A Winter in the Life of LPGA Professional, Laura Patrick

Laura shares her winter experiences, philosophies on what being a golf instructor means, and great insights she’s gained from attending leading industry events!

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I often get asked what I do during the winter months, especially since I don’t travel south to another facility.  I figure since my husband is already a golf widow half the year, it wouldn’t be proper to run off to the tropics for the other six months.  It’s easy to think of a Minnesota golf pro sitting by the fire – enjoying life, watching the days pass by, and waiting for warmer weather.  Truthfully, winter is often the season of strange and crazy part time jobs for golf pros.  Ask around, you’ll hear a lot of stories.  Early in my career I could be found hawking product at a mall kiosk (yes I was one of those people) or working a temp job dutifully making sure survey responses added up to ten.  I’ve even served as a property manager and helped a construction office complete multimillion dollar projects as an administrative assistant temp.  After getting laid off in my coaching position at Augsburg College a few years ago, I vowed to devote my winters to becoming a great golf instructor and offering high impact off-season game development programs.

My official title at Baker National is “golf instructor” but to be honest I hate the title.  It implies that I sit around and tell people how to hit a little ball with a stick.  In my eyes, it’s so much more than that.  I help people become the people they envision themselves being.  People have a vision for their game, and it’s not just a score they would like to shoot or a shot they would like to hit.  It’s a vision based on what a better game can do for them…or even more importantly where it can take them.  Every story is unique, but I often hear people saying they are taking lessons so they can play golf with their family, feel more comfortable playing golf with a new client, enjoy their weekly outing with their friends, get more exercise, or compete at the highest levels.  So, as a “golf instructor” my job is to help people improve their lives and reach their goals.  Because I approach each student with that philosophy, my goal becomes to help that person be the best they can be on and off the course.  Unfortunately the title of “Coach-teacher-mentor-friend-collaborator-strategist -biomechanist-speaker-writer -motivator-(amateur) psychologist/meteorologist” just won’t fit on my business card, so I have to stick with “Golf Instructor”.

Now that you understand how seriously I take the responsibilities given to me by my students, you can understand why I strive to be the best golf instructor I can be.  I approach teaching golf with the same intensity as I approached playing.  I have to work hard to be the best, and I make it a goal to learn from the top thought leaders in various aspects of the game.  Each year I generally reinvest in my students through education.  The way I see it, if I’m challenging my students to improve, I must improve equally (if not more) in my ability to help them reach or exceed their goals.  Truthfully, I may have exceeded my personal education budget a little this winter, but I believe the payoffs will be huge for my students (so be sure to sign up for a lesson).    Here are some of the highlights from this winter:

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World Golf Fitness Summit

WGFS Badge Laura Patrick

In October I attended the World Golf Fitness Summit in Orlando, Florida.  Although the event sounds like a bunch of trainers running around telling people to do squats, it was so much more than that.  650 people attended the event from 20 countries a

nd there were 40 speakers from 7 countries.  Speakers included PGA Master Professionals, Tour Fitness Professionals, Nutritionists, Neuro-learning experts, and motivational speakers.  The event was the comprised of leading (and often times THE leading) expert in a giv

en industry sharing the knowledge of what helps golfers of varying levels improve (from beginners to tour players).  I left the event excited to know that my teaching mirrored some of the great minds of today while learning a ton of new information that I have integrated into my teaching and knowledge base.  Here are a few highlights from the conference:

– “Great players use the ground for stability. Work on the lower body to get better movement.” -Claude Harmon III  (PGA Professional)

– “How do we go from knowing to no knowing?  Take risks, know past experiences, and create a learning environment where people feel smart and safe.”  – Michael Hebron (PGA Master Professional and Neuro-learning Expert)

-“It is a waste of time to try to change a habit – you change the reasoning for why you do something” – Michael Hebron (PGA Master Professional and Neuro-learning Expert)

-“After a tough round, players always want to try something new, but stick to the plan and keep doing the same things. Reaffirm the motion.”  – Sean Foley (PGA Professional / Tiger Wood’s Coach)

