Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Integrity is Alive!

I could not be a prouder coach tonight. Nick Mc"Golf"...you rock.

It is a rare find indeed...A human being in today's world of "It's All About Me", who will take responsibility for their actions and admit that they have made a mistake.

In this case, Mr. Nick, 14 years old, stepped up there with the best of them (Roberto di Vincenzo and Jackie Pung for starters) and disqualified himself from a state tournament as he realized that he had signed an incorrect scorecard. No one but Nick knew, yet this young man had the right stuff to admit the mistake and to take the necessary actions to right the wrong. Kudos to his parents for instilling all the right morals in him that allowed Nick to rise above the importance of winning to reach the pinnacle of professionalism...at just 14!

That's what I love about the game of golf...it is a venue that will challenge your skill, your spirit, your determination and your integrity all in one sweet package. You can learn SO much about people and how they respect...or disrespect...the rules of the game and react to disappointment.

I have suggested on more than one occasion that golf is a barometer that truly measures a persons soul. Thinking about going into business with someone or how about the ultimate commitment of marriage? Play golf with the individual before signing on the dotted line or saying "I Do" and you will have a peak through the window of who they really are as a human being.

Nick has learned a lesson himself and has taught an invaluable lesson to many. In ten years, the scores from the tournament Nick DQ'd himself from will be forgotten...the moment of integrity upheld by a 14 year old playing a game of golf will always be remembered.

Keep Swinging!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Postscript - The Open

Congratulations Tiger. You certainly showed some real grit and determination. Your work ethic and your skill are exceptional and great attributes for others to mimic. I hope you have not paid too high of a price for yet one more major title. Only time will tell.

Perhaps during your forced layoff, you could work on curbing your anger and learn to accept disappointment as a gracious champion and not as a pugnacious 3 year old. Watch the highlights of the 2008 Open...not your highlights, we know the outcome...watch Rocco and the pure joy of playing this great game, as I'm sure this aspect of his professionalism escaped you. It's never too late to learn to appreciate what an honor it is to play golf and to embrace all of the lessons that the game can offer to each every one of us.

Thank you Rocco for the great golf. You have earned many new fans and we are all behind you to keep the magic going. For 5 days you showed the world that anything is possible. For one hole you showed us you were human and what it is like to hold your head high even with the agony of defeat staring you in the face. You are a champion in many ways.

Phil...it was not your time as I had predicted / wished for. You are an amazing talent yet you continue to find ways to sabotage success. Sometimes you under think and this time I believe you were over thinking. You must be a Gemini as we never know who is going to show up from week to week. Keep learning from every experience and please leave the evil twin at home next time!

A side note... Congratulations to the Boston Celtics on their THUMPING of the LA Lakers. That was fun...Now I can finally get some sleep! Thanks for a great season and for returning the luster to that green shamrock that has been tarnished for more than 20 years.

Time to get back out there on the lesson tee...it is the greatest office in the world.

Keep Swinging!


Monday, June 16, 2008

The Winner Is...

Rocco Mediate...no matter what happens over the last two holes in the 2008 U.S. Open playoff round this guy is THE MAN and the champion of demeanor.

He's playing for the pure love of the game and is appreciating every opportunity that comes his way. What a breath of fresh air...smiling, laughing and pure joy. I'm a fan.

As for his fellow competitor...quit acting like a three year old. Shame on you for throwing your golf club not once but twice on the 72nd hole only to then birdie the hole and end up in the playoff. Is that the type of sportsmanship...excuse me...lack thereof...that you wish to teach your daughter and the thousands of youngsters who look up to you? You have a responsibility to everyone to be professional and to be gracious in victory and in disappointment.

It's not enough to be the best with all the records in the world if you alienate the fan base just because you were too immature to handle the good and the bad.

Let's hear it for the middle age guy having fun...Rocco On!

Keep Swinging!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Come On Lefty


It's your time Mr. M and it's on your turf.

