Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 532 - Wed. November 14th, 2018
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: "Playing Golf Swing" Vs. "Playing Golf"
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Batavia Country Club
Chestnut Hill Country Club 

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Tom's Featured Tip: "Playing Golf Swing" Vs. "Playing Golf"

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I decided on the topic for todays newsletter after I heard a TV commentator say that a player was "playing golf swing", not "playing golf" during a tournament. He didn't explain what he meant, so I'm doing it for him now.

These phrases describe the different mind sets that may prevail while you are practicing or playing the game.

Playing Golf Swing

"Playing golf swing" refers to executing golf swings while having swing technique first and foremost in your mind.

Here are some (perhaps not all) of the things you may be concentrating on when you are in the "playing golf swing" mode:
  • grip
  • posture
  • body alignment
  • weight distribution
  • clubface alignment
  • takeaway angles
  • backswing angles
  • wrist position at the top
  • transition
  • weight shift during impact
  • downswing vertical angle of attack
  • downswing horizontal angle of attack
  • swing path angle at impact
  • clubface angle at impact
  • weight distribution at impact
  • posture through impact
  • follow through
Playing Golf

Here's what should be in your brain when you are "playing golf":
  • see the ball
  • see the target or see the hole
  • hit the ball to the target or into the hole, depending on the club in hand
How to use each mode at the range

You can benefit from both modes when you practice at the range. One is hyper-focused on swing mechanics, and the other is focused on developing shots that you will need to execute when you play golf in order to score well.

Use the "play golf swing" mode when you are at the range working on your swing mechanics. I use this mode in conjunction with "block practice" with my students (and myself) at the range when I'm working on something that needs to be corrected. Block practice involves numerous reps of the same movement with the same club to build a neural pathway in the brain for the movement being practiced.

After your mechanics (golf swing) feel solid, transition your practice to hitting shots (playing golf).

Use the "play golf" mode at the range with random practice to see if you can execute the shots you are working on WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT MECHANICS.

In this instance, random practice means using the same club to hit these nine shot patterns:
  1. high trajectory straight
  2. high trajectory left to right
  3. high trajectory right to left
  4. normal trajectory straight
  5. normal trajectory left to right
  6. normal trajectory right to left
  7. low trajectory straight
  8. low trajectory left to right
  9. low trajectory right to left
Then change clubs and repeat the process.

This is very important - when you are in the "play golf" mode (range or course), always concentrate on what you want the clubhead to do, not on the details of the technique involved.

Here are four examples of what I mean:
  1. To hit a draw, try to make the clubhead point towards the sky as it enters the follow through stage of your swing. Don't think about rolling your hands or wrists, keep the focus external - on the clubhead.

  2. To hit a fade, you want the clubhead to either stay square or to open up a little through impact. Again, keep the focus external, concentrate on what you want the clubhead to do, not on what your body does to make it happen.

  3. To hit a low punch shot, concentrate on "squishing" the ball into the ground and taking a shallow divot after contact.

  4. When you putt, see the putterface perfectly square to your aimline at impact. Don't worry about path, that's something you should have already grooved with block practice. PLUS - putterface squareness to your target in putting trumps path every time for holing putts.
When should I use the "play golf swing" or "play golf" mode when I play?

First of all, let me define the "rehearsal box" as the area next to the ball where you are preparing for your swing, and the "hitting box" as the area where you are set up to hit the ball.

When you are in the rehearsal box, I don't see any problem with mentally or physically rehearsing the mechanical details for a swing key or two. You might be thinking of bumping your weight to begin your downswing transition, or taking the club back on a certain path. You may even execute a partial swing or two to feel those movements.

I must mention that there is a school of thought that says that you should never think about technical details in the rehearsal box. My personal experience has been that it can be beneficial - as long as you can switch modes when you enter the hitting box.

When you step into the hitting box and set up for your shot, those mechanical thoughts should not be re-visited.

In the hitting box:
  • see the ball
  • see the target or see the hole
  • hit the ball to the target or into the hole, depending on the club in hand

I know it sounds too simple to be true, but it works - as long as you have spent some quality practice time at the range.

If you "play golf swing" with internal focus at the range, and "play golf" with external focus at the course, your results will take a giant leap forward.

Try it, you'll absolutely like it.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


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:



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!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600
Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

Pre-pay for a 2019 membership now and your membership will apply to the rest of this year!

FISH FRYS ARE BACK AT BCC and other dinner specials with soup and salad bar - starting Friday October 5th, 4pm - 9pm

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

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

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