-“The best food on the golf course is nuts and/or beef jerky.  Also you should drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day.  Children should away from sports drinks because they contain artificial dyes which can mimic ADHD in children.”  -Robert Yang  (Nutritionist)

-“Live a life in motion.  Project your life ahead.  What is your life/career going to mean?  Don’t be afraid to write down your dream.  If your goals aren’t terrifying they aren’t big enough”  – Thomas Plummer (Founder, National Fitness Business Alliance)

– “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”  – Ben Shear (Tour Fitness Trainer)

– “Skill acquisition is a process not a single event.  Understand cause and effect, utilize supervised practice, train to transfer, and play to learn.”  – Dr. Rick Jensen (Sports Psychologist)

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HeartMath™ 1:1 Provider Licensing

In early 2013 I spent three months obtaining HearthMath®  Licensing to be a 1:1 Provider. HeartMath offers a system of tools and technology that incorporates the power of managing your heart rate variability in order to change your response to stressful situations and to improve performance.  Many professional athletes and professional golfers use the HeartMath techniques to achieve high levels of performance, although you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from the system.  Through my education, I can help golfers deal with challenging situations such as performance anxiety, negative thoughts, and incidences commonly known as “choking”.  Combining the HeartMath techniques with my coaching and playing experience has already proved to be a powerful tool for helping the high school golfers I’ve worked with this spring.  There are only a handful of Golf Professionals in the world who are licensed 1:1 Providers so I am excited to use these powerful techniques with my students. The HeartMath system will help students better understand strategy, decision making and harnessing the power of positive emotions, so they perform better on and off the course.  Lessons can be scheduled to specifically address the mental and emotional aspects of the game or can be incorporated into lessons over time.

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U.S. Kids Certified Instructor Training

In April, I attended a US Kids Certified Instructor’s Training.  I learned a lot of great information regarding club fitting for juniors, scaling courses to make golf more fun for junior golfers, how to create a high quality learning experience for junior golfers, and games and drills that facilitate learning.  Chad Fortney from Eagle Lake and Kevin Kinsey from Glen Lake also attended the seminar.  We were excited to see that we already incorporate many of their recommendations into our First Tee programs at Three Rivers Park District, but we each took some great information away from the training that will help us continue to improve.  Baker National has a US Kids fitting cart and I learned a great deal of knowledge on how to fit junior golfers into the correct clubs.  I would love to help if you have any questions or if you would like to order clubs for your child.  Here are some key learning points from the seminar regarding fitting your kids for clubs:

-There are no standards for junior clubs from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Buying a boxed set of clubs based on age can give you the wrong set of clubs.  The difference between the 5th and 95th percentile for height at any given age is generally 7-9”.

-The driver should be 2/3rds the height of your child.  If it’s any longer it’s going to be challenging for them to hit the ball and create speed.

-Kids should grow out of their clubs and not into them.  Clubs that are too heavy or too long can cause them to develop incorrect swing habits and inhibit their ability to learn to create speed in a golf swing.  (Too short can be just as bad, but resist the urge to buy the “next size up”)

-On longer courses, have your children tee off at the 100 or 150 yard marker based on how far they hit the ball.  That way they can experience golf on their level vs. having to pick up or feel rushed.  If kids feel successful they will have more fun!  (When I was young I got to tee off from where my Dad’s drive landed…but always from the fairway, even if he was in the trees.)

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Titleist Performance Institute Seminar

WGFS Laura Patrick On Stage

And finally, I attended the Level 1 Titleist Performance Institute Seminar which was held in Minneapolis.  I am currently a Level 2 Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, but sitting through the level 1 class a second time allowed me to gain an even greater understanding of the nuances of how the body can affect the golf swing.  Being a “Golf Fitness Instructor” doesn’t mean I am a personal trainer or a medical professional, but instead means that I have a basic knowledge of how the body affects the golf swing.  Through a series of physical screenings, I can determine what swing challenges you might have based on your body’s movement patterns and also help you to minimize the chance of injury caused by your golf swing.  I am trained to look for mobility and stability in various joints to see how your body can most efficiently swing the club.

