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Play Your Best Golf ! Be the Best You Can Be


“Take Your Lesson to T e Course”

BY ADAM SMITH, PGA Contributing Editor


ast month I had the pleasure of playing an 18 hole round of golf with one of my students. He took me to his private country club, out of town, and showed me not only a good time, but also how well he can play when he is relaxed. The stage was set for a great day of golf on a beau- tiful golf course. The sky was blue and the spring mountain air was crisp and cool. The driving range was closed, it was a Monday. So, we putted instead. What a great mental warm up. As we set our 18 hole bet, I gave him the allotted amount of handicap strokes, as they fell on the card. It is always a good idea to have a gentleman’s bet, by the way, it gives everyone an incentive to be your best! I told him to play hard and beat me. It is a friendly, healthy gentleman’s bet that we set, once a year. It means a lot to him; and it means a lot to me, too. Golf instructors always want to see their students play well, especially when we are paired up with them!

As the day began, the fi rst tee was open, so the order of play was determined by a tee-fl ip. I won. And it was the last time that I had the honors until the 18th tee. My student played well! He walked with a smooth pace. We smiled and talked a lot. He was at peace. He took a practice swing before each shot and was meticulous about every move he made on the course. We played at a swift pace. We did not rush and we did not drag our feet. We fi nished in under four hours, as a twosome. We let one single play through us on the front nine and we stopped for an outside, seated lunch at the turn. Enjoyment and effi ciency is the key to being the best you can be on the course. I am happy to report that our match ended all square. I have been invited back again next year. And my student is regularly seeing me for his annual golf lessons. So, remember this, please: proper planning leads to top fl ight performance! Take golf lessons, play a lot of golf, make time to enjoy the game and don’t rush!

Do you hit good shots on the driving range, but struggle on the golf course? This is very common because golfers who hit range balls tell themselves the same thing, over and over, “hit another one.” Once you’re on the links, the mentality is different. It’s one ball and every shot counts. So, for many golfers, this brings on too much stress. Stress leads to tight grip pressure and tight grip pressure makes the swing too fast. An off speed swing has bad tempo. And bad tempo causes an off center hit. Back to the range, you go, “hit another one, relax, deep breath, hit another one, relax, deep breath.” Sound familiar? Are you more at rest over 50 range balls than you are at ease on the fi rst tee? It’s time for you to play like you practice and practice like you play.

16 Virginia Golf Report • Spring 2013 • Execute! HERE’S HOW:


2. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU LEARNED. My fellow pro, Tom Barry, PGA always said,

“Before you forget it, write it down!” The pre-shot routine. 3. KEEP IT SIMPLE.



Focus on the shot from the address position.

“Perfect practice makes perfect!” That’s what Leo Steinbrecher, PGA Life Member always said.

Trust what you learned on the lesson tee. Try not to over complicate things. Stay calm and always feel relaxed. Just practice the key points that you wrote down and enjoy the challenge of taking a simple plan out on the course for a lot of success.

If you have any thoughts or questions after reading this, please feel free to write me at:

Adam C. Smith PGA Director of Instruction Salisbury Country Club Golf Digest Best in State 2008 MAPGA Teacher of The Year

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