Paging “Doctor” Drumm

Are you singing the golf swing blues? I’ve heard that tune far too many times. Peculiar, isn’t it? I actually very much dislike that genre of music, yet I seem to spend a great deal of time around those who have become addicted to its depressing beat. It so happens that I thoroughly enjoy the journey of helping others. In this case, those chained to the frustrating melody of golf swing maladies can find a peaceful rhythm and a new song to sing while strolling the fairways. Under my direction, I have helped many orchestrate a complete change. Not surprisingly, when it comes to golf, most would give just about anything to hear a new type of music playing between their ears. That tempo would have them brimming with confidence. This transition, under appropriate tutelage, takes time.  As a man who wears many hats, however, I intend to take you in a different direction. I have conducted many fun-filled lessons over the years. I have met so many great people with an incredible desire to improve their play. My experience has taught me that most golfers learn backwards. They are inclined or encouraged to focus on the long game. I’m sure you can guess where this is headed. Put that driver back in the bag. Allow me a moment to don my new cap, and let’s go greenside!

Though there might not be a quick fix for what ails your full swing, and I’m not about to recommend using Band-Aids, there exists a panacea for your short game. So, if you are interested in receiving an inoculation against chunky chips, I can cure that problem. If you desperately need a remedy which will prevent those painful skulls and mis-hits, I’ve got a solution. Are you tired of exhausting strokes around the putting surface? Are you sick of leaving yourself lengthy putts hole after hole due to serious issues with your chipping skills? Do you often pull out your putter, because you are terrified of what might happen? A check-up with the short game doctor is guaranteed to save you from the terrible agony you’ve been experiencing. It’s time to make an appointment to get some much needed relief. I can guarantee that its positive effects will last well beyond your initial visit. Yes, I am saying that your disorder is very treatable.

Now, as your primary physician, I am going to prescribe the following steps which will aid in your recovery:

1. Narrow up your stance significantly.
2. Load up more weight on your front foot
3. Physically move yourself closer to the golf ball
4. Position your lead hand just off the inside of your lead thigh
5. Place the ball in the middle of the stance
6. Experiment with different golf clubs
7. Relax your body
8. Count 1,2,3 in your head and chip away
9. Eliminate your wrists for easy control

This might appear to be some lengthy and intense rehabilitation. However, don’t worry. The key is in your set-up position, and it really is as easy as 1,2,3!

Maintaining balance is not going to be a problem as you chip the golf ball, so get those feet close together. Stick the head of the club between your feet to get an idea of just how narrow you can go in the set-up. You cannot afford to have any body weight drift aimlessly away as you swing the club back. Thus, when you plant more of it on your front foot, leave it there! This set-up position can help promote a slight descending strike which is desirable.

Constancy is the key to consistency.

So, never change the position of your lead hand in relation to the body. Regardless of whether you are chipping, pitching or taking a mighty full swing, set your lead hand in the identical position. Don’t make things complicated. Don’t fiddle with the golf ball and move it all over the place. If you start changing its position, then you increase the likelihood that you will tinker with your hand position as well.

I repeat. Keep it simple in the set-up.

Let me remind you of your previous approach? Your hands were pressed well forward, the ball was way back in a much wider stance, and the club face was hooded or de-lofted because of the severe angle of the shaft. What a mess that created! Most of my patients used to be trapped in the “one club” for all chipping situations mentality. All chip shots are not created equally. The worst case scenario: using a high lofted wedge everywhere around the green regardless of the distance to the cup, the lay of the land between you and the hole, and the manner in which the ball is sitting. Because of the fact that your big muscles are not actively involved in the chipping motion, it can quickly become a tension filled adventure. You are not attempting to move the golf ball very far. This requires precision, not power.

So, to be as stress-free as possible, relax your body. To control the distance and direction, you have moved closer to the ball and are almost making a putting stroke. You cannot possibly expect to become a good chipper if you are, in relation to the ball, standing just as you would for a full swing. If you use too much wrist action, you can’t reasonably hope to accurately gauge how hard to hit your chips. Conversely, if your arms and shoulders do the work, your expectations will change dramatically. You can and will begin to feel confident that you will hole-out shots from off the green. Yes, it is as easy as 1,2,3! You may take an extra practice swing or two when chipping. Unlike in preparation for a full shot, the additional rehearsing will aid your effort to develop the proper feel for how to play a particular chip shot with the specific club you’ve selected. When you “feel it”, step right up to it, count to three in your head, and show off that magical touch. If you follow my prescription, your fear of chipping will disappear. The days of mis-hitting these shots will be a distant memory.

Can you imagine the improvement you’ll see in your putting statistics? Those scary long putts are now stress-free tap-ins. Just as the doctor ordered! What a great feeling! Now that is something to sing about!

photo credit: Technology for medical use via photopin (license)

Too Soon to Tell?

