Barney's September Newsletter
Finally the Ryder Cup is hoving into view and Captain Thomas Bjorn has made his picks to make up the Team of 12. He certainly opted for experience, the quartet of Casey, Poulter, Stenson & Garcia have played 20 Ryder Cup matches between them and the Captain felt for the balance of the team this battle hardened foursome would blend perfectly with the rookies. I have to say it is tough on Cabrera Bello and Matt Wallace with the latter winning three events this year, one more than the aforementioned quartet have managed in 2018. Still, Thomas knows his men inside out and looks like he will be as meticulous as Paul McGinley who master minded that amazing win at Gleneagles.
The American team is very good with the addition of Mickleson, an in form Tiger and the ever so slightly eccentric DeChambeau, on paper they look incredibly strong. There is something delightfully engaging about Bryson (who when I first heard him mentioned, thought he was a character out of the Great Gatsby) and his very scientific approach to our wonderful game. The whole persona, from his one length irons to increase his consistency in set up and swing, to his retro felt white cap is great and adds to the variety of the professional tournament players.
I always say golf is a mix of art and science and some players are more in one camp than the other. Bryson is firmly in the science camp and in answer to the question at a recent press conference about how much better could he be, he offered this interesting thought. "Oh man, in short laymen's terms, yes absolutely you can always get better. How much? I would say it depends on what I can do in the restriction of my bio-mechanics. So its all about air, air tolerances and being more sensitive and less sensitive to air. So when you do mess up, its not going to be that big of a mess up. I hope that makes sense" he responded. Hence, the new pseudonym of 'The Professor'.
This past month I have been working with David Short on two Golf and Coaching events at Staverton Park in Daventry, Northamptonshire. We had full houses for both weekends and had a mix of regular and new clients. The internet of course is now how businesses get their messages across and customers look to try new experiences out. We discovered that geography is not an issue as on the first weekend we had a couple from Holland attend, then the second weekend we had a chap from Sicily looking to brush up on his game. Adding to an earlier week I hosted in Portugal where we had an American living in Poland who found us on the web and came along! Having lived 40 years of my life without the internet, I am beginning to wonder how we all functioned without it!
One thing I always stress in lessons and at golf events is that of proper warm up and preparation. With that in mind my friend Mike Morely has written a really interesting piece on this subject from a Tour Caddy and players perspective.
Caddy Corner - Tips on Pre Match Preparation
As a professional tour caddy I’m often asked different questions about life on tour and what it’s like working with players. One reoccurring question is do players feel first tee nerves. The answer is yes to a degree but this is negated somewhat by pre match preparation. Now for us mere mortals 20 minutes before we tee off we are still mowing the lawn putting the bins out and charging to the club for the medal and our tee time. But..... How good would we play if we just adopted some principals from tour players.
At a recent event the first day we teed off at 9.30. My player wanted me to arrive at 8.am. Why ? Well he wants to get to the club in good time prepare the bag for the day and hit some balls before he plays.
Every day our swing is different and even tour players have to find that rhythm. Just like us they need to feel the swing. I’m not suggesting you need to arrive that early but why not give yourself a bit of time to warm up. Players start with wedges just a half swing building to a full shot. Then head for the 6/7 Iron and moving upwards. The last few swings are with the woods. Then off to hit a few putts. Again not to hole them but to gauge the pace. I’ve caddied for a number of players and it’s at this point they go on mind lock down.
So it’s the Mid Herts Club Championship. You have followed all the above advice and it’s ten minutes before you tee off. What is mind lock down ? Well now it’s time to visualise your round, picture the opening tee shot, see it in your mind, see yourself executing a great start. Why not ? You have done all the work to get ready. This is mind lock down. It’s just you and your images. A number of you will be old enough to remember Linford Christie standing on the start line with his eyes closed. He later said when interviewed he ran the race in his head before the race itself. So when he ran the race it was just as he visualised it. Now I’m not suggesting players go around with eyes closed on the tee. But you often see them staring down the first in a world of their own. The feedback from the range and the swing have provided the confident platform to tee off. Your so ready.
Don’t be drawn or put off by Roger from Harpenden who races to the tee, card in hand and complaining about last nights veal steak. His opening comment on the tee is, I hate this hole I always go right. Crash, he launches his drive and it sets off towards Kimpton.
With all your prep, with all your single minded visualisation, you dispatch the ball down the middle. Head down the first, standing tall like Rory, striding out. The rest of the game flows and it’s all based on being ready, in the zone and using images.
So in conclusion. Get to the course with enough time to relax, acclimatise and practice a little to find that swing. Walk to the tee only thinking positive thoughts about your game, be selfish and lock down the mind. If you're off 15 handicap, just think today I’m going to handle myself like a 10 handicap golfer.
I’m NLP trained and convinced that if you think in a positive way using images this tends to trigger results as you picture them.
Enjoy the rest of what promises to be a brilliant month and hopefully my beloved Watford FC will still be occupying a Champions League place in the Premiership and continue their winning run!
All the best