The basic premise is that you have to change your golf swing to fit your body OR you may have to change your body to fit the golf swing you want.  Trying to make a motion your body is not capable of making can cause injury and/or challenges in your ball contact and direction.  For minor range of motion limitations that do not involve pain, I can recommend basic stretching exercises to help you improve.  If you have a physical challenge or limitation, I can direct you to a medical or fitness professional (depending on severity) to help you make a change in your body.  If you would like to get a physical screening done to see how your body is affecting your golf swing, you can call Baker National to set up a screening.  You can also visit www.mytpi.com to find out more information about the Titleist Performance Institute and its network of professionals.

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In summary, even though I do have some down time to offset the frantic pace of summer, I actually stay pretty busy each winter learning as much as I can to improve my teaching skills and passing those skills onto students who participate in my off-season game development programs.  After an especially long winter, I am excited to be back at Baker National Golf Course for my 11th season.  In addition to my Three Rivers Park District Golf Academy Page, you can find more information about my teaching philosophies at my brand new website:  www.LauraPatrickGolf.com    On my website you can download a  free game assessment that will highlight high-impact areas for improving your game.  Finally, be sure to schedule a lesson today by calling Baker National at 763-694-7670 and find out what a better game can do for YOU!

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Laura Patrick

LPGA Class A Member

TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor

HeartMath® 1:1 Provider

Baker National Golf Course

763-694-7670

P.S. I’d love it if you liked us on Facebook: Laura Patrick, LPGA Professional

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath.

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Want to Help Your Teenage Son or Daughter Achieve Their Goals?

Want to Help Your Teenage Son or Daughter Achieve Their Goals?  Hire a Coach Who Understands What Your Son or Daughter ACTUALLY Needs to Know to Achieve Their Goals.

Once teens understand the basics of golf, they often become frustrated when they aren’t doing as well as their peers, their parents, or their own expectations for their game.  Golfers in their adolescent years (especially athletes) believe that they should be able to play well almost immediately.  After all, how hard can it be to get the ball that isn’t moving into a hole?

Maybe your child needs help understanding the basics of how to get the ball in the air consistently so they can play with their friends, maybe they are frustrated that they lose a gazillion balls each time they play, or maybe they are trying to take their game to the next level so they can play on the golf team.  There are many reasons why your son or daughter wants to get better!

My Player Development and Personal Coaching packages are designed to increase your son or daughter’s knowledge of the how the game is actually played – from skill development to emotional management.   My coaching packages not only teach the basic knowledge of the game, but will help your child understand cause and effect in their golf swing/short game, the importance of a healthy body, decision making skills, positive emotional management, and how to evaluate a situation to make a plan for success.  Each student comes to me with a different set of knowledge and needs that I will evaluate to make their game and approach more successful – and more fun!

I have a lot of experience teaching and coaching at the junior high, high school, and college level.  I really enjoy working with this age group in a one-on-one setting.  Most teens tend to become more self conscious as they age, and there tends to be a lot on their minds when standing over the ball.  I help them to sort through the metal clutter, to create a positive outlook, to deal with worry and negative thoughts, and to blend that with their improved golf skills.  I also make sure to communicate with this age group as equals to make them part of the learning process.  I ask a lot of questions, collaborate with them, and explain concepts allowing for them to help create their own improvement plan rather than me merely telling them what to do.  By teaching students “how to think” rather than “what to think”, they are empowered to grow beyond what we cover in lessons…and that is the true beauty and potential of golfers in this age group.

