Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 233 - February 27th, 2013


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Hyperfocus & Pre-Shot Routines
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Impact - Fat Hits
- 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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Tom's Featured Tip:
Focus and Pre-Shot Routines

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!

Last Saturday during the WGC Accenture Match Play telecast, the announcers were talking about why Ian Poulter was so great at match play, but really hasn't made his mark in stroke play.

They were bandying about various interesting theories, including several comments about focus which got my interest.

Johnny Miller said that he thought Poulter had trouble maintaining focus over a 72 hole stroke play match, but that he did fine in the head to head match play format.

Peter Jacobsen, who I think is a great addition to the commentator crew, said that Lee Trevino said that he only concentrated for one minute per shot, and that kept him relaxed.

I want to talk about that stuff, but first I wanted to say that for Poulter I think it's simply a matter of talent. He seems to overachieve with a match right in front of him rather than needing to be concerned with a whole field of players. In match play there's no need to fret too long over a disastrous hole, it's still only one hole - not a big number on a medal play scorecard that knocks you off the leaderboard . He seems to recover well to those situations due to his competitiveness and his aggressive nature.

In fact, Jacobsen was comparing him to a cage fighter, which was a bit extreme. After he said that, Miller asked Jacobsen if he had been into someone's stash .. a pretty funny moment actually..

I think it's just easier to get yourself up for a match when it's right in front of you, but there may well be some merit to the focus point of view.

I like Lee Trevino's angle on the subject.

I've given mental energy conservation and focus a lot of thought in the past, especially when I coached college golf. Here's what I told my players then, and what I tell my competitive players now.

Conserve energy wherever you can, both physical and mental.

This means walking and thinking at an even pace.

It also means only putting yourself into the extreme focus zone - hyperfocus - which saps mental energy, for short periods of time.

Good players maintain a level of general focus throughout their match, and move into hyperfocus as they approach their ball for their shot.

While in the general focus mode, you are aware of your competitive environment, but you can also enjoy the walk, so to speak. There's no rule that says that golf can't be enjoyable when you're competing - and it can be, if you don't make it four (or more) straight hours of gruelling tension.

Between shots you can allow yourself to think pleasant thoughts, and enjoy your surroundings.

However, as soon as you get within ten yards of your ball, the hyperfocus switch needs to be turned on.

When you are in the hyperfocus mode, very specific thinking starts to take place. At that point in time, you clear all the clutter from your brain, and the only thing you are concerned about is executing a good golf shot. That's it, nothing else matters.

Specific thinking hones focus, random thinking kills it. The way we get specific is to launch into our pre-shot routine. I just put a new page on my site outlining pre-shot routines for putting and for other swings. These are the pre-shot routines I have my students do, but feel free to tweak them for you own use. Here they are: Pre Shot Routines - Putting and Other

Whether you use mine or your own, practice them and be very specific in their implementation. As I said before, specificity hones focus, randomness kills it.

If you adopt this method of implementing general focus and hyperfocus into your game, you will only be in a heightened mental energy state for about one minute for each shot you take,

If you shoot 85, you've only spent 85 minutes out of 240 minutes (or more) at a high level of focused concentration, and you shouldn't become mentally fatigued during your round. You'll really feel the dividends on the back nine, where it will be easier to concentrate because you've got more mental energy in the tank.

If you've never moved yourself into the hyperfocus zone for shot execution, you're really in for some big dividends, because I'm sure your shot making will improve.

Try this, you'll like it.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom's Bonus Tip: Impact - Fat Hits

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!

Questions about fat hits and impact seems to come up a lot, and I'm fine with it because impact is what it's all about.

When we have a fat hit - hitting the ground before the ball, instead of ground first, ball second, it's because our swing center has bottomed out behind the ball.

Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as a reverse weight shift, or no forward weight shift, but often for some better players it's not as obvious.

A more subtle cause can be losing the impact angles in our wrists, which causes the radius of the swing to get too long prior to impact, and a ground first strike results. One contributor to this problem is when a student slows his swing down to allow his arms to snap the club into impact. If you don't keep your right shoulder swinging through on plane, it will cause the right elbow to straighten too much, and it will also cause the right wrist to straighten too much.

I heard Martin Chuck make the comparison to a boxer throwing a right hand jab holding the shoulder back (weak punch) vs. throwing a right hook, with the shoulder leading the arm into the strike (strong punch). This is a pretty good analogy.

So as you near impact, make sure that your weight is shifted laterally forward, that you have some bend in your right elbow, that your left wrist remains flat, that your forward leg is starting to straighten, and that your right shoulder is dragging your arms into impact.

At impact, your right arm should still be slightly bent at the elbow, not completely straight, and your right wrist should be slightly cupped.

Do slow practice reps to get this position down perfectly, it's worth the time.

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