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  • Barney

Barney's March 2017 Newsletter

Hi Everyone,

Although the recent bracing breezes and the odd drop of precipitation tells us otherwise, March heralds the beginning of summer in my mind, as the clocks go forward later in the month. It is great having more light now either end of the day and although we are a little way from mass budding of trees and plants, there is a feel that winter is drawing to a close.


The big golf news is the proposed rule changes and making them simpler to understand and implement, so a big Amen to that! for me the eye catching ones are:-

- Accidentally moving your ball on the green. Dustin Johnson was famously penalised at last years US Open along with all the nonsense that followed with the USGA officials. There will be no penalty now - You will be able to putt with the flag stick in, which will speed things up. This is good, especially in winter as it will reduce wear and tear around the hole, which has to be a good thing.

- And a big hooray that the terminology is going to be written in a style that people can understand. Parts of the rule book still looks like the Magna Carta, so a change is well overdue.

We golfers can give our feedback to the R&A between now and August 2017, so feel free to go to the website and check it out as there are a fair few changes.


Mentioning Dustin Johnson, good to see his recent form has taken him to World Number 1. Interestingly, although none of us and about 99.9% of the tour can match him in length off the tee, he puts his improved play down to better wedging and putting. From 100 yards and in he is averaging 15ft from the pin and considering his new improved stroke and putter, he now holes 25% of 15-20ft putts, voila his scores have improved.

As the weather becomes more condusive to practicing the short stuff, get some wedge practice in and perhaps book a lesson too. The putting I always find interesting, as about the only putting lessons I give are to fellow Pro's and elite amateurs, so as our American friends say, "go figure".


I mentioned in my last Newsletter that my friend and top US coach, Mike Bender had co-written a book called "The 8 second secret". It is an intriguing read and if you would like a flavour, have a look here. There are some super nuggets of information for you to look over. The basic premise of the book is there are three phases of the shot.

1. Information Gathering

2. Pre Swing (i.e. a positive practice swing, not a waft of dozens of swings)

3. Swing Time

In the Swing phase that's where when the measure the top players of all time, so those that have won more than five majors, including - Palmer, Mickelson, Bobby Jones, Treveno and their female counterparts including Anneka. They looked for common denominating factors from all of them and amongst the real interesting findings, they found that once the club was put behind the ball the player took around 8 seconds to execute the shot. It doesn't sound very long but believe me it's plenty long enough and crucially stops us from the dreaded "freeze! and over thinking.


Hopefully your golf benefits from some study of this and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. A couple of Collegiate players I talked to whilst out in the US had implemented the ideas and felt the benefits as they thought less on the course.

Enjoy your golf, all the best


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