Here are some topics I will cover with your son or daughter in my coaching packages:

  • No one plays “perfect golf” – how do I play imperfect golf and still have success.
  • Creating a golf swing that produces adequate distance and repeatable results (based on age and goals).
  • How to get the ball in the hole around the green (and why it’s important).
  • Decision making skills – measuring risk/reward and evaluating strengths and weaknesses to create a strategy that works for you.
  • How to practice to improve – and that doesn’t mean hitting 500 balls in 45 minutes.
  • How to react when things don’t go your way – managing thoughts and emotions to improve results.
  • You can only control what is actually under your control, but you can influence the outcome based on proper execution of the things you can control.
  • Managing performance anxiety, expectations for yourself, and what you think other people expect of you.

Not only will your child have more fun and success while playing, but they will also be less stressed and upset about their golf game – and who doesn’t want a happier, less stressed kid in their house!

Contact me at 763-267-7531 to sign up for a Coaching Package today.  To ensure quality of instruction for each student, I am limiting my coaching packages to the first 15 participants who sign up.  Coaching Packages will take place at Victory Golf Studios in Maple Plain.

Laura Patrick

LPGA Teaching Professional

P.S. If requested, “parent time” can be scheduled the last few minutes of each lesson to talk about your son or daughter’s  improvement plan so you and your golfer are speaking the same language.

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Do You Have a Guide for YOUR Journey?

What can a better game do for YOU? Take a moment to really answer that question. Golf isn’t just about how many putts you make or how many fairways you hit. Golf is about a journey. Most would think the journey I am referring to is one of successfully navigating the course to get the ball into the hole, but there is another, much bigger journey outside of your statistics and score. Imagine yourself playing great golf. Where do you see your journey taking you? What does that journey look like and where does it end? Can you see, feel, and hear where your journey takes you?

Every person’s journey has a different destination, so why should the path you take be the same as someone else’s? And, every great journey has a guide – someone to prepare you for your trip, someone to make sure you have the correct tools for your journey, and someone to help you along the way. From the first step of your journey to your destination, your guide will serve various roles along the way. Your guide will help you draw a map to your destination, will help you find your way when you believe you are hopelessly lost, will point out a beautiful sunset when you are too busy looking forward, will carry your pack when the load is too heavy, will guide you safely to your destination, and will celebrate with you when you reach your destination. If you have a destination in mind, don’t embark on your journey alone or follow someone else’s path. Find a guide that will be your expert, your biggest fan, and will get you safely to YOUR destination.

Let me be the guide to help you reach YOUR destination. I believe in you. I believe in the power of the human spirit. I believe small changes can catapult you to life altering changes. I believe you can accomplish any goal you truly hold in your heart. I believe your journey to reach your dreams and goals shouldn’t be a lonely one, but one filled with camaraderie and celebration. I believe ups and downs are part of the learning process and that the journey through the valley makes the view from the peak that much more majestic. I believe each person must forge a path that suits them, their personality, and their goals. And most of all, I believe in working hard to be the best guide I can be to help you enjoy your journey and get you to your destination.

What can a better game do for YOU?

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Do you need a lesson or a coach – and what is the difference?

Do you need a lesson or a coach – and what is the difference?

Definitions from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Lesson – a piece of instruction, a reading or exercise to be studied by a pupil, a division of a course of instruction, something learned by study or experience.

Coach – one who instructs or trains, one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy

Aside from the actual definitions of the two words, let’s look a little deeper.  Professional athletes have coaches, most youth programs have coaches, most sports in general have coaches, yet the average golfer doesn’t have a coach.  At best they take an occasional golf lesson…or worse, attempt to diagnose and fix their own swing.

Most golfers are fixers instead of improvers.  Somewhere in the golf industry we’ve failed golfers because we’ve led them to believe they are just one golf tip away from “fixing their swing” and reaching their goals.  Unfortunately, this assumption could not be further from the truth.  Yes a golf tip or two can be helpful, but golf tips never really stick and represent only a very small piece of your game.  A coach has the ability to tell you why you are not shooting the scores you want to be shooting, identify the areas that need improvement, make changes to the areas that will have the biggest impact on your game, and then continue to build upon those skills to help you reach your goal.  A good coach will truly help your game improve.

