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|Steve Stricker's return to the top of professional golf holds lessons for everyday players. (Courtesy USGA)|
As many of you know, this year Steve Stricker managed to rise from the land of, "What ever happened to...?"
Back in the early 90's Stricker was on top of his game and was one of the players that was consistent in almost every category. Then suddenly, he disappeared. He lost his game like Ian Baker-Finch and David Duval. Stricker seriously considered retiring from the grind of tournament golf and doing something else to feed his family. But in his heart he still had the desire to play golf. The problem was his golf game would not allow him to.
Living in Wisconsin, the hub of winter golf, he set out to be the player he once was. Stricker's biggest problem was controlling his driver. So for three hours a day, in the winter, he hit practice balls from a heated, converted trailer to find the solution. The results are what we have seen this year.
Stricker is one of the PGA Tour's nice guys and is genuinely liked by other players. He has risen to #4 in the world.
What does Stricker's story mean to other players? You have to work through those rough periods in golf. Here are some tips to get you through your next golf slump:
1. Never give up. We all go through periods when we are not playing particularly well and the key is to find the weakness that is cause of that. Sometimes it is ball striking and other times it is the short game and in rare cases it is both!
2. Always practice with a purpose. Virtually all players practice incorrectly, they go to the range and hit balls, which is only exercise, but they almost always do not have a plan for improvement. I recommend rehearsal swings then hit one ball, rehearse and hit one ball, and so on to build a feel for what you are trying to accomplish.
3. Driver, wedge, and putter account for approximately 78 percent of all strokes, so spend the majority of your practice time with these clubs.
4. Work on distance control. If the best 5-iron you have ever hit in your life is 180 yards then your 5-iron distance is not 180 yards! It is generally less then that. Hit 12 shots with each club, take out the longest and shortest and average the remaining 10. That is your average distance for each club.
5. Mirror work: You can build a world class golf swing by using mirrors, tape, and flashlights. These are used indoors so that you can see what you are doing.
6. Find someone to help you in your quest for improvement. Very soon you will be able to find a Medicus Golf Institute Certified Instructor in your area.
7. Remember that golf is a game. Unless you are playing golf for a living, golf is still a game. Get outside and enjoy the surroundings, your playing partners, and the time to get away from the rigors of everyday life.
As I close this article I would like to invite each and every one of you to join the Medicus Golf Institute Members Section. Inside this section you will find more than 15 hours of video instruction that covers every swing malady that you may have. There is also an assessment tool that will generate training videos for you based upon your answers. Right now it is free to join, but you will have to hurry.
October 26, 2007
Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."
While live lessons from a good golf professional are always better, if you're going to learn to play or improve your game on your own, the "Butch Harmon About Golf presented by Titleist" series is about as good as it gets. The two-DVD set, which costs $79.95, is broken down into six sections and is very well organized, Mike Bailey writes.
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