“I know that this is going to sound silly. But, I feel different already.” One of my students made this comment to me upon showing up for only his second training session. Two days had passed since his initial visit and the commencement of our workouts together. He concluded his greeting to me by adding:”I think that it’s mostly psychological so it doesn’t really matter.” Could he possibly feel any physical change or is it all between the ears? Both his thoughts and feelings are equally important elements which will play a significant role in his near future. But, what he actually does in response to these impressions and sensations is of greater significance.

As our second workout was underway, this student had a revelation. I asked him how his day had been going. He told me of some healthy food choices that he had been making over the course of the past two days. This determined man spoke of several conversations he’d already had with co-workers. To them, he expressed his need to make some lifestyle changes. That is awesome. What is even more impressive is that some of these people actually acknowledged their own desire to do likewise. When we are courageous, we become leaders. Some may choose to follow our example. Well, furthermore he mentioned to me that he had chosen to go to bed early the previous night. He said, almost incredulous at the sound of the words, that he changed up a typical after work habit. This routinely involved kicking back and consuming a large amount of alcohol. It doesn’t stop there. With the weather cooperating, he told me that he was able to take a nice bike ride. Yet after sharing this information with me, this wonderful man asked me, yet again if it were even conceivable that he might actually feel something happening to him right out of the proverbial starting gate. I had him rehearse the events of the past 48 hours with me once again. He thought that it was somewhat peculiar, but did so nonetheless. Then it hit him, the revelation, that is. “No wonder why I am truly feeling “different”! He was already choosing to act on his great desire to change his body, mind, even his very life. “So, you mean these little things I’ve done are all-together difference makers?” Recall, that it has never been just about the exercise. Standing alone, it is never sufficient to meet your needs. Surely, though, you can feel a physical high, a fitness fix, great pleasure, and satisfaction by engaging in and completing a singular workout. My new friend confessed that he’d taken more positive steps in two days than he had in the past twelve years. It is not too soon to declare that this guy is on a roll! There was no psychological deception at play here. He feels good precisely because that is an immediate by-product of doing good.

Yes, as incredible as it may seem, you can and will feel better after a single attempt to move your body! Even if you do nothing else to supplement this early effort. Clearly then, anything that you do beyond the realm of exercise can only add to your positive experience. The human body is amazing, and so are you! Once you start treating it with T.LC., it responds with a choir of joyful “thank you’s”. Like my new student, you can begin to take back control in your life. You can overcome the physical and mental obstacles which have held you back from attaining and/or maintaining personal goals. You might surprise yourself as well. If you have been a frequent rider on the roller coaster of weight loss, then certainly you have experienced some periods of success. So, although having a well thought out plan is always the smartest approach, this fresh start might bring about a set of responses similar to my enthusiastic student.  Almost instinctively, you may implement little changes by drawing from the positive lessons learned from that mixed bag of ups and downs.  Those previous attempts to reach a health and wellness goal were not pursued in vain. You might have to dig deep inside of yourself to muster the courage to involve others, but I believe that you have never been better prepared than now.

You, too, can feel the good vibrations flooding your entire being. I warn you that you will be highly contagious. This early momentum is like a wave which will carry you and others to happier and healthier shores. It is an exciting time. So, please don’t delay the chance to feel “different”. It is never too late for you to begin again, and it is not too soon to tell if something is changing. Remember that the events of tomorrow are built with a foundation made up of choices today.“Decisions determine destiny.”-Thomas S. Monson.  Though you cannot merely wish yourself a new body or improved circumstances in life, you can will yourself to do what must be done. What will you decide to do today to shape your future?

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When does it happen to you? Maybe, it occurs when you first roll out of bed in the morning despite a rough night? Perhaps, it takes place the moment you get home from yet another long, stressful day on the job. Well, no matter when it happens, or for that matter how frequently it’s been reoccurring of late, isn’t it obvious that it is damaging to your health. You may feel helpless, because it’s unavoidable… these close encounters you have with mirrors. Apparently, you have somewhat of a strained relationship with them. Oh, they come in all shapes and sizes, but despite these physical differences their messages to you are pretty consistent. What do you hear? “I don’t like you!” screams the bully in the bathroom. “I don’t even know you!” yells another in disgust down the hallway. “When are you going to do something?” the bedroom mirror rather sarcastically inquires. I don’t think that purchasing new mirrors is the solution to all of this unfriendly chatter. Breaking them all won’t solve anything either, and besides that could add up to quite a few years of bad luck. This dysfunctional relationship cannot continue.  You must learn to coexist.

What do you really see when you gaze into the mirror? Do you long to be staring at the man or woman who peered back at you twenty, ten, or even just a few years ago? Despite being depressed and discouraged by your current physical state, when you look deeply into the glass, do you still see the person you once were? Living with the weight of  disappointments and setbacks in your past, can you, even now, see the man or woman you always wanted to become? Do you, as Disney’s Mulan did, ask yourself, “Who is that man I see staring straight back at me? When will my reflection show who I am inside?”