So let's put that Johnny Depp swashbuckling mentality in neutral for four days and go win a U.S. Open. Who cares that the statistics say that trees are 90% air...go for the BIG opening...stay in play on the fairways and that gives you 100% air to play with. I like that extra 10% myself.

I know you are a betting man so make an informed decision when taking those risks and bet the purse on being smart...just like all those students that you and your wife are offering math and science scholarships to.

One more thing...beware of an injured Tiger. Animal instinct may kick in so don't be lured into that den of excuses. Stay ahead of his reach at all times.

Remember that unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes.

Enjoy the view Phil...it's your time.

Keep Swinging!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weather and Distance

Man...it was H O T today on that lesson tee. I'm sure that the temperature was over 100* and that has an affect on you the golfer (you have to stay hydrated) and the golf ball too.

Do you take into consideration what the weather does to the golf ball? It could make the difference of being on the green or being in the drink...again.

Often times, golfers think that warmer weather means longer driving distances, however, truly the hot weather, combined with humidity, can cost you several yards of carry and therefore, hitting that green as you had planned.

As annoying as that can be, cold weather, which we had just last week, can affect the ball flight even more.

Cold air is thicker than hot air, so it puts more drag on the ball and reduces distance. Distance is optimized when the air is thin (at higher elevations), there is low humidity and the temperature is above 75 degrees.

When that cold air is in residency you are better served to play with a golf ball that has a lower compression. It will fly off the face more readily and will not feel like a rock when struck.

Stay cool...This season take one more club when the three H's are around (Hazy, Hot, Humid) and be smooth with that swing.

See you on the green!

Keep Swinging!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vizualization And a Motorcycle

I had the greatest motorcycle ride today. Of what importance is this, you might ask, to the game of golf? There is much to be learned from a motorcycle: respect, balance, environmental awareness and always looking at where you want to go.

If you can not visualize success then you will never achieve success. This is true of any aspect in your life. You would never dream of entering a meeting with the idea that you're going to stink up the room, now would you? Yet this is the frame of mind that far too many golfers are attempting to play the game from. Let's change those attitudes now...it WILL make a difference. On with my motorcycle story...

I have had my motorcycle license for 5 years. I took the Motorcycle Safety Course and began to ride my 1985 Suzuki Madura 750cc. In those first few years I put about 600 miles on the bike...that's almost like playing one round of golf a year...not a lot of experience.

Last year I turned the big 5-0 and was the recipient of a brand new Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom. (Thank you PR) I was like a kid in a candy store...what a thrill.

This is a significantly bigger and more powerful bike than I was used to and I struggled with building confidence while seated atop this magnificent machine. My trips were basically around the block as I learned how to balance this new beast. (Thank you to all my patient neighbors)

I began to feel a little bit better and started to wander out of the familiar home roads and into the real world. Progress was being made and then, I had an oops. Not an accident, however I found myself in a position on the road that was not where I wanted to be. Shaken, yet in one piece (me and the machine) I made my way home and parked the bike for 9 months. They were the best 9 months of learning that ever could have happened.

I immediately knew the error of my ride. As I was turning a corner, I was distracted by debris on the road and as a result, I stopped looking at where I wanted the bike to go. During the training class five years ago, the instructor laid down a piece of lumber in our training road. She said that if anyone wanted to hit that piece of lumber that all they had to do is look at it. If you want to miss the lumber then to please look at where you want the bike to go. For that one moment of that ride, I forgot to look at where I wanted my bike to go and as a result I had an oops.

With this concept firmly planted in my head I began to use my imagination and over the next 9 months I visualized riding my motorcycle and always looking at where I wanted the bike to go. I may have been driving my car, golf cart or even walking the beach yet in my mind I was on that jet black Harley and I was ALWAYS looking at where I wanted to go. Even when I was playing Mario Cart on the Wii and racing around those tracks I constantly refined my skill of always looking at where I wanted my little character to go.