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Here are three thoughts on lessons, self diagnosis, and game maintenance:

1. If you are feeling sick, would you march into the doctor’s office and demand a certain remedy based on what you have decided is wrong with you, or would you ask the doctor why you are feeling this way and then proceed through different tests to truly find out why you are sick?  What if you had a pain in your arm and decided you pulled a muscle but it turned out to be symptoms of a heart attack?  Lessons correct symptoms while coaching helps to diagnose the underlying problems and create a plan for improvement.
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2. Would you ever walk into a pharmacy and take the first drug you see?  If you took the wrong drug, it might not help at all…or could even kill you?  Self diagnosis combined with self correction can be deadly.  There are many ways to swing a golf club and each way has compatible and incompatible pieces.  Choose the wrong fix and it could make everything worse…and you could even injure yourself.
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3. Would you take your car to the mechanic to get a strange noise fixed and then not change your oil for 50,000 miles?  Even when you make changes, it’s good to keep up with maintenance on your game.  You never know what problems might creep in if you don’t perform regular maintenance, and Murphy’s Law states that it will most likely blow up at the worst possible moment.
 
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Laura Teaching Silhouette Wide

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Coaching often looks beyond the golf swing because there are many factors that can affect performance.  A half hour lesson can only address so much.  It is the coaching relationship that allows for true diagnosis of underlying causes of poor performance. How can you be sure that the reason you don’t play well on the back nine is because you didn’t swing your driver well?  With long-term students I often find that the area where they are struggling is not just caused by their inability to swing the driver well on the back nine, but a combination of many things that causes them not to drive the ball well on the back nine.  Maybe they don’t drink enough water, they don’t fuel their body correctly, their legs get tired, they are using an improperly fitted driver, they start focusing on their score instead of the shot at hand, they make an incorrect club/strategy choice, they don’t account for an increase in wind speed, their mind starts to wander to what they need to do after the round, or they tell themselves they never drive well on the back nine creating fear and anxiety over the ball.  If they only work on their swing with the driver they may never identify the underlying cause of why they actually don’t hit their driver well on the back nine.

It is the student-coach relationship that allows for correct identification of the challenges that causes a student to not perform as expected and for improvements to be made over time.  Yes, maybe there is a change that needs to be made to their swing, but often times there are unidentified issues that have a huge impact on their ability to succeed.  Coaching golf is complicated – for the coach, not the student.  It takes years of education from a playing and teaching standpoint to be a great coach.  A golf coach has to not only learn what it truly takes to improve at golf, but they also have to develop a relationship with their student over time that will allow them to learn about their student’s game and then tailor a plan that will help that individual student improve.  Once you find a great coach, you will have a consultant and a friend (who truly understands you and your game) to guide you along your journey to an improved game.  You will work side-by-side with your coach to help create your unique road map to success – factoring in your personal preferences and styles for learning.

I ask that you approach your game improvement as an investment – one that can truly help you reach your goals.  Before spending $300 on a new driver or $800 on a new set of irons, ask yourself if your money would be better spent by learning which areas of your game you need to improve and creating a plan to improve them.  Remember – golf clubs are the only thing you will ever spend hundreds of dollars on that don’t come with an instruction manual on how to use them.  Give yourself the gift of better golf today and invest in a good coach.

What can a better game do for you?

Call Laura Patrick, LPGA Professional at 763-267-7531

http://www.LauraPatrickGolf.com

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

Everyone has had a incredibly high score on a hole before.  I’ve had a few myself.  Kevin Na, a PGA Tour Pro carded a 16 on Thursday at the Valero Texas Open.  He set the record for the worst score on a par 4 in PGA history.  You have to see it to believe it.