You may not like what you see today. However, if that perception is to be altered, you must start this very moment to do the following. It is imperative that you learn to demonstrate unconditional love towards that beautiful human being in the mirror. You were created in the very image and likeness of God. You have divine qualities and infinite potential. Never forget those eternal truths. Sure, forgiving yourself has been a major stumbling block. But, for you to progress, forgiveness is the essential first step. It is possible to love yourself and not be satisfied with your entire being. Every day, tell yourself that you are a work in progress. Be kind to yourself. Life itself is not easy, so you need to be easier on yourself. Remember, you are not the only non-perfect person on the planet. If you are to change your conversations with those mirrors of negativity, you will want to start doing positive things in your life. Take a walk. Make a healthier food choice. Find a source for encouragement. Talk to a health coach or a personal trainer for some ideas. Read a blog! Figure out a plan for the rest of today. There is much good you can do for yourself if you but take action.

“I’m going to make a change for once in my life. It’s going to feel real good. Gonna make a difference. Gonna make it right. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make that change.”--Michael Jackson

Smile at that nasty mirror and you’ll soon be surprised at how quickly it will smile back at you! Hey, you may soon be saying, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I now know who is the most beautiful of all.”

photo credit: Spiegel Spiele via photopin (license)

Take a Shot in the Dark

Can you see your golf swing in your mind while you daydream about playing? As you sleep, do you conjure up vivid images of your body in motion swinging the golf club all night? Better yet, can you almost feel that which you visualize in your mind? Perhaps, this may seem rather odd to you. However, I ask that you think about this notion for a moment. Visualization is an important tool which athletes utilize across the broad spectrum of sports. In fact, successful people in all walks of life tap into its proven power. It can be expressed in a myriad of ways. See it. Become it. See the ball. Be the ball. “Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can be achieved.”-Napolean Hill  I am fairly certain that most of you can remember the best shots you’ve ever hit in your life. As if it were yesterday, and hopefully one such moment did occur during your latest round, you can see the beautiful ball flight produced by a gloriously struck shot. How far did you have to the green on your Golf Channel worthy highlight shot? What club did you select? What were the weather and course conditions? Certainly you know the answers to these questions. Obviously, you know the name of the golf course and the specific hole this shot of a lifetime took place. Perhaps, it was a hole-in-one. But, some of us must resort to actually dreaming of that one fine day when our little dimpled friend finds the cup from the tee. The much desired ace has still alluded me. My older brother has had six or seven. That doesn’t seem fair. Well, golf isn’t meant to be fair. But, I digress. I want you to begin this mental exercise by attempting to see your golf swing in all its splendor in slow-motion mode. At this stage, I am trusting that you are beyond viewing your athletic movement on video. That part of the learning process can be helpful, but your very own mind is a much more powerful, creative, and effective computer. So, let’s turn it on.

If you can see your swing, then you can feel it. Let’s turn the lights off, now. You may literally do this, or perhaps just close your eyes, or even wait until after dark. Inside the house or outdoors, it does not matter in the slightest, you are up to this task. I want you to swing the golf club without the benefit of any light. How can this be of any benefit? Just relax your body and clear your mind of all other thought. Focus on feeling your very own golf swing. It may be quite “eye-opening” for you to perform this drill. You will see your swing in an entirely new light. Remember, you are in no hurry, here. Your entire being has flipped its slow-motion switch. As this is repeated, you will soon be able to feel the exact sequencing of muscular engagement throughout the entirety of the dynamic swinging movement. As you ponder only these precise feelings, they will start to sink deep into your consciousness. The notion that muscles somehow have the capacity to remember what they have rehearsed is, quite frankly, silly. However, your ability to have total recall will be enhanced by these darkened practice sessions. My desire is for you to have as few thoughts related to your golf swing as possible floating about in that brain of yours. You can have complete command of what your muscles do even under pressure.

So, I encourage you to give this a shot in the dark. It just might help you to realize how effortless it is for you to feel rhythmic and balanced at all times. This normally is not the case, is it? If the power goes off in your house, there might be a brief moment of uncertainty or panic. When the power goes off unexpectedly in your golf swing, I want you to know immediately how to solve the problem. I don’t want you to have to experience the usual assortment of stubbed toes and bumps on the head that accompany your effort to maneuver your way without the benefit of illumination. Patiently practicing with your eyes closed will awaken your senses to the sheer wonder, yet simplicity of the golf swing. Since you’ll never be able to see what you are doing while it’s happening on the links, it is an absolute must that you become intimately acquainted with how your swing feels. This is the only pathway to self-correction that is always available. You will be better equipped to discern the subtle, yet distinct difference between the right and wrong feelings which you experience. Let the darkness become your friend, if only for the purpose of creating a perfect and harmonious link between that which you cannot see (during the course of play) and that which you have felt and will never forget.

If you have never seen yourself hit golf shots on video, I can help you with that. However, I do not wish for you to become obsessed with this technology. I would rather offer assistance as you feel your way toward developing that swing which is uniquely yours.  After all this “feel good” talk, your mind might remain a bit foggy. We shall chat soon, I hope, about how you feel what it is that you are supposed to feel. Until then, don’t be afraid of the dark.

photo credit: Man sleeping via photopin (license)