on them is still out there. Are these controlled substances? Do these qualify as performance enhancing drugs? Are gummies really drugs? Or, are they more like candy? No matter where you stand on the issue, the CBD industry is not backing off into a corner any time soon. If anything, the producers of CBD products are up or generating a buzz about all of the benefits of cannabidiol.
California is suffering right now. Santana winds are doing their normal seasonal thing and threatening wild fires across the Southland. Winter mornings are getting more chilly, but the days seem to continue with seemingly summer-like temperatures. But then again there’s COVID-19.
COVID-19 has California trying to figure out how to handle a global health pandemic on a statewide scale. It has the San Francisco Forty-Niners practicing and playing outside of the state. It has the governor and the mayor of L.A., along with a number of other state and local officials, receiving death threats and other types of hate mail due to the calls for curfews and limited holiday celebrations.
But it has not completely wiped out and shut down golf courses.
So What’s a Golfer to Do?
For me, I am all in. Like I said in previous posts, I got some extended time off coming up and aligns perfectly with the potential lift of this lockdown in mid to late December. I am readying myself for that time with a consistent practice schedule weekend by weekend. Whether it is my iron play and woods or my short game, I keep my focus on bringing my game up to a place where I can expect a skills transition from the driving range to golf course.
I am seeking input and feedback on my swing techniques and mechanics. Hey! Yeah, I know that the belly fat isn’t helping me gain any torque, but I got a plan for that. But I am open to feedback like what I got from Brian Penn from All About Golf and some others like the Grateful Golfer. I tried engaging my core more, but I know that it needs work especially with a baseball background. With muscle memory, I am somehow always drifting back to my roots as a long ball hitter at the plate not the tee. In fact, I am really digging Cathy McPherson’s pointers about pre-shot routine and other aspects. The LPGA perspective helps a common golfer like me because the focus is not on long drives and wild recovery shots like the PGA Tour. Following the LPGA and Senior Tour lets us focus on fundamentals and shot selection as opposed to muscling up off the tee snapping a second shot to get back into play like some PGA pros. I am doing all of this while I got the time.
What I am Working on for the Next 2 Weeks
My primary focus for the next 2 weeks is all about fitness and health. In fact, I am starting a 10-Day Detox Challenge tomorrow. The prep for my mind, body and spirit has been revealing. When it comes to golf, I will continue to the consistent practice and even start out with walking a par 3 once I go on break. But I definitely have my eyes on overall health and wellness along with diet and nutrition as it relates to golf performance. I mean look at DeChambeau’s daily diet and what it entails.
I will continue with a focus on fitness for two weeks and end up swinging for fun on the course again before I even know it. I am not even ready for the 90 Day Challenge to go scratch. That ain’t even me yet. I am sort of working on my game and my physique simultaneously. Remember, y’all, I am just trying break 90 and do so consistently. No lockdown is going to shut that down, but it has definitely caused me to be a little more cautious with what I do and when I do it. After all, I am still learning how to break free of that wide angle slice that looks like a drone gone wild in flight. If I can get that done in the next month, I see my scores leveling out by spring.
The driving range offers you an opportunity to bring your best and see how well it measures up. It is never as menacing as the course itself, but it does have its own way of showing you where you might have some issues with your swing. Whether it be a matter of trying to address that major hook that was supposed to simply be a line drive or adjusting your body and stance at address to establish better alignment, you can learn a lot about your swing on the range.
My overall focus is getting back to regular play. That most probably will not occur to winter break. Even with school’s going to distance learning, those of us who work with the kids in the school system still need to show up and remain attentive. After all, I can wait until a few weeks to make golf a regular feature in my coronavirus-impacted life right now. My goal of breaking 90 regularly will have to hold on until then and i will take to range more often to prepare myself for that time.
And the driving range reveals where you have swing issues. Like an old school basketball coach told me long ago, your practice reveals where you got problems. Address your problems while you got time to practice.
Beyond stretching and adding yoga, I want to address my overall health. Golf is just a part of that practice. I want to add more cross-training. I need to bike, hike and run, even dance, more day by day. I might even consider incorporating Gary Player’s 60/40 Rule. But I definitely will be running and walking more regularly.
By addressing just a few of these issues over the next couple of weeks, I think that I can get back into the low 90s by mid-December. Increased flexibility would help with both my golf game and my overall workout regimen of taking on fitness activities for at least 3 to 4 days per week. This will really help as I seek to walk the course more in 2021 than I have ever walked in my past.
