Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 254 - July 17th, 2013


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

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In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Own Your Swing
- Tom's Bonus Tip: Pay Attention
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
- Sponsors: Batavia Country Club   Chestnut Hill Country Club 
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Tom's Featured Tip:
Own Your Swing

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've said this a hundred times before in my newsletter articles, and I'll probably say it a hundred more times because of the importance of the message " Own Your Swing"

I had an interesting exchange with a student that I'm currently working with that illustrates this theme perfectly.

This particular student took three fundamental lessons: Ball Striking, Putting, and Chipping, then we had some interesting email communication which has steered his full swing lessons down an interesting path. Here are excerpts from one of his emails to me.


I've got some Cognitive Dissonance going on. (Editors note: simply stated, cognitive dissonance is confusion in the brain caused by trying to do something that's incongruent with a strong belief.)

I was initially attracted to you as a teacher because I could tell you knew your stuff, I could see it from your website. That has been further confirmed in our 3 lessons so far. I especially enjoyed the putting lesson. The "side saddle"/"face on" putting style tips and drills you provided were invaluable - I only needed 14 putts in my league last night! You know your stuff and your swing. I have no doubts about that. Bottom line: I've really enjoyed our lessons.'s the cognitive dissonance part.

I'm a Natural Golfer. I want to swing like Moe Norman. That swing kept me from quitting golf 10 years ago when I couldn't break 100, and probably averaged 110 a round. It took me from a guy shooting 110 to one who could score in the low to mid 80's when practicing on a somewhat regular basis.

Over the last 6 years that low 80's has certainly deteriorated to more of a bogey golf level. Practice time went way down due to life committments (Editore note: this person was going through the process of becoming a Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, which is a huge commitment), as did my motivation to get better with hard work. As a result, I found myself falling into the trap of looking for "quick fixes" to my game, which then resulted in me moving away from a pure Moe Norman type of swing as I patched in a mish mash of some things I might've read or seen. I guess many of us mid to high handicappers are guilty of the quick fix syndrome.

But now I want to get back to working hard. My dream has always been to find an excellent instructor who could personally work with me on my natural golf swing. But since the closest NG instructors are currently in Toronto or New Jersey (and I don't even know if they're any good), I've relied instead on the occasional golf school and instructional video's for my NG training.

When I first read your website, and the mention of your fexibility on swing style as long as the basics could be achieved; I thought maybe there was an opportunity to find someone who was willing to work with my NG swing. That's what I was really hoping for. I didn't mention any of this in our first few lessons because I wanted to see how you were as an instructor before making any leaps AND I figured the ball striking and putting lessons were pretty universal concepts which could be easily incorporated into my game.

But at our lesson Wednesday you reminded me of how chipping and pitching are so intregral to the mechanics of our full swings, ie: don't use one style for short game chipping/pitching and another for the full swing.

So my cognitive dissonance is being very impressed with you as an instructor and as a person, but me also realizing I'm not mentally ready yet to move away from my NG swing, which in my heart I still believe can take to me to the golf levels I want to achieve.

So I've decided I need to get back to the basics of my NG swing with hard work and NOT quick fixes, and see where that takes me.

So, I see a couple of options:

Option 1): I know this is highly unusual and I fully understand if you don't want to do this option (I don't want to cause YOU cognitive dissonance But I would still like to work with you. However, rather than learning the Stack and Tilt, or some variation of it, I'd love to utilize your critical eye and teaching skills to help get me into the appropriate NG positions, and then from there make sure I'm achieving the NG basics. Obviously, I would be taking full responsibilty and ownership for the swing and for my improvement. I would just like to have someone locally who has a good golf eye to help me identify when and where things are breaking down from the Moe Norman model. I'd almost equate this to our "side saddle"/"face on" putting method lesson, where you taught me the fundamentals of that putting style even though it's not your preferred way to putt.

Option 2): Or, fully understanding that 1) above is something you may not be comfortable with (and I can fully respect that) - maybe I could save my last lesson as a putting refresher? Something I could revisit just before winter begins for my offseason putting practice, or as a refresher in the spring next year as golf season is about to begin. I know I can never become a good enough putter!

I've been thinking about all of this over the last couple of days. Please let me know how you'd like to proceed.

Peace, Eric

This is a perfect example of a player that passionately wants to "own his swing". I know quite a bit about the swing method that he loves, and I'll put in the time to review the method more to be able to provide excellent instruction, and why wouldn't I?

Even though that method is not my preferred method, this player has so much belief in it that I'm certain he'll do well with that system. Belief in the system is the first requirement for success. Actually, belief in the instructor may be first, but I'm not going to split hairs.