After 9 months, my heart pumping and my mouth full of cotton balls, I had an awesome ride today. Remember, never sat on a bike for 9 months and yet I nailed every twist and turn in the road. The imagination combined with visualization are two incredibly powerful tools that you too can use to improve your golf, or whatever it is in your life that you want to improve upon.

The next time you stand on a golf tee, rather than describing the "trap" (it's really a bunker) on the left, the out of bounds on the right and oh yes the water in front of the green take a bit of advice...look at where you want to go and you will discover the fairways and greens far more often than ever before.

Create in your mind what you want; Trust your skills; Do the swing...repeat until all holes have been completed.

Believe and Achieve.

Keep Swinging & Ride On!


Friday, June 6, 2008

It It Really That Important?

The almighty golf score...you can become a slave to it or ignore it like a tax bill. It is ultimately your decision...your choice...your power.

To enjoy the company of others, to view a hawk (isn't that a birdie?) soaring above the tree lined fairways and to truly enjoy the freedom that we have to stroll down a carpet of green is by far the best score any of us could ever have. A laugh, a smile, an appreciation for what a glorious experience this golf can be.

It could all be gone in an instant. Take every experience as what it is...unique and incredibly precious.

Quit worrying about the score and for heaven's sake stop being concerned about where your elbow is during the back swing. From every swing I've ever seen the golf ball is hit during the forward swing anyway.

Go golf your ball...Hit it...Hunt it...Hole it. Repeat until you have completed your round.

Keep Swinging!

Thank you to EC & KC...you are an inspiration.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Baseball Swing = Great Golf Swing

I have been teaching golf since 1982. If I had a nickel for everytime a new client would apologize for having a baseball swing I could retire...not that I would...I love teaching too much to ever stop!

Let's get this right out in the open... good baseball / softball swings translate into good golf swings. No more apologies please...it's really good news that you could knock in those runs for your team. In golf, you simply want to swing at those pitches that are in the dirt. Running after hitting wouldn't be a bad idea either. It would improve your cardio-vascular health and it would speed up the rounds!

Thanks to my man WS in Concord, NH, who always helps me stay in touch with great golf articles, I would encourage you all to visit www.nytimes .com and check out this article: "Just Do It All" by Bill Pennington. It was published on 6/2/08 and is spot on.

I often get asked about youngsters playing other sports and I'm all for it. Anything that will improve motion, balance and concentration is always going to benefit the golf swing. Plus, allowing kids to be kids and experiencing a variety of sports and forging new friendships is what being a kid is all about. They are NOT miniature adults...a topic for another day.

So grab that golf club, step into that golfers "do" box and swing to a balanced finish. There will be joy in Muddville if you repeat on a regular basis.

Keep Swinging!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Always Beginnings


This is the beginning of the techno super highway for me. I think I need to buckle my seat belt for this new adventure!

I love beginnings, as it means that there is something new to be explored...something new to be learned and something new to challenge us to be better at what we do.

My logo of the sunrise with the golf green was symbolic of my return to the teaching tee after a 6 year stint managing a golf course here on Cape Cod. The managerial experience was invaluable to my growth as a professional and yet my heart always returns to the passion of teaching. A beginning that I have enjoyed each and every day that I open up the lesson area at Sandwich Hollows Golf Course.

Every round of golf is a beginning of the unknown. Will you have that round of your life this time? Will you hit a career shot? Will you finally par that pesky hole that always seems to raise it's ugly head and devours your golf score? Will you chip in for the first time in your career?

The unknowns are all beginnings that lead us to new opportunities to push beyond where we currently stand so that we may begin anew at our next tee time. Maybe this time......you fill in the blank for your own beginning to happen.

In coming days I will begin to chat more about the grand world of golf...a stream of consciousness if you will. It is a fabulous game that has lots to say to each and everyone of us. It is life wrapped into an emerald carpet ride. Let's make sure that we are listening and appreciating the messages while enjoying every beginning.

There...I've begun...Look out, more thoughts to follow.

Never an end...always a beginning.

Keep Swinging!