There are numerous strategies to fix your flaws, especially your posture and golf swing. For me, I know that I need to add more self-talk as I address the ball where it lies. We all have our own thing, but mine seems to be not taking enough time in my setup. I need to slow down and spend a moment simply talking myself through the next steps that lead to a successful golf swing for the moment.
I need to do so with course awareness and heightened sensitivity to the overall conditions. I do not mean to stand there and measure the wind projections. I mean to simply talk myself into refraining from hitting a lofted club into the windy air and settling for a hooded seven iron with a half swing to keep it low. I need more self-talk like that to keep me from self-cursing when I have to search for lost Callaways or Pinnacles in thorn bushes and amid cacti.
Practice Reveals Problems: Whether You Fix Them or Not
Brian Penn nails this down on an All About Golf post related to proactive or reactive. It’s called game improvement because inherently most folks want to improve their game, their scores and overall play at golf. I welcome more advice, tips and comments on my swing as I focus on getting the rust off and increasing my flexibility. Drop them in the comments of this blog and offer your feedback. Just try to keep it helpful. After all, I am going for game improvement and trying to maintain some positive Zen if at all possible.
I want to be better, That’s my goal. My golf goals reflect that. I want to break 90 consistently. And my focus and dedication from 2018 to 2019 proved the possibilities of making that a reality. So, I want to be better. I like how the Grateful Golfer poses question about whether you’re a serious golfer or not.
I want to better than what I had managed to get done before COVID-19. I want to repeatedly do the right things to get those scorecards racking up scores in the 80’s. I just don’t want to squeeze out an 88 or 89 and barely get by. I want to return and work on a steady stream of 84 or 85 with consistency.
In the meantime, I will continue to share with you how I broke 90 and made it a regular thing.
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Some people swear by SMART Goals, while others are all about planners and systematic approaches such as Franklin Covey planners and inserts. I tend to get lost with such things. I have a content planner for multimedia, a general 18-month day-to-day planner for ideas and inspiration, and a journal where I keep track on four daily focus areas: FAITH, FAMILY, FITNESS, &FINANCES.
I believe I found the most usage out of the 12 Week Year, but I adjusted my daily tracking and to-do list a little more extensively. I needed the core elements of the 12 Week Yearcombined with The 100 Day Goal Journal. I felt that both systems worked to give me the things I need to advance and achieve goals.
Recently, I had to hit reset ad take a deeper look at my goals. As I approach the milestone of 50, I had to keep my mental bearings about me. Despite living pretty well, I have experienced greater anxiety with the onset of my mother’s cancer and I felt some hints of depression with mood swings after my cousin’s death last year. I remain highly aware of the day to day condition of those living with mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar, but I am also aware of the potential for a mental breakdown based upon the various pressures of this life.
I rely a lot on my faith, remaining firmly rooted in my beliefs. However, I do have to keep my awareness sharp, so I watch out for signs of undue stress and pressure. I fight to avoid any possible triggers, especially when I can predict some tense moments arising.
Managing my time is just one of those things that I have gotten better with over time. Due to my own compulsion, it has to be a certain way or it’s a total waste of my time. With that in consideration, I took a deeper look at how my progress was going with the system.
My Best Could Be Better
As I reviewed my daily logs since January, I realized that the evolution of the more personalized and customized system resulted in the elimination of a few pieces that also made it comforting work. The latest version had me still score my actionable items as opposed to questioning my progress towards long range goals for 10-12 weeks, even less.
The missing element was an evaluation method that informed me of where I was ad wasn’t progressing on my goals. What I realized was that I needed to focus on more of a simple set of evaluation questions to get to my progress towards goals.
What did I struggle with today?
What are some possible solutions?
Am I closer to my goals today?
I usually score my check boxes by the number completed versus the total number of check boxes for the day. I had set my mark for 85%. Oddly enough, I reviewed my work and even on my best days I was at 83% and 84%. I decided during this reset to adjust my mark of success to 80% until I feel the need for a change. I just want to make sure that my daily goals remain in line with my long term goals.
I was doing good, but I know that I can be better. I just need to place more emphasis on progress through daily actions. I can do way better in working towards my goals. I just need to document that work.