Click here to view the shot by shot provided by ESPN (3 minutes)

Here is the mic’d live feed of the footage (It’s 6 minutes long, but worth the watch.  I belly laughed many times due to my ability to relate to what he was going through and all the hilarious comments):

After watching these videos, you may be wondering how he kept his emotions in check while trying to get the ball out of the woods.  Think about how you would have reacted in this situation – would you have been laughing while walking up to the green?  I know the feeling very well – a numbness throughout your body and mind due to the inability to believe what is happening to you at that moment.  It’s almost like an out of body experience where you are trying your best and nothing is working out.  In addition to his strength of character throughout the event (minus his club toss on the tee), he even had the integrity to call a penalty on himself and count a whiff.  Being so far back in the thicket, there is a good chance he could have lied and got away with it.  He also had the perseverance to come back to shoot a 33 on the back nine.  All in all, he shot an 80 with a duodecuple (+12)  bogey.  His interview after the round was exemplary as well.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find the interview on-line.

Overall, Na’s 16 wasn’t caused by numerous poor golf shots as much as it was caused by a couple of bad decisions.  First of all, after hitting his first shot in the woods, he might have been better off switching to a different club when he re-teed.  Secondly, his decision to hit the ball out of the woods set him up for failure (see rule 28 below).  When he hit the first shot from the woods, he no longer had the opportunity to take the ball back to the tee under the unplayable lie rule.  At that point none of his unplayable options would get him out of the woods.  This is why he kept hitting shot after shot from the woods before getting his ball out.  Had he taken an unplayable instead of hitting out the woods on his fourth shot, he would have been hitting five off the tee.  In retrospect, he could have still  kept his score under 10 with this method.

Rule 28  – Ball Unplayable (taken from USGA.com): The player may deem his ball unplayable at any place on the course, except when the ball is in a water hazard. The player is the sole judge as to whether his ball is unplayable.  If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:

a. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or

c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

It is easy to look back and see what he probably should have done after witnessing the outcome.  Knowing what to do when you are standing over the ball  is not nearly as easy. One thing is for sure, this experience is going to change the way he makes decisions on the course forever.  Below are a few of my high-score moments that changed the way I make decisions.

Here are my top three moments:

1. 15 on a par five while playing for Bradley University at the Lady Razorback Spring Invitational.

Bad Decision: Hitting many erratic wood shots and incurring numerous penalties, instead of hitting an iron just to advance the ball down the hole.

Impact on Future Decision Making:  1. When it’s going bad, just keep it in play – even if it’s with a 7-iron.  2. Your worst hole could be followed by one of your best.

Most interesting fact about the day:  I carded a birdie (2) on the next hole.

Favorite quote from my Coach:  “15, 2, that has to be the greatest comeback in the history of collegiate golf.”

Funniest moment:  On the van ride back to the hotel, my teammate asked, “Laura, how do you get a 15 on a hole?”  My response, “You hit it 15 times, no wait, I only hit it about 11 or 12 times, the rest were penalty strokes.”  The best part of the whole thing was that the same girl who asked me how I could get a 15 on a hole ended up getting a 16 on that same hole the next day.  Her response  when I inquired about her 16 was, “I should have kept my mouth shut yesterday.”

2. 8 on a par three while playing in my first LPGA Tour event, The State Farm Rail Classic.

Bad decision: My Dad and I misjudged the wind twice on a challenging par three with water on three sides.

Impact on Future Decision Making: 1. Learn how to hit a punch shot to keep it out of the wind.   2. Forget about a bad hole and move on so it does not affect the rest of your round.

Interesting fact:  I went into the 5th hole one under par and came out four over.  I went on to shoot 73 that day and missed the cut by one stroke.

3. 14 on the 9th hole of a junior tournament when I was around 11 years old.

Bad Decision: Trying to hit the same shot over and over again without success – Tin Cup style.  By the way, I still have to turn the movie off when that part comes on.

Impact on Future Decision Making:  1. Doing the same thing over and over without changing anything will not likely produce a different result. 2. Be flexible based on your game that day and the situation you are in. 3.  Don’t be a hero.  Sometimes good enough is…well, good enough.

Interesting fact: I had an 8-stroke lead going into the final hole and then ended up tied.  Luckily I won in a playoff.