All any golf instructor can ask for in a student is a high level of passion for the game and for learning. It makes teaching a pleasure.

No one should ever buy into anything that causes mental anguish, there's zero chance of learning anything when your brain is in a state of cognitive dissonance.

To avoid cognitive dissonance in your game, learn a lot about a swing method one way or another, then commit to "owning it".

Don't tweak it every time you read a tip from a touring pro in Golf Digest. What's good for them isn't necessarily compatible with your swing method. If you learn your method well enough, you'll be able to discern.

So it all comes full circle to "Own Your Swing". Simply stick to the fundamentals of the swing method you like and learn it inside out.

One other interesting thing that Eric mentioned - I will have some cognitive dissonance with my own swing after these lessons. It almost can't be helped when you are thinking deeply about and teaching a different swing method from your own - and I try to do two things to re-program my brain.

When time permits, as soon as I get home from a lesson like that, I simply hang a net in front of my garage and take 100 full swings with AlmostGolf balls employing my swing method. This rebuilds top of mind kinesthetic awareness for my own swing. It gets my brain back on track.

You might wonder why I don't simply take those swings at the range since I'm already there.

The answer is that I want to focus strictly on technique during this type of practice, and observing ball flight isn't important. I'm just putting the swing motion back on track. I can feel good contact or not, and that's enough for this exercise.

The other thing I do is review the DVD's that I own of my preferred swing method. There is one disc in particular that is all visualization, and that's the one I watch to keep my swing thoughts straight in my mind.

If life gets in the way and I don't have a chance to do either of these things before I play again, I won't be at - or even near - the top of my game. I accept that for what it is as well as why it is.

The learning princple involved is that of primacy and recency, and it also works to get your brain straight if you happen to have played a bad round. To me it feels like I've erased the bad Karma and replanted the seeds of my good swing.

Try the 100 swing exercise after a bad round, it definitely helps. Don't try it after trying to erase the bad round at the bar after the round first. It doesn't work too well in that sequence :-)

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


Tom's Bonus Tip:
Pay Attention

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'm combining a tip with more information on Chris Carroll, a player I coach that's playing professionally on the US Players Tour.

Chris texted me Saturday night to tell me he shot 40 - 30 (70) and cashed again at a tournament. I called him and we had a conversation about what happened on the 40, more on that later.

He texted me again on Sunday and told me that he was moved from 4th place to 3rd after it was discovered that the 3rd place finisher signed an incorrect scorecard and was DQ'd.

Good for Chris, bad for the other player.

Don't ever let that "other player" be you.

PAY ATTENTION to everything when you play tournament golf at any level, especially when you check your score before you sign your card. In addition to keeping your opponents score, keep another card in your pocket and keep your own score too.

This sounds like advice that almost shouldn't need to be given - but

Back to Chris.

The tournament Chris played last Saturday was Tournament #11 at the Augustine GC in Fredericksburg, Virginia. That tour includes some tournaments that are named, like the one he's playing next weekend - a two day event at Penn National called their Players Championship.

Other tournaments are simply numbered.

Chris finished 3rd last Saturday in a field of 41 players, and has cashed in 4 of the 5 tournamnts he's played in this year. His best tourment score of the year was a 68 at the Western Open in Naples, Florida.

I asked Chris what happened on the 40 he shot on the front nine, and he said that his concentration was off for the first four or five holes, and he put himself in a rut. To his credit, he hung in there and played the golf he's capable of after he gathered himself.

We had a discussion about nutritional supplementation to help him with his concentration as well as his overall health and energy. I recommended some products that I've been taking for a little over three months that have made a significant difference in my life, and he's going to start on that regimen right away.

Next issue I'll do an article on nutritional supplementation that I passionately believe will help your game. Actually it helps everything - but more on that next week.

If you can't wait a week and would like a copy of the email that I sent Chris with the nutritional recommendations, send an email to me at and in the subject line put "Supplements For Golf" and I'll send you a copy of the email that I sent to Chris.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf, own your swing,


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:

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Driver Fitting Rates:



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

Batavia Country Club   Best greens in WNY, great rates. Back by popular demand: Friday Night Golf and Dinner at BCC 18 holes of golf, cart, dinner, tax and gratuity - $35. 9 hole package - $27. Choose from 4 entrees' with side and salad bar. Dinner served from 4:30 pm - 9:15 pm. Dinner available for non-golfers also. Menu and band schedule posted at

Chestnut Hill CC   Great rates, 20 minutes East of Buffalo, NY .

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

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