Some of you may know that I come from a golfing family. Grandpa Bill fathered Bill (my Dad), twin brothers Uncle Van and Joe, and sweet Aunt Betti, and made sure each of them learned how to swing a club at an early age. They all continued to play amateur golf into adulthood, making family gatherings full of talk about the newest clubs on the market, the best way to get the putts in, and excitement for the next hometown Artesia, New Mexico Bulldog Open. I have a lot of gratitude for the ways they each supported my growth from junior level to teaching professional over the years.
Uncle Joe has a unique perspective about golf that he has shared with the public in his novel Walking With Herb, which he published this year. In the novel the main character Joe Goodman is an amateur golfer who gets a message from God that he is destined to play in the Masters the following spring. The novel is a spiritual journey as Joe prepares for the life-defining tournament, filled with many lessons learned through his coach Herb Wimberley. (Herb was both my and Joe Bullock’s golf coach at New Mexico State.)
So, as the holidays approach, I want to honor Uncle Joe by letting him write this month’s tip. When I emailed him to find out what wisdom he’d share with other amateur golfers, he used one of Herb Wimberley’s lessons as a guide.
The major difference between a great player and average player is that the great player performs closer to his maximum ability on almost every shot. The great player accomplishes this consistent performance by adhering to a strict routine and focusing on a small, specific target. If the average player could somehow summon up his best effort every time, the only difference between him and the pro would be the pro’s ability to hit the ball farther. (Bullock 20)
Joe Bullock goes on to explain Joe Goodman’s realization in more personal terms.
I believe almost every golfer is capable of shooting far better scores with their existing swing and physical ability, but he/she doesn’t always know his/her potential. To prove my point, here is a fun experiment to try with your golf buddies. Those of you who have read Walking with Herb will recall this process was critical to Herb’s development of Joe into a scratch player.
The process is very simple. Each member of the group plays two balls, playing the better result each time. You will be surprised at the difference between your “best ball” score and your normal score. The “best ball” score will give you a glimpse of your potential, given your present swing and physical ability.
I convinced my twin brother to play this way back in September, when we were guests at the San Antonio Country Club. We had a great experience. We both shot six under par. He had six birdies and no bogies. I had seven birdies and one bogey. We both agreed that neither of us would have broken eighty, had we played our first shot each time. My brother is a left-brained, over-analytical engineering type of guy. I think this little experiment may have convinced him to t spend less time working on swing mechanics, and more time working on focus and pre-shot routine.
The key to improvement lies not so much in improving our swings, as it does in improving our ability to summon up our best effort with our present swing a higher percentage of the time.
If you would you like to learn more about developing your golf swing through private, semi-private, or group lessons with me, please contact me at (210) 412-5514, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sneakers and Cleats in the fall for pre-K through fifth grade boys and girls is currently running Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-5:00 p.m.. Instruction is differentiated for all levels of students.
Also, there are two open women’s clinic opportunities:
· Wednesdays 10:00-11:30 a.m. Sneakers and Cleats for Women (45 minutes of golf and 45 minutes of tennis)
· Friday’s 9:00-10:00 a.m. Women’s golf-only clinic
**Check out Joe Bullock’s novel Walking With Herb on Amazon.com, published by True Directions.