Goals and Golf = My Breaking 90
When I read Brian Tracy’s Goals!, I was still coming off a motivational high from David Goggins giving me insights into true endurance and fight through Can’t Hurt Me. Where Goggins left me high and with my feet off the ground, Tracy slapped me across the face with another level of a wake-up call. He gave me an a-ha moment like inEat That Frogwhere I finally figured out where the puzzle piece I had along fit into the big picture of getting things done.
I lacked commitment and consistency.
The 12 Week Year taught me the new definition for commitment that I felt compelled to live out fully. It stated that commitment is: the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to some course of action. In the past, my understanding of commitment was to just show up and at least show up on time if not early. This new definition forced me to have some kind of skin in the game.
In golf, some folks are comfortable wagering on a round. They play relaxed and calm, no sign that they feel pressured or anything like that. Then, there’s the other guy like me. He’s calculated the risk and has worked out scenarios on how to play it safe and smart, even if there’s money on the line. I have to tap into a buried part of my past to climb out of the darkness and swing for the fences off the tee and putt with finesse around the green.
My cousin and I used to place bets on each other’s shots, but we used to talk trash and take shots at each other’s confidence. We knew each other well and knew which buttons to punch and when to put just enough pressure on them. The money was no longer a factor by the turn. Pride was on the line once we got to the back nine.
Where I could never get tripped up was once I determined a certain goal, a score or a different focus beyond $2 per hole par or better. Once I had the determined mindset and focus, I was clear and the game played out right along with me. On one outing my cousin smoothly told me that I could relax and go to the bar or something to loosen up at the turn. I simply said with a smile,”I’ve never played so relaxed in my life.”
Golf goals allow you to focus and draw a mental map, detailing your plans from hole to hole. I am not saying that you picture every shot and situation. What I am saying is that you develop a calmness and a sense of confidence because you have considered a wide variety of scenarios with their best potential solutions ahead of time. In real time, all you are doing is evaluating which scenarios require which solutions.
What if you flub a putt read? Did you get any closer to hole? Then that’s progress.
What if my drive veers off to the left and lose some yardage? Adjust and compensate for the loss in your approach shot. That’s situational solutions to aid in making progress.
I am on Day #2 of the reset, but I am certain of one thing. It’s bound to get better because I am looking it over and placing my focus on progress for my long term goals.
Getting to the point where you can break 90 easily comes with practice and consistent play. That’s a simple look at it. Dig deep into the idea of fixing your golf game for better scores and more fun. Dig deeper and you will discover that breaking 90 will take more out the high handicapper than just showing up and teeing it up for a round of 18 holes every weekend.
Your game will not improve without making some changes. The things that need improvement usually take away from the game being fun. You know what should happen, but you just don’t seem to have that execution down yet.
That needs fixing. You have to fix your flaws.
I love to research different golf publications that can help. Some of my go-to reads include:
These usually give you tips and exercises on game improvement as well as equipment and product reviews that span from golf shoes to golf equipment.
Find the Right Strokes and Shots
You have to add a little bit of finesse to your game. You have to add some focus as well. You also need to add the right shot selection for the present opportunity. That means taking into account the course and the conditions as well as the lie of the ball and how well or poorly you have been playing so far and similar situations.
Some folks might recall me sharing about the infamous flop shot and how mastery of it does not come easily. When you are struggling and scrambling to keep up with the rest of your foursome, that is not the time try out some new shot or swig technique that you caught a glimpse of while watching YouTube.
Find what works for you and keep a running mental file of which shots work best in which types of situations. Refer to these when you are considering your options. Rely on these when you have very few options before you. High quality equipment and gear play a role in golf, but they do not outweigh shot selection as a core element of game improvement. Your shot selection is highly import and has an impact on improving your game.
Many people have a “home course” or some course that they play often. What that really means is that they play that course frequently. In many cases, they can run down the specifics of each and every hole as if they were asked to recite the ABC’s. The problem with home course mentality is applicable to maintaining one’s game, not necessarily improving one’s game with challenges found in different courses.
Your game cannot improve without some challenges being faced and conquered. That is where the improvement comes into play.
in to improve your game, the challenges faced must take you to different aspects where your game is not at its best. That’s when you have to start improving via innovation and intuition. If you do not do well on par 3;s, play a full 18 hole par 3 course. They do exist, you know.
Your game will not improve just by research and swing analysis. You need to put together a plan that will both challenge and help change your previous knowledge. Your biggest hack for your game might come in the form of learning how to conquer your challenges.