Last month, I returned home to Pittsburgh from Phoenix, where I had spent a week at my year- end golf conferences. Some of the brightest coaches, swing doctors, club manufacturers and tech support people in our industry, were all there to educate us golf coaches and bring us up to speed on best practices of our industry. It was exciting and stimulating to rub shoulders with golf coaches from all over the world who are willing to share how they had had success working with their players. From the likes of Jordan Spieth’s Coach, LPGA rookie Guila Molinaro’s coaches, Sean O’Hair’s coach, to the coaches of Mrs. Smith at the club or little junior member Johnny who is 7 years old! I am busting at the seems on how I want to add or take away some of my practices that may make my coaching more effective for my students!
What I want to say is that over the years, I have had some sadness or loss of energy upon returning home to Pittsburgh from some of these trips. These trips always seem to be in the winter! It seems to me that those areas have better practice facilities, better weather, and more buzz in the air with all the swing gurus congregated in the same area! It was kind of a let down and I wished I would have lived in Phoenix or Florida so I could practice more, get more instruction from the #1 coaches in the country (the ones in the magazines), hit more balls on the best facilities in the world, use the bells and whistles of the industry like trackman and 3 – D technology that every range out there seems to have.
Then, I learned something at the conference that really helped me! I kind of already knew it but it was good to hear it articulated. What I learned helps me to realize what really matters and helps me to realize why I was able to play well on tour and why I love living where I live.
What I remembered again out in phoenix is that Golf is a great game and requires a wide set of skills– not just having a great swing and hitting a lot of balls in good weather!!!
Concentration, letting go of disappointments, awareness of ourselves, our physical condition, ability to define what we’re going to do and then doing that, having motivation about our games and knowing why we play, being able to trust ourselves on the course, and learning how to practice trusting in our practice sessions, ……………All of these skills are as important as how well you hit the ball! A lot of these skills can be learned on the golf course in great weather or indoors in a golf academy or even just in regular life! (For example- patience ??) You don’t need to play 36 holes a day in the perfect sunshine getting lessons from the supposed best golf teacher who uses all the latest scientific gadgets to get you good at playing golf! Did you hear that?
I know there is a temptation out there, and sure it is nice to hang out with all the pretty people in the pretty weather, but the bottom line is- there are other factors that are in play here and those can be learned and mastered anywhere.
I played 14 years on tour without any Trackman, or Flightscope, or K- Vests, High Speed Video, Sam Put Labs…………and I love Florida, but I also love Pittsburgh! I didn’t think I was that great at concentration or disappointments or energy management- I didn’t even think about it before when I was on tour! How nice it is that I can now appreciate that I was good at those skills and that is why I did continue improving up and onto the tour. And, isn’t it great that I can now bring more of that education and awareness to my student’s games and help them develop all these areas?
What I’m excited about is that you can bet that you’ll be able to count on me to absolutely have you understand what you need in your game to score better and to enjoy it more and how to get it done effectively and efficiently- regardless if we’re in cloudy Pittsburgh in November or sunny Phoenix in November. The interesting part is that there are even some advantages to being in Pittsburgh! I’ll tell you more of those next time!