Favorite Memory:  On the ride home, my Dad inquired as to why I kept hitting the ball out of bounds with my 7-wood (trying to hit over trees and a creek) instead of hitting an iron and then chipping onto the green.  My response: “Well that’s what we decided I should do when we were playing the practice round.  I stuck to the game plan. You told me that I could hit that shot and I did…eventually.”

So, the next time you have a bad hole, just be glad it’s not being broadcast on national television and remember it’s better to laugh than to A. cry, B. quit, C. throw your clubs into a tree, the water, etc.  You never know, you may birdie the next hole or shoot a 33 on the back nine.  Oh, and at least you’ll have a good story to tell.

If you would like help with your on-course decision making, Baker National is now open and I am available for swing lessons and playing lessons.  Call 763-694-7670 x2 to schedule your lesson today.

Spring has officially arrived…It’s Masters Week

I am declaring The Masters as the official start of spring.  Usually around this time the snow is melting, the birds are chirping, and I am patiently waiting to reap the rewards of the spring bulbs I planted last fall.  Since spring in Minnesota lags behind that of Georgia, the beautiful greenery and  azaleas on the television seem to be a sign of what is to come in the next month.  The theme song of the Masters (a personal favorite of mine) playing from my television is equally as heartwarming as those beautiful bird songs that travel through my occasional open window.

The Masters also brings back fond memories of my family as we watched every shot together contemplating, and arguing over, who was going to wear the green jacket.  Every year the green jacket presentation was followed by a trip to the local golf course for a quick nine with my Father where every shot I hit seemed as important as the final shots of the leaders going through Amen Corner. In 2001 my father won four tickets in the practice round lottery and we were able to attend Monday’s practice round.  It was a perfect day walking on the hollowed grounds of Augusta National.  During the day,  I was amazed by the beauty of the course and its well-manicured surroundings.  The part that impressed me the most was that the entire grounds were pristine.  Every detail, in every nook and cranny of the golf course, had been meticulously cared for.  Over the course of the day, I found one  weed.  It was located half way down the right side of the 1oth hole – far from the fairway.  What was so interesting was that because the grounds were so perfect, that ONE weed stood out like a sore thumb.   It was a perfect day, in as near to a perfect place as anyone can find. I will forever cherish the memories that all the Masters weeks have created for my family and I.   Even though my family and I are over 500 miles apart, to this day we spend most of Master’s Sunday in a feverish phone conversation over each and every shot during that final round.

Living in Minnesota, a round of golf following The Masters is not always guaranteed.  A fun place to watch for local course openings is at Twin Cities Golf.  Although the weather doesn’t look too great for a round of golf on Sunday, this is a great tool to anticipate the your local course openings the same way I am anticipating the flowering of my spring bulbs.

For those of you with android phones, I found a free Masters App that will allow you to follow every moment of The Masters even when you do not have access to the television.  It was created by Augusta National and has all the bells and whistles that you would expect from it’s namesake, including:  pairings, real time scoring, videos, player info, photos, and best of all – Masters Radio.  You can download this free app on the android market by searching for “The Masters”.

Enjoy the week and the anticipation of the upcoming golf season where every putt is “to win The Masters”

The Minnesota Golf Show…the season is approaching!

The weather has been great lately!  I’ve really enjoyed going outside without having to bundle up.  The warm weather has definitely gotten me (and a lot of other people) thinking about the golf season.  I’m also excited that the Minnesota Golf Show (http://www.minnesotagolfshow.com/)  is this weekend at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  I will be attending Friday during the day so if you are going to be there and would like to catch up, please let me know.

Lessons are really starting to pick up at The10 Dome.  I’ve really enjoyed working with new and returning students.  I still have appointments available and would like to help everyone get ready for the golf season.  The next few weeks is a perfect time for those wishing to try out for a school golf team to get their swings back in shape.  Even just one lesson can help to promote confidence going into tryouts or on your spring break golf trip.  I look forward to seeing everyone soon!

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