One of the things I love about golf is the anticipation. Looking forward to the next round, the next match, the next hole and the next swing. 

Now of course there have been days when all I was really looking forward to was the 19th hole and some adult beverages. Days when maintaining a positive expectancy for the next shot was all but impossible. Those days are fewer now.

If golf is all about the next shot shouldn't we practice that way? My favorite practice/learning method for my students and for me is what I call the "Rule of five".

Take five balls set them several feet behind your teeing area. Make a decision about what swing action you want to improve on. Weight transfer,  tempo, rhythm, alignment or whatever. As long as it is some action not a result.

On any driving range you can ask those gathered, "what are you working on?" Nearly every answer will be a results statement.  The two most common are "I want to hit it farther." "I want to be more consistent." Ask them what they are doing to achieve such lofty outcomes and most likely you'll get a blank stare as a response.

The 'Rule of five' requires that you decide on a specific action that if done correctly should produce something close to the desired outcome. Let's say your chosen action is to strike the ball with a descending blow leaving a divot well past the ball. Step 1 is to take a practice swing smooth and slow attempting to hit the ground after the spot where the ball would have been. After the swing ask yourself,  "what do I need to do better on the NEXT swing?" Then attempt to do it. Do it five times! Then you place a ball down and attempt to execute the action you have been rehearsing. Do not judge the result by how far you hit the ball, or how straight, or by anything other than did you accomplish the action you wanted.

Step 2 is to repeat step1. And so on. Twenty five practice swings and five ball swings on purpose and with a purpose.

Then pick a new action.

A little bit more slow play

Watching the Ryder Cup matches had me thinking once again about the nemesis of slow play. Even on alternate shot the play was slow.

So I have some questions for all my golfer friends out there.

1. How long should a round of golf on a "regulation" course take?

2. What can a ranger do to actually manage the pace of play?

3. What can be done to a golf course to speed up play?

4. What can the individual golfer do to speed up play?

5. What can members of a foursome do to speed up play.

6. What can leagues do?

7. Is speed of play or pace of play the issue?

8. Does it really matter?

9. Why are we in such a hurry?

My Grandfather's wisdom

My Grandfather would always tell me, "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly!" Of course he didn't mean that one should keep doing it poorly, or even get better at doing it poorly. Rather he wanted me to understand that greatness is always preceded by failure. He would also say that one of the most powerful impediments to greatness, is to be "pretty good".  The time, effort and money it takes to get from "pretty good" to great, can be overwhelming.

The goal therefor can never be to become great, but to become willing to do those important things poorly long enough that you can become pretty good. Then with desire, commitment and focused effort you can become great.

So what is focused effort? In the golf swing focused effort is not putting all your physical effort in hitting the ball as far as possible, or putting all your mental effort in staying smooth and graceful. Focused effort is what you actually do before, during and after a round of golf. Focused effort is your commitment to some type of practice or physical conditioning. Focused effort is what your mind and body do together when you swing the club. It's never mind over matter, it's always mind and matter.

My business mentor Paul J Meyer often said, "Tell me where you really spend you time, effort and money and I'll tell what you are really committed to."

Pace of play

Thursday at the finals of the FedEx cup a golfer played alone and everyone was pleased that he played in just over 3 hours. That still seems pretty slow to me.

I play a lot of golf with players of differing abilities and genders.  Slow play seems to not be dependent on either ability or gender.

Played the other day in a foursome at Kingsway.  We played right along,  a little slower than I like but at a good pace. We never saw the groups behind or in front of us. On the fourth fairway the ranger let us know that we were 2 minutes off the expected pace. It was clear to me that an effort was being made to instill a culture of faster play and ready golf. The ranger didn't wait until there was a problem.  He was polite and let us know we didn't need to rush but that playing ready golf seemed to keep the pace up at Kingsway.
A few years ago my friend Don and I joined with another golfer for a three some at Sunnybreeze.  We agreed to play ready golf to beat the expected afternoon summer rains. As Don and I finished putting on the first hole we looked back  down the fairway to watch Joe line up his third shot from about 200 yards out.  4 more swings and Joe was finally putting.  So much for ready golf.

I am not sure what is the secret to faster play. Do you have any ideas?