An advanced golfer should have a pretty good idea of how to swing the golf club, how to chip and how to putt. Now it's time to condition those parts of the game so that they become a habit (second nature or relying on your instincts).

Begin to trust your swing. It is time to focus your attention on getting the golf ball in the hole. Concentrate your efforts on reacting to the target. Even if you have not yet decided on how you want to swing the golf club, that is okay. Keep on working on those universal basics and make them a habit. You will learn what is right for you and what will feel comfortable. Your swing will develop as you go along so, don't spend all of your effort on trying to get the perfect golf swing. After all, the road to success is always under construction!

In addition the advanced golfer needs to be very well educated on golf course etiquette, as well as the rules of the game.

UNIVERSAL BASICS FOR THE ADVANCED GOLFER

1) PRE-SHOT ROUTINE

This is very important for the advanced golfer, if he/she is going to progress to the next level. The practice routine is very important because it allows the advanced golfer to make the transition from thinking about the golf swing (mechanically), to playing by feel (reacting to the target).

What the advanced golfer needs to do to get through this very crucial step is to make a decision. Decide on the theory that is best suited for his or her swing. Swing the golf club the way that feels comfortable for you and the way that is right for you. (The reason that many do not take this step is because they involve themselves with too many theories about how to get the perfect golf swing.)

The practice routine is very simple and is something that is very easy to do on the practice range. It allows you to achieve your goals while practicing, and a solid routine that is practiced on the range will help eliminate unnecessary thinking on the golf course. We all want to have more productive fun on the driving range rather than frustrating ourselves with ten different swing thoughts.

A solid practice routine will definitely make you a more consistent player. Why? Because every time you hit the golf ball, and go through the same routine, you have learned a habit that takes the exact amount of time each time you hit the golf ball. You are relying on your instincts.

It is simple! After you decide which club to use, get behind the golf ball and line yourself up to the target, walk up to the golf ball, wiggle the club once or twice (or whatever it is you like to do), set the club down behind the golf ball and hit it. Your whole routine, from the time you start behind the golf ball to the time you hit the golf ball, should take no more than 20 seconds. Just practice the routine until it feels right.

The real beauty of the practice routine is that it allows you to make that transition from gathering all the information of what club to use, what the distance is, what the wind is doing, what kind of golf ball you are using, etc., to visualizing or reacting to your target. The routine that you do develop will prevent negative thoughts (doubts) from entering your mind. The right pre-shot routine will get results!

2) GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT

Many golfers neglect golf course management and most golfers don't realize how important it really is. As a PGA PROFESSIONAL I believe that the advanced golfer should make golf course management part of his/her daily diet. Golf course management is another way to strategically maneuver your way around the golf course. I know from tournament experience that you do not have to hit the ball far to make pars and birdies. If you put yourself in the right position on the golf course, whether you hit the ball long or not, the least you have done is given yourself the opportunity to achieve a positive result on your next shot.

Golf course management is the ability to manage your golf shots around the golf course. It is the ability to hit the golf ball in a position on a particular hole so that you have the opportunity to achieve a good score. With golf course management, you can learn how to take sand bunkers, water hazards, etc., out of play and keep yourself in play. You will give yourself the best possible opportunity to walk away from each hole with a great score.

For example, a par 4, 375 yards long with fairway bunkers that are 230 yards from the middle of the tee. You're a golfer who can hit the golf ball about 275 yards with your driver. If you hit your driver between the fairway bunkers, you will have a 100 yard wedge in to the green. But you have brought the fairway bunkers in to play. If you decided instead to hit a three iron, you would be hitting a golf club that you know would not reach the fairway bunkers, no matter how good you hit it. So you have now taken the fairway bunkers out of play. The only difference is that you will be hitting an eight iron in to the green rather than a wedge.

A large factor involved with hitting the golf ball in the right places around the golf course is mental discipline. Convincing yourself that you should hit an iron from the teeing area rather than a driver is a common example of disciplined golf course management. To discipline yourself in making the right decisions requires a positive mental attitude.

3) POSITIVE THINKING

What does managing yourself around a golf course correctly do for you confidence? It increases. Why? Because you're consistently making successful decisions that breed positive reinforcement. And positive reinforcement motivates you to shoot good golf scores!

Positive thinking is easy to learn. It takes time to achieve different levels of positive thinking because we all have different ways to mentally discipline our thoughts. Because there is so much advertising out there about what to wear,what to eat, what to buy and even, what to think (it's what I call mental static) that keeps us from focusing.

Everyone has different ways to achieve different levels of positive thinking and we all have the opportunity to choose whether we want to think positive or not. I can give you a couple of examples I have found on how to successfully practice achieving higher levels of positive thinking. Because this section is rather extensive, I have devoted an entire section here in EAGLELINKS for positive thinking. Please refer to "Mental side of golf.’



GOLF LESSONS

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