Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 231 - February 13th, 2013


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Positive Self Talk
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Chipping Thoughts
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
- Sponsors: Batavia Country Club Chestnut Hill Country Club
Plum Creek Driving Range and PGA Golf Simulator
GCC Golf Management Program Provoto Putting Systems

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716 474 3005, email me at, or visit my website at   for rates and details.

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Tom's Featured Tip: Positive Self Talk

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

Every golfer carries on some sort of internal dialogue when they play, and the best players say the best things to themselves.

Absolutely nothing is gained by saying to yourself (or even worse - out loud) "you idiot, how can you hit it there" or "how can you leave that putt short" or "how can you blow that putt by the hole".

Instead, take the lead from some of the games best by saying positive things such as:
  • Matt Kuchar  "If you stay patient good things happen"
  • Bubba Watson  "If I have a swing I have a shot"
  • Jack Nickalaus  "C'mon Jackie boy you're the best"
Plant positive thoughts and feelings in your brain before you take your shot, such as "smooth swing, middle of the fairway" as opposed to anything with "don't" in it, such as "don't hit it left", or "don't hit it in the water".

Avoid any thoughts with "don't" in it like the plaque.

What happens when you say to yourself "don't think of an elephant"?

You immediately think of an elephant, because in order to understand a negative instruction, our brain must first create and attend to an image of that which we are telling it not to do.

On the other hand, positive self thought creates images that prompt actions that are consistent with a positive outcome.

Here's a little homework assignment for each of you: take five minutes to make a list of positive things that you can say to yourself next time you play or practice that will engage the right mindset to play great golf.

Here are couple of examples of thoughts that I use personally:
  • "Aim a little right, hit a soft draw"
  • "I've got this shot all day"
  • "I could hole this putt ten times in a row"
  • "I think I can actually hole this chip"
  • "Where would I rather be than right here, right now" (I borrowed this one from Marv Levy, former Buffalo Bills head coach)
Keep the list filed on your computer, and take the best three thoughts, write them down on the back of a business card or on an index card, and stick it in your pocket. You'll read them at least twice per day, and before you know it you'll be a positive golf thinker.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Chipping Thoughts

For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties .... well, you know what to do!

I just saw a tip on chipping that inspired me to reinforce my views on chipping to my readers. My chipping method may be a little non-traditional, but it works very well.

The video tip I saw was one with a young assistant pro demonstrating a "ladder drill" with his chipping stroke. First thing I want to say is that this kid had good intentions, he was simply parrotting a drill that he had been taught and was passing it along. The problem is that very few of these kids have the temerity to question anything they're taught, they just pass it along.

Some eventually develop their own way of doing things that are improvments on the time worn way of doing certain techniques, and good for them. As I've said before, there are a lot of different ways to hit certain shots, and it's up to you to settle on a method that suits your body and your brain.

The "ladder drill" that was being demonstrated was a drill where there was a horizontal ladder on the ground representing different areas where the chip should land in order for it to roll out longer or shorter. It wasn't actually a ladder, rather there were several clubs laid out to define the landing spots.

The problem that I have with this drill is that for chipping, we always want the ball on the ground as soon as possible so that it can begin it's roll to the hole on the green. The wind is not our friend in golf, so when we chip we want the ball on the ground quickly unless unusual circumstances exist.

Chip shots should be imagined in the same context as a long putt. In other words, total distance control is the primary consideration. We should be imagining the feeling of the stroke that will allow the ball to land on the green and roll out a certain distance; not a feeling of specifically where the ball will land. If you practice enough, your instincts will take care of carrying the ball onto the green. Think about the roll out.

I'm not implying that where the ball lands is a non-factor, I'm saying that your imagination should be concerned with the feeling of total distance control first and foremost. That's keeping it simple, which is always the best option in the golf swing.

Imagining the feel for total distance control versus where the ball will land are two different feelings. Allow the distance feeling to be the primary feeling..

I teach a dead handed chipping stroke that always checks and runs with a consistent checking characteristic. When this stroke is practiced with the same mindset that you use when you develop your "core" putting stroke, you will develop a masterful feeling for distance control. When you can control your chipping distance with precision, you own your game.

Now, I could understand a ladder drill using a vertical ladder like the one you use in the backyard game called "Ladderball" (google it for images). You absolutely need to have an awareness for the height of your shot and the landing area when you need to hit a shot over an object or an elevated area of the rough.

To be precise, this higher trajectory greenside shot is more of a mini pitch shot than a chip, and the stroke method that applies is different from the chipping stroke.

So .... practice your dead hand chipping stroke with distance control as your "go to" chipping method, just make sure that your club of choice allows your ball to land on the green with a low trajctory.

For a higher, softer landing greenside shot, practice mini pitch shots with a short vertical ladder like the one used in the "Ladderball" game to get a feel for trajectory control. For this type of shot your landing area is also very important, because obviously the higher you hit it the less it will roll out, so pay attention.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for play or practice!

Provoto Putting Systems   readers get a 30% discount on putting greens. Click on their catalog link, and select the green you want to purchase. After you decide on features, add it to your cart. You'll find the field for "Discount Coupon" near the bottom of the page. Enter PGApro in that field and your product cost will be discounted 30%.

GCC Golf Management Program   click for information on GCC's degreed program for anyone interested in a career in the golf industry or teaching golf.

Batavia Country Club   Course closed for the season, but the Lodge is open with live bands peforming on Fridays. Open Easter and Mother's Day for brunch, reservations required, check website for details.

Chestnut Hill CC   Course